On Mach 16, 2020, President Duterte first announced the lockdown on the entire island of Luzon set to last until April 12, 2020. As a freelancer who heavily relies on the tourism industry as my source of income. I became anxious since all my clients will need to suspend their operation temporarily.
I started to ask my self until when can I survive on my savings and how financially ready I am to face this pandemic? This lockdown also means fewer people will read my travel articles, and no one will book hotels on my website, which gives me extra income.
Checking my bank account if God will forbid and will not extend ECQ after April 12, I will survive. I still have enough money to pay for my apartment, utility bills, and buy food. After days and weeks pass by, it feels like there is a vacuum suctioning not only my energy but money, unbelievably, prices of basic commodities in the market increases. Isn’t DTI announces price freeze before lockdown?
It was a hot summer afternoon, on the 30th day of enhanced community quarantined while sitting on the floor inside my small condominium. I started to look at all the shoes and branded clothes that I bought. I even found my broken Macbook and iPhone inside my cabinet.
I suddenly felt all of these don’t have value during this pandemic and why I’m so willing to buy these expensive brands before. Maybe, I believe that money will keep coming, and I will not run out of it.
I’m still in a lucky position as I have housemates who I shared my expenses and even buy groceries without asking in return. I can eat three times a day, pay my insurance, and send money to my parents.
On the other hand, I can’t help but felt that it wasn’t the same story for millions of Filipinos. I believe many don’t have savings that will help them to have at least a comfortable life for a month or even a week in times of crisis. Today, many are suffering and hungry because we are not financially ready.
Looking at the world around me where typical scenarios of hundreds of people queuing for relief goods and others rant to the government for not receiving the 5,000 – 8,000php cash assistance was disheartening.
As the government announces second and as of this writing, where we are on the third extension of enhanced community quarantine. I became more and more anxious about how will I survive.
I woke up panicking to update my Jobstreet, Linkedin, talk to friends about job opportunities, and randomly applied for online jobs. I began to look for corporate jobs, take it as a given that the tourism industry will not be a priority industry to reopen on the new normal. I’m fearful to find a more secure job not only for me to survive but to support my family continuously.
If this will continue until June, I’m financially fucked up! My savings can’t help me survive beyond three months.
When we were young, we were thought about the basics of Math – adding and subtracting. But do you remember on your elementary or high school days if you learned about savings, investments, inflation, and stuff related to financial literacy? If you will ask me, I don’t.
I agree that the financial literacy level of average Filipino remains alarmingly low; this is the problem that begins with our poor childhood education.
Back when the time I had enough money, I always told my self to save a portion of it. Its easier to be said than done. The rules of Income-savings = expenses seems easy to understand but not to apply.
If there is one thing I learned during this pandemic that I will never take for granted, once we go back to the “New Normal” is to make myself financially ready. I want to ensure having an emergency fund, plan for long term savings, look for more ways to earn, invest and cut unnecessary expenses.
To begin in having more motivated financial goals. I took an online class at Tesda in Managing Personal Finances This is an excellent way to start controlling my money, and I hope that I will be more serious about it because sometimes I’m so caught up in the daily activities that I forget how crucial managing finances is.
I hope this pandemic will serve as a lesson to plan on how to spend money wisely. Let us start to raise our standard of living by being financially ready and maintaining higher savings, which can help to cushion us during economically challenging times.