JUST OUT OF THE BLUE, I came up with this big boredom-buster — listing down random questions about my solo living finances and answering them after just as honest as I could. Before you jump into reading though, I just wanna let you know that I do have other posts here, equally worth reading, which are all archived under this serial solo living journal:
- Living Solo: Decluttering, De-stressing, and Doing Minor Home Repairs
- Living Solo: Budget, Bills, and Bigger Purchases
Question: How much is your current salary as a private school teacher?
Answer: Rumors don’t tell a lie — we teachers don’t earn much and are underpaid despite the back-breaking eight-to-five (or almost 24/7) job, but I should say that my current salary somehow suffices for a decent lifestyle.
Question: How much do you earn from your blogs?
Answer: If you were to check my Google AdSense lifetime earnings, you would see that I’ve earned 2,000 USD (around PHP100,000.00) for the past three years of having Google ads on and off. Additionally, I’ve earned around PHP50,000.00 from sponsored articles. You just do the math.
Question: How much do you spend and save from your current salary?
Answer: I spend around seventy-five percent (which I don’t recommend) and save the rest. Since I’ve just started living solo, I am still into making big purchases from time to time which usually eats up my savings. That explains it.
Question: How much is your daily budget?
Answer: On regular school days, I usually spend around PHP200.00 for a few cups of coffee, lunch at the school cafeteria, and a quick and easy dinner out of what’s stocked in the fridge. Work is just a mile away. On weekends however, I do most of the cooking, sometimes making me spend even more.
Question: How much do you spend on coffee alone?
Answer: I do admit I am a coffee addict. I take three to four cups of instant coffee (Kopiko Brown) a day. That’s around PHP25.00.
Question: How much do you usually spend on a single trip to the grocery?
Answer: I can spend between PHP2,000.00 to PHP3,000.00 for grocery items, good for a week or two. With the pandemic however, I have observed increased spending on food.
Question: How much do you pay for your monthly household utility bills?
Answer: As much as possible, I do whatever it takes to cut down on electricity and water consumptions. I get usually billed around PHP2,700.00 all in — Globe At Home broadband (PHP1,299.00), Meralco electricity (PHP1,200.00), and Manila Water (PHP150.00).
Question: How much do you pay for your monthly apartment rent?
Answer: As I shared in the previous posts here, I took over the tenancy of the two-bedroom apartment after my aunt and uncle moved out. There has been no increase for the past ten years — I still pay PHP7,000.00. My younger sister though has occupied the other bedroom and pays half of that.
Question: How much do you spend on entertainment?
Answer: When it comes to the entertainment potential of the internet, the sky is the limit. For me, it’s all enough. I watch Netflix series and movies via a free account, courtesy of my sister. Even before, I wasn’t into moviegoing.
Question: How much do you spend on your hobbies and interests?
Answer: Apart from blogging, I have also found an interest in aquarium keeping. I have two tanks — a ten-gallon nano tank next to my bed for my angelfish and a bigger one that sits somewhere in the veranda for my flowerhorn. Yes, I spent a lot (really a lot) when I was just starting, but currently the maintenance cost is no longer a big deal — just for the pellets and some occasional treats, plus the electricity.
Question: How much do you spend on travels and vacations?
Answer: Traveling may not be for me. I don’t travel much. I don’t even have a travel bucket list. Plus, I don’t think I could afford given my current financial status. It’s secondary, but I think I’d do the exploring in a year or two.
Question: How much do you usually spend on a haircut?
Answer: I don’t believe I need to spend much on a haircut as I have to go to the barbershop once a month (imagine that). I should say then that a PHP40.00 (no tip) clean cut will do. I don’t think I’d look different in a pricier one.
Question: How much do you spend on prepaid mobile load?
Answer: I tried having a mobile postpaid plan, but it’s not for me. I ended up paying way higher than what I really consumed. So, I shifted back to prepaid. While I don’t make use of SMS and calls that much, I usually load up data promos worth PHP100.00 good for seven days. I also maximize redeeming points and convert them to call and text promos should I need to make an urgent one. Having a broadband internet connection at home saves a lot.
Question: How much do you usually spend on a romantic date?
Answer: I stopped dating, but I am still looking forward to having a meaningful conversation over a cup of coffee or some sweet treats.
Question: How much do you usually shell out on a night out with friends or colleagues?
Answer: Yes, I’m glad most of my friends run the same frugal lifestyle as I do. We usually end up splitting bills, and I don’t have to spend beyond a thousand. For the past couple of years though, I have learned the art of saying ‘pass’ to many invitations.
Question: How much has been the biggest amount you’ve lent a friend?
Answer: I used to be more understanding and generous when it comes to this matter until such time that I bitterly pulled in some trust issues — I had a friend and colleague who borrowed PHP5,000.00 and simply forgot about it. That’s really bad!
Question: How much do you give to church or donate to charity works?
Answer: I don’t go to church (but I tell you, I’m not an atheist) unless there’s a special occasion that I’m constrained to do so. Truth be told, I do pray. Equally, I am part of a small charity outreach program that caters to Mangyan communities in Mindoro.
Question: How much do you give to random street beggars?
Answer: Come on, I am not a selfish dude. Yes, I give as much as I can. Giving doesn’t require figures, and it’s a deed kept personal.
Question: How much has been your biggest spending on a less important item?
Answer: Right away, it’s PHP29,000.00 for a brand-new Canon DSLR. It’s not that a big regret though as I still use it for special occasions. It’s just that it’s not really worth it given that it simply sits there, among my old clothes in the closet, most of the time.
Question: How much do you spend on gadgets?
Answer: As much as I avoid redundancy, I just maintain having a mid-range smartphone for less than PHP20,000.00 and a decent laptop worth around PHP30,000.00. Aside from these, I also have an obsolete smartphone, a tablet, and a DSLR which aren’t used more often. I do consider need, brand experience, and cost when making a purchase.
Question: How much do you spend on your vices?
Answer: Before ECQ, I would binge on Red Horse beer twice (or three times) a week. I also smoke but not that much, just an average of six sticks of Marlboro Lights a day. I’m quitting in months though, and I promise that.
Question: How much have you lost gambling?
Answer: Well, gambling runs in the blood. I do betting on the national lottery, especially when there’s a huge prize, say half a billion, at stake. I once tried slot machines at a casino out of curiosity and lost around PHP4,000.00. It’s a worth-sharing experience though.
Question: How much debt do you have?
Answer: Not much — I owe around PHP50,000.00 — laptop (cash), fridge (credit card), SSS salary loan (payroll deduction), and PAGIBIG multipurpose loan (payroll deduction). That’s kinda humble!
Question: How much cash do you usually keep in your wallet?
Answer: Rob me not — it’s at least PHP500.00. I start having what-if thoughts whenever it’s less than that, though on the other side, I also don’t keep a huge sum, say PHP10,000.00 or even more. That’s not good!
Question: How much has been your biggest savings account deposit?
Answer: When I was still receiving my grad school scholarship stipend, I would make transfers from my scholarship account to my personal savings. In one occasion, I did a cash transfer amounting to PHP100,000.00 which I further invested in stocks.
Question: How much is your emergency fund?
Answer: I have almost used up the fund due to increased household expenses brought by the pandemic. As soon as it’s over though, I’ll definitely rebuild it while following the rule — three or six months worth of all expenses.
Question: How much is your current investment in stocks?
Answer: It’s not really big, I should humbly say. The market value of all my shares combined has diminished over the past years after the inflation and the pandemic. I am but still waiting for the next big rally.
Question: How much has been your biggest loss in a business or investment that didn’t materialize?
Answer: Around two years ago, I joined a team of teachers who ventured into a book publication. I thought that the returns would be great, or break even at least — shelled out more or less PHP50,000.00 — and but ended up giving away copies because of the negative sales.
Question: How much is your budget for professional growth?
Answer: I am still into writing my master’s thesis. I know I’ll be needing more than what I expected along the way to completing the degree. Glad I have a scholarship, although sadly I am already extending beyond the prescribed plan of study. On the side, I am losing an interest in pursuing short courses and academic affiliations as I’m thinking about a possible career shift.
Question: How much have you prepared for your retirement?
Answer: Truth is, I am yet into building my retirement nest, but I’ve been halfway into paying off my insurance and almost paid with my life plan. In five more years, I do hope I’d be able to save much for that purpose on top of my current investments and all.