I was asked once what my goal in life was. I remember answering: “To pay my credit card off.” I did, so where does that leave me?

Usually, people my age would want to save up for a new car, a new house and possibly, a tour around the world. Blessed with a very hardworking grandfather, a loving mother and a kuripot gene that never seems to fail, I have achieved them all before the age of 23.

If I wanted a gadget, I could buy it but always with strong will power, I would opt not to. So you would find me hoping for the next Macbook or the next iPhone. I don’t have the ability to waste away my cash on it– even if I could afford it.

Then of course my impractical ways of saving: not buying new clothes despite the holes, wearing broken shoes, wearing old and oversized underwear. I would even buy toothbrushes for kids just to save five pesos.

I am that type who spends for loved ones more than herself, the type that is satisfied with having a slurpee once or twice a week – even just lugaw, lumpia and nilupak would make me happy. I was never interested in the material things.

My boyfriend is my exact opposite. He loves the material things and it is really a struggle for me to adjust to the concept of self-spoiling. I cringe at a 350 pesos blouse or a 500 pesos t-shirt. I can never seem to break it in me to go beyond a 1000 when shopping.

It’s not that I have a money issue- it’s just that I don’t want to be in debt or have nothing when emergencies come up – for example, my mother’s medication or hospitalization. I need to have more than enough – never thinking I had enough and maybe, I could give myself an upgrade.

I work 5 companies and earn at the most, 6 figures monthly, if I have other freelance projects to do. I used to work for corporations – still do at times – when I consult with them but usually, I would be at home exhausting my brain cells when I feel like working.

I call it a luxury to earn huge despite working at the confines of my home. Although a lot of people think I would be doing a lot better in a company, I can never give up the peace I have at home compared to the never-ending office politics and disheartening chismis that exist in the corporate world.

It’s not that bad at all being homebased. There was a point that I have spent so much in a month (due to trips, my birthday, unexpected expense, me getting sick, car repair plus Christmas season) that only then did I realize how much I earned. I never thought of how blessed I was because I never enjoyed it. I chose to share it, pay the usual bills and ignore everything I wanted – only went for what I needed.

Then – there was that reminder I had from my boyfriend about the idea of self-spoiling. I never understood his idea until his mother, one of the smartest people I have met, put into three words what my boyfriend has been trying to teach me: Enjoy your youth.

Looking at 5 years of working, I only chose to satisfy the simple cravings I have and never giving myself a chance to enjoy fully what I have worked hard for. I never gave myself a chance to be happy.

So where does this leave me after my credit card? To live and enjoy what life has to offer – not in excess but rather waking up with a smile because of yesterday and ending the day, grateful.

A psychology study says that when you earn more than 3 million a year, no amount of material things would ever satisfy you – only relationships. Earning less means you gratify yourself through material things or what is visually appealing to you. But why wait for a three million paycheck to realize what makes you truly happy?

It maybe the Macbook Retina I am eyeing or possibly a new car that could really bring me joy. It could be the Omega Constellation or simply treating my mom to her favorite restaurant. Money is needed – yes, but money can never buy time, happiness and love.

You know what they say: YOLO – You only live once. Make once count. Live well. Live the good life.

“And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.”