I started working in a call center at the age of 20. I felt pretty young (I was, lol) but also mature for my age. I wanted to be Little Miss Independent. I remember opening my first solo savings account as soon as I received my first ever salary. I was determined to save money, but along the way, there were hurdles and challenges so I was never really able to save enough.
Fast forward to today – I still don’t have enough savings. Somehow I thought of the what ifs – What if I really did save my money diligently? What if I didn’t spend on things I never needed? What if I didn’t have loans to pay? Of course, I can never bring back time, and all I can do now is to move forward, start saving money, and be wiser with my finances. I’m not getting any younger and neither are you so I believe it’s best to start saving now while you (we) still can.
I’m not giving you tips on how to save or manage your finances because apparently, I’m not even the best at it. I try, but I also struggle. Sometimes I’m successful; other times I’m not. That just means one thing – I should try harder.
The call center lifestyle can be a real struggle, and it will even be more difficult if you just find yourself in an unending or vicious cycle of living from paycheck to paycheck. I’ve been in that hellhole several times. Until now I still experience it. But I try not to dwell on the mistakes and blame myself. Instead, I do my best to learn from my mistakes and swear to do better next time.
I set out on a mission to avoid impulse buying and to live a more sustainable lifestyle. I’ve already deleted all shopping apps on my phone and have unsubscribed from all shopping email newsletters to avoid temptations and impulse purchases. So far, it has been successful and I’m happy about it!
It’s also wise to take advantage of any kind of education that you can get about your finances especially the free ones! Last Sunday, I attended the Let’s Have Some Funds activity courtesy of Sun Life Financial Philippines. I always learn something new every time I attend their talks and activities. I don’t even have a Sun Life insurance or policy!
Since I don’t find myself worthy enough to give you tips about finances, I will share with you what I’ve learned from the activity. I hope that you’ll learn something from it too. A lot of these are just reminders to you because you might have already heard them before. But sometimes, you just need a little push. You just need to be reminded again and again – just like me. I’m learning.
Your Three Steps to a Brighter Life
1. KNOW YOUR NEEDS AND PRIORITIES. Working in a call center means earning a relatively higher salary than some professions. Sometimes you get distracted and swayed when you receive your first few pays that you tend to forget your needs and priorities. It’s best to write down your needs first so that you can really see them on paper and you will be reminded that “these are the things I need to spend for first“.
2. KNOW YOUR OPTIONS. What are your means to earn income? For now, it’s your salary from your call center job or maybe from an extra job you are doing. Find out what your options are when it comes to saving money or investing.
Call centers have HMO benefits or health insurance. Some have a life insurance. These benefits are fully given to you either when you turn 3 months in the company or when you get regularized after 6 months. It depends. Would it be best to just keep all your money in your payroll account? Not a good idea. You can either choose from an Automated Savings Account or a Savings-Insurance policy that earns higher interest to keep your savings intact.
If you don’t know what’s good for you, you may find a mentor or a financial advisor who can help you. They will give you ideas and create a plan for you for free. One of my friends from work before made a financial plan for me when she started working as a financial advisor.
3. TAKE ACTION. This is the most important. Every dream or plan you have will remain just that if you don’t take action. For every pain point and struggle, there’s always a solution. Again, write them down and commit to taking the necessary steps to fulfill those solutions. It’s not always rainbows and butterflies, yeah? But the most important thing is that you are taking action and you are making progress.
The first few years of my call center life went pretty well with my finances. I had more than enough to spend for myself and to give back to my parents. But as the years went by, I found myself struggling to budget my paycheck because of family needs and unnecessary spending. I’ve learned from those years – which is why I believe it’s best to save money from your salary while you still can.
They say that the ideal thing is to save 20% of your salary, but for some people it may not be ideal especially for those who have obligations in the family. What I’ve learned is that.. it’s okay if you cannot start with 20% – the important thing is that YOU JUST START, even if it’s small, then start from there until you can adjust and be more comfortable with saving a little bigger next time.
All the best to us! And let’s continue to navigate this career journey together. Let’s commit to save and spend wisely. 🙂