1/03/2010
Your wallet wants your attention

I have two thousand bucks.

That, believe it or not, was a problem. We did come from a five-day vacation, and I withdrew money just in case I had to buy something. Two thousand bucks would've covered it, although I didn't really spend it on anything other than ice cream on a particularly hot day in Baclayon. And that was with my smaller bills. Upon returning from Tagbilaran, I was carrying two thousand bucks split into two thousand-peso bills.

Unfortunately for me, I have to go to work by myself tomorrow, and for the rest of next week. I'm a nice guy, relatively. I don't like giving thousand-peso bills to pay my P75 fare.

That's the problem, I guess, with not spending anything on anything. Not wanting to, perhaps - day by day I realize I am beyond thrifty, in a reprehensible, killjoy manner. The only time I recall spending so much money was when I was in Singapore a couple of months ago, but only because I was too giddy to realize that the $400 I was holding was P10,000 converted. A hardbound book and eight CDs? Of course, I'd forget. Back here, I had to convince myself extra hard to stick with the coffee just so I can get the planner. Buying something above P500 pains me, even if everybody will say I deserve it.

Or, maybe, I could blame it on the ATMs not giving me my money in smaller bills. Then again, I've been earning my salary for a year and a half now, and I should be used to it.

"Wala kasi akong luho" is the better-sounding excuse. In those eighteen months, I spent my money on food and transportation, almost all of the time. There's the occasional magazine. There's the rare lunch splurge. At certain points, there are the gifts, which is sometimes an arduous process, because I have to let go of more money than I usually do at one time. That, or I'm very used to spending the money I earn on myself.

And I don't drink. I don't smoke, although sometimes I end up buying cigarettes for my mother. My work-life balance is non-existent: I spend my Saturday nights wondering why there's nothing good on the radio. And then I find the answer: the listeners are often out, having fun. Get a life and go out, the radio would nudge me.

But it is, still, the better-sounding excuse. At least a bigger chunk of my money goes to savings, and when it's time for me to strike out on my own - if it happens - I'll have enough to start over. (Then again, that argument loses steam because I don't have anything to compare myself with. I don't know how much my contemporaries earn, more so keep.) While the world pays for a taxi, a drink and anything that gets it wasted, I think about my future.

That sounds good, admit it, although the truth is far from it - I'm probably only thinking of the laptop I told myself I'll save up for this year, rather than my bank account.

People always tells me to not hesitate when it comes to spending on something that I want. "Splurge," they say. "You deserve it" - I remember Jackie telling me that a year ago, when I inadvertently spent P500 on a haircut and something else, and when I spent P600 on a massage and a foot scrub by Panglao Beach days ago. And yet, for some reason, it feels painful for me to let go of my money, and I end up with large bills. Five hundred bucks. A thousand bucks. Either I blame the ATM, or I blame me.

My mother found smaller bills earlier today. One of my thousand-peso bills has been split into six smaller bills, which is perfect for my morning commute. And then there's pay day two days from now, and I'll deal with large bills again. It goes directly to savings. It's not a birthday gift. It's just a habit, at the expense, perhaps, of my social life.

Get a life and go out. I'll play hardcore trance while you're at it.

Sorry, but I'd rather sleep with ambient electronica in the background.

And your responses...

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