I never dreamed of driving my own car. It just wasn’t on my radar, never a goal of mine. Apparently, this was okay only if I were on my own; as the years went by, I could see my parents finding it harder and harder to run errands and commute on their own.
And so in 2012, I made it a goal to buy a car. In the next one year, I barely bought anything or traveled. Whatever extra I had went to my car fund, while I also struggled to keep my investment fund (for my retirement) afloat. It was a pain reviewing the yearend with nothing much to show and no travel experiences to write about; I had to comfort myself with the thought that I was closer to my goal of buying my parents a car.
Mid-2013, I had enough to put a down payment to a brand new car which wouldn’t leave me in a huge debt for years to come. My mother, sister, and I began scouting for one, as we still wanted to keep it a secret from my father. I will always remember the thrill of finding the right car, how we all took in the smell of leather and planned our designated seats, including for our dog, Chokichi.
A few weeks later, he would die.
I began negotiating with banks–I juggled three branch managers, going back and forth with them, asking for deals and discounts, and freebies. When I was finally happy with one and I was about to sign the papers, I put everything on hold: I decided to instead purchase the car at the end of the year so we could increase our down payment to 50 percent.
A few weeks later, my father was hospitalized.
All our savings were gone in a matter of weeks. At one point, we were spending P25,000 a day at the hospital even if we were in the ward, the cheapest room type. I also had to withdraw my investment fund at a loss just to make the payment. Friends had to organize a fund drive to help stave off some of the costs. We also wrote to local politicians but nothing happened to that 😀 The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office didn’t deem us poor enough, since we were able to settle part of our bills via credit card. Considering the indigent we came to meet and exchange stories with at the hospital, I figured this was fair enough. (It didn’t help though that while all this was happening, Benhur Uy had just come out about the pork barrel scam.)
We survived that ordeal.
I then began to have an interesting relationship with money. I still can’t believe we spent P25k a day for almost a week, an amount which had taken me months of torture and immense discipline to save. When my 13th month bonus came up and I’ve paid off the debt we incurred the months earlier, I began rewarding myself. My twisted logic went, “Well, if all that sacrifice would amount to nothing, I might as well enjoy my money now.”
I splurged. I even got to travel to Hong Kong, though travelling with friends is something I would never ever regret. Actually, no, I don’t regret any of my purchases. I worked hard for them and I deserved them.
But yes, there is still that tiny tinge of guilt. There is always my worry for my aging parents. And so even before the overseas trip, I went into savings overdrive, ongoing until now.
A few weeks ago, an opportunity presented itself. My uncle was selling one of his cars. He was selling it relatively cheaply but I worry that it would still be a major dent on my savings.
Ah, never mind. Let this be my last splurge for now. For my parents.
This entry is a result of a free-writing exercise by The Daily Post.