On Tuesday, what with all the jitters over the announcement of Estrada’s verdict, the peso hit a low of P47.12=$1.
On Wednesday, as soon as I heard that Estrada was pronounced guilty and that the economy was starting to react positively, i went to the bank and withdrew all the dollars I can. Hehe. Used it to pay large chunks off my two remaining cards.
Turned out to be a good decision because the peso was downhill from then on.
August was a difficult month in terms of financial management.
1. It was so incredibly busy and stressful that I wasn’t able to collect checks/claim payments on time, thus putting my September budget in peril.
2. I had a couple of unplanned expenses – my mom’s medical insurance premium (I thought it was due October), fees involved with getting a receipt from BIR (need one for a job) – both justified, but outside my budget.
3. I still forced myself to zero out one of my credit cards (Second one! Yay!), putting the balance in both my bank accounts to minimum.
Yes, I met one goal – zeroing out a credit card – but I’m near broke and I don’t know when my next check is coming in. I’ve begun charging stuff (gas and groceries) on my two remaining cards again, and payment for one of them is due today. Sigh.
Here’s a very useful website for people with severe credit card problems. It’s by Rene Uy from Davao, and acccording to his profile, he:
Graduated from a Chinese High School, became green in college and turned to a blue masteral studies. After finishing college in three years, worked with a bank for P10/day no-work- no-pay basis and has been w/ loans and credit until the end. FRUSTRATION IN LIFE: Just when I had the answers, they changed the question. MY ADVOCACY: Just because you are a past due account does not mean we cannot remain as friends; and that it already gives me a license to humiliate you! MY TEACHINGS: Repayment should be based on cash flow and not on threats. It is like availing a loan based on collateral and not on the purpose.
Basically, the site provides advice to people who have defaulted in credit card payments, and are now being harassed by card companies and collecting agencies. (Harassment includes those phone calls at ungodly hours from rude agents threatening to haul all your possessions.) We’ve all heard stories like that, and I know people who have been subject to that harassment.
His site doesn’t apply to me (at least not yet), but I’m sure it’s helpful for many others. Dear God, I hope I do get to pay off all of my debts before (God, forbid) I run out of work or something.
Thanks to Dave Q for the tip!
“Either way at no extra charge,” says the flyer from the Credit Card Association of the Philippines that came in together with my card bill. They say that:
- Surcharging or additional charges when paying using a credit card is PROHIBITED
- Each product or service being sold must display only ONE price tag
- The price indicated on the price tag should be VAT INCLUSIVE
Yeah, right. Continue Reading
Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to present Exhibit A:
Woohoo! One down, three to go… Haha! This one had the lowest credit limit of my four credit cards, and I “lost” it last December and never activated the replacement card. So I haven’t used it in seven months. I guess that’s what it takes to really zero out credit card debt.
From the total credit card debt I had when I started this personal finance blog a few months ago, I’ve already managed to pay off about 40%. A second credit card is due for
zeroing out this month 🙂
“The peso closed at P45 today. My sympathies.”
After a day of fighting with credit cards over excessive penalties, processing balance transfers, and basically trying to gain control over my finances, this text message from a business journalist friend was just about the last thing I needed.
For the past couple of months, I have been budgeting conservatively using a P45=$1 exchange rat, even though the real exchange hovered just below P46=$1. I thought that would give me some buffer. Apparently, I wasn’t conservative enough.
I know this Peso appreciation is good for a lot of reasons, but then again, the fact remains that my income is decreasing while prices are not. They’re even going up. Our rent has just been increased. Electricity has gone up by at least 20% too following some new pricing scheme. Gas is still expensive.
How in the world am I going to become a bajillionaire (or just pay off my debts and save a decent amount of money to begin with) with all this?
1. I was able to almost perfectly stick to my budget (just overspent on a few unexpected expenses). This meant:
- Not shopping for anything that is not essential (no new clothes, bags, shoes, accessories, etc)
- Staying away from enticing sales (Rockwell’s sale was a pretty hard struggle). The only time I failed was when Philips had their annual warehouse sale – where I got a component for less than half the price. A pretty good buy, right?
- Staying home more often
- Cheaper night outs (We would have dinner at home or in some cheap place first before meeting up with friends)
2. I only used my credit card once only (a P500 gasoline charge). Woohooo!
3. I did a whole lot of extra work to earn money solely for debt repayment (following #10 in Thriftmommy’s 20 ways to pay off debt)
Because of all these, once all my checks clear this coming week, I’ll be able to pay off two of my credit cards!!! Yipee! =D They’re the two with the lower amounts of debt, but paying them off will put my total debt down to just 5 figures.
Woot! Now, if I can just do this for two more months, I’ll be debt-free and investing soon!