Yep, that number's about to hit you. Welcome to the "middle ages"! While we're not a fan of pegging major life experiences and lessons according to age range, we do agree that there are some things we must need to know and practice at certain points in life. Think of them as not-so-pleasant rites of passage, like hair loss, increased fatigue and avoidance of late nights out, and improved tolerance for daddy drinks like whiskey and brandy.
One of the biggest essentials for people about to be part of the thirty-somethings brigade: knowing how to handle personal finances. No more freewheeling, "borrowing" from the Bank of Mom and Dad, or making it rain like back in our early 20s!
Take charge and keep these eight money tips in mind. And even if we say people in their late 20s or 30s should follow them, these are also wholly applicable for those in higher or lower age brackets. It's never too late to change your money habits!
1) THINK AHEAD WHEN IT COMES TO FINANCES AND YOUR FUTURE
We mean this in three ways: thinking beyond the monthly paycheck and 13th month pay, thinking of your professional future, and thinking of your personal future. Where do you want to be in two, five, ten years' time? With what deliverables and responsibilities? In what position or level of management, and under what salary and benefits bracket? Same company and industry, or different ones? Considering resigning and forming your own company?
As for the money, money, and money, if what you're getting every 30 days isn't enough, take the initiative and look for legitimate supplementary income sources and side projects you can do in your spare time—or even be your main source of livelihood later on. However, you must make sure it doesn't take too much time and energy away from your day job. Another strategy is asking for a raise if you know you deserve one and have solid and data-backed arguments for it; check out this article on the Harvard Business Review on how to go about this tricky task.
And for your personal future... get insured. Look at life and health plans, and home/car loans. Avail of those that fit your needs exactly, and with terms you can follow every year. Plans and loans deal with the most difficult and inevitable parts of life, but it's much better to sort them all out as early as you can. Don't forget to pay your monthly SSS/Philhealth/Pag-Ibig contributions, too!
2) KNOW YOUR VALUE AND INVEST IN IT
Another perk of turning 30: getting to look back on both growing pains and past shenanigans, seeing all the errors of your ways, and willingly embarking on worthwhile self-improvement projects. If you're going to shell out for something in your 30s, do it for courses and workshops that tackle your hobbies and interests, taking supplementary or secondary courses connected to your job and industry, or short programs that will add to your skill set. A bigger skill set + more responsibilities, and value to the company = higher pay.
3) INVEST, ASAP!
Here's the one thing we think aggressive salespeople got right: don't let all your money sit in a bank account. Use a small amount for stock trading; look at online platforms like COL Financial and BPI Trade, and look for sources with helpful and easy-to-process information like SmartPinoyInvestor.com. Remember that this strategy won't make you rich overnight, and that there are myriad risks involved in stock trading.
And here's why you need to start as early as possible: couple that with hard work, ongoing learning, and the right partners, and you'll meet your financial goals earlier than expected. Case in point: Mica Tan and MFT Group of Companies. Learn more about her and her company over at our sister publication Entrepreneur Philippines.
4) SAVE IT
Always set a percentage of of your earnings aside for future use, and for emergencies like health complications, urgent repairs, etc. And during times when you're extra flush with cash, you can deduct more from your monthly earnings and transfer it to your rainy-day savings. Bank offerings like BPI Save-Up will also make it more convenient if your salary's directly deposited to a BPI account.
Don't forget about your barya! Just set aside those coins and exchange them with your bank when the container(s)'s full. You'll be surprised at what all that metal will amount to. We once spent six months dumping spare change into containers, and ended up with P5,000 worth of extra cash. #TrueStory
5) LIVE WITHIN YOUR MEANS
When we were younger, we had the urge to have what everyone else has. To be on the same financial level as our peers, to have the latest clothes, bags, shoes, gadgets...everything. As we grew older, we realized that there's absolutely no need to keep. Hindi kailangang maki-uso! Follow your budget to the letter and number; buy only what you need, and at a reasonable price, and only if you have the money to pay for it in full. If you can't afford it, then you can't, so save up, get it later on if you still want it, or find other alternatives. Otherwise, just let it go and live without it. Simple, right?
We're not saying you shouldn't treat yourself to something good for the rest of your life. Occasional, hard-earned treats are great, no doubt about it. But you can't exactly have a good life while, as US rapper Azealia Banks, broke with expensive taste.
6) CUT 'EM DOWN
Step 1: Look at all your billing statements.
Step 2: Identify which expenses and utilities suck the most money out of your monthly earnings. Do you really need 100+ cable TV channels every month, or that expensive telco plan with provisions you barely use?
Step 3: Start the culling process. Unsubscribe from services you can do without, rein in your shopping habits (new game titles can be expensive!), and keep your expenses to the most basic of needs.
Step 4: Whenever you're tempted to buy something unnecessary, remember the pain of going through Steps 1 to 3.
This also applies to credit cards. Keep one credit card if you really need one, and cut the rest up as soon as you've paid them all off. And pay those cards on time; the interest rates can be a real bitch if you don't.
7) BE AN INDOORSMAN
All those nights out will add up, literally: the good food and drinks don't come cheap, especially if you regularly hit up the popular spots in town. It may be one of the hallmarks of the tanders life, but looking for entertainment at home does have several perks. It's definitely cheaper to get food from the grocery and palengke and prepare them in your own kitchen, you have complete control over what to eat and how to make them, and you get to hear everyone talk the whole night—no tugs-tugs-tugs noise blowing out your eardrums!
And since you're all grown up, you also get to upgrade from cheap beer to high-quality hard drinks and mixes. Cheers to you, dear sir, and as always, drink responsibly.
8) DEALS AREN'T ALWAYS GOOD
It's easy to get swayed by attractive-sounding, time-limited deals, online and offline. But there are times when you're better off booking directly than going through online marketplaces and third parties. And always do the math before plunking down the cash or card on that "discounted" product or service—you may be spending more than you anticipated.
GIFs via Rebrn.com, Missashleypants.com, Gifsoup.com, Vulcanpost.my, Tumblr.com, Weheartit.com, styleandcheek.tumblr.com, Giphy.com