As a young professional who worked from home for two years, allocating my finances was never a problem. I never had to worry about meal and transportation expenses since food is always available in our kitchen and most meetings were conducted over Skype. Even my wardrobe was not an issue as I can just wear my comfortable pambahay along with my cute Panda slippers.
In those two years, I was able to put more money in the bank, have an emergency fund, travel where I want to go, and buy anything I want without being funded by my parents. This brought joy in my heart as it means I can now live on my own without worrying if there is enough to sustain my lifestyle. Then, I was determined that I will stick with this job forever.
However, I got restless and looked for a new career where I can interact with offline officemates and learn more about digital media. But when a reputable company offered me a job, I didn’t say on impulse: “Yes, I’ll take it and will resign now. When do you want me to start?” Because I realized that a career shift outside the comforts of home entails a lot of sacrifice on the lifestyle I was used to, which allowed me to save and travel more. So between lifestyle and a goal – which should I choose?
A change of lifestyle took the upper hand as changing my goal is like giving up on my dreams or accepting that I have failed even before I start. Where I was before may be my comfort zone, but it wasn't comfortable anymore. And as I entered a new phase in my life, these are the things I would always keep in mind:
- Always have a “Spend vs. Save” mentality. Daily expenses such as gas, parking fees, and lunch are major concerns if I work in an office. I listed all possible ways on how to get to the office and where to get lunch. After which, I came up with options where I can save the most then tried them all. Most viable option for me was to commute or carpool with my sister and bring my own packed lunch. These might be simple gestures, but it does contribute to saving more.
- Before buying, always ask yourself “do I need this?”. Have you experienced going inside a shoe store and imagined how each pair perfectly matches the clothes you have in the closet? Well, I have, most of the time. But when my goals popped in my mind, I look at all the shoes with its expensive tags one last time and judge if they are worth the buy. But when my goals popped in my mind, I'd look at all the shoes with its expensive tags one last time and judge if they are worth the buy. If I woke up not having the craving anymore then my savings will definitely be happy.
- Live a simple life. A well-dressed lady buying a venti coffee before going to the office then meeting up with friends for a lavish after-work dinner was MY lifestyle before I decided that my goals are more important than my comfort. I substituted my venti drink for office coffee, learned to mix-and-match my outfits, and joined my friends for dinner once a month. Aside from saving more, living simply even helped me discover a more resilient and creative part of myself.
Is it more comfortable leaving the comfort zone? There were bad days, but I couldn’t be any more satisfied as I am on my way towards reaching my goal this year. In fact, I have already added another goal on top of it – investing some of my savings. If I get to invest, then I may just see my money grow more over time, and help me achieve a more money-sound comfort zone.
Image used under Creative Commons from Gisela Giardino