24 Life and Money Lessons Learned in 24 YearsNovember 11, 2017
The are two great days in a person’s life – the day we are born and the day we discover why [William Barclay]
I always feel excited whenever my birthday arrives. Getting a year older is something I look forward to rather than shy away from.
To make this year’s birthday even better, I opted to do some reflection. I compiled the life and money lessons I learned in throughout my existence and how these lessons shaped who I am and I will become in the future.
Here are 24 Life and Money Lessons I Learned in 24 Years. My life isn’t perfect or that inspiring to begin with but I still hope that some of the things I included in this post will serve as an inspiration to you.
1. Never get too comfortable
Last September, I attended a Tuesday service at Victory Makati.
The preaching that day really speak close to me — Don’t get too comfortable.
For the longest time I was okey with being an average Christian. I don’t go out and invite my family to church. I don’t join any small/cell groups. I don’t join any ministry.
I settled with accepting Jesus in my life, but have never made an effort to grow in faith. And because I just stayed as I was five years ago when I got saved, my Christian life remained stagnant.
I did not grow.
I will find some of my friends on Facebook and see how fruitful they have become in Christ.
This goes true with most of us, isn’t it?
Madalas we settle with what’s comfortable. We don’t take risk anymore or get outside our comfort zones.
- We settle for the wrong relationship for the fear of being alone
- We settle for a 9 to 5 job we hate for lack of security
- We settle for living the life we used to live for we are lazy
Reflect on your life right now. Is there an area you wish to be better?
- A better faith
- A better job
- A better relationship with your parents
- A better work-life balance
- A better start of the day
- A better end at night
- A better amount of savings in your bank account
- A better career
- A better finances
Don’t get too comfortable with who you are today because you may miss the opportunity to become who you want to be.
Key takeaways: Life is way too short to settle for anything less than what you truly want.
You deserve way better than that!
1. Get rid of your fears
2. Forgive your enemies
3. Try something new
4. Be happy
5. Explore and go places
6. Pamper yourself
7. Give your hobby a chance
As always, the best is yet to come. Just believe!
2. Get outside, experience life
I realize that the more I experience life, the happier I become.
Last year I conquered my fears and embark on a hiking journey. I’ve climbed not only one but three mountains – Manabu, Daraitan and Talamitam. Aside from the climbs I did, I was fortunate to go on an all-expense paid island hopping in Caramoan and recent 4 days, 3 nights at Baguio.
Those experiences will forever be part of my memories and as 2018 unfolds I have plenty of travel plans ready. There’s no substitute with the happiness experience can bring. Forget the cost or amount it takes but instead focus on the additional learning it would bring in your life.
Key takeaways: It is better to spend on something that lasts, like travel and adventure, rather than those that can only give temporary happiness.
If you have any travel plans before the year ends check out TravelBook! They provide the latest budget-friendly hotel and accommodation and offer no credit card needed, pay at hotel stays for conscious travelers. Don’t forget to use my friend code 0225 upon check out.
3. Invest in your passion
For the first four years of my blog life I never really thought of wasting a single centavo on getting my own domain, hosting and event upgrading the template. Blogging is just a hobby, a mere past-time I enjoy doing on the side.
It wasn’t until my brother, owner of Olanap.com, told me a line I will never forget. “Hindi ka seseryosohin ng mga readers mo kasi ikaw mismo di mo siniseryoso yung blog mo!”
That statement got me thinking how much time I wasted because I remained comfortable with my blogs being “just another blog.”
From then on I made some major investments on my passions. I partnered with Pangalan who did a great job rebuilding SavingsPinay to how I have envisioned it to be. From getting my own domain to making the site more good looking and functional.
After a few months I noticed a major change in the traffic and earnings I receive. More and more people are visiting and subscribing to my blog. I achieved my first ever Google AdSense Payment thanks to the investments I did.
Here’s my latest blog income report for your reference.
Key takeaways: Don’t be afraid to invest in your passions. If you really love taking photos, save your bonus or extra cash to buy a good camera. If you are really into writing, enroll in online courses or in-house workshops that could enhance your skills. The truth is, if you really want to take your passions to the next level, there will be key investments you need to make.
Read Next: 7 Ways You Can Invest in Yourself
4. Small steps every day
Good habits are learned through continuous practice.
You don’t wake up one day and just become a great blogger. One of the biggest lessons I learned is that, when it comes to reaching a certain goal, you must do small steps every day.
There is always a chance you end up procrastinating and not doing anything at all. But, you can also make today count instead.
If you are working on a big project or a big goal before 2017 ends then come up with an action list you can commit with.
Key takeaways: They say that a goal without a plan is just a dream. Turn that dream into reality by focusing on small actions you can do here and there.
5. Write down your goals
The best way to mentally prepare yourself in succeeding with any goal you ever have in life is to write them down.
Looking back, I realized how the plans and visions I have written down actually came true over those I have kept inside my head.
As the wise saying, what gets written, gets done.
I use a my Bullet Journal to keep on track with my goals for the year, for the month and for the week. I see to it that everything is aligned to my overall goal aka what I want to become in the future.
Key takeaways: If you haven’t tried writing down your goals yet, then now is the best time to do so. Grab a pen and paper and list down the specific things you envision about.
6. Earning extra income online is possible
It is possible earn extra income online.
It may take time but it is definitely possible to grow your income by hustling online. From blogging to answering online surveys, there are a lot of great stuff you can do in the internet to help with your finances.
- Start a blog – As mentioned earlier, I’ve started blogging as mere hobby. I know earning extra income from it would be impossible. But last August 2017 I manage to reach my first ever Google AdSense threshold. Finally, after years of blogging I can say that I made real money from it.
If you are thinking of starting a blog, this tutorial may help you. I condensed everything I know on how to start a blog for beginners.
- Become a freelance content writer – Here’s another online side hustle you can do. If you are have the skills in writing why not pursue a freelance content writer career? Choose a topic that you can be an expert about and offer your service to others. Collect every successful write-up and good feedback you get as part of your portfolio. The more you practice your writing, the better you will become.
Want to be a freelance content writer too? Read this post.
- Edit or Proofread Articles – If you are not confident enough with your writing skills but have some background in copywriting then you can try editing or proofreading articles. Maybe you know a friend who also writes for the web and you can offer your service as a proofreader. This is a good start for a sideline.
Key takeaways: You see, there are many ways to earn extra income. Don’t limit yourself with the common types but rather spread your options to those you truly enjoy doing. Earning extra income online is a good way to make passive revenue in the future. This blog for example earns money through ads even if I don’t publish a post for a week or two.
7. Don’t be greedy for other’s approval or compliment
As someone whose language of love is words of affirmation, I find it hard not to hear compliments from others. For me, personally, I feel loved when people tells me they love me, they appreciate me and they need me.
I’ve always battled in my addiction for approval of others in everything I do. I always worry about what other people will say to me. I hate the feeling of getting rejected and if I do something good and I’m not recognized I will easily get disappointed.
This attitude caused me a lot of drama especially with my parents and siblings.
I still continue to fight against my sense of entitlement. Always praying for this bad side of mine to go away. I guess this proves we all have our own weaknesses. Slowly but surely, I have come to know that what matters most is the approval of God. I should value God’s unconditional love over how other people see me.
Key Takeaways: If you ever suffer from the same attitude I highly suggest reading The Approval Fix by Joyce Meyer. Meyer gave away practical insights on how to accept your self as a unique individual, God’s creation.
8. Make memories with your loved ones
The older I get, the more I realize that the most valuable possessions you can ever have is the memories you made with your loved ones. I feel so much happiness when I get to spend time with my parents, siblings, friends, former classmates and workmates.
Last year we celebrated our Papa’s 60th birthday with a grand party where everyone in the family got together. It was his wish to be with hold a mini reunion on his special day.
During my parents wedding anniversary I treated them with an overnight stay at The Bayleaf Intramuros. I wanted them to relax on their anniversary. I also bonded with my sisters for more than a couple of times and each time was unforgettable.
Friends and colleagues are sort of my second family already and I treasure the friendship and professionalism I have built over the years with them. Even if we were not together most of the time I have strong confidence that I will have them by my side at times of trouble.
Key takeaways: Give importance to your loved ones by making memories with them. It doesn’t have to be fancy or costly. A simple phone call, message or get-together will do the trick. Communication is a big deal to every relationship.
9. Start a side hustle
Hustling part-time changed my life for the better. It helped me accomplish the following:
- Boost my savings
- Increase my investments
- Have enough capital for a possible business venture or passion project
- Pay-off debt (credit card)
- Extra money for shopping, paying bills or vacation
You will only know how rewarding a side hustle is if you start one. Hope the above reasons are enough to convince you.
Maybe you have a burning desire to do something like taking photos, doing calligraphy or designing event invitations then turn that passions to a hustle that pays.
We all have gifts and expertise as human beings. I have an ex-workmate who finished IT in college and fix computer as a side hustle on weekends. His knowledge in computers allowed him to earn additional money.
Key takeaways: Have you ever thought of your own gift? Of your own expertise? Use your gift/expertise to start a side hustle.
Read Next: 8 Important Reasons To Start a Side Hustle
10. Time Management is everything
People ask me how I balance life, work and side hustle all at the same time. There is no other answer than time management.
We all have 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, it is what you do with those limited resources that matters the most.
I’ve always struggled when it comes to managing my time. I have days when I regret not doing anything productive at all. Most of my weekends are spent procrastinating, watching new shows on Netflix or videos on YouTube.
What turned out to be the most helpful when it comes to time management is to be as forgiving as I can be.
I don’t pressure myself to write if I don’t feel like writing. I don’t feel sorry if I missed a day publishing a post. I don’t regret having a “me” time or bonding with my friends and family instead of hustling.
The more forgiving I become with how I use my time, the more likely I achieve a good work-life balance.
Here are some actions I take to continuously improve my productivity:
- Use a bullet journal to plan my year, my month, my week and my day.
- Set a timer, between 25 minutes or 45 minutes, whenever I do a task. This will allow me to focus more and keep on doing a task without checking my phone or my email.
- Remove notifications for social media apps. Doing this also increased my productivity.
Key takeaways: Good time management is everything. If you can manage your time well then there is no stopping on what you can accomplish.
11. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone
Learning the art of letting go and letting God is one of the most important lessons I learned so far. Life is too short to fill your heart with resentments and burden.
When I experience difficulty specially with another person I always, always ask for forgiveness first. I don’t let pride take over my life.
I think it is better to always be able to forgive and forget instead of wasting our precious time hating anyone.
Key takeaways: Always choose the good side. Stay calm in chaos. Do not let anger deceive you.
12. Ask and you shall receive
Here’s another great lesson I learned in one church service:
Ask and you shall receive [Matthew 7:7]
Are we asking God for our needs? Or did we come to a point when we stopped asking? But God says, it’s okey to ask. And when we ask, we should ask big. Let us not limit God with what He can do in our life.
There’s nothing wrong in asking God for specific prayers. Try to test God on how He can surprise you. Because the truth is sometimes the reason why we don’t have is because we don’t ask.
Ask in humility, coupled with faith.
There is a certainty that when we ask in faith, we will receive. But when we ask it should be under the will of God. If we are praying for something and it is not happening, remember that God sees better. God sees the bigger part.
How do we get to know God’s desire? Build relationship with Him.
Let us pursue God not just for the things He can give, but to who He truly is. We pray to remind ourselves who God is.
Key takeaways: Keep on asking, keep on seeking, keep on knocking and ultimately, keep on praying.
13. Keep life simple and clutter-free
The best book I’ve read this 2017 is The Life Changing Art of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. The book gives practical insights and steps on how to live a simple and clutter-free life.
One of the main lessons the book taught me is the idea of letting go of things that doesn’t spark joy. Because of this I got rid of almost half of my makeup and skincare collection. I am currently in the process of discarding my books, clothes and papers. Hopefully before 2017 ends I can maintain a minimalist room.
Also this year I manage to wear less makeup than usual. This changed my whole morning prep before going to work. I seldom arrive late anymore plus I became more obsessed with skincare rather than makeup.
Key takeaways: Keep your life simple and clutter-free! I feel much better now that I stop accumulating items and instead focused on clothing, makeup or skincare that I really need and really works for me. You will feel more relaxed and productive when you have an organized surrounding and the only way you can achieve this is by keeping life simple and clutter-free.
14. Hard work always pays off
You have to work for something to happen. And if you work make sure you work real hard. I am a living proof that hard work always pays off in the end.
This 2017 alone, SavingsPinay became one of the top resource blog in personal finance. I manage to create a community of almost 1500 members! The monthly pageviews is stable at 10,000 – 11,000 a month.
And above all the income is coming PASSIVELY.
It seems like all the hard work and sleepless nights I spent researching, writing, making photos, editing and publishing has paid off.
Work hard now and reap the benefits of your efforts later.
Here’s the deal:
It takes time to make money or to achieve everything you want in your life.
But once you hit the sweet spot, you will be surprised.
Key takeaways: The most successful person in the world didn’t magically reach their dreams and goals. They work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to get where they are today. Stop being lazy.
15. Always review your spending habits
I have always been vocal on how impulsive I am when it comes to spending my money. I get easily influenced by my emotion.
Sasabihin ko sa sarili ko deserve ko mag-spend kasi I did something good or because there’s another money coming in naman.
I know most of you feel the same. Sobrang daming temptation to spend lalo na ngayon na holiday season ulit.
That’s why reviewing your spending habits is important. A spending review is a crucial act of knowing how you really (and truthfully) spend your money. It is intended to teach you…
- Whether you are a SAVER or a SPENDER. Do you feel rewarded when you save or when you spend?
- Whether you are spending more on your NEEDS or on your WANTS. Are you happier grocery shopping or buying a new gadget?
To review your spending habits is actually easy. Take a pen and paper and just ask yourself the following question:
1. Where do you usually want your money to go?
Identify the areas in your life where you don’t mind to spend money on. Where you find happiness in spending.
2. Where don’t you usually want your money to go?
Identify the areas in your life where you feel easily guilty spending money on and still feel empty inside.
3. What purchases made you happy so far?
Enumerate the items or particular moments where you spend money on and gave you the satisfaction you need.
4. What purchases made you unhappy recently?
Now enumerate the items or particular moments where you spend money on and felt dissatisfaction.
Now briefly state your reflection on how your spending habits changed over time.
You can use the free Spending Habits workbook from the SavingsPinay Resource Library to help you get started.
Key takeaways: Knowing the difference between needs and wants will help limit your unnecessary spending. This will also save you money in the long run. Before you purchase anything think and analyze first whether what you’re buying is a need or just a want. Always review your spending habits so you can learn to exercise right judgement.
16. Never miss an opportunity to tell someone you love them
When my Tita suddenly died of brain aneurysm without even an opportunity for us to say goodbye to her, I realized how short life is.
Life goes by so fast, this alone should be remind us not to miss the opportunity to tell a loved one that we love them. Never live a life in regrets and lost chances. Try to express your gratitude and affection to people you really adore.
Key takeaways: Never miss an opportunity to tell a loved one you love them because Because you can never know how much time we have. It is better to live a life full of love than full of regrets.
17. Stay healthy
If you are maintaining a healthy lifestyle to live longer, you should also maintain a healthy financial life to sustain that goal. And the only way you can earn enough money to spend, to save and to invest is if you remain well and healthy.
Minsan sa sobrang kagustuhan natin umunlad ay nakakagaligtaan na natin ang ating kalusugan.
We end up working 2-3 jobs a day and even extend our working hours. Not to mention the unhealthy eating habits we do just to cope with stress and pressure at work.
But forgetting the importance of being healthy is dangerous both for your finances and your life!
Key takeaways: Health is truly wealth especially for those who are working. It is best to ensure that you eat healthier meals every single day. Try to include a short exercise on the morning or after work to help build your immune system. It is also best to go for a checkup as soon as you feel something wrong in your body.
18. Learn to say No
The powerful two-letter word that can make a big difference in your everyday life is NO! You need to stop saying yes when you want to say no.
Most often than not we get caught in a difficult situation that involves money. A friend who would like to borrow, a family member who asks for a gift and so on.
Before you agree on anything try to assess first if it is in your budget. If it is not then politely say, no.
Say no to expensive items, say no to peer pressure. Learn to say no to yourself – when you find a new shoes, new gadget, new makeup, etc.
Learn to say no to people around you – when you really don’t have the money and the confidence that that person will pay you in time!
Key takeaways: I know how much of a struggles saying no could be but learn to exercise this sometimes. Consider your personal boundaries. Know that you always have the right to say no to an invitation or refuse a favor.
19. Learn to say Yes
Consequently, learn to say yes too.
I watched a video in my newsfeed sometime ago wherein the mom tried to say yes to her kids in one week. One of the lessons that activity gave her stood out to me the most, she says sometimes we say no because it is the easiest thing to do.
But, there are times we also need to say yes.
1. Say yes to a new opportunity
2. Say yes to a something you enjoy doing
3. Say yes to a good food/meal
4. Say yes to a new learning
5. Say yes to someone who asked for your advice
I’ve personally learned by stepping out of my comfort zone and making myself say yes, I became a better version of myself.
Key takeaways: Saying yes can be risky but there are lessons and experience you will gain if you exercise it.
20. Invest now, invest regularly and invest long term
One of the biggest move I did this 2017 is to finally invest directly in stocks.
I’ve been putting off investing in stocks directly ever since I started this blog. At the end I always succumb to my fears and make a ton of lame excuses why it wasn’t the right time for me to invest directly. I guess it is the fear of the unknown and losing everything that scared me the most.
Well today I’m very proud to announce that I finally decided to invest in the stock market directly. I even have a post on how my first six months went.
What I learned so far is this, if you want to be rich you need to Invest now, invest regularly and invest long term.
I started investing at 19. I have no formal education whatsoever about mutual fund but I still opened an account in FAMI-SALEF through reading reviews from other bloggers.
It turned out to be a wise decision because now at 24, I have built a humble retirement fund.
It may seem hard and scary at first but if you don’t try, you’ll never know.
Key takeaways: Find out the kind of investment that will suit your financial goals and your budget and open an account right away. You can now invest in stocks as low as 5000pesos.
21. You are not too young or too old to plan for your retirement
How do you picture your retirement age? Most of us get comfortable retiring with just government mandated pension through SSS or GSIS.
But, you have to know as early as now that what you’ll get on your pension will never be enough to support you 20-30years from now.
Why? Because of inflation.
So it is better to save and invest now on your retirement fund while you still can. Your retirement fund doesn’t have to be big right away.
Life is full of uncertainty so it’s important to plan ahead and prepare your finances after your contract expires! If you dream to live your retirement age for good one day, then you should start saving money today! You need to find the best investment vehicle where you can park your money and earn better interest!
Key takeaway: It is never too early to start planning on your retirement! There are a few who criticized me when I decided to purchase my own life plan at St. Peter but I just shrugged them off. For me a life plan is an investment and having it now that I am still young and able to afford it is the best decision ever.
Click and fill-up this form if you want to avail your own St. Peter Life Plan today!
22. Support your financial knowledge
Read more about financial literacy so you will have a better hold on your financial bucket lists.
Back when I was just starting SavingsPinay, I always visit bookstore to read business and finance books. I try to take quick notes on my cellphone on the tips the author mentioned.
Including this on your financial habits is a form of investing in yourself. My most recommended books will include:
- Mag-titipid na Talaga Ako…Promise by Roselle Ruig
- Pisobilities: Gabay sa Buhay Pinansyal by Francisco Colayco
- Ang Pera na Hindi Bitin by Eduardo O. Roberto, Jr.
- Kakasweldo Mo Pa Lang Ubos Na by Vic and Avelyn Garcia
- It’s Your Money by Entrepreneur Philippines
- The Law of Leverage by Rane Panaligan
- My Maid Invests in the Stock Market by Bo Sanchez
- Stock Smarts Stock Investing Made Easy by Marvin Germo
23. Put Your Savings and Investments on Top Priority
The easiest way you can budget your money is to follow Paula of Afford Anything’s Anti-Budget method. When I read that particular post I got shooked!
The idea is simple, easy to apply and effective:
- Pick a savings rate.
- Pull your savings from the top.
- Relax about the rest.
What Paula suggests is that if you put your savings and investments on top priority, you don’t have to worry or feel guilty on how you spend the rest of your money.
You saved first. The rest is yours to enjoy.
Here’s a closer look on how I budget my money:
Once my salary for a typical cut-off is already credited on my payroll account I use 50-20-30 Budget Rule. I divide the total to three main categories – bills (essential expenses), savings and investments (financial goals) and miscellaneous (lifestyle fund).
With a clear picture on where my money should go, I can now start spending. I see to it that save and invest first before paying any bills due or shopping for toiletries, a new book, etc.
Now saving and investments refers to any activity that could either protect or grow your money, such as but not limited to the following:
1. Debt pay-off (Mortgage, Salary Loan)
2. Insurance or pre-need plans
3. Savings in bank
4. Investment in mutual fund, stocks or other alternative investment vehicle.
And because I know I saved and invested my money first before anything else, I feel better in spending the rest of my salary.
Key takeaways: If you keep failing in keeping a budget then try the anti-budget instead. It is one of the best and easiest budget technique I recently found. Put your savings on top priority! Pay yourself first before the others!
24. One day it will all make sense
Last February 2017, I had a major breakdown.
I, along with 20 more great people, were made redundant on the job we absolutely love. It was a traumatizing experience not just for me, but for the entire team I’ve worked with for the past two years.
Back then I asked God, “Why me?!”
So many thoughts came on my mind:
- Am I not good enough?
- Can I survive without a job?
- How will I apply and look for another job?
- What will happen to my finances?
- How can I explain the situation to my parents?
It was absolutely painful. And I will never wish for it to happen to ANYONE.
Eight months have passed and I’m proud to report that I have moved on from the heartbreaking experience well. Today even marks my regularization day at my new job. A-MAZ-ING!
You see one day it will all make sense.
- The lost opportunity
- The broken heart
- The jobs you didn’t get
- The times you failed
- The ideas you lost
- The mistakes you’ve made
- The prayers that weren’t answered
It will all make sense one day.
It might not be today, it might not be next week, it might not be next month, but ONE DAY IT WILL CERTAINLY MAKE SENSE.
Key takeaways: Storms happen. Life will sometimes be unfair and unlikely for some of us. But always remember that things happen for a reason. I’ve read once in my newsfeed that God answers our prayers in three ways – a yes, a no and a wait. He says yes and gives us what we want. He says no and gives us something better. He says wait and gives us the best. You have to trust God that one day it will all make sense.
Final Notes from SavingsPinay
This post is pretty long so if you did read until the end, thank you. I feel happy to celebrate my birthday by sharing the 24 Life and Money Lessons I Learned in 24 Years. Hope you enjoyed this long post.
Hope this post helps you!
Is there any lesson from the list that speak to you the most? what is your favorite?
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Izza of SavingsPinay helps Filipinos bridge the financial literacy gap one content at a time by providing insights and tips on budgeting, saving, investing, side hustle and growing your net worth. Aside from this blog she also writes at www.izzaglinofull.com, a beauty and lifestyle blog for frugal Pinays and manages, www.izzagevents.com, a wedding and event business since 2011. For inquiries, topic suggestions or future collaborations email her at firstname.lastname@example.org