To YOLO or Not to YOLO

We’ve all heard and read of horror stories of people who live by the motto YOLO (You only live once) and end up getting into massive debts because they “enjoyed” the present but failed to prepare for the future. The pandemic made people realize a lot of things. One of which is that our money and our jobs can be taken away from us in an instant.

One of my best friends once told me that she admires how I handle my finances. The truth is I am far from perfect, but I can say that I have made a lot of wise decisions when it comes to handling my own and my family’s finances. Boyet and I started dating during our last year in college. A couple of years later, a lot of our batch mates started to work overseas. We knew that we could save money faster for our future together if we work overseas, but we both didn’t want to uproot ourselves to work in another country. That is why we became more conscious in making wise financial decisions.

As social media started to boom in the late 2000s, we started seeing friends and batch mates posting travel photos and luxurious gadgets. It was so easy to fall into the trap of envy. But now that we are in the middle of a pandemic, I am so grateful that I found the balance between handling our finances wisely and enjoying the fruits of our labor.

My husband and I were not born rich. So while some people already had a head start, both of us didn’t. I’m proud to say that we have been working so hard for all the things that we have now. I’m glad that my husband and I share the common goals even before we got married. Both of us grew up without an expensive lifestyle, so that was a very good starting point for us. The first thing we did when we started to talk about marriage was to discuss about our priorities. We first saved up for a wedding. The next on our plan was saving for a house. But in 2012, barely a year after getting married, I found a new job. I got a decent separation pay after staying in the company for six years. I was initially torn between putting that money to augment our savings to be used in buying a house versus getting a car because my new office at that time is way farther than the previous one. We went with the latter and bought a second-hand car. Some of my friends advised us to get a new car instead, but we didn’t want to get in debt very early on in our marriage. Our main priority at that time was to really save up for a house. We just needed a working car that could get us from point A to point B. It turned out to be a wise decision because we really got our money’s worth with that car. Apart from using it to get to and from work, we also got to use it to a lot of trips to the beach with our family and friends. 

Around 2013, we started paying for our house. It was also around this time when we found out that it would be extremely difficult for us to conceive a child. Adding to the down payment for our house, the cost of fertility workup also strained our pockets. Years of saving and preparing helped us get through those years. But while saving for our house, we did not forget to enjoy our first few years of marriage without breaking the bank. We only went to one international trip and just decided to visit more of our local destinations. We were also happy and contended with simple joys like eating out or going to the movies once in a while.

By 2015, we started paying for our ten-year mortgage. Zayne was born the same year. The following year, our first car finally gave up on us, and we were forced to buy a new one. Instead of the usual five-year loan, we settled for three years. We wanted to get out of debt as soon as we could. We finished paying for it in 2019. That same year, we decided to reallocate some of the money we used to pay for the car loan to increasing our life and health insurance plans. Around this time, we finally got to enjoy going to different places with Zayne.

When the pandemic hit, I realized how our past choices greatly affected our life now. I’m glad that we were able to balance managing our finances while still enjoying life. My husband and I are both in our late 30s, and our primary goals now are:

1. Eliminate our only debt which is our mortgage. 
2. Augment our emergency funds.
3. Expand our sources of income in preparation for our retirement, Zayne’s education, future travel plans, and our dream of having a small farm in the province.
4. Continue to live within our means. (I believe this is really the most important part.)
5. Stay healthier so we can enjoy life more!

So while it is important to live by the motto YOLO, it is just as important to always find balance. Delayed gratification played a very important part in making us more financially mature.

Source: FB/becomingminimalist


  1. The pandemic also caused me to take financial planning seriously. A number of my colleagues were retrenched and it equally scared me, I might be the next... All the more when my Nanay passed away. I started to count my years of working and earning .. and since I started work early, I will end up retiring early (following the usual 30 years of service in the company) I need to earn more but spend less... like how can this be possible when you start aging? :) And yes to living healthier, hospital bills will drain your savings especially these days.. Sometimes, I just wish that we have a good healthcare system. But we can't always depend on government.... It's the least thing to expect these days, I believe. But I have to agree with your friends, your family is best in financial management. :)

    1. I felt really bad when I heard about what happened to your parents. This pandemic is really an eye-opener. :(


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