The Philippines’ workforce is currently dominated by young workers as data indicates that almost half of the labor force population in 2015 were Filipino Millennials.
And because it has been said that this generation is driven by instant gratification, it’s not unusual to see young workers in urban areas sporting the latest gadgets, going on vacations to take Instagram-worthy photos, and crowding coffee shops and the hippest restaurants on the weekends—even if they end up in debt as their spending habits are not in sync with their current salary.
While having it all on the surface may seem like the way to live, it’s not the definition of living well. But by making good financial choices, prioritizing, and knowing how the system works, it’s possible to truly live a good and healthy lifestyle, even on a low income.
The Filipino Millennial’s buying habits
Though some may think that Millennial workers appear to have it all, it appears that Filipino Millennials are not as prudent with money as they think they are. In a poll, it was discovered that young workers in the country splurge on non-essentials such as the latest fashions, gadgets, memorabilia, and they like to vent out stress and to indulge and to reward themselves, even if they’re earning a low salary.
According to data, new graduates are earning an average of Php 20,000 in 2017, which is just enough to cover rent, food, utilities, and transportation costs of one person. Indeed, there is always one Millennial worker in every office in the country who has the latest iPhone but is living on instant ramen noodles until the next payday.
While having great stuff appears to be the way to live, it’s not the definition of living well. If you’re planning to make a change, here are a few ways to live well on a low income.
Know more about your benefits
Most young workers are not familiar with how SSS or Philhealth works, but knowing where to get financial assistance can help when you’re in a bind. Make sure to keep your payments up-to-date and find out when you can use your benefits.
The HR person in your company is a good resource for benefits information, so request for a meeting and ask him or her to explain how the system works. You may also want to pay attention whenever the office holds seminars on the matter.
Prioritize needs over wants
It’s no fun living on basic food day in and day out just to make up for the cost of that new gadget or that fresh pair of Yeezy sneakers. Not only will your health suffer, but you may also experience a raging case of buyer’s regret. But by prioritizing your needs over your wants, you get to live healthfully while still enjoying the nice things in life.
Go for a pair of less expensive but still well-made shoes, and you’ll find that you still have enough money to buy fresh ingredients to make delicious meals.
Learn to make a budget
Filipino children aren’t taught how to budget in schools, but it’s a skill that must be learned in adulthood. Make a budget for your expenses and set aside some funds for your savings first, then set aside the money to pay your bills.
Whatever’s left can be spent for incidentals and for “fun stuff.” This way, you get to live within your means, be a responsible adult, and still get to enjoy your salary.
It’s never easy trying to figure out how to make ends meet, but with a bit of planning, a little self-discipline, and making good financial choices, you can live well on a low income and enjoy life.
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