The cost of living paycheck-to-paycheck and acquiring debt can be haunting. Aside from those “
So when I found myself in that scenario, I ended up getting a bank loan. Was it a financial trap like some people say it is? Did it create more problems after serving as a quick fix? Not really.
Here’s what happened:
I didn’t do it on a whim.
Most people only ever consider going to the “bank” they’ve relied on since infancy—the parents. Some have solid friends or a partner who’s always dependable, even during a financial crisis. But if you have none of those, or you simply choose to rely only on yourself, you might walk the same path as I did.
TBH, I only seriously considered it when I got a call from my credit card company saying I have a special “credit line” or a type of personal loan they offer to loyal cardholders. While talking to a representative, I asked for the exact amount I could get
I considered everything the telemarketing agent told me, jotted down notes, and asked her to call me back after a day of ruminating. I didn’t want to accept or decline right away. The next day, I was set on taking the offer because I needed money for a two-month unpaid internship abroad. This crazy Miss Independent didn’t want to be a burden to her parents, but she didn’t have savings, either. The bank loan was the best option for me.
I became a math whiz.
I put my algebra skills to the test, and I’m glad I had the patience to plot all those variable scenarios in equations. In my case, taking out a loan of more than P50,000 had a lower interest rate, which essentially meant that it was more
I got a checkbook and crossed it off my ~adulting~ list.
I needed to submit the standard requirements of bank loans—valid IDs and an ITR or payslips—but the one requirement that I didn’t have readily available was a checkbook. The movies I watched when I was a child made it seem like only rich people had those pads that dispensed thousands or millions at once. But then, I found out that it’s just like opening a savings account. The application and approval process was just a bit longer since it was subject to more scrutiny, which is why I felt like a legit adult after getting mine. Yay, me!
After I got the money, I felt rich, but also paranoid.
Once the brief back-and-forth with the agent was over, I was given the go signal to claim my money. When I got the loan’s proceeds, it was the first time I ever held so many P1,000-peso bills. I just kept thinking, I’d probably die if someone tried to rob me right now. I deposited the money into my savings account STAT.
I finally felt at ease.
I had money! All of my worries about covering my trip’s expenses disappeared! But, naturally, I also thought about all the ways I could spend that money. I could buy clothes. I could pay for a vacation or two. I could put a down payment on a car! The struggle to resist temptations was very real.
I also became anal about payments.
Before my trip to Korea, I made arrangements to pay
I made a bills tracker on an Excel sheet because I knew I needed to be organized. I took note of all the important dates—like all the due dates of my other bills. I kept saying to myself, “Kaya ko ba 'to?!”
(Bonus hack: If you actively use credit cards like me and pay on time, track the dates when your cards get
I worked hard to earn more.
At first, in an effort to be more frugal, I deprived myself to save more. For instance, in Korea, convenience store
So I did something to offset those expenses: I found more side hustles. To get returns with virtually no risk and increase your income, find freelance or part-time gigs that require the stuff you can freely give—your time, effort, and talent. In the words of the wise RiRi, “work, work, work, work, work."
I lived my life with no regrets.
I look back and realize I really couldn’t have survived two months in a First World country without the loan (because a Third World country paycheck combined with an awful tendency to splurge on food and travel tickets left me with zero savings). I had enough for daily necessities, and I even had a little extra for some shopping. With diligent research on the free things I could do that only required money for
For others, the money from a bank loan could be used to pay off tuition fees or hospital bills, consolidate debt (without accumulating more, of course), or maybe renovate a beat-up house. As long as you don’t bite off more than you can chew, and you responsibly pay off the loan, getting one can be worth it.
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