Becoming a mother is a beautiful experience. Becoming a single mother is a whole other world on its own. I am sure many single mothers and fathers out there will understand the challenges that come with handling both roles. For me, it taught me a lot about responsibility. Let’s face it, having your finances in order is crucial to ensuring your child’s future. I was 19 when I became a mother, a few years later my son was confined at the hospital. I had no insurance, did not even have enough contributions in my Philhealth because of my home based job, i had only a few thousands stored away and on top of that was barely months away from graduating my second degree.
I was lucky enough to have my parents, who had enough to manage all the hospital expenses.
Yes, they paid for everything! I hated myself. I felt like a useless mother. I felt irresponsible. I cried about it at night while doing my home based article writing. I decided…this had to stop.
I became adventurous and a goal-setter. Months before graduation I scrapped my Resume and made a Curriculum Vitae, publicizing it on Jobstreet. I had never applied to anything out of the vicinity so I was not expecting a call from Makati. When I got the call, my mother encouraged me to go. It was in Makati, in Ayala Avenue and the Central Business District. The day of my interview could very well be one of the luckiest days of my life.
I was casually chatting with my friend Ruby when she mentioned that she also had plans of applying at a company in Manila. She suggested we travel together which we did. My interview and tests took longer than usual that she had to go ahead… I got my job offer right then and there. Everything happened so fast but I politely asked if I could settle things at home first. I left the building giddy and met with another friend, Canon who lived near Cubao which was near my next stop to get back home to Pampanga. So surprise surprise! We took a bus together as well. Once at the station, I boarded a Five Star bus and wow, Noriel was there! My friend back from the USC. From the bus ride down to the jeep home we traveled together. Everything was purely coincidental and last-minute. The universe was definitely telling me something!
That led to my 3 year stay in Makati. I signed my contract two days before my graduation and started a week after. I must admit that there were times that the finances were tight. I rented a bedspace just walking distance from work and knew no one in Makati. I had a buffer for the first couple of months and lost it just as fast because I was new to all my expenses and how to manage them. It’s normal to fail at one point or the other, the idea here is to learn from these financial mistakes. All in all I was able to maximize my stay there, work my ass off, educate myself by attending seminars and certifications, pay for my son’s tuition, school bus, tutor, medical needs and summer class. I worked in such a way that my additional income was enough to shoulder the extra expenses I had living in Makati. Rent, Electric, Food, Water, Transportation to and from Pampanga. I brought my salary in FULL, with little to none spent on leisure.
Delayed gratification is always the key. My first few years were tight. So tight and exhausting that I knew no popular restaurants, had no night life and barely set foot in any mall there. My work was from 11am to 8pm. Malls open at 10am and close at 9pm so there was barely a window to do any shopping (or window shopping! haha). The schedule was a big help in managing my finances since I was not given the opportunity to want to purchase anything. Plus, I had a night job doing Medical Transcription and Online English Teaching from 10pm until midnight…sometimes longer.
I was away from my son from Monday to Friday so I wanted to utilize as much time as I could while keeping my weekends completely work free for him.
This was how my Financial Management Journey began…