Saturday, April 30, 2011

Wallet Quotient

I'm an impulse buyer sometimes. If I see the "sale", "discount", "buy 1 get 1" signs my feet would have a mind of its own and will walk to that store. The online shopping era made it worst.

Budgetting for  our wedding is yet another challenge for me. I need to discipline myself with my own iron hands, lol. I have to rewire my brain to keep me from splurging. This is what this post would be about. How I rewired my brain.

I'm sure you've heard of  IQ (Intelligence Quotient) and EQ (Emotional Quotient). We'll have a new
acronym, WQ.


Before I proceed, I want you to forget about wedding expenses for a while. Imagine you can use your wedding money on anything. On any BIG purchase (that's not wedding-related). What would that BIG purchase be? What is that one thing that you really really want. That you've been dreaming of getting. Think about it for a few minutes or for an hour or days if you need to then come back and finish reading this.

To "somehow" (i'm still an occasional impulse buyer, i'm not perfect, lol) achieve a high WQ I have learned/tried 2 techniques. Matter over Money and Life Energy. Nah, don't be intimidated by the terminologies. I just named it as such to sound cool, haha (except for Life Energy, that's not mine). Just try and read it and you might find this helpful not just during your wedding preparation but handling your finances in general.

Matter over Money.

So have you thought of your BIG purchase? That one thing you really want to have? Remeber that because that would be your "Matter".

I love to travel so mine, let' say,  would be a 12-day Mediterranean Cruise. It's really not that but i'll keep the real one a secret so as not to jinx it, lol, but I really want to see Santorini too so let's use the Mediterranean Cruise just for argument's sake. So anyway, it would cost me $2,329 from Carnival Cruise ( Or if we convert it to Philippine peso (let's pretend the exchange rate is 44 to a $1) that would be Php102,476.

Let's say I really want to have that 100,000 wedding gown from a famous couturier. The sketch of my dress looks really awesome that I can just imagine myself wearing it and all my friends and relatives and exes jaws would drop mesmerized by how stunning and gorgeous I am in that gown. Ahh, I'll feel like  Kate Middleton 100x over!

Ok, time to wake up.

So the dress is 100,000. My dream vacation is 102,476. I'll just have to add 2,476 and that dream vacation would be mine! Hmm...  So, should I choose the 100,000 wedding gown that I would just wear for a day or should I spend the money on my dream vacation which I would enjoy for 12 days? How important is it for me to have all my exes jaw to drop? How important is it for me to be admired, oohed and aahed at? How important is it for me to make people jealous of my dress?

That's the reason why I decided to just get a cheap but presentable wedding gown. I have already mentioned this on my previous blog, but yes, I always view money in terms of the places I could visit, the new countries I could travel with that X amount of money. I call this my Matter over Money.

I'm sure you're familiar with Mind over Matter. Where you control the Matter with your Mind. So it kinda is the same deal but with Matter over Money you control the Money with your Matter. In my case, my "Matter" is my Meditteranean Cruise and I control my expenses (Money) by setting my goal ("matter") which is to have my Meditteranean Cruise.

So everytime we're about to splurge on something. Or something that we think is just a "Vanity purchase" (the "i'll-be-the-envy-of-everyone" kinda purchase)  or an "Ego Purchase" (the i-wont-be-caught-dead-wearing-a-divisoria-gown-eww mentality), we think about our "Matter" and we try to weigh which one is really more important to us. I also apply Matter over Money on my regular shopping habits. I'm a girly-girl. I'm a shopaholic. So this also helps me control my love for shopping , lol.

Now, there's another approach.

Life Energy.

I have read this thing about "Life Energy" from someone else's post, it's from a book Your Money or Your Life. I haven't read that book, I just read about it from another person's post (here)  but basically it's calculating the number of hours you have to work to be able to afford a certain item.

For example. I want to get the 150,000 videographer. Let's say I'm a Call Center Agent and I earn 20,000/month after taxes and then I have to take into consideration other expenses. Food, gas, utilitiy bills, money to give my parents, rent. So let's say after all those what's really left is really just Php5,000/month or  Php227/day or Php28/hour. To get my 150,000 videographer that is equivalent to working for 5,357 hours (that's 150,000 divided by 28 per hour).  You have wasted 5,357 hours for a 150,000 videography. That's a lot of hours.

Let's have another example. Let's say you're a highly paid programmer and you earn 80,000/month after taxes. Then after expenses (food, gas, utilitiy bills, money to give my parents, rent) let's say what's left in your wallet is around 30,000/month which is +- ,360/day or  +-170/hr. To pay off the 150,000 videographer you have to invest 882 work hours, that's 882 hours of "Life Energy". Still a lot of hours if you ask me.

I'm not trying to yell at you that getting an A-list supplier is wrong. After all that's your money. That's your "Life Energy" you're using not mine. I am just trying to share how I try to look at things in a different perspective. See if it's really that important to you and it's really worth to sacrifice that many hours. See if you'd really sacrifice those hours rather than spend those hours on stuff that you really enjoy like traveling, or playing golf.


Personally, Matter over Money works for me better or in layman's term "priority", as my h2b calls it (but i like calling it with a fancy name so i'll stick to Matter over Money, haha).

Ok,so let's pretend you've realized that "hey, I need to work on my WQ". That you want to concentrate on your "Matter" to control your "Money" and that you really want to spend your "Life Energy" on stuff that you like doing. So how do you choose your wedding suppliers then?

When we chose our Photographers and Videographers I have an excel sheet. I listed all the suppliers that I want with the corresponding price and what it includes. I ended up with A-B-C. A as being the A-list suppliers. The first thing we scraped out are those in my As. Then we looked at Bs and Cs. We don't like the Cs because it's like comparing Prada (the As) to Cinderella (Bs) to Baclaran (Cs). We want it cheaper but we don't want to sacrifice the quality. So we chose the Bs plus add-ons. Yes, we semi-splurge. And we're very happy with the suppliers we chose.

Also see: On Wedding Budget

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