for the first time this year, LJ, A and I got to go out together since all of us became SPs. wow, time does fly...

we didn't make it to gateway's 9.10pm screening so we just ate at sachi. we can't help thinking how two years ago, we were struggling with our measly 4-digit salaries! we would be so poor a few days before payday and would have to borrow money from each other to get by. we couldn't even afford to ride a taxi for a gimik or spend 250 bucks on dinner.

now, LJ is investing in appliances and stuff for when he moves out, A pretty much spends on anything she wants, and I get to save some, eat some and shop some.

LJ said as our salaries increase, so does our expenses. so true. i guess it's the "quality" of life that we try to improve, like live the way people with these kinds of salaries live.

the downside: nothing could ever be enough. there are still times when i find only a handful of coins in my pocket a few days before payday. and i still think that if only i could earn a few thousands more, it would be enough. but it never is, and will never be, unless i start really controlling my expenses and learn to be content.

***

i made a list of necessities weeks ago, it's like a conrolling mechanism, i cannot buy something that's not in the list because it means it's unnecessary. as i crossed some things out, i find myself adding another and another.... and the list grows longer and longer...i'm really trying to have more control of myself.

i've set some personal guidelines which have worked so far:

1. on payday, divide pay into three: spending allowance (food, transportation, neccessities) 70% ; savings, 20% ; and "happy"/indulge money, 10%.

2. list down every detail of daily expenses, from the P5.50 jeep fare, the P100 lunch, the P25 bar of chocolate, P10 on fishballs. examine where you spend much of your money and if it's truly necessary. (at one point, i discovered i was spending most of my daily allowance on snacks which make me poor and fat!) then cut back on the unnecessary expenses.

if you save some bucks from your daily budget limit, you can either add it to your savings or on your indulge money. (savings would be better, but we all know more shopping money is tempting.)

3. shopping through aisles and aisles of tempting goodies is surely trying to any saver. your best weapon lies not only in willpower but in a list. before going to the store, list down the items you absolutely need to buy so you won't easily stray into buying that fab lip gloss you saw on the make up counter. if, and only if, you've bought everything you needed, and by stroke of luck or a miracle, you still have enough money left, then go ahead and buy that lip gloss!

4. every month, make sure you reward yourself (at least twice.) i mean rewards are as important as savings. you work hard for your money and you deserve to taste the fruits of your labor. it maybe a whole box of chocolates or that book you've been aching to buy forever. it's your pat on your back for a job well done.

i'm making up guidelines as i go, and i don't always get to follow them to the letter. but they help. who knows, one day i would have accumulated a stash of money so i can finally go on that much coveted beach paradise vacay or go out of the country!

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