There’s a saying that bad habits are hard to break, and it can be especially true when it comes to handling finances. With the COVID-19 pandemic. Whether it’s spending on wants instead of needs, mismanaging a sudden inflow of cash, or having the wrong mindset, there are many bad money habits that we need to get rid of to better manage our finances.
In an episode of FUNDamentals on PLUS Network, registered financial planner (US-based global certification) and business anchor Edric Mendoza identifies three toxic money habits that hinder Filipinos from being financially stable and teaches us how we can break them.
This refers to the feeling of suddenly having money, whether it’s from a bonus, allowance, or gift. Once they have a sudden flow of money, a lot of Filipinos have a tendency to immediately spend that money, which Mendoza identified as a toxic money habit. Instead of keeping or investing the money, some will use it to treat people, give money to others, or buy expensive things. If they don’t spend the money properly or put it in the right place, it can go away, and they won’t be able to make the most of that money.
Instead of this habit of bigtime, Mendoza says that we should consider seed time. This means that we need to learn to spend the seed of a seed. If we are able to receive money and have a sudden inflow of cash, instead of thinking about how to spend it first, we can ask ourselves where we can put that money so that it makes more money.
Once we do that and get the seed and see it grow, we can then use the seed of the seed to spend and enjoy ourselves and treat others. But because that initial money was already invested and not spent, the seed will keep giving us money that we can use. Instead of spending, we can try investing the money first and then spending what we earn from that investment. We don’t want to immediately spend the seed but spend the seed of the seed.
2. Sana All
Whenever we see people post or mention something on social media, there’s a part of us that also desires to have what they have, leading to the popular Filipino phrase “sana all.” The desire to have more is not necessarily a toxic money trait, but Mendoza says that it becomes one when it comes to things that we no longer need and go beyond it, and our desire turns into greed.
To address this toxic habit, Mendoza recommends that instead of saying “sana all,” we need to ask ourselves a hard question: Why do we want to buy the things that we don’t really need? Once we figure out what’s driving us to spend unnecessarily, we need to determine whether buying these things is a way to fill the unhappiness that we feel in our lives.
In his experience, Mendoza says that the only person who can satisfy that unhappiness is God and that instead of thinking about “sana all,” we need to think about God as our all. We need to ask God to give us guidance on how to deal with His things and how to be a better steward since everything that we have comes from Him.
3. Poverty Mindset
Lastly, Mendoza warns against having a poverty mindset or having the thinking that, “hanggang dito na lang ako.” It is important for people to break free from this mindset and believe that it is possible for them to get out of poverty. He tells the story of his grandfather who was able to overcome poverty, as proof that it is possible to break free from this mindset. Instead of having a poverty mindset, it is important that we have a possible mindset and believe that we can rise overcome the financial challenge that we face.
Mendoza quotes Salve Duplito, another registered financial planner and one of the most respected financial journalists in the country, who was able to rise out of poverty and help her family. It was Duplito who said that “it can be an excuse to be born in poverty, but it is not an excuse to die in poverty.” While we live and breathe, we have a choice and we can choose to either be defeated by this situation or we can find a way to overcome and break the cycle. Changing our behavior and getting rid of these toxic money habits will go a long way in helping us better manage our finances.