I WELCOMED February with exactly $0 in my bank account. Usually I save at least a hundred bucks after each billing cycle — but this month? Pff. I had nada.

“We got bills to pay,” sings Taylor Swift. So this month I paid the bills, I took charge of my brother’s rent (long story and not mine to tell) and I shouldered other expenses too. I couldn’t even let my paychecks simmer into oblivion. They were gone as soon as they arrived; it was instant sublimation.

But I’m fine, I guess. My family still eats regularly, I still have a job, and I can still afford to drink beer every now and then. I come from a lower middle class household so treading the fringes of financial stability isn’t new to me. I’m used to this; we’ll survive eventually.

Also this month, the government finally decided that it’s time for me to start paying off my loans. Maybe I should get a second job soon, like a part-time barista gig or something. Reading the government letter reminded me that I am bound to stay in This Side of the World until I settle all this debt. Sad shit, but whatever. I’ll talk about this some other time.

Ah yes, I also went to the dentist the other day for my Invisalign check-up. Yes, kids, I still wear Invisalign. And yes, I did break my piggy bank all for the possibility of smiling with teeth. It’s a stupid financial decision but — there are no buts, really. I could’ve spent that money on tuition after all. I guess I just really wanted to be able to smile like I mean it; gusto ko lang din masabihan na “maganda.” Choz.

Anyway, the dentist decided that my aligners were not working (oh boy) so he ordered another scan. Now I have to wait until April to get my new set of trays, but whatever. I also wear glasses, by the way, and the eye clinic has been reminding me via voicemails that I haven’t had an eye exam in three years. E wala nga akong pera, ‘di ba? Maybe I’ll look into this two paychecks from now. Gan’un e.

And oh, remember what I wrote about my job in last month’s post? I’m still on that boat. HR still hasn’t given me a solid “no” on whether I’m staying or not after my contract expires. My boss basically implied that the safest route would be to just go look for another job, so there ya go. I’m a little worried because going jobless could spell a greater financial disaster for my folks but — ‘tang ina bahala na.

So that’s basically how my month went. TL;DR: I need money. Don’t we all? Chorot.

Both sketches in the featured image were patterned after mah face. I look worse in person, spoiler alert.

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