At some point in your life, you’ve accrued a bit of debt, and if you have a credit card, then you’ve obviously had utang at every swipe. There’s actually nothing wrong with debt if it’s managed well; the issue starts when the person borrowing money can’t pay back.

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This unfortunately is the story of many of us na nagpautang—minsan kinalilimutan nang magbayad ng nangutang. Worse, we get seen-zoned every time we ask for our money back.

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In our most recent #FNAsks, we requested for your worst utang experience and how you dealt with it. The stories you sent range from mild annoyances to full-time horror stories, all of which we can definitely learn from:

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Make sure to put a cap on the amount you’re willing to lend.

Hanggang 3k lang kasi may mga taong magaling mangutang at paawa epek pero mahirap singilin, tatawanan ka pa ‘pag nakatalikod ka na.” – Rocelyne Kangleon

Lend money only when you know the person asking for it crucially needs it.

Ikaw na lang ang mananawa maningil, kaya it’s a matter of life and death na lang dapat kung magpautang. Nakakadala, nakakaasar na makita na may mga bago siyang shoes na iniyayabang sa social media.” – Haydee Buban

Don’t be afraid to ask for your money backrepeatedly.

Sa ‘kin 500 lang naman ang inutang, ‘di pa bayad ‘gang ngayon, siguro over five years na rin. Tapos ‘pag nagsimula ang BER months, biglang nangangamusta, ‘kumare’ ang tawag sa ‘kin (nagpaparamdam kasi inaanak ko anak niya).” – Ai Epiz

Nangutang pero one year to pay pala… Hindi kami na-inform, hehehe, peace.” – Zai Ramos Bronzal.

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Hahahaha ayon ‘di na ako kinakausap, kinamusta ko lang naman, ‘seen’ lang ang peg.” – Mariah Abella

Lend money to those only whom you trust…

“Hahahaha hindi po ako nagpapautang talaga. As in. Call me madamot or what pero once nagpautang ako sa trusted na tao. ‘Yong alam kong worthy talaga. Hindi na ako nagpapabayad. ‘Yon nga lang hindi talaga ako nagpapautang.” – Jarbel Librando Ramo

…And be careful in choosing people to trust.

Nagtratrabaho kami sa isang company ni Ateng, pero ‘di kami close or friends, or whatsoever… Ipinakilala lang siya sa ‘kin ng TL ko kasi need ko talaga ng pera n’on. So ayon, may kakilala si Ateng na nagpapautang ng pera, pero collateral is ATM. Umutang ako, nagtataka pa ‘ko n’on bakit napaka-accommodating ni Ateng, sinamahan niya pa ‘ko doon sa bahay nung lender only to find out na ‘yong original amount pala ng inutang ko pinatungan niya ng extra para sa kanya.  Nung nalaman ko sabi niya magbabayad lang siya sa ‘kin every sahod… Kailangan ko pa siyang habul-habulin para lang magbayad, siya kasi nakapangalan sa ‘kin ‘yong buong amount. Hindi ko na iisa-isahin lahat ng excuse niya para hindi makapagbayad, pero nagbunga naman lahat ng pagsisikap kong pilitin siya. Hayop na experience ‘yon. ‘Di naman kami close, makikipatong pa.” – Nsy Ayshan

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“2017, nabudol ako ng officemate ko i-swipe siya ng tatlong Macbook priced 164k each, plus 150k cash advance... Prior to that, may mga pa-swipe na siya and nabayaran naman so I thought kaya niya. Unang installment pa lang sumablay na, hanggang sa every month puro excuses na lang. Magbigay man, barya lang. Literally, naubos savings ko kakaabono ng monthly payments—no choice ako, card ko ‘yon e. Hanggang sa minimum due na lang nababayaran ko at lumobo ang interests.

“For a while tinaguan niya ako until magpa-blotter ako sa barangay nila. I guess, nakalampag siya, so nagparamdam at nakipagusap. She agreed to pay 66k a month, pero nawala lang ulit siya. Next, nagpadala na ako ng demand letter. Nakipagusap ulit siya at nagbigay ng mga cheke as partial payment. Nagtalbugan lahat ng cheke, una pa lang closed account na agad ang sabi ng bank.

“So heto ako ngayon, nagbabayad pa rin ng utang niya. The good thing that came out of the pandemic is that nag-offer ang mga cards ko ng payment structuring at discounted rates. It will take a while bago ko matapos lahat ng payments pero at least alam kong matatapos. There was a time na sobrang depressed ko... Nagtatrabaho ako to pay someone else’s debt just because I trusted a ‘friend’. I felt stupid, pero katangahan ko lang masisisi ko. I was deprived, my family was deprived, of my own earnings. Until now, nangangako pa rin siya na magbabayad pero parang ako pa ang nanlilimos sa pabarya-baryang bigay nya. Lahat na ng pakiusap nagawa ko, mabait na usap, galit na usap, nagmumurang usap… walang talab. Sadyang makapal ang mukha nya at sanay sa pangloloko.” - May Kristina Manalang Urbano

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Magpapa-utang ka pa ba?

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with lending money; it’s actually kindness to help another person out in time of need. However, you also need to remember that whatever you lend is an amount you wouldn’t mind losing or you wouldn’t have a hard time getting back; sarili mo pa rin ang dapat mong priority kung magpapautang ka.

Sadly, there are some "trust-worthy" people who change their colors when money is involved, so always make sure that you’re first covered. If you’re lending a big amount, always put everything in writing. While verbal agreements hold water, written ones can better keep you and your assets protected as they can be considered as hard proof of your financial arrangement. Should things go downhill and legal remedies are needed, a paper trail can help strengthen your case.

*Some answers were edited by FemaleNetwork editors for clarity.

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