After graduating from college, all I could think about was how happy I was that school was finally over. Little did I know that learning does not stop on the day that you receive your diploma.

Every day is an opportunity to learn and correct mistakes.

After working for almost nine years now, I’ve had my share of money mistakes, and would like to share how to correct them.

                                                      Photo by Tax Credits / CC

1. Working without a goal

Waking up at 6am in the morning to prepare for work can be very tiring, especially if you do not have any goals in mind.

Short-term goals are usually the things that we want to achieve within the next couple years. These may be saving up for car down payment, going on a once-a-year vacation, building up that emergency fund, etc. 

Long-term goals are the big-ticket purchases, and will need more time and money to achieve. Examples are buying your first home, saving up a baby fund, and saving up for retirement.

We work because we want to achieve something. Whether for material things or for self-fulfillment, it is always better to keep a goal in mind. These keep our focus on track.

2. Unable to differentiate wants vs. needs

There is no harm in giving in to your wants once in a while. However, the problem starts when we do not know how to differentiate between the things that we want and the things that we need.

Here’s a classic example. We often hear girls say: “I’ve got nothing to wear… Again!” But open her closet and you will see five dresses of the same style, or five shirts of the same style but in different colors.

I am guilty of this, as I am very hard to please when it comes to shopping. So when I find something that I like, I will buy it in the same style, in three different colors.

Before making that purchase, ask yourself three times “Do I really need this, or is it something that can still wait?”

3. Not setting a budget

Keeping a budget in mind is good. Writing it down is even better.

Unless you have a visual record of where your money is going, it is a challenge to keep track of your spending.

Once you start to list your expenses down, and allot a monthly budget for savings and expenses, it will be easier to trim down on your spending.

Track your budget and spending and keep it to a level where you are comfortable. Make use of spreadsheets and apps readily available for download to see where your hard-earned cash is going.

4. Overusing your credit card

Credit cards are not the enemy. Greed is.

Credit card companies usually give you a credit limit of twice your monthly salary, sometimes even higher. Hence, this is "excess money" that you can spend, but you don’t actually have.

Before handing over that plastic card to the cashier, make sure that you have allotted a budget to pay for that purchase when the bill comes. Spend only the money that you have.

5. Not saving for the rainy days

Rainy days are sure to come; we just don’t know when.

Build up an emergency fund enough to cover at least six months’ worth of household expenses. This will serve as a buffer when an unexpected expense arises.

6. Not preparing for retirement

There is no better day to prepare for tomorrow than today.

Retirement may be twenty or thirty years away, but it is good to set aside a portion of your earnings to prepare for that day. Ika nga, daig ng maagap ang masipag.

Compute the amount of money you will need when your retirement comes. It will be shocking, but at least you will have an idea, and will think twice next time you buy that expensive cup of coffee.

7. Not learning How to Invest and Grow Your Money

You are responsible for your own money. Be equipped and read up on how you can grow it.

Don’t go blaming other people when the going gets tough.

I think it is best to start with unit investment trust funds (UITFs) and mutual funds, as these are handled by financial managers who study the market and know what they are doing. Don’t go directly into the stock market if you do not know what you are doing.

Test the waters first before diving into the pool.

I strongly suggest that you build your savings and emergency funds first, before exploring the world of the stock market. It will help you to sleep better at night, especially when the market is down.

8. All work, no play

After all the nagging I did for points 1 to 7, I want you to remember that “All work and no play will make life boring”. Who wants that anyway?

Learn to reward yourself for a job well done – but remember not to go overboard.

Be it as small as sipping a cup of coffee from your favorite coffee shop, or a quick getaway to Cebu, you must learn to reward yourself once in a while. 

Is this article helpful? Let me know on the comment box if you have other money mistakes that you would like to share =).


  1. Astig Ate Mav :) - Jan

  2. Common mistakes that most people do not realize. Nice post!

  3. Interested in No. 7 but don't know how to go about it!

    1. You can check out sa mga banks, they offer UITFs. You can joing facebook groups also like TGFI (The Global Filipino Investors) para magkaidea ka about stocks :)

  4. Agree with your money mistakes. When I had my first job, saving my emergency fund is my first goal and it helped me a lot when I resigned from my job.

    1. True sis. Mahirap umasa sa iba lalo na pag gipitang sitwasyon.

  5. Yay! I am guilty of #8. All work no play kami. Kaya minsan exhausted na. I'm really praying for that day when we can relax more. Great list by the way :)

    1. Thanks Mommy Maye. Yes dapat wag kalimutan na every once in a while kailangan magpahinga.

  6. I need to learn how to invest. This is the one that's striking me the most. hehe. My husband and are have been working hard to do our best to save money but I'm afraid to touch them to use for investment, baka malugi.

    1. Try muna for a small amount pag medyo confident ka na tska mo na lang taasan :). I suggest go for conservative UITFs like Money Market muna.

  7. This is nice, buti wala akong credit card, I heard a lot from my friends na very tempting daw talaga pag may credit card ka, di mapigilan. hehe

    1. Really depends on the person, if you think impulsive buyer ka better to stay away from credit cards.

  8. Agree with all of this! That's why as early as possible I save money in my long-term plans.

    1. Yes important talaga na lagi tayong prepared :).

  9. I agree with all the points you've raised! Unahin muna ang pagbuild ng emergency fund, at siyempre matuto mag budget :)

  10. Thank you for sharing! It will be very helpful.. I need to start identifying my needs and wants.. Also determining my goals in life ☺️


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