Updated December 18, 2020
Where do our salaries really go?
Every payday, we hold tightly on to our salaries because we know it will somehow slip from our grip towards various expenditures.
Despite the regular bi-weekly salary, why do most of us feel that it is still not enough?
In Metro Manila, saving is a challenge. We see people breaking their backs to provide for their families. Yet, it is also not new to hear many individuals blame the government for such a poor economy until the last election when President Rodrigo Duterte won by a landslide victory.
After the elections, many Filipinos had raised their hopes that we even topped the Nielsen Consumer Confidence Index for the second quarter of 2016 ahead of the 62 other countries.
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NCR Minimum Wage
We work hard to get our salary. While some are fortunate enough to work just because they wanted to, many of us will need to get money with dugo’t pawis everyday to earn at least the minimum wage. Those who work in non-agricultural industries such as call center agents, nurses, sales crew, teachers, sales staff, and others can earn at least Php 491 a day.
Suppose you earn the minimum wage a day:
Php 491 x 20 days = Php 9,820
Then you must be earning around Php 10,000 a month, not including any bonus, holiday pay, and weekends. Then your SSS, Pag-IBIG, and PhilHealth contributions will also be deducted.
Is Php10,000 enough? Let’s follow the typical one month budget.
- Food: Php 4,000
- House Rent: Php 1,400 for a one-room apartment
- Health: Php900 this includes the daily hygienic necessities
- Communication: Php 200 for mobile load/data usage
- Child’s Education: Php 1,1000 for the allowance and possibly the child’s fare to school
(Your kid will have Php 55.00 a day)
- Transportation: Php 500
- Clothes: Php 500
- Others such as water and electricity: Php1,400
Unfortunately, if you have two or more children, you will need a side job and a tighter budget plan.
Let’s consider if you have a baby:
- Powdered milk: Php2,400
- 6mL Distilled drinking water: Php300
- Disposable Diaper: Php1,000
- Monthly checkup: Php300
- Others: Php1,000
Baby’s expenses: Php5,000 a month
Then a person earning the average wage here in Metro Manila will really have a hard time surviving paycheck to paycheck. Where will you get cash during emergencies? Of course, you can get some financial assistance from PhilHealth, but I can’t cover every hospital expenses.
Consider looking for a side job, involve your family members in a small home-based business, and create a feasible budget plan.
Related: Top 10 Money Saving Ideas for Low-Income Workers
Filipinos’ Beliefs About Money
Investing is scary
Less than 1% of Filipinos in Metro Manila invest in stocks, bonds, and mutual funds.
Most Filipinos think that this is only for the millionaires. When they say investments, they quickly think about stocks amounting from several hundred thousand to millions.
COL Financial gives free seminars to Filipinos who want to learn about investing in stocks exchange. If you have at least Php5,000, you can already invest in certain stocks. It will take time, but patience, as they say, is a virtue.
Many people do not understand that investment does not only mean putting money in stocks. It simply means spending money on something you think has financial gain. If you can’t invest in stocks and funds trading yet, you can invest in your own small business for a while.
Not enough knowledge of money management
Everyone deserves to be educated when it comes to money management. The danger for those who get instantly rich is not knowing how to use their money.
Learn to prioritize and make savings as much as you can. Even now, you have to save even the loose change to keep the discipline of saving. Even OFWs need to know where to put their money wisely if they want to go home with enough retirement savings.
Selling is not the solution to getting a better financial status.
‘Tindera lang ako.’ Being a seller on sidewalks does not mean you are destined to stay there for the rest of your life. You will never hear an employee taking over the company, but you will hear many stories wherein big companies started as small stalls. Of course, you have heard of Henry Sy, the famous owner of SM malls. He started as a shoe shop owner, and now he owns the largest malls in the country, which houses smaller shops.
Being an OFW is an acceptable, long-term financial solution.
One in five households receives financial assistance abroad. The figure gives you the idea of how many Filipinos braved working in foreign lands to give a better future for their families. Homesickness is their worst enemy, but it pays the bills and the kids’ wants back home.
While many parents have pushed their children into a career, they never wanted in exchange for higher pay abroad, and many end up going home moneyless. OFWs left their kids, thinking that their children will have a better future, yet their kids will also leave their families for the same reason: poverty. It is an endless cycle for many. The sad part is OFWs themselves failed to save up for their own retirement.
On the other hand, some OFWs got successful in their line of business. It took patience, and a long time to study the industry they have ventured in. They did not earn just by being an OFW. They had chosen to earn more by starting a small business.
Rich people are selfish.
Most people say that the rich tramples on the poor. While there are indeed rude rich people, rich people indeed started from the rags and now advocate helping those in need. Instead of thinking negatively about others, it will be helpful to focus on the positive side.
Traditions are money well spent for
This is nothing new. Many Filipinos would rather go into debt than lose their face if they cannot meet the visitor’s expectations. There is nothing wrong with a simple wedding, a simple birthday celebration, and a simple christening. Many even make-do without these things, yet some individuals borrow money from Bumbays with an interest rate of 20% to show off.
Easy money is possible.
Many Filipinos fall for scams. It is not surprising as many fall into the words: ‘bahay ka lang, wala kang gagawin, kikita ka.’ Many believe in easy money, yet we all know hard work will bear real cash if you are patient enough. Easy money is not real unless you are born with a silver spoon on your lips, so to speak.
Job opportunities are only in Metro Manila.
Opportunities are all over the country, not just in Manila. Manila is overcrowded with those who have ventured from the province to find out the city offers low paid jobs and a high cost of living. Many of us who live in Manila even prefer to get out of the city and live in nearby provinces such as Laguna, Batangas, and Cavite.
It is fine to reward yourself.
Some working Filipinos will spend on high-end smartphones despite skipping meals for a month. It is better to invest in things that have increasing value rather than on things that will be outdated in a few months as another better upgrade comes up.
The government is not doing enough action.
Our government is clearly far from perfect, but instead of blaming politicians, we must realize that each of us has the responsibility to be a hard-working citizen. We are looking for financial security for ourselves and our family to look up to those in positions to help us.
It will not be easy, and it will take time, but it will be worth it. You can build a small home-based business, invest with your small saving, and diligently nurture it. You can even ask your family to help you out and have a small family business.
If you need a cash loan for capital, get it from Cash Mart – the best online lending company in the Philippines. Cash Mart is not just a dedicated moneylender but also a reliable financial partner.