#gerilenmbf: On Spending Less for Happiness

Back in college, my ex-boyfriend (husband and dad to my 2 gentlemen) & I decided to start growing 45 day commercial chickens in their backyard in Baguio. We invested Php50.00 per chick and the feed includes rejected milled rice and ground corn. He fed them and religiously put them in our DIY incubator in between his self-review. Needless to say, we graduated, and three days later, he passed the board.

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No night life for us, we either are studying or tending our chicks.

The star of our celebration? Different putahe (serving) of freshly butchered chicken left from the pack. Most of the chickens were sold to pay for our tuition fee and graduation rites.

Before that, we celebrated monthsaries eating a tuhog (stick) of qwek-qwek Php10.00 for 5 pieces each at the end of Harrison Road, right after holding hands while walking down Session Road. Why stare on a big screen when you can sit on a bench inside Burnham Park and watch tourists oar their boats. We tried eating lunch inside the wet market where viand and rice is for only Php25.00, you can even ask for a second serving of mini bowl of free soup broth.

I personally bring packed lunch and empty bottle most of the time, and what I get from the cafeteria are free use of utensils, table napkin and water from the fountain. I even went on selling homemade yema, and carrying different category brochures of beauty products, and offering boxes of  chocolate with stevia and coffee with agaricus mushroom from networking companies to even to my professors. I want to work as a crew on a fastfood chain but my dad won’t allow it because of my health. We are living well but I just like the high that comes in knowing you are earning your own money.

And guess what? Instead of receiving flowers and chocolates, I regularly received seasonal freshly harvest veggies like pechay, tomatoes, cucumbers and a sack of brown rice, the one he can carry from his terminal to my jeep’s terminal, during our anniversaries.

I also received freshly picked antorium and roses with thorns from their garden. I even received a real snail-shell seashell in crude key chain made of rolled tie wire. We lasted five years before tying up the knot. We still are just like that.

28800_124479857583261_1723712_n.jpgMy wedding bouquet. Initially, we wanted to get wild sunflowers from the field but then a storm hindered us from doing so. Yellow gerbera for replacement in our wedding theme of sunflower yellow and snail-shell brown.

Cheapskate. I am proud that I’m a cheapskate but that doesn’t mean I don’t let myself indulge from time to time. I simply do not find extravagant happiness in wearing branded clothes or donning expensive bags, jewelleries and the like.

Practicality. I fancy ecobags I get from blog events and use it full-use. This is also one of my simple ways in saving Mother Earth from plastic accumulation, by reusing and recycling materials. And now that I’m a mom, I won’t buy shoes until the one I’m using is already torn and beyond repair. He also has this trait when it comes to his leather wallet, belts and denim pants. It saves us space, too, and hence, we can breathe more.

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DIYs. As much as we can, we DIY things. Our first project was our DIY cabinet. He also created a DIY table for me and I vividly remember my very pregnant-self sprinkling water to my husband’s newly laid concrete hollow blocks for our DIY breakfast nook/wine bar in the kitchen. If we can create it, and we have time to make it, we’ll do it. Albeit the hard work and effort, DIY is fun quality time. It also make our things, furniture and fixtures, sentimental and valuable.

What all these has done to us? Financially, it is helping us save money. We helped in assisting his sisters school needs, improvement and renovation in their house, repair and maintenance in our car. And now, we are in the middle of constructing our two storey with a mini deck on a deck.

“Simplicity, clarity, singleness: These are the attributes that give our lives power and vividness and joy as they are also the marks of great art.” —Richard Holloway

Minimalism. We are trying to adopt to learn to live in bare. To remove the excess and basically just focus on what we really need. We try not to get attached to trivial things and we are trying our best to:

Resist impulse buying. We try to sit down and talk about what we need to buy, do we really need to buy it, how can we afford it and how long will it last us or the benefits will get from it. To resist the temptation to buy impulsively, I try to canvass the things we need to purchase online or in store, without bringing the budget for it because sales personnel have very convincing and persuading powers. Pending the purchase is better than impulse purchasing something and regret it later.

Bring a cheapskate with you. Tell me who your friends are and I will tell you who you are. When it comes to purchasing, you should choose your “teammate” wisely. Lifestyle of others and your conversations with them will greatly affect and influence your personal desires and decisions. Never let yourself overspend just to keep up with your barkada. Besides, if they are your real friends, money and material things should be hold last on the list because they should prioritize quality time spent together instead.

List down you finances. I learned this from my mom. Thru writing down a list, she’ll be able to come up with the right budget for each aspect and how the budget will be subdivided to ingredients for example for a particular dish, or on paying bills in time to avoid penalty and to basically keep the ends meet. Thru her list, she can easily navigate her spending to create a monthly expenditure and hence, it is easier to keep record of income, past expenses and expected future purchases. By creating a realistic spending sheet, you can adjust to meet financial goals without hurting your budget and compromise your basic needs.

Keep kids in control. My mom let my brother wail to his heart content until he got tired and walked away from the toy shop. My mother-in-law did that to my husband’s brother. And guess what? I did just that to Kulayot not so long ago. Children are one of top target of marketing strategies and after that incident with Kulayot, I tried to explain to him that it is not included in our budget and that if he really wanted to get that particular toy, he needs to sacrificekeep putting coins in his cocobank instead of buying sweets to save enough money so we could go back and get it.

What I am learning about living a simple minimalistic life is that it is the opposite of what the majority is running after – everything! Being simple calls out to people who doesn’t want anxiety in possessing a lot of material items. It encourages you to slow down, possess less but enjoy more for longer. As a family, we indulge in our heart’s desires from time to time, but instead of putting it on material things, we try to invest our money to experiences and quality time. Life is short, live well.