The 12k Budget: The Story of a Filipino Salary man Living in a minimum wage

I welcome everybody to the first series of the 12k Budget. I will share some relatable stories of my first employment before discussing the actual budgeting guide for a P12,000.00


This was the minimum wage of my time, and the typical rate of salary given to fresh graduates.

Budgeting a 12k salary, in Philippine Peso 12,000.00, is very challenging to most people. Now, that we live in a consumer-ruled society where a regular salaryman would probably spend their pay on expensive gadget with several features they will never need.

Much worse is to use a credit card to get that toy now and pay for it for 90 days to 36 months with a false 0-2% interest that cost 10% or more the longer your loan period .

Although, the minimum wage of 12k has increased through the years, many company still pays entry level working professionals, especially fresh college graduates this unlawful amount. Some may be lucky to get a legendary start of 20k for their first job, but that totally depends on the demand of the job market and the industry itself. BPO and call center industry pays higher to call center agents. The lowest is 16k+ salary even to high school graduates.

The 12k seems very restricting to a great extent to the cost of living in the Philippines.  

You’ll probably get higher than that depending on luck of getting an opportunity faster after your graduation. Because some Filipinos always take the 12k compensation out of desperation or for an early start on your career or to pay of their college debts.

But this blog is not a guide on how you could get higher salary. It is a guide to budgeting. I believe it is better save more than earn more. Earning more cannot make you rich, but knowing how to save more can.

Just imagine if you can save money from a 12k monthly income what more if you get that 100k monthly income.

After knowing several people from different fields of work. I’ve witnessed a lot of high earning working professional abroad and in the Philippines with a whooping monthly income of 100k, and still living paycheck to paycheck, has huge debt 5m on their credit card and still hiding from loan sharks, and still can’t discipline themselves from buying stuff they don’t even need and impressing people they don’t even like. That’s the “poor mentality” you can have if you do not learn how to budget or at least save.

Don’t get me wrong, guys (and sweet girls). I’m not saying that it is a requirement to live below your means and there is nothing wrong with being high paid. The 12k budget is not only made for people who only earns a 12k salary. It can be lower or higher. But this guide will help you change your mentality on overspending on unnecessary expenditures the lever on how you cut cost relies heavily on your decision. No matter what is the condition of your life you can become rich based on your decision.

There was a saying that “ It’s not your fault if you were born poor, but it’s your fault if you die poor”

My first tip is learning to make a budget. The time I got my first job I tried to commit myself to a budget and gave up on my 3rd month. It felt so time restricting and it’s hard to record your spending on a daily basis.

I stopped my budget for 3 months, and realized that I kept forgetting bills that has to be paid. I lost more money from penalties, even got electricity at home cut because of overdue, and spend the night with no lights and AC on a hot summer night.

Then I realized that I must learn how to budget. It relieves my mind of worries where my money goes to.

For starters, cut your budget in 3 easy categories: 10% savings, 50% needs, and 40% wants.

The percentage is up to you. But we really need to put saving as part of the budget. You must pay your savings first, needs is second like your bills and your allowance in an envelope, and lastly your wants.

Not sure about your needs and wants, please check Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. It is available in your old school textbooks or the internet.

Budgeting can help you develop self-discipline, problem-solving capabilities and much more.

This is the end of the part 1 of the 12k budget. I hope you read the next part of this series.

Francis Noel Nocete

Blogger | Intrapreneur = Entrepreneur + Employee | Investor | Book Enthusiast |

6 thoughts on “The 12k Budget: The Story of a Filipino Salary man Living in a minimum wage

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