The Day After (part 1)

Within days after payday, a lot of employees are faced with the dreaded question – where did their salary go? Quite often, employees feel that right after their wages arrive, it gets spent without them being able to hold or enjoy it. With that in mind, let us then try to find just exactly where the money goes.

Credit cards

The very first place anyone should look for their money is in their credit card statements. Ideally, each person should only have two credit cards–one Mastercard and one Visa. Anything beyond that is unnecessary.

Read the Fine Print: Annual Fees and Interest Rates

Most of the basic credit cards (by basic, I mean those entry-level credit cards that are offered in most shopping centers) will waive the first year’s annual fee as an incentive for an individual to join. On the succeeding years, those fees will be applied. Now, most of them will charge an annual fee of P1,200 upwards. If you have four cards, that’s a total of at least P4,800 yearly expense which you can use for investing or other necessary expenses.

Furthermore, having many credit cards makes it very, very easy to accumulate mountains of debt.
This is because the interest rates credit card companies charge, despite the many ads that tells us otherwise, are actually quite high.

If your credit card charges you an interest rate of 1 percent, that actually stands for 1 percent a month and, if you just pay the minimum amount required every month, you will actually end up paying over 12 percent for the year. The charges are much higher if you actually miss a payment. So, always pay your credit-card bills in FULL and ON TIME.

Remember, use your credit card, do not let it use you. Take advantage of the perks they offer like rebates, freebies and reward points. This way, your card helps you save money rather than bury you in debt. Credit cards are not bad, you just have to know how they work and use them properly.

Now let’s go to the next place where you should look…

Ninja Expenses

You should look for your money in what I call “ninja expenses”. By this, I mean those small purchases you make whenever you go out and but never seem to notice or keep track of.

My favorite example of a ninja expense is parking. It is an expense that is often overlooked. If you keep track of it, though, you will see that parking can also become quite significant if left unchecked.

For example, if you go to two or three different malls in one day and park in each of them, that’s an easy P120 (assuming a flat rate of P40 per mall.) If you mall hop quite regularly, as in every weekend, that P120 can quickly go up to several hundred or even over a thousand pesos every month.

Another example of a ninja expense is the meal upgrade that fast food offer. More often than not, you find yourself in a situation when you are certain of what to order then suddenly, you are offered upsize options that you can’t refuse. Worst, it comes with a dessert! Like putting more inches in our stomach, meal upgrade expense can accumulate and come out with a quite significant amount, quickly but quietly. Just like a ninja.

Disciplined Planning

Having a budget is very useful in ninja situations as it will enable you to allocate funds in a rational way and not allow sudden impulses affect where your money goes. Specifically, if you allocate enough money to purchase your meal and stick to it, you can better control your “upsize” tendency. In the case of parking fees, some scheduling before each trip and the willingness to walk to some of the malls will go a great way in minimizing parking fees. (In my case, I routinely walk to Megamall and Podium from my Tektite office. Not only do I save on the fees, I get a bit of exercise as well.)

Keep Track

Lastly, for you to really find out where your money is – a helpful tip is to make a list of the money that goes in and out of your pocket. Keep track of your expenses, from little things such as fare, parking fees and the likes to the big ones like credit card and household bills. Now that you’ve tracked them down, it’s easier for you to decide which ones are unnecessary and use the extra cash to add to your savings and investments.

Of course, there are other things your money goes to—gimmicks, clothes, gadgets to name a few. Those things can also spiral out of control but our space has run out so I will leave that discussion for next time. (end of Part 1)

 QUESTION: Where did your money go? Do you have other ways to monitor and control your expenses? Please share below. 

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  1. Kimberly L. Landicho says

    I’m 22 years old, a registered nurse but currently working virtually in a California based real estate firm specializing in bank owned assets. I earn P30,000 monthly in my online but full time/regular office job.

    Every payday, I immediately fund my Citiseconline account for the purchase of P5,000 worth of Jollibee Foods Corporation(JFC) shares/month. And yes, I ‘m utilizing peso cost averaging. I also slash out my dues for my matriculation since I’m taking Master of Business Administration (MBA) for my post grad studies. Then I grant myself P1,000 for a two week allowance. Well, I work at home so I get the advantage of saving myself from transportation costs, meal allowances and boundless temptations.=)

    To better manage whatever is left in my payroll bank account, I decided to have a separate account for my personal savings. That personal savings account is where I keep my emergency fund. Hence, I keep the discipline of not ever withdrawing funds from that account unless it’s a true emergency.

    My emergency fund should be able to sustain at least a year of expenses should I temporarily lose a job/income. Once my emergency fund in my savings account has doubled, I reinvest half of it in other investment vehicles. For example, when I doubled my emergency fund in my first year at work, I have invested half of it in mutual funds.

    As the cliche goes, it is very important to build an emergency fund prior to engaging into any investment. It took me 10 months before I started investing in mutual funds and the stock market because I had to build my emergency fund. Principally, you should allow your investments to grow over time(long-term). Practically, it’s just impossible to adhere with long-term investments if you don’t have a readily available emergency fund to get money from should unforeseeable circumstances come up.

    Basically, whatever is left in my salary after buying JFC shares, paying my tuition fees and getting my P1,000 two-week personal allowance goes to my personal savings account.

    I leave at least P5,000 in my payroll account for contingency purposes. Nonetheless, that contingency fund is intended to be used only for necessary expenses. Thus, my contingency fund can sleep in the bank until justifiable expenses call for me to withdraw some cash. Basically, leaving an ample contingency fund in my payroll account saves my investments and emergency fund from being touched inappositely.

    Wrapping things up, I personally believe that buffering your money profile is the best way to stay financially stable. Split your money profile into savings and investments. Then divide your savings into emergency and contingency fund and diversify your investments.

    Thereafter, maintain the discipline of living within your means. THINK ABOUT THE REAL COST WHENEVER TEMPTATION DEFIES YOU. I myself wanted to buy a trendy smart phone worth P30,000 on my recent payday. But then I asked myself, is this smart phone which will eventually depreciate in value really worth one month of work? Then I realized that allocating my hard earned money for my tuition fees for an entire semester or investing it instead is a more lucrative route.

    Keep in mind that it’s not always the big businesses who can take advantage of you, it can be the other way around.

    Furthermore, note that even small expenses like cell phone load, fast food meals and unnecessary transpo can pile up into bigger value. You might as well cut on these and save the money you spend on them instead.

    Remember that your willpower will be constantly challenged on your way to financial success. Every payday, consider that your way to becoming rich doesn’t rely on how much your earn, it’s actually on how much you save for long term investments.

    • Mylene says

      Hi Kim,

      I’ve read every details of your comment and was totally inspired, wondering how I can get the same job as yours so that I can sit at home , work and have more time with my 2 year old daughter. I am an Accounting graduate and a single parent. Would you mind telling me how did you manage to land that online job? Thank you in advance for your help. God speed.


    • says

      Very well said… and done…
      If only our Filipino brothers and sisters do the way you did, then there will be less poor Pinoys…
      However, education, and acceptance of knowledge and heart to apply the knowledge is still the key…

    • Divine Joy R. Ruplo says

      Hi @ Miss Kimberly! I have a plan to invest either in stocks or mutual funds. I’ve also got the idea at the Pesos and sense show yet I dont really know what’s the best to start with but Im planning to invest on stocks. However, I only have a minimal amount just to start for initial investment. Though i would be able to invest later as soon as i pass the cpa exam. Do u have some piece of advice to share with?
      I am also interested about the online job since il be having a self-review for the exam then i can alot a few hours for it. thank you so much . Godbless

    • Ramil Batain says

      Hi Kim,
      Thanks for sharing..that was a very inspiring and hope that every filipinos will also have that kind of principles in their finances. God Bless!

  2. says

    That’s a good sharing Kim. Keep it up. I hope a lot of Filipinos especially the young generation like you can do the same. Imagine if 30-50% of 100 Million population can do that, Philippines will surely be a tiger economy.

    • Kimberly L. Landicho says

      Thank you, Mr. Garry. As the cliche goes, “time is money”. =)

      Our generation is fortunate to have been raised in this digital economy. 20 years ago, people didn’t have luxurious and easy access to valuable personal finance related information like we do in this modern era. I mean the information necessary to develop our financial quotient is already being spoon fed through social media. All we need to do is live out the brimming information fostering financial literacy that we acquire from various media. Plus, we enjoy the perks of being able to do financial transactions online like stocks investing, e-banking, investments monitoring etc.

      Everything else boils down to knowledge and discipline, investment in these is most important after all.

      • says

        Strongly agree with Kimberly about the digital economy’s empowering many pinoys.

        But the same media bombarded us NOWADAYS, our peers and our society that spending is “easily more accessible” now compared to 20years ago. Can you imagine how do our previous generations are limited in accessing “debt”? Nowadays both media and financial institutions are giving our easy access via the dreaded credit cards.

        Aside from knowledge and discipline, we need also support of community, ala-savers club on an investor meetup.

        Kind a, if you have a group of 5 friends, 4 are spenders and 1 is saver. The bigger probability is the saver will become more spender. You will talk all day about saving and investing and you’ll be moch by your 4 peers. :)

        On the opposite, if you have a group of 5 friends, 4 are savers/investors and 1 is not saving. The bigger probability is the spender will be influence by his associates.

  3. petrus a. cruz says

    Nurse Kimberly here is sooo young yet so mature in her financial management. Keep up the discipline, the delayed gratification and I wish you the best as you fastrack your way towards financial adequacy and eventually freedom. Thank you for writing/commenting to inspire.

  4. Divine Joy R. Ruplo says

    Hi @ Miss Kimberly! I have a plan to invest either in stocks or mutual funds. I’ve also got the idea at the Pesos and sense show yet I dont really know what’s the best to start with but Im planning to invest on stocks. However, I only have a minimal amount just to start for initial investment. Though i would be able to invest later as soon as i pass the cpa exam. Do u have some piece of advice to share with?
    I am also interested about the online job since il be having a self-review for the exam then i can alot a few hours for it. thank you so much . Godbless

    • Kimberly L. Landicho says

      Hi Divine,

      You can open an Easy Investment Program(EIP) account in Citiseconline, the leading online stock brokerage in the country for just P5,000. Starting small is alright, what’s more important is starting early.=)

      Citiseconline has a list of premium blue-chip companies that they have determined through the GEMSS criteria.

      G-Growing Industry
      E-Earnings Visibility
      M-Management Credibility
      S-Superior Products and Services
      S-Strong Balance Sheet

      It’s best to invest in a company that you trust and believe in. I personally went for Jollibee Foods Corporation(JFC) because I’m a big fan of this food chain and I’ve always dreamt of having my own. JFC currently owns Jollibee, Greenwich Pizza, Chowking, Mang Inasal, Red Ribbon and Burger King Philippines. It also possesses fast food chains in China like Yonghe King, Hong Zhuang Yuan and San Pin Wang.

      JFC brands have one thing in common, they dominate the Filipino palate. I believe in its culinary supremacy which promises high yields in the years to come. Sacrificing a few bills monthly to purchase JFC shares through cost averaging grants me a slice of my dream business that entails millions to achieve. The stock market is indeed an avenue for commoners to become partners with tycoons.=)

      Hmm regarding my work, you can send me a quick e-mail to I don’t like to inundate the thread with an out of the loop topic hehe. Thank you!

  5. pesosnsense says

    Thank you for all your comments! Happy Halloween! Keep on visiting this site! More helpful materials and features coming up!

  6. Joey says

    It was great reading this thread. How I wished I have a friend like Kimberly to share me more knowledge on companies you should be investing on.

    By the way, maybe you are all forgetting about the entrepreneurial side of investing. It is really good to invest on different portfolios like stocks, mutual funds, insurance and of course for emergencies, your personal bank account, but one thing which people should be really focusing on at the end of the day is on building your own business. It is still best to be your own boss. Just look around and you’ll see why. Chinese businessmen may have not actually invested in the stock market but there they are, leading the many businesses in the country from the groceries in town to the biggest malls in the planet.

    To sum it up, I really believe on the saying that the turtle always win. Save on different portfolios little by little, then afterwards when you feel secured already on what you have, create an idea, then build your own business! You may fail but the other side can mean success, big time!

  7. Wilson says

    Hi Kimberly,

    This is very inspiring. Thank you for sharing this.

    I am currenty a call center supervisor, and I must say that I am earning really well compared to other people. It’s a shame though that I have very little savings in my bank account (which is also my investment). Your story made me think of investing in the stock market. I’d appreciate it if we can communicate.

    Thank and cheers!

  8. Employee says

    I guess I’m the opposite of Kim. I mishandled my credit cards and get into credit card debts. I already paid all my debts and I’m starting to build emergency funds.

    After getting out of debts, I guess I won’t get my self back in debts again. It’s a very horrible experience. I already learned my lessons.

    Right now I’m still using my credit cards but I make sure its fully paid before the due date. Credit cards are very handy, just don’t mismanage your expenses and get into horrible credit card debts.

  9. Galileo Villaflor says

    Thank you, Mr. Aya, Kimberly and Pesos and Sense for sharing your ideas. My wife and I are also believers of saving and investing. Thank you for inspiring, keep the good work! God bless you!

  10. Leigh says

    mr. aya isang question pa po, tama po ung understanding ko, mglalaan ako ng initial investment na 5k pesos, then i-i-invest yon ng broker sa company na interested ako. pwede ko pong i-stay don ung investment ko for as long as i want (tama din po ba?) tapos if minimum # of shares lang ang i-naqquire ko, pwede pang i-invest yung natira sa 5,000 pesos sa iba pang company na gusto ko. tama po ba? and pano po naipapadala ung dividend or returns sa stockholder? sori po if daming tanong, zero po talaga knowledge ko about investing. thank you.

  11. Irish says

    @Kimberly: Hi Kim, I admire your for being so good with financial management :)

    @Sir Ara: Thanks for sharing this wonderful post. I’m planning to invest in Citiseconline within this month.

    I wish us all the best and God bless us all…

  12. John Daniel Castillo says

    Well, as for me, I follow the 10, 20, 70 principle. I am a single hard working guy, having a full time job from 6am – 2pm, part-time from 3pm to 7pm and freelance jobs. I am a graduate of management but pursue a career in web/graphic design industry. Basically, in order to organize my cash flow, I monitor where the money come from and where it goes. I used an app called CoinKeeper (I got this Free) to track my budget and expense every pay period and LemonWallet to record all my receipts. Then consolidate them every end of the month.

    I have no credit card so I can always just buy what my money can if it is on budget. I am really an impulsive buyer, so I guess having no credit card is best for me. I always commute or walk to office so I can track my travel expense and have a meal cooked for me every day so I can save with unnecessary fast food purchase.

    So a typical budget for me is through percentage, not a fixed amount. This is how I typically budget my salary:
    10% – Tithes
    20% – Savings
    20% – Family
    10% – Emergency Fund
    10% – Contingency Fund
    30% – Personal Expense (divided in sub categories)

    I guess it boils down to how you allocate your money and discipline your self. If the allocated money(for expense) of a specific purpose becomes 0, then stop spending so you will not be over budget for that articular category. If you want to buys something fancy, make a way to save or allocate a budget for it every month. One time Big time is not always an answer, remember this “just because you can doesn’t mean you should.”

  13. says

    I was suggested this blog by my cousin. I am not sure whether this post is written by him as no
    one else know such detailed about my difficulty.
    You’re amazing! Thanks!

  14. #makethebesthappen says

    hohoho i have my daily tracker! :D and i am used to it. May pagka-Impulsive buyer kasi ako. Before talaga I hate it when i do not know where my salary goes but now i can say “ahhh..kaya pala…” lalo na sa mga misis na at magtatanong si hubby what happened to our expenses? I just send him our monthly data of expenses as in specifiically! even in groceries! I encode (thanks excel!) and I can track what goes up and kung meron man nag mark down ng price sa market! Hope every Filipino start having this.

  15. says

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    will ALL THE TIME shirk away when I ask the massive query which is:
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