I like to read. I started off with reading Comics from the Sunday paper, then reading those captions underneath the photos in the newspapers. I liked how the writer would provide specific details on what was happening and getting to know who those people were. Having a highly imaginative brain, I would picture how the characters in whatever book I was reading would look like, how they wore their coat, sat down, smiled and even wondered if they had strange habits worth noting.
In elementary school, my mom would pack me two lunch bags. Bags, because that’s exactly what they were.
They looked kinda like the one pictured above, except that they were purple and had Dunkin’ Donuts plastered all over them. But they didn’t contain my lunch. One was filled with Hansel and Bingo biscuits and the other was filled with Zest-O juice packs. I listened to my mom when she’d give me instructions. I believed everything she said at that age. She told me that the Hansel and Bingo biscuits were worth 3 pesos per pack, and that the juice packs were 2.50 each. I have no idea how I sold my goods at school, but I went to school with a daily allowance of 10 pesos per day and came home with at least 35pesos to remit to my mother. I spent my daily allowance on a plastic bag of softdrinks and hotcakes.
For lunch, my parents would come by the school and bring us home for lunch. I sold my goods for a good few months till the PTA asked my mom to stop. Oh well.
In fifth grade, I had a collection of Archie and Friends comics. Everybody else was reading Sweet Valley Kids or Sweet Valley High. Then the older kids noticed my comics and asked if they can lend my comics. They actually offered to pay for book rental. Yeah well, I started renting out my comics. The regular digests were worth 5pesos for half a day and 10pesos for the double digests. Since I didn’t have to remit my book earnings to my mom, I bought Dairy Milk chocolates. There was just something about buying an expensive bar of chocolate from a big store, than the regular Serg’s chocolate bar from the sidewalk vendor. Haha.
In high school, we had a project for Technology and Livelihood Education, where we would sell goods and then submit a balance sheet. The subject was Entrepreneurship-based, and at twelve, I barely understood any of it. I had one of my classmates do my balance sheet, while I just munched on my own goods. I probably lost more than I gained. Hard to believe I was the same kid who came home with 300% more than my daily allowance in grade school.
For most of my college life, I lived away from my family. We had fish for dinner back at home every night, and while I was away on college, for the first semester, I survived on one can of Bluebay tuna and a measured cup of rice, if I wanted to survive until the next time my dad would send me my allowance. I would occasionally eat at the nearby kan-anan, as the Cebuanos would call it. I would cook my own rice and just bought a piece of chicken to eat in my room. I struggled with my budget and actually never bought anything unnecessary for myself when I was still alone.
Fast forward two years later, I got to starting a blog and just started writing. I got offers for my write ups and wrote for $5 for every 150-word article. The most I got paid for was $150 per article. I also got into web development. I learned a lot of things to earn. I knew that I didn’t want to work forever, but with how young I was, I wanted to have a career. I knew my parents won’t be around to send me a bi-weekly allowance, so I had to know how I can earn for myself.
I wanted to know how the rich people made it. I learned about Economics in high school and college, and I knew inflation was not a friend. So I started reading again. Robert T. Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad, Poor Dad opened my mind to another world. I started seeing things in a different light. I practiced delaying gratification and kept on reading. I gained criticism for burying my nose in books, in a time where people would say “books are boring”. I never really understood how some people actually thought that I cared about what they thought about things that I liked.
I’m still a long way away from getting called financially rich, but I can honestly call myself financially free. Experience will always be the best teacher and your willingness to learn is all that you would need to succeed.
Now, I have my own online selling business and have been investing in the stock market. I was pretty hesitant at first, but then I realized that since everything is pretty much a risk, might as well try it out.