Envelopes in My Head

"Can you lend me P100?" asked Rico, a friend at work. "I have no money for my ride home."

He was not asking for a million bucks, so the vulnerable side of me wanted to immediately hand him the money.

But my sane side said, "Don't." For how could anyone not leave enough money for his trip home?

On payday, this friend splurges on good meals in posh restaurants. He likes buying snacks for everyone. On his birthday, he throws a lavish party. Loaning from others has become a habit. Guess who's his favorite go-to pushover?

I suspect he hasn't heard of budgeting.

This was taught me by my mother before my wedding day.

"Envelopes," she advised. "Put the money you receive in them before even thinking of spending a centavo. Label each envelope with your monthly expenses—rent, food, utilities, emergency, amortizations, and oh, don't forget tithe. After filling those envelopes, only then can you spend the money left in your hands."
I did just that. It was tight, yes, but I was never short on cash till my husband's next paycheck, which was a pittance in those days.

Years later, those envelopes moved from my drawer to my head. It had become second nature to me. I could instinctively allocate what cash I had for essentials without physical envelopes. As I matured in my faith, tithe was the first envelope I put money in. 

"I am sorry, Rico," I replied. "My P100 is earmarked for something."

"How about P50?" he haggled. "Just to get me home."

"Sorry." I saw envelopes in head.

On my ride home, I passed by a reedy, old man with a dirty, small kid rummaging through a trash can. I stopped to give them my hard-earned P100.

"Don't squander God's grace—budget," mom stressed moons ago. She didn't cite a particular verse, but this one has suited me fine:

"Careful planning puts you ahead in the long run; hurry and scurry puts you further behind." Proverbs 21:5 (MSG)


Yay Padua-Olmedo said...

Agree! I learned my lesson a little too late; especially the tithing part. When I did, it was a miracle our finances never ran out. His principles are tough but they really work.

Grace D. Chong said...

And his provisions come just in time! I have experienced this again and again.