Breaking Down ‘Petsa de Peligro’

Breaking Down Petsa de Peligro

Petsa de peligro na! Well, it has become a common expression among many young Filipino working professionals. But, what does it mean? In essence, it’s a financial nightmare many should seriously deal with, otherwise experience it over and over again.

While many would simply laugh upon experiencing petsa de peligro and but whisper a motive to borrow a few hundreds, others choose to deny the embarrassing situation, however with all those nearly impractical or extreme austerity practices on the side such as skipping meals, selling off or pawning personal items, filing work leaves, and even making false excuses or alibis. Relate much, don’t you?         

‘Petsa de Peligro’ Defined

Petsa de peligro (of Spanish origin), which literally translates to a day of danger, however often used metaphorically, is a term used by mostly millennial members of the Filipino working class to describe the critical days of one’s budget, usually between two consecutive paydays; e.g., 10th and 25th of the month (for regular paychecks on 15th and 30th), when cash on hand for daily living expenses comes running low while the next paycheck is still a week or few days away.

In other words, petsa de peligro is the dreaded period between paydays when one struggles to stretch the budget and ends up pulling even the last centavo out of the pocket just to survive the remaining days before the next paycheck comes. Canned corned beef or a cheaper vegetable meal tastes even more delicious a few days before the payday, they say.

As a recurring financial dilemma, petsa de peligro is but a sign of inefficient personal budget management and bad money habits that one must break as soon as possible. Worst, it usually leads to making petty debts and being dependent on the generosity of people around, mostly parents and friends.

While many would simply laugh upon experiencing petsa de peligro and but whisper a motive to borrow a few hundreds, others choose to deny the embarrassing situation, however with all those nearly impractical or extreme austerity practices on the side such as skipping meals, selling off or pawning personal items, filing work leaves, and even making false excuses or alibis.

Breaking Down 'Petsa de Peligro'

6 Causes of Experiencing Petsa de Peligro

One experiences petsa de peligro for many reasons. However, all seem to boil down to one’s mismanagement of personal finances and lack of financial literacy at an early stage of workforce participation. Here is a list of the common causes of experiencing petsa de peligro:

[1] Payday Splurge. Many young working professionals are payday millionaires. As soon as the salary goes into their bank accounts, there seems to be an urge to spend big on luxuries and eat out at expensive restaurants. Office get-togethers usually happen at a payday night, 15th or 30th of the month, when young workforce members binge on food and beer, and hence, without any thought of making savings first. Interestingly, payday splurges can also be attributed to the you-only-live-once (YOLO) lifestyle and the ‘work hard, party harder’ mindset.

[2] Bad Money Habits and Budget Leaks. Most imprudent money habits and budget leaks may be less budget-wrecking than all-out payday splurges, but still should not be discounted. Petsa de peligro can also be a result of unwise spending on unhealthy snacks and soft drinks, mismanaged prepaid mobile credits and public transport fares, or even retailed personal hygiene products. Other than these daily budget leaks, bad money habits such as not investing in quality products and shopping without a prepared list can also be contributory causes.

[3] Meager Salary. Sometimes, even living within means with all those nearly extreme frugal practices doesn’t just help. It must be the regular salary that is not enough to make a decent savings for emergency purposes. In the Philippines, many households run on a very tight budget brought by a meager income. When situations requiring additional expenses such as minor hospitalizations, unexpected travels, and household repairs strike, many are caught off guard, and hence struggle surviving petsa de peligro with a little left from the last paycheck.

[4] Debt Payment. Others already have petty debts even before the next paycheck comes in, or sometimes although unlawful, payroll ATMs have already been pawned or given temporarily as debt collateral. As many Filipinos put it in words, ‘Dumaan lang sa kamay ang sahod.’ Petsa de peligro is true then even a day after receiving the regular paycheck because of existing debts that require partial or full settlement. Accumulated debts, on the other hand, may be caused by inefficient budget management, extravagant lifestyle, and lack of emergency fund.

[5] Lack of Savings. Lack of savings results in a domino effect. As stated earlier, it causes accumulated debts especially when emergency expenses strike, and one is but caught off guard. If bimonthly salary is the only source of income and without any savings, petsa de peligro is but to expect. Savings, however, should not be pulled out for daily expenses, but if it’s what to save the few days before the cutoff, then it is a big help. Making a regular savings hence should be taken seriously; otherwise, it’s a suicide braving petsa de peligro unarmed.

[6] Mismanaged Budget. All these reasons why many young Filipino workers experience petsa de peligro boil down to budget mismanagement. Without basic skills and serious approach, regular salary comes in and out without making the most of it. It’s a hard-earned money. Since one works really hard all day from eight to five, sometimes in a toxic office environment and with a bad boss, a progressive economic life, and not a hell week of petsa de peligro is thus deserved [Read also, Simple Budget Hacks for First-Time Employees].

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6 Tips on Surviving Petsa de Peligro

While borrowing money from friends and parents just to sustain a little extravagant lifestyle during petsa de peligro can be quite helpful, it is however discouraged. Borrowing simply makes one experience petsa de peligro over and over again. Here are the six practical tips on how to survive petsa de peligro without tapping the shoulders of your friends and parents for a few hundreds and promising a cut in your next paycheck:

[1] Plug All Budget Leaks. You don’t want the rest of your petsa de peligro budget misspent on items that you don’t really need in the first place – convenient snacks, soft drinks, vices and other fancy stuff. Plug all these possible budget leaks and survive petsa de peligro while running a healthier lifestyle [Read also, 6 Daily Budget Leaks You Should Plug Now].

[2] Make Your Loose Change Count. Coins and small bills are a big help during personal financial downturns. You can use coins for public transport fares upon commuting to work. If you don’t have exact fare amount, you might anger the driver or the fare collector, or worse, let them keep your small change. You’re already on a tight budget, and the latter is a big ‘no.’

[3] Plan Your Meals Ahead. Meals usually cost the biggest percentage of your daily or monthly budget. If you’re already on a petsa de peligro, you should not binge on high-priced meal packages. It is still healthier and more budget-wise to plan and cook meals personally. If you can find more time, you can prepare your own lunch at home and pack it to work.

[4] Find Temporary Alternatives. Do the temporary cutting down on your living expenses. Try to find alternatives for almost everything, especially those that eat up most of your budget. For instance, you can actually survive a week without buying prepaid mobile credits. All mobile networks offer an unlimited Facebook browsing and Messenger chat with just a peso load.

[5] Negotiate Prices. Successful price negotiations are done with honesty and cheerfulness. When you’re already on a petsa de peligro, you have to do all what it takes to save on your regularly availed goods and services. As a regular customer in a carinderia, for instance, you can ask for larger servings or extras without any additional charges. That is still decent!

[6] Say ‘Pass’ on Hang Outs. Of course, it’s healthy coming out of your comfort zone once in a while, but not during your petsa de peligro. Saying ‘pass’ on hang outs takes but an inner courage to resist going-beyond-the-budget temptations. Do not entertain even one while experiencing petsa de peligro, as it can only aggravate your current financial nightmare.

As a general piece of advice, don’t fall into the trap of living paycheck to paycheck [Read also, 6 Priceless Money Lessons Dad Has Taught Me]!