Carte Blanche

The price isn’t always right.

While I was in line for my ticket in a bus station along EspaƱa boulevard, a mid-30’s guy behind me stretched out his arm and handed a 500-peso bill to a man in front of me. It turned out that the money fell out of the man’s pocket and the ‘guy behind me’ was one of the few honest people lurking around.

What is 500Php? Some may consider it big, others may say “barya lang ‘yan.” Whatever its amount, money is still money. I recently installed a “Money Tracker” in my mobile phone wherein I can list down my expenses on a daily basis. To my surprise, I was spending a lot more than I used to. My parents always tells me to be thrifty, but hey, all my expenses are important – food, laundry, transportation and cellphone load <if you consider that important :-)> Although I am still a student relying on my allowance, I can’t help but financially suffer sometimes. I can’t even fill up half of a piggy bank. Am I spending too much or the basic needs are still overpriced?

A recent study by Nielsen showed that Filipino lives are improving. According to what I’ve heard on TV news, families are now spending money for travel, house renovation and fashion. Another good indicator is the strengthening peso. So, why can’t I feel the improvement?

Last Friday, I met some of my colleagues who are incoming freshmen Medical students and our conversation started out on money matters. Enrollment to UST Faculty of Medicine and Surgery will take away more than 80,000 from your family’s savings (books, uniforms and other needs not included). Clerkship costs more than a hundred thousand pesos. Even if you are very intelligent and received a scholarship grant, what about your lodging, food and maintenance?

A trip around the Metro would overwhelm your eyes because of the prices you see: new top-of-the-line phones range from 50-80K, a Louis Vuitton bag costs 30K or more, a premiere ticket for a movie costs 300 and up, even Globe Unlimited Texting is more expensive than before (yes, I am affected!).

I liked what Korea’s representative to Miss Universe, Honey Lee, answered during the Q&A portion. She said the she would’ve wished for a wallet that never runs out of money. Well, many would have wished for that, too! An alternative would be a blank check under the account that never runs out of funds.