Marriage is a beautiful thing; there is no doubt about that. However, all married couples eventually encounter problems that may challenge their partnership. One very common issue is money. Who should hold the money? Who will decide about the budget? Why can’t you buy anything you want anymore?!
To be honest, our finances were in a whirlwind during our first year of marriage. First of all, we had a baby in our first year. Having a baby can be very expensive since we had to spend for milk, diapers, vaccinations, clothes and many more! Aside from that, we were also paying for my university fees since I was still finishing the last semester when we got married. Of course, we also had bills to pay. Fortunately for us, though, we were allowed to stay in our ancestral house so we didn’t have to worry about rent.
Although my husband and I both have work, we were still in financial trouble. We were making enough money to pay for everything, but we didn’t have savings nor an emergency fund in case something happens.
Looking back, I can say that the main problem back then were our spending habits. We had two cards then: both had a credit limit of P60,000. And since we have limits that high, we were tempted (and we gave in to temptation) to buy a lot of things: a LED TV, an airconditioner, mobile phones, lots of clothes, etc. Before we knew it, we were paying P30,000 a month for our credit cards – and that’s on top of our other expenses!
Because of our financial situation, I was forced to work extra hours in my online job. I barely had the chance to rest nor enjoy time with my family – and I felt really bad about that! That’s when my husband and I both agreed to put an end to that financial hell.
Our first step was to cut both our credit cards. We literally cut the cards so we wouldn’t be tempted to swipe them again. Then, we applied for one card under my husband’s name with a credit limit of just P10,000. We swore to each other that the new card is only for our groceries and emergencies.
We also made it a point to create a written budget wherein we listed all the things we need to pay for: bills, medical needs, school fees and groceries. We made sure that we follow what is written in the budget – no more, no less.
Eventually, our bills from our two cards went down to zero. Since we no longer have a huge amount to pay for, we started building our savings. I read in one article that once you finish paying for your credit card debt, allot the same amount of money for your savings. That’s exactly what we did.
My husband and I both opened accounts with automatic savings. I opened an account with BPI, which automatically saves P2,000 per month. My husband, on the other hand, joined the capital contribution of AFPSLAI, which automatically deducts P5,000 per month from his salary and puts it in a savings account. We are looking into increasing the amount we put in our automatic savings, but we will need to restructure our budget for that.
And that’s how we gained financial freedom!
Three easy financial tricks to remember when trying to reach financial freedom:
- Create and strictly follow a budget.
- Pay off your debt.
- Build your savings.