The Cost of P500
While reviewing my online transactions for March, I was shocked to see a Php500 deduction from my checking account. A quick call to my bank revealed that my account had gone below the Php25,000 average daily balance (ADB), hence, the Php500 penalty.
The last time I got slapped with a Php500 penalty was when we were on survival mode, making every peso count to pay off wedding related debts, credit card debts and everyday expenses, while waiting for my government salary to arrive. Of course the ADB went below Php25,000 back then and I swore that I would never, ever pay another penalty ever again.
That was more than two years ago and things have been going pretty well, so much so that I have not been as vigilant as I should have been. I've been so lax that I allowed that account to reach as low as Php5,000 several times in a month because it's the one I use to pay bills and draw checks on.
This month, I swore to keep the balance at Php30,000 and above just to pull up the ADB and it has pretty much screwed up my system. Where before I would pay bills without a thought to the ADB, now, I have to wait for my next salary or bonus before I can pay bills, just so I can maintain my Php30,000 account balance goal.
I know it's pretty extreme to be doing all this to avoid a Php500 charge, but it has painfully revealed to me how much I still need to tweak our personal finances. My officemates spend a good portion of their day wondering about when the next bonus will come, or counting the days until we receive our salary, and I always thought that that was a sad way to live your life. Now here I am doing the same thing.
However, my dilemma is fairly artificial because I do have an emergency fund to dip into and investments that I can liquidate to save my ass if needed, so I can't really say that I'm totally dependent on my government salary. But the masochist in me refuses to press the proverbial escape button, telling me to fix this mess by myself, without dipping into our investments.
So now I'm drawing upon prior experience that PLDT, Globe and our cable provider do not charge late fees, that PAG-IBIG charges a minimum fee for delayed payments, while missing a Meralco payment means disconnection of services. In short, I am prioritizing what bills need to be paid, while ensuring that my account is sufficiently funded for past issued checks. And while doing all this, I find myself singing: "Ibigay niyo na....ang aming MID YEAR bonus!"