As a student, you may not have a job that allows you to earn and save money yet. But you do deal with money on a daily basis—be it daily allowance or financial support from your parents. Millions of Filipino families face financial struggles, including the high-cost of education that lead to out-of-school youth. That’s why it’s important to arm yourself with financial intelligence to rise above life’s difficulties.
We talked to successful working students on how they juggled school and work in order to earn and save money. Their stories will show you how minding your FQ (Financial Intelligence Quotient) can make a big difference in your life.
Masters Of Financial Intelligence
Most working students have mastered the art of financial intelligence because of their active involvement with money.
One of them is Karl Nucum, a former working student who supported her own studies throughout college. She had to find a job to support her studies despite being a scholar. Her scholarship only paid for her tuition. She says, “I worked part-time para may budget ako for my daily expenses naman.”
Meanwhile, Edison Ubaldo had to become a working student to fill in the gaps left by his family’s financial struggles. He shares, “During my first year in UP, my parents were consistent in sending me [a] weekly allowance (500 php) but things changed a year after. What was once a weekly amount became good for 2-3 weeks.
Eventually, things got worse and sometimes I [wouldn’t] be able to receive any money for about a month because we had no extra at home. Working for extra money became part of being a student by then.”
3 Secrets To Earning Money
It’s hard enough to find a job, let alone multiple jobs! But working students seem to have a knack for finding side hustles. It goes to show that when one is determined, doors open. Karl and Edison took on jobs left and right to make ends meet.
Here are tips we can learn from their effective money-making skills.
1. Explore work opportunities in your school.
Both Karl and Edison worked as student assistants in their schools.
Edison’s great work ethic urged a professor to refer him to other jobs in the campus. It was one opportunity after another for the working student. According to Edison, “Later on, people at the department would invite me to do side jobs for them like photo cropping/enhancing, [being a] proctor in exams, and [transcribing]. For awhile I also wrote web content for a professor maintaining a website (where I earned around 1,000 pesos per week).” Eventually, Edison excelled in a job as a research assistant for a Master’s Thesis, which led him to other research projects in an NGO.
This brings us to another tip: Show excellence in your work and more work will come.
2. Use your talent.
Being a broadcast communication student in the University of the Philippines, Edison taught broadcasting and campus journalism to elementary and high school students back in his hometown Negros Occidental. Eventually, he no longer had to ask for money from his parents.
FQ Mom Rose Fres Fausto offers insight on using your core skills to your financial advantage:
“Hone them (your gifts and passion) and eventually use them, together with the connections that you’ve established, in setting up your business which fills a need in this world, allowing you to be of service to others. The Japanese call this Ikigai.”
3. Be open to jobs outside your comfort zone.
Apart from being a student assistant and writer, Karl was a part-time sales lady. “It’s where I received my daily allowance, plus [the job] somehow [enabled me to help] my mother with the house bills.” Financial intelligence will put you in fulfilling situations such as Karl’s. There’s no greater feeling than being able to ease the money worries of your parents by helping them out.
3 Secrets To Saving Money
Here are wise money principles that helped Karl and Edison succeed as students and, eventually, young professionals.
1. Be frugal (“matipid”) and be proud of it.
Working students are masters of money management because they’re forced into situations where they have no choice but to be wise with their money. According to Karl, “As a working student, I learned how to prioritize my resources. When you know how hard it is to earn money, you’ll use it wisely.”
As for Edison, he says, “Money is hard to earn so you really have to prioritize what to spend on . . . I’m still the same. I’d rather buy from the grocery and celebrate birthdays at home than spend on fancy restaurants, which are definitely pricey.” He adds, “Always prioritize lang. Do not dwell on things na ‘di naman kailangan. Be content with simpler things.”
2. Don’t feel pressured to show off your wealth.
Remember, the goal is to be rich, not to look rich. So, don’t spend your money the first chance you get just to keep up with your well-off peers. Learn to delay gratification and find contentment in having just enough for your needs.
Here’s an easy to remember guide about buying luxury from FQ Mom:
“Buy luxury only if you can afford to buy 10 pieces of it!”
It’s as easy as moving 1 decimal place to the right. ☺
3. Learn the art of “diskarte.”
“Diskarte” is an amazing Filipino trait. Roughly translated, it means “strategy” but the word doesn’t quite capture the meaning of diskarte; diskarte brings to mind the resourcefulness and resilience of Filipinos amid life’s challenges.
Karl shares, “One thing I learned as a working student is being street smart. When I want to buy something, I check the price first sa iba’t ibang stores, then see how can I bargain for the price. Pro tip: When you’re looking for an item (e.g. bag), look for a place where there [are] a lot of vendors that sell that item because the price tends to [be] lower there.”
Edison talks about how financial intelligence and grit can arm you against any challenge that life throws at you. He keeps a positive mindset of focusing on the solution than dwelling on the problem—a principle he developed from being a working student. According to him, “. . . hindi ko ginawang issue in life ang finances because I know kaya kong gawan ng paraan if ever magkaroon. Halimbawa, may problem sa pera sa bahay ‘di ko siya masyadong iisipin as problem but something that we have to go through lang. Kaya naman gawan ng paraan.” He adds, “I don’t let financial difficulties get the better of me kasi alam kong kaya ko naman ‘yan lampasan.”
The Rewards Of Financial Intelligence
Karl and Edison are living examples of what one can achieve with financial intelligence. They did not back down in the face of financial difficulty. Instead, they took the challenge head on, armed with financial intelligence and determination.
This skill can empower you to do great things, such as completing your education out of your own hard-earned money.
Karl’s proudest achievement is “being able to graduate in college without having my parents worry about my school expenses and daily baon.” Meanwhile, Edison shares, “I was so proud when I graduated [that] I was the one who paid for my parents’s airfare to Manila and their hotel accommodation (I even paid for my sister’s enrollment fees that time).”
It’s financial freedom at its finest—being empowered enough to give back to your parents.
People tend to believe that money makes you materialistic (a.k.a. selfish). But financial intelligence goes beyond the self. The skill allows you to take care of yourself so that you can eventually serve others.
Develop your financial intelligence quotient (FQ) now so you can thrive in school, work life, and beyond! Take the online FQ Test to know where you stand in your FQ journey to know how you can improve your financial intelligence and live your best life.