I don’t remember a time when we did not have a kasambahay.
Growing up in my grandparents’ house in Zamboanga, we always had kasambahays who helped my Lola cook and keep house. The kasambahays were usually distant relatives whom my grandparents were putting through school, or non-relatives who offered their services in exchange for the chance to go to school. I’m proud to say though that unlike Lola Pulido, my grandparents never treated any of their kasambahays as slaves since aside from schooling, the kasambahays also received salaries.
My aunts also took on this practice and would accept young girls as kasambahays precisely because they wanted to put them through school. I don’t remember my own parents doing this though, but that was mostly because our own kasambahays were already in their 30s or 40s when they would go to us.
I have my own kasambahay now who not only looks after my son, but also cooks and cleans for my small family. So yes, having a kasambahay has always been my norm. But that’s not to say that I’ve never felt unease over it.
In a perfect world, I will be just like the FQ mom who writes timely posts on events a day or two after they happen. But sadly, blogging is a hobby, not even a lucrative one at that, and it’s usually fourth or fifth in line on my list of priorities on a Saturday morning.
And that was my long-winded way of explaining why this post is several weeks late, but hopefully, it still proves itself to be relevant to some people.
I am ending this series with my biggest and recurring financial sin, travel.
Be it road trips, plane rides or even boat rides, my itchy feet don’t seem to care and would take every opportunity to take a mini or extended break.
Our most recent trip was a weekend jaunt to Angeles City to attend a friend’s birthday party. Instead of driving back and forth for a total of 7-8 hours, I decided to book us overnight in a hotel and play tourist the following day.
We had barely spent a week at our then new condo unit but I was already plotting how I would resell it (using an assume balance payment plan), take out another Pag-ibig loan and buy a bigger house for our growing family. Checking out house and lot ads and calculating how much loan amount would I qualify for and how much of my salary I should allot for that, became a mini obsession for a while
I didn’t think twice about all this because this was my norm, what I grew up with. My parents renovated our bungalow twice and in the process, took out 3 different housing loans in a span of 10-15 years. I thought it was normal to fret over money all the time and to rush to the bank every month to fund checks, otherwise, the PDC would bounce and we would be in deep shite.
But when I began to immerse myself in the personal finance universe and my eyes were opened to the joy of being debt-free and even early retirement, I realized that I was perfectly free not to saddle myself with so much debt. That being debt-free was a viable way of living (imagine that!).
My parents gave me a car a few months after I became a lawyer and joined a law firm near our house. I guess they got tired of my sister and I squabbling over my mom’s car, which my mom also used, and they couldn’t fathom that their lawyer daughter would take a jeep or tricycle to work (they were snobby that way).
So they bought me a Hyundai Getz, which I named Toyang. However, my parents only paid for the downpayment and left me to settle the monthly payments. Those monthly payments amounted to more than half of my take home pay (I worked in a small law firm which wasn’t very generous to its associates) and I swore to drive that car to the ground because that’s how much I hated those monthly payments.
Toyang will be celebrating her 10th year later this year thanks to my husband’s religious maintenance, and it’s been 7 glorious years since I last made a car payment.
Without a car payment to deal with, this is how our monthly transportation expenses usually look like: