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5 Millennial Pinays Reveal How Much Is In Their Emergency Funds

How important is it to have a safety net?
PHOTO: Pixabay

Saving up can be quite an ordeal, depending on what you’re going to use it for. But building an emergency fund is another story. Let’s hear from these millennial Pinays in different stages of their lives share how having an EF affected their finances—you just might be able to relate!

Name: Alex

Age: 23 

Occupation and Industry: Copywriter in SEO writing + Advertising

Monthly income range: P50,000 – P70,000

Describe your current financial status:
Comfortable in the sense that I'm capable of being financially independent from my parents, but at the same time, allow my parents to help me (I still live with them, but I pay for my own things) while I save enough to gain enough confidence and security to break away. 

Describe your spending habits:
I would say my spending habits are pretty controlled. There's only a certain amount that I permit myself to spend and that's basically for food and transportation expenses. When I first started earning I looked at all the different ways I could save. I googled how-tos, read articles on effective ways to budget, and so on. Most of these told me to set aside somewhere between 10 to 20% of my monthly salary for savings, but I went just a little further and forced myself to save at least 50%. This is the rule I set for my full-time job because it's so small. The money I earn from freelance is another story. When I found other sources of income, I put 80% of that into my savings and allowed myself to spend the remaining on miscellaneous fees like clothes.

How much is in your emergency fund? P150,000


When did you start saving? How long did it take you to build your fund?
It's actually a pretty small amount considering that it's been roughly two years since I started working, which is the same time that I started saving. 

When was the last time you dipped into it and for what?
I've taken from it for a lot of reasons like family emergencies, additional expenses, and gifts (for people's birthdays and Christmas). The last time I dipped into it was actually to pay for my taxes. I suppose I need a separate account purely to pay for things like this. 

Is it difficult to maintain an emergency fund?
Sometimes it is. Like when you really want something, and you just know you have money stowed away so you can easily afford it. It's very tempting to just say yes to everything, but throughout the two years, I've gradually learned to better control the things I purchase.

Continue reading below ↓

How has keeping an emergency fund affected you financially?
I feel more confident about being on my own. There's no pressure on my parents to support me with food, clothing, and miscellaneous expenses.

What are your financial goals? What’s a concrete step that can take you there?
To be able to invest in other viable sources of income. I'm determined to find other ways to support my considerably expensive lifestyle. Some of the ways I figured could achieve this is to save enough to buy properties I can lease. Of course, it's difficult achieving these things especially with a single full-time job that doesn’t even pay much. Taking in freelance work helps a lot, but you have to be very selective. I usually check whether or not it's a conflict of interest with the company I work at full-time. If it's not, I double check to see if this client has the same work ethic as I do and if we have the same standards. It's really just a mix of precautionary measures.


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Name: Gail

Age: 24 

Occupation and Industry: Web and Graphic Designer in Marketing; Education 

Monthly income range: P20,000 – P30,000

Describe your current financial status:
Needs are met. Wants are negotiable.

Describe your spending habits:
I budget well and track my expenses regularly, but when a “want” catches my eye, I struggle! 

How much is in your emergency fund?
I don't exactly have a set emergency fund, but I do have a personal insurance; it’s basically an untouchable savings plan for 10 years. It also covers some health risks, if that's your definition of emergency. I also have my HMO for health emergencies.


When did you start saving? How long did it take you to build your fund?
As of now, it’s been 1.5 years since I started my personal insurance fund. It's paid quarterly, but I do make sure to set aside a portion for it every payday. 

Do you use it often? When was the last time you dipped into it and for what?
It’s untouchable. Well technically, I could touch it if I wanted to, but I don't want to ruin what I started!

Is it difficult to maintain an emergency fund?
Not really. As I’ve mentioned, I budget well, and my mindset is that this insurance is a “need” for me.

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How has keeping an emergency fund affected you financially?
Even though I know that this is a great decision for the security of my future, I gotta admit, I sometimes feel too deprived because I can’t spend on what I want. 

What are your financial goals? What’s a concrete step that can take you there?
I’d like to learn about investments in the stock market. I already started looking into seminar and workshops.


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Name: Lany

Age: 29 

Occupation and Industry: Writer in Media + Publishing in Marketing 

Monthly income range: Combined household, P80,000 – P150,000 

Describe your current financial status:
*I’m married, so my answers here will give insight to what it’s also like when you have another person with you managing the finances.

I would say we’re pretty comfortable—just enough to pay the bills, and enjoy life. 

Describe your spending habits:
We have a monthly budget for all our needs. Then, we allot a specific budget for a little shopping for ourselves. The excess goes to our savings, emergency, and travel funds. We also have our own investments (life insurance, stocks). 

How much is in your emergency fund? P300,000  P700,000


When did you start saving? How long did it take you to build your fund?
We actually started our own savings funds and investments when we were still single, and now we’ve combined it.

Do you use it often? When was the last time you dipped into it and for what?
We had to dip into it when I got hospitalized. 

Is it difficult to maintain an emergency fund?
Not really, as long as you stick to your budget. Discipline is key!

How has keeping an emergency fund affected you financially?
It helped us during times when we had unforeseen expenses. 

What are your financial goals? What’s a concrete step that can take you there?
Our next big goal is to buy a lot or house and lot. We've reassessed our expenses and decided to look for other income streams.


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Name: Kathy

Age: 26

Occupation and Industry: ESL English as Second Language) Teacher 

Monthly income range: P25,000 – P30,000

Describe your current financial status:
I’m pretty stable. I don’t have any debts I need to pay off. And I enjoy life in a simple, non-luxurious manner. I also have support from my family—we all kind of support each other. It’s how we were raised. 

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Describe your spending habits:
I’m pretty impulsive. Like the, “OMG that’s so cute! I gotta have it!” kind. 

How much is in your emergency fund? P50,000 – P60,000 

When did you start saving? How long did it take you to build your fund?
I just always make sure I have extra. I probably started five years ago. 

Do you use it often? When was the last time you dipped into it and for what?
I took some money out last year; it was for a training program.

Is it difficult to maintain an emergency fund?
Once you get used to it, it isn’t that hard. But, of course, when there’s an emergency, you’ll feel the impact of having to take some out. 

How has keeping an emergency fund affected you financially?
It's supposed to be like a safety net, but for me, it's become more of an excuse to spend some more because I know I have extra saved up.

What are your financial goals? What’s a concrete step that can take you there?
Just to save as much as I can, and put some money in investments. I should get around to doing research on best ways to invest my money. I also want to stop spending money on unnecessary things!


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Name: Katie

Age: 31

Occupation and Industry:  Finance

Monthly income range: P75,000 – P85,000

Describe your current financial status:
Stable with zero credit card balance. I would say that’s a good place to be in!

Describe your spending habits:
I’m generally frugal with material things, but I do have a tendency to splurge on travel and experiences. I’d much rather pay for airfare to another country, for example, rather than go to the mall and shop 'til I drop. 

How much is in your emergency fund? P75,000  P85,000 

When did you start saving? How long did it take you to build your fund?
I don't really remember when, but I know why: I adapted this mindset wherein I should always have two months’ worth of my salary at any given time. As my salary increased, my emergency fund also increased.

Do you use it often? When was the last time you dipped into it and for what?
I actually don't use it often—the last time was five years ago, after an expensive vacation.

Continue reading below ↓

Is it difficult to maintain an emergency fund?
So far, nope!

How has keeping an emergency fund affected you financially?
I still feel like I need to have more in my emergency fund. Thinking about it now, this could be my next goal.

What are your financial goals? What’s a concrete step that can take you there?
I aim to build a better emergency fund before I even invest in riskier options. Right now, I have more investments than savings so the plan is to build an emergency fund worth at least three months of my salary before I add to my investments.

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