Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Unlearning my poor mentality

Oh wow. Has it been a week? Yep, I haven't blogged here in a week. You would not believe what happened to that week! I don't want to talk about it (yet) but suffice it to say someone, or maybe two someones, stole almost P10,000 from me.

A friend told me, "You really shouldn't have left money lying around. Alam mo naman ang poor."

"Excuse me," I said. "I grew up poor and I never ever was tempted to steal. Not even tempted! Hello, para namang mayaman ka rin. Parehas lang tayo pakalat-kalat sa kalye nung bata pa tayo. Wala yan sa kesyo poor ka o rich. May mga tao talagang maitim ang budhi!"

Until I find out what really happened, I won't talk about it. Well, I don't even know if I'll find out the truth so maybe I'll tell you one day. Meanwhile, I've been thinking about growing up poor and how glad I am that my parents and grandparents raised me so well that I never stole, cheated, envied, became greedy or begrudged those who had more material wealth.

I am also grateful that I was raised a Born-Again Christian. It's hard to have poor mentality when I knew I was the daughter of the King and a member of His royal priesthood. I am a princess and a priestess! There is no room for envy and self-pity in the heart of one so blessed!

But I will admit that having so little when I was growing up did still leave vestiges of poor mentality on me. There's this funny but insightful article on Cracked.com that talks about the stupid habits you develop when you grow up poor. Go, read it! You have to read it first so you'll understand why it's habits of poor mentality. Thankfully, I only caught two of the habits! Here they are:
You develop a taste for bad food. I won't name brands but for the longest time, my experience of La Paz batchoy was from a noodle company. Their La Paz batchoy is soooo good! So when I finally encountered the real thing, I didn't like it! 
Same goes with coffee. Ngayon lang naman ako pa-brewed-brewed, pa-Cappucino, Americano. Please, with warm cream and brown sugar. Ang type ko naman talaga instant coffee. But that's not something I'll ever admit in public (shhh!) because I'm surrounded by sosyal people now. 
You want to go overboard on gifting. Well, I kinda got over this affliction when the kids came haha. But before the kids, I loved giving gifts. To everyone! My goodness, sayang ang pera!!! Haha, I gave nga kasi to everyone—family, friends, friends of friends, people who are nice to me at work, the condo guards, the neighbors, the everybody! 
There was this one time I felt really bad because... Okay, many years ago, there were two girls named Frances in the publishing company where I used to work, one was an editor and I, well, I was the new PR girl. But everyone was nice to me so that Christmas, I gave sooo many people gifts. The other Fran got the thanks. Nobody thought the gift came from me because, really, no one knew me! Sayang ang pera ko! Lalo na't ang liit pa ng sweldo ko then. Poor me. Literally!
Hmm, come to think of it, I think there are other habits of a poor mentality. Add these to the list:
  • Poor people buy tingi. Sachets, sample sizes, cellphone load. 
  • The poor always make tawad. Argh. Vince hates this! He says it's embarrassing when I haggle. He says, "If you can't afford full price, don't buy it!" He's actually okay if I haggle in Greenhills, tiangge, market. But the habit is deeply ingrained—sometimes I make tawad sa department store or at boutiques! Cringe!
  • Poor people dream to be an employee for life. Aha! Most of us go to school so we can end up working in some company. We spend so much in schooling just so we can make money for someone else! Poor people think that they have to have a boss. It's okay to have a good, steady job, of course. But you'll never be a billionaire as long as you're working for someone else.
Vince helped a lot in my un-education. For one thing, he set me straight when it came to credit card use. He's also teaching me how to save and spend wisely. We're reading this amazing book called All Your Worth. Vince's brother-in-law, businessman Lit Onrubia (yes, the Chi Runner and, yes, of the wedding proposal at Julia Fordham's concert fame!), recommended it to us when we said we're ready to take money seriously. This book makes so much sense! And it makes money such a wonderful thing—it's not something to slave over, worry about or store away obsessively. This book changes attitudes towards money, spending and saving. We love it and highly recommend it!

The really rich aren't obsessed with money, to be honest. They love that it's there, of course, but they treat money as a tool and a by-product of success. That's another poor mentality thing: Poor people think money is the measure of one's success. While that is mostly true, true success is doing what you love, being who you really are. So gather the courage to be yourself and do what you were meant to do on this earth. Then you'll be truly wealthy!

21 comments:

  1. I'll get a copy of that book! Hope you'e ok now. Cheer up! :)

    Mica of http://www.micamyx.com

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    1. No, not okay yet. I feel like my faith in humanity needs to be restored =( But thank you! Okay, faith in humanity restored! =D

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  2. I need to read All Your Worth. I honestly don't get the things you enumerated because in my head I'm thinking it's not about poverty mentality but gust plain practical. Oh wait, does that thought a symptom of poor mentality?

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    1. I also used to think it's about being practical but when I met rich people, hindi sila mawaldas, eh. Iba talaga attitude nila sa pera. They think BIG PICTURE. They don't think, "How can I make tipid?" They think, "How can I use what money I have to get even more money?"

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  3. "The poor always make tawad" - ganun? And I always thought "haggling" is an art haha! Seriously, I also do this even at department stores! Of course I don't get discounts but I get directed to the "sale" items or offered deferred payment plans hehe!

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    1. Haggling has its place =) But some places dapat hindi na tumatawad. I actually have a good story about this. I'll post about this soon! =D

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  4. Great read! Thanks for sharing! I want to get a copy of that book..... Hope the money that was lost comes back to you in triple folds...

    http://www.littlemisshoney.blogspot.com

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    1. Thanks so much! Sana hundredfold hehe

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  5. That would be a must-read book!

    Yun din ang observation ko sa mga rich, simple lang sila at talagang matipid.

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    1. Yeah, lalo na yung mga mayayaman na sariling banat ng buto kind. Minsan lang yan gumastos pero sa quality things naman, like really good shoes or well tailored clothes. Or they'll spend on things that will generate income, like real estate or a business.

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  6. Aww, the money will come back to you, Ms. Frances! Sobra pa sa hundredfold (amen!). I've read that Cracked post before din, and like you, I also relate to going overboard on gifts. I used to do it to buy people's affection, but now hindi na. Now, I just want to foist impractical stuff on people - things they wouldn't think of buying for themselves haha. I used to have all poor mentality habits until I became a Christian, too! :-)

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    1. Yes, it doesn't sound like something a poor person would do (wala ka na ngang pera!!!) but it's true. It's overcompensating, it's trying to feel good about yourself. So sad!

      Iba talaga ang Christian mindset, no? We have been transformed by the renewing of our minds! =)

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  7. i'm guilty with the "buy tingi" thing :) well, i am materially poor but i'm rich in a lot of ways :) this is a very nice read, thanks for sharing

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    1. It's hard kasi to buy the big bottle of shampoo or big package of toilet paper kasi nga naman mas mahal siya sa unang tingin. Parang if I had only P100, bibili na lang ako ng sachet na P5 lang instead of the bottle na P70 but will last me months and months. It's hard to think over long periods of time when you're obsessed with survival now.

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  8. I need this book!!! I am also a master haggler and, yes, I am guilty of enjoying bad food. Sayote with sardinas? Yum yum! And like you (from what I read before), I am also guilty of giving away money that I worked hard for, to people who don't appreciate it and think it is my obligation to give to them monthly. Haaaayyy... never again.

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    1. Masarap ang sayote with sardinas!!!

      Yes, that's actually another poor mentality thing: expecting your family—whether your parents, children and/or siblings—to support you.

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  9. this one: You want to go overboard on gifting, akong ako din yan.. parang kase you want to show how grateful you are to all the pople na naging nice sayo..

    and yes making tawad! kung pwede lang pati sa mall (kaya I love going to Anson's pedeng tumawad! hahaha)

    another thing, anything that is more than 1k is mahal! LOL and admit it, basta 3 for 100 nakakalaway! ahh the perks of being poor haha

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    1. Minsan kasi, like what commenter Leah de Leon said, makakakuha ka talaga ng discount kahit na sa dept store ka mag-shop. Like you find out na kung cash ka magbayad, may 5% off. Or if you buy this TV, you get a sound system for free. Stuff like that! Nakaka-excite siya haha

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  10. I will buy the book. Sounds interesting. I know about poor mentality. I have all those plus add to that pretentiousness. Life is a learning process. I don't really aim to be rich financially anymore but to be happy and content no matter what. I learned that life has its ups and downs. Having an open mind and heart enriches my life tremendously.

    But I think poor taste is not only the mentality of the poor. I know some people who are well off but poor tastes. I believe that taste is subjective. It is culturally related too. Also, some people have better palate than others. It depends on what you are exposed to. For example, I used to love spaghetti made of banana ketchup. Manamis namis kase. So nung dumating ako rito sa America, di ko gusto yung kanilang spaghetti. Maasim kasi. One dimensional yung lasa. Pero nung nakatikim ako nang authentic Italian pasta with homemade fresh pasta and fresh, made from scratch marinara sauce with Parmiggiano Reggiano, I was in heaven. Di ko na gusto yung Jollibee spagghetti. Okay makakain ko pa rin siya pero di na siya yung paborito ko

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    1. Yes, happiness is a choice. No matter what your situation—poor, rich, single, married, etc! =)

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  11. Ngayon lang naman ako pa brewed brewed ang gusto ko lng nman talaga instant coffee! This made me laughed! This is why I really like you and why I think we could be good friends given a chance. The no bullshit attitude, and unpretentious so like me!

    About sa maids, that is the reason bakit until now nagsa suffer pa din ako ng walang helper. I hate the pakikisama, that I can't be myself or do what I want in our own house because there are other people we consider but the catch is they do whatever they like with no care for us. Sila ang hindi nakikisama. And also because I have no patience to teach repeatedly over a very simple task. Wala lang talaga silang will to kearn and remember what you've been teaching them. Sa panahon ngayon ang magandang pag uugali ay rare na ang hirap mahanap sa tao rich or poor!

    Not related sa topic but I hate it that Filipinos bring a lot of sabit sa events. For example, I invited a tita sa binyag ng baby ko, nagsama ng kapitbahay whom I havent met before hindi man lang magsabi or ask if its ok. Then sa photos that kapitbahay woman was in most pictures nasa gitna pa and it really just irritates me whenever I look at the photos. Yung pinsan ng husbanf ko na ninang, nagbitbit ng 2 cousin niya sa other side. Then hindi man lang nag hi sa amin. Hello! Sabi ng mommy ko ganun daw talaga ako lang ang iba na nag eexpect pa na magsabi sa akin ang nga tao na magsasama sila. I dont know, ako hindi ako pumupunta kapag hindi ako invited. Nakakahiya.

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