Always broke? Here are tips to avoid excessive debt

Posted at 08/21/14 10:03 AM

MANILA -- Are you one of those people who is always struggling to pay debts?

In a recent interview on radio DZMM, Vic and Avelynn Garcia, motivational speakers and authors of the book "Kasusweldo pa lang, ubos na?", gave some tips on how to avoid debts.

The couple started by explaining why people borrow money.

"Ang unang utang dahil sa matinding pangangailangan. Maaring may nagkakasakit, may namatay. Ang mahirap sa utang, nagtutuloy-tuloy 'yan," Vic said.

He added that the reasons for succeeding debts are usually not as important as the first one.

Avelynn also identified the different kinds of debts. Most people usually borrow money from their family, as it is easier and more convenient.

After borrowing from relatives, a person would then borrow money from friends.

"Kapag wala nang mahiraman na kaibigan, uutang na 'yan sa kumpanya, yung bale, o kaya company loan," Avelynn added.

People also tend to borrow money from the government, through loans from government agencies like Social Security System (SSS) or Government Service Insurance System (GSIS).

Some people also resort to pawning their automated teller machine (ATM) cards.

"The ATM card serves as a collateral. Ang unang mag-wiwithdraw ay yung pinagsanlaan," Avelynn explained.

Despite high interest rates, a lot of employees give in to this scheme because of sudden need.

"Sinasabi nila, biglaan ang pangangailangan. Karamihan ito, may matinding justification sa pangungutang," Vic added.

Living within your means

According to the couple, in order avoid debt, it is important to learn how to live within one's means.

"Ang mentality ng mga Pilipino, kung P20,000 ang sweldo mo, P20,000 ang gastos, 'yun ang we should live within our means," Vic said.

However, this kind of mentality prevents people from preparing for unexpected expenses.

"January, February, maayos ang gastos mo. Pero nung March, nasira ang ref mo, kelangan mo ng P2,000 pampaayos ng ref mo, saan mo kukuhanin 'yun?" Vic added.

In order for people to avoid debt, it is better to follow the 70-20-10 scheme, wherein you allot 70% of your salary for expenses, 20% for savings, and 10% for charity.

"Yung 10% ang ibibigay sa Diyos. O kaya kung hindi ka naniniwala doon, i-tulong mo sa ibang tao," Vic explained.

Tips to avoid debt

The couple also gave tips to avoid debt.

First, one should list down all debts, your monthly income, and monthly expenses.

"Dito mo makikita kung may matitira sa'yo. Madalas, negative 'yan. Ngayon planuhin kung paano mo mababayaran ang utang," Avelynn said.

The couple explained that the goal is to make your monthly expenses less than your monthly income.

There are two ways to do so: either increase your income by looking for other sources of income, or decrease your expenses.

"Mas madaling bawasan ang gastos. Tanggalin ang mga bagay na puwedeng tanggalin," Vic said.

"Kung nagso-soft drinks ka kapag kumakain, mag-tubig ka na lang. Kung dalawang extra rice, isang rice na lang. Kung dalawang ulam, mag-isang ulam ka na lang. Marami kang puwedeng gawin para mabawasan ang gastos," Avelynn added.

"When you are not doing anything to decrease your expenses, it will increase by next month," Vic explained.

Vic acknowledged that trying to spend less is not easy, and it should be a conscious effort.

The couple advised people not to borrow money as much as possible, even if loans are readily available.

"Kahit available [ang loan], kung hindi kailangan, huwag na umutang," Vic said.

Aside from avoiding debts, the couple also suggested people to learn when to say 'no' when someone is borrowing money.

"There are time when you need to say no," Avelynn said.