Saturday, December 31, 2011

Hello readers!

It’s been a while since my last post and I’m excited to write again. It’s been a busy year for me. Had lots of things to settle before I can continue with this passion.

Let’s start the year right by greeting each one a Happy New Year! May we all have a great one this time.

Expect the usual “Looking Back” and “What To Do this Year” entries soon. And don’t forget the “Goals for 2012” and the crossing out of achieved goals for the past year.

For now, let’s all have a great New Year celebration!

HAPPY NEW YEAR everyone!

~Till then.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

13th Month Pay Arrived, So What Now?

My prorated 13th month pay arrived last weekend while I was camping at Mt Batulao. I immediately took the money and went shopping! Oooooooopppppppss! NOT TRUE! hahaha.

Few months before the bonus pay out, I already planned where my 13th month pay will go. So off my bonus to one of my favorite investment facilities - my long term health care.

I am saving for it for almost 4 years now. It was a plan designed to pay my hospital bills even at the age of 60 and beyond. The good part is, I am going to save for it for just five years. It took me lots of guts and will power to pay my plan but I am pleased that I went on through the process because today I know my money has a longer way to go.

I hope you have your long term health care also.

~Till then.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Marriage and Debt - How to Deal with It

Okay, you are married and you're both in debt.

You are paying for your mortgage, your car loan, your cable, your phone lines, your electric bill, your water bill, your credit card bills and of course your nanny all at the same time. On top of that you need to buy milk, diapers and vitamins for your baby. And of course who will forget the monthly check-up for the kiddo?

You thought you have enough for the bills. You plan pretty well and thought can survive until one of your loans are settled.

But at one point you splurged. You overspent. That was when everything went shaky. You started delaying your mortgage payment, your cable, your water bill, your credit card bills and sad to say including your nanny's pay. The interest in your credit card bills became overwhelming because you cannot pay even the minimum amount required. It became a ticking time bomb.

With all these bills to pay, how are you both going to cope up?

First thing first. The couple need to sit down and talk about their finances. They have to admit that are broke and the need to re-arrange everything should be on top of their priority list.

It is a very stressful situation for couples to have financial problems. More often than not, this is one o the main reasons why couples separate. So before that happens, they need to do something.

Here are some tips I gathered to help couple straighten their finances.
1. The couple should make a list of their debts first. They can arrange them from the highest to the lowest or from the one with the highest interest to the lowest interest.

2. They should decide what debt to settle first. For me it is best to settle the smallest debt first so that the feeling of successful paying off a debt can be felt which can actually drive them to continue paying off the others. In this method, the list should be arranged from smallest to highest. Then they have to determine how much is the minimum payment for all their debt. Then the smallest debt should be paid a little higher so that it can be finished sooner. After paying off the smallest, they need to go to the next on the list and so on and so forth. After each successful payment, don't forget to celebrate a bit so that you'll really have the feeling of success. (But please DO NOT SPLURGE.)

3. Look at your house. Inspect all your things. Are you accumulating assets or liabilities? Is your house full of junk that just lie on the floor or on your cabinet? Well it's time to let go of all the things that you don't really need. Have a garage sale on your yard. Invite people and neighbors to look at your yard sale and make money out of your trash. You can also learn and sell stuff there. Remember, your trash can be someone else's treasure. The money you'll be making from the yard sale will be used to pay-off one of your credit card bills.

4. Live a simple life. One thing that everybody tends to forget is to live simple. It is just a human nature to want more as your salary grows. But try to learn to curb the want and think with your mind not with your heart. Most of the times, people commit mistakes when they think emotionally. And mind you, emotional thinking tends to make you spend more.

5. Do not mind what other people will say. It's your life not theirs. Why bother what other people will say. Will they help you when you tell them you need money? I think not.

6. Find ways to lessen your expenses. Find a house that suits your budget. Use public transport from time to time. Skip the soda and switch to water. If you can live without a cable connection then do so. If you can maintain connectivity by dropping the broadband connection then do so. Hand wash your clothes once a month and hang them to dry. Plant some vegetables in your backyard. There are actually tons of ways to lessen expenses. It all boils down to what things you value more

7. Don't forget to smile and pray. With a little bit of determination and strong decision making you will eventually climb up the pit of debt. So don't forget to smile and pray. Don't let depression overpower you. Don't let self pity put you down. Every problem has a solution. You just have to hang on.

~Till then

Friday, October 14, 2011

Going Rice-less

I've been wanting to go rice-less ever since my friends told me that I've been gaining weight. I felt the extra weight too but I have not paid attention until one day I cannot reach my toes when I bend.

The weighing scale starts to disturb me. I don't like standing on top of it. During my pre-employment check-up, the nurse told me that I am 60kgs [132lbs]. I told myself, "Wow Millette, you're heavy." Okay, that's it. that was the breaking point. I have to do something.

I began listing foods that I put inside my mouth and began dropping those that are not healthy. At first, I focused on eating fruits and vegetables. Then I stopped eating rice. It was difficult but after the first 21 days everything began to fall into places. I also had to run 30 minutes a day in order to lose those fats.

After a few weeks of healthy diet and exercise, I began losing weight of roughly 1lb each week. I am now at 121lbs and continue losing weight.

Thanks to my friends who are continuously supporting me.

~Till then.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Social Obligation

Many of us do not really understand the value of social obligation. For many it means donating money to the less fortunate. Others treat it as giving things to the needy.

Actually social obligation go far beyond donating money or things. Social obligation for me means being aware and acting fast in response to the events that are happening. Happenings that include the calamities that strike our country.

In my search for the true meaning of social obligation, I have listed several things that I believe are part of it.

  1. Awareness of the fact that water is life.
  2. Resourcefulness in everything.
  3. Sharing time with other people.
  4. Valuing other people’s time.
  5. Being physically fit and physically clean.
  6. Sharing knowledge to other people.
  7. Caring for nature.
  8. Being healthy.
  9. Recycling things.
  10. Having a positive outlook.

I will be listing other things when as I come across them. I just hope we all do our part. It will be a very nice place to stay if that i the case.

~Till then.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Reasons Why I Don’t Have A Credit Card

Not having a credit card is not an issue for me. Aside from the incident that happened to me years ago, which will be written in due time, I have 11 reasons why I don’t have one.

1. Cash is King

There are more freebies when you buy things in cash. I get 10% discount on some items if I use cash instead of card. Just talk to the customer relations officer and I’m sure he’ll be giving you favorable discounts.

2. For Security Reasons

Identity theft is rampant in credit cards - unlike in debit cards. Just look at what happened to me.

3. I don’t want to complicate things

I go to the store where I want to buy some clothes and some shoes. I pick up some items, proceed to the counter, get some cash in my wallet and leave the store. I don’t have to compute how much I charged myself moreover I don’t have to wait for my billing statement before paying.

4. It’s easier to budget with cash

I think this is plain english. No need to expound.

5. Spend less

I can track everything with cash. And I can easily down size if necessary.

6. Maintain my investment amount

The effect of spending less is maintaining my investment amount. I am happier with this set up.

7. I am not a fan of credit card perks

I often see people go after the credit card perks like free food, free travel etc. If I may compute, I can have those freebies at a cheaper price without charging my card over my intended limit.

8. I can still book for travels

Most of my travel were booked via credit cards of office mates. They get to have the points while I get to have my tickets. Fair enough for me.

9. No debt = No hassle

10. Donations are easily done with cash

Although donations via credit is now acceptable, I still want my donations in cash. Less hassle to the organizations I support. Less processing more time on other things.

11. I don’t treat credit card as an emergency fund

People mistakenly treat credit card as their emergency fund. Well I don’t. I have a healthy sum of money in my bank account labeled as “For Emergency Use Only!”

There you go. I hope you picked up some really good tips.

~Till next time.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Common Money Mistakes in your 20’s

1. Not saving at all

Most young adult will delay savings especially when they are still enjoying the fruits of their first job. Not realizing that they have financial obligations in the future is dangerous. The earlier someone realizes the better his goals will be.

2. Not saving enough

The enlightened young adult will save some cash but most probably they don’t know how much is enough.

3. Not having a goal with your money

A hard-earned money without a goal is useless. Most often than not it will go to unnecessary things.

4. Spending beyond your limit

Over spending is the most common problem people make. Even people in their 30’s, 40’s and 50’s over spend. If this practice is not addressed in the early years it will become a habit and will certainly ruin one’s finances.

5. Getting into deep debt

Excited with their powerful plastics, the swipers will never be contented. If you are not smart enough to pay everything at cut-off I’m sure you’ll be having trouble with your magic plastic.

6. Not paying your credit

Do you think you can get out of your debt so easily? Changing of address and contact details are not the solution. Your name will be in their block list and you might not be able to borrow money from any bank again.

7. Not giving back

It is in the power of giving that we receive. Giving a portion of your income to the needy will multiply the blessings that you will be receiving.

8. Developing unhealthy attitude towards money

Money is just a tool. It is not a god. Focusing on money alone is unhealthy. You got to have a balance.

9. Not studying investments

Investments are great tools designed to amass wealth. Poor people don’t know it. The reason a 20 something is poor is because he has not met investment yet.

10. Not studying Taxation in the Philippines

Taxation is a thing that you cannot live without. You eat, they tax you. You travel, they tax you. You die, they tax you. Learn how to do away with taxes and you will have a better footing. (No I am not encouraging you to falsify documents!)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

25 Ways to Reduce Spending without Feeling Miserable

Hello dear readers. I have been compiling tips that think are worth sharing. These are practical and easy to apply in our day to day lives. Hope you'll have time evaluating them and pick up lessons from the long list.

1. Dining out? Ditch that Soda!
If you are fond of dining out you better ditch that soda. Why? Because it increases the value of the food up to 25%. You don’t want to pay 30bucks for sugar and water, do you?

2. Single and renting? Have a housemate!
Renting a house is good as long as you keep the rent to a minimum. How to do so? Have a housemate/housemates. City services will also be divided when you do so.

3. Rent that dress or better Borrow that Dress
Who says going to a party is expensive? Renting is cheaper than owning that dress which you will only use once.

4. Rent that bag
Here’s a tip for a savvy party-goer who doesn’t want to bring the same old bag, rent it. And here’s another tip: Limit the party!

5. Buy in bulk
There are a lot of things that can be bought in bulk. Like those that are not perishable. But don’t overdo it. You don’t want loads of tissue papers in your storage room.

6. Shop less
Make grocery trips once a month or once every two weeks. Make your budget work.

7. Walk more
The minute your feet feels sore you’ll stop shopping for more. It’s a fun way to exercise also.

8. Carpool
Talk to your neighbor who owns a car. Negotiate the price and agree with the time. Less hassle compared to commuting.

9. Cell phone load? Try my 150php per month recommendation
I changed my service provider with a new one. It’s cheap at 150Php per month. Whenever someone text me using a different provider, I usually email them or Facebook them.

10. Cut internet connection (unless your job depends on it)
You don’t really need internet connection unless of course your job depends on it. You’ll be amazed by how much you can save by staying disconnected.

11. Traveling? DIY!
I have a supportive team when it comes to travel and leisure. We do it on our own and set our own budget. Great opportunity to explore the wonders of nature at a fraction of the cost.

12. Switch off
Switch off those appliances. Unplug them when not in use specifically television sets, radio and cellular phone chargers. They still consume electricity even at stand by mode.

13. Apply for a loyalty card
I have loyalty cards from SM and Shopwise. Who could have imagined that I can accumulate hundred of points with them. Points can be used to purchase anything inside their stores.

14. Cook
I love cooking but i don’t know if cooking loves me. I just serve what I eat and eat what I serve.

15. Don’t chase fashion
Chasing what’s fashionable can make you poor. Just stick with the basics and you’re good to go. No need to keep up with the Joneses.

16. Need to unwind? Park it up!
At this age of the malls, seldom do we see people go to the park. Well actually going to the park is a lot cheaper than staying at the malls. Try visiting the Eco Park in Quezon City. You will have a nice view of the La Mesa Dam there.

17. Run rather than pay a gym.
Few years back I sold my gym membership and ran on the streets. The calories I shed were the same but it’s a lot cheaper. Actually it’s free. I just need to buy a reliable pair of shoes to prevent my feet from getting hurt.

18. Haggle
When I am at the market I haggle. Sometimes it’s okay with the sellers sometimes it’s not. That’s okay with me. As long as I get what my money’s worth then haggling will never become an issue with me.

19. Buy used
Inspect when buying used items. If you are buying a used car make sure you have an expert accompanying you. They will make a good resource person.

20. It’s the thought that counts
Giving gifts doesn’t really need to be expensive. You have to understand your budget and work from it. Do not go overboard.

21. Trade
I like it when I can trade some of my things with my friends. It makes recycling easy.

22. Life is simple. Don’t complicate it!
Sometimes people complicate things. They buy things to impress people they don’t like. Most of the times bragging will put you down. Live a simple life. The happiest people don’t have the latest fashion or the latest technology. They simply are contented with what they have and focus on what is important.

23. You can survive without it!’ attitude
Yes! I can survive without the latest gadgets. I am more focused on the personal relationship I have with other people. Just always put this in mind and you'll be guided.

24. Treat savings as expenses
After receiving my salary, I put constant amount on my mutual funds. Then I allot money for the rent and city services. Constant amount saved each month can translate to millions after a few years.

25. Join a thrift group
It’s the friends that influence you. If you have thrifty friends, you will most likely become one. Choose your friends.

Friday, July 15, 2011

How to Organize

The best way to make everything work is to organize things before it happens. That’s the reason why we have wedding organizers, event coordinators and career planners.
Today we will talk about organizing our lives through organizing small details in it. The technique written here is not only applicable to finances but also to everything.
6S Technique
Popularized by the Japanese

1. Sorting

Distinguish between those things that are needed and not needed. Keep only needed materials and throw away all unnecessary items immediately and properly.
Another thing is to donate the things that are not needed.

2. Set to Order

Put things in right order in designated areas with labels. Use the right storage facility for the materials involved and organize according to frequency.

3. Shine (Cleanliness)

Problems are more visible when everything is neat and clean. Clean as you go.

4. Standardize

Follow standards in lay-out and purchase of any furniture and accessories.

5. Sustain

Ensure that gains are held and continue to be made.

6. Safety

Follow safety procedures at all times. Report any unsafe conditions immediately. Make safety a priority at all times.

Image Sources:

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

My Laptop Turns Four

I’m really happy my laptop turns 4 years old. It still runs, not as fast as the latest, but still can do what I want it to do.

Paul and I bought it when I was studying for a post graduate degree.

I told myself few years back that my laptop will be replaced after 5 years. But now I am changing my mind. I will use the same laptop until its tenth year or until it cannot function properly whichever comes first.

Today I need to replace the keyboard because a panel has not been working for months already. It’s quite expensive but can be done.

Six years is a very long time to save for a more powerful replacement. I am foretelling that laptops will not be a hit anymore. We will all be invaded by tablets. And I am starting to save for it as early as today.

~Till next time.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Credit Card Debt

You might wonder why I don’t discuss much about credit card debt in my blogs. That’s because I don’t really have anything to discuss about it. As much as possible I don’t want readers to incur credit card debts.
But still I feel the urge of giving something to you regarding this matter.
I have lots of friends who are digging themselves into credit card debt. They treat it as an easy way to get money. They have the motto “I want it NOW!”
But then one will realize that getting yourself in deep debt is a burden physically, emotionally and psychologically.
Here are a few steps to follow to avoid irresponsible consumer debt.
1. Do not use cash advance
The cash advance is there to mindset people that they have cash and it's ready to be splurged. Once you get the cash advance, the interest starts to tick.
2. Do not max out your credit limit if you cannot pay it in full on cut-off date
Use your card good as cash. Pay everything on or before the cut off date.
3. Avoid unnecessary expenses
4. Do not carry your credit card when you intend to shop
Most of the times people overcharge themselves because plastic is convenient. Oftentimes they miscalculate.
5. If you have an outstanding credit card debt, DO NOT borrow anymore.
Settle your debt first. Stop the urge.
6. Compute
Oftentimes people forget to compute. Your cellular phone has a calculator. Use it.
7. Pay On-time

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Saving Effectively: Pretend You are Paying for a House and Lot

If you have problems in saving money, here’s a tip: pretend you are paying for a house and lot or a car.

Many people are more effective when they are paying for a loan or a mortgage when saving money. It makes them more disciplined.

Applying it to the concept of saving money, pretend you have a mortgage amounting to 1M. This becomes your target savings. Then decide how many years to pay. Of course the longer the period you pay the smaller the monthly amortization but the higher the interest rate. Luckily in saving money the higher the interest rate the better.

Let’s pretend you don’t have any money to start with. But you plan to have a house and lot after 10 years. To start with you are required to give a down payment amounting to at least 10 percent payable within a year with no interest. Then the succeeding payments will be distributed over the remaining 9 year period at an interest rate of 6% (per annum).

Selling Price


Down Payment


Monthly Down Payment


Remaining Balance


Monthly Amortization


You may think that the computation is crazy because the monthly amortization is lower than what it should be. Actually it is. The difference of the monthly amortization presented to you by your real estate agent and my computation is their gain which translates to money working against you.

Now you can foresee that it is easy to accumulate one million Pesos in a matter of 10 years.

~Till then

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Mid-Year Review on Finances

I made it this far. I am congratulating myself for a job well done. I really am doing very well and I think I deserve a pat on my back.
I was inspired by an article sent by Paul when we were still starting to manage our finances. The guy in the article saved 180,000Php in a matter of 9 months. He was just starting from work then. This guy really has discipline when it comes to handling his finances.
I am just your average employee. I earn what an average employee earns. I was not promoted nor had a big bonus recently. I made it possible through properly saving and investing my money. I stayed motivated and stayed focused on what I had to achieve this 2011. I didn’t have to go abroad to have this much in so little time.
No I was not penny pinching. Actually I had a total of 3 out of town trips already which includes a Mt. Pulag climb, a trip to Sagada and a camp-out in Calaguas.
I also have to pay my house rent and the city services.
What’s most exciting was the recognition I received from Paul when he found out how much I saved. A treat awaits, I think.
Now I can easily say, “Hello house and lot.”
This mini success I offer to the Great Lord for blessing me and my family good health and wealth. If you do good to other people, you will really be rewarded. Proven!
~Till then.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Filipinos are Cheap?

Few days ago we were invited to have lunch with the big boss in the company I am working for. We were glad because only few were invited to share a table him. It means that the team has done something great deserve a special treatment.

It’s normal for Filipinos to order the most expensive meal in a restaurant if someone is going to pay for it. I don’t see a problem in it. What I cannot accept is, the person ordered the most expensive meal but in the end he was not able to finish it.

I don’t like leftovers because I know it will end up in the trash. I hope people can see this fact.

Here are a few guidelines I am personally following when dining out.

  1. Order only what you can pay for even if it will be charged to the other person.
  2. Order only what you can finish.
  3. Don’t focus on the meal. Focus on the business.
  4. Listen attentively.
  5. Avoid commenting on the food unless asked by the host.

Always remember, practicing basic etiquette will leave a better impression.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Opening a Checking Account

I have decided to open a checking account to further automate my investments in my mutual fund accounts. It’s a lot easier to track and program my investments with this method.

With checking account, I can just issue post dated checks and transfer fund to this account. I can already pre-set how much I will invest in a particular year.

Once a person has a checking account he/she should be disciplined enough not to go below the minimum amount and fund the account if necessary. This will safeguard the person from the penalties that comes with it.

Monday, June 20, 2011

The State of Finances and Diet

People say that if your finance is at a mess you are expected to be malnourished. They connect money directly to the physical state of a person.

Does that mean that physically fit people are also financially fit?

I don’t think so.

I’ve been gaining weight rather than losing those extra pounds. But my finances are very much intact and I am very much into my goal of saving so much this year.

What happens is that, I am always in front of my computer writing-rewriting and editing blogs for this blog site. I am always accompanied by my faithful mug of chocolate drink or coffee.

I have to do something about this soon.

Time for a jog!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Eating what is in Season

I love Philippines because of its tropical weather. It’s always perfect for a vacation. People are warm and friendly and food is very cheap. That’s why I don’t want to leave this place to stay abroad and work there for a very long period of time.

Fruits are very abundant here in the Philippines that’s why they are cheap. There are also a lot of fresh vegetables to choose from.

Every time I go to the supermarket or the dry market, I take time to inspect and get loads of these foods in my basket. I choose foods that are in season to make sure that my healthy meal will still be within my budget.

In replacement to meat, I buy tofu. It’s cheaper yet gives me the protein I need. It is also in the market all year round.

I also eat a lot of fish. I eat fish when I crave for meat. It’s easier to digest and it also gives me protein and other vitamins. I just need to be very versatile with this since I tend to buy just two types – milkfish and tilapia. I think I need to explore more on squid and shrimp next time.

There are a lot of choices in the market. Just make sure that you will not get tired of what you are cooking. Try some healthy alternatives rather than buying something over the counter. Cooking is a great therapy. Enjoy it!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A Time for Everything

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

A time to be born, and a time to die;

A time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;

A time to kill, and a time to heal;

A time to break down, and a time to build up;

A time to weep, and a time to laugh;

A time to mourn, and a time to dance;

A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;

A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

A time to seek, and a time to lose;

A time to keep, and a time to cast away;

A time to tear and a time to sew;

A time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

A time to love, and a time to hate;

A time for war, and a time for peace.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Sunday, June 12, 2011

9 Ways to Avoid Impulsive Buying

I’ve been eying that iPad 2 since it was launched few months back. I often go to the Apple Store to check out prices and new apps. I log on to to compare the price difference from buying it here in the Philippines versus buying it in the US. It’s really amazing how apple can catch my attention on their gadgets. Unfortunately I have a strict budget to follow and I know I cannot afford to lose any of my money right now because of a major change.

As of today I’m keeping my budget and staying on track avoiding the distraction on the gadget. I’ll share to you some of the steps I follow to avoid impulsive buying. I hope they can help you out as well.

1. Stay away from the Mall

This step is hard to follow because my route going to the office passes by a mall. Fortunately the apple store is out of my way. But for instance your addiction is not on the gadget but on the fashion items on stack please do follow this first step.

2. Have a solid budget

I mentioned earlier that what forbids me from buying iPad 2 is my strict budget. It doesn’t allow me to give money away that easily hence making it a lot difficult for me to splurge on other things.

3. Give it at least 6 months

A big purchase is a big purchase and it can change my financial life easily if I got caught red handed. I’m giving it at least 6 months. If I still want it after 6 months then I’ll really consider buying.

4. Make a budget for splurge

A budget for splurge is a nice way to make things balance. And I have just one rule on this budget. “If my budget cannot buy it at once, about face.”

5. Compare Prices

I went to different dealers to compare prices. Some offer discounts when the item is paid in cash while some don’t. It still pays to look around because a 5% discount is a 5% discount.

6. Stop

When I log on my computer the three most typed words are facebook, yahoo mail and amazon. I had to restrict myself from typing the last word if I want to keep my budget in tact. I’m still lucky because I don’t have a credit line that I could have used on purchasing some stuff.

7. Use cash

Credit cards are not necessarily evil but if I want to stay on budget I should use cash in all of my purchases. But if I want to help my boyfriend in accumulating reward points, I’ll give my cash and he’ll use the card. He’ll pay it off the next morning.

8. Consider second hand

I consider buying second hand gadget from a friend instead of buying it on new condition. A 6 months old iPad is not different with the new one. But the price difference is big.

9. Breath

I take a breather. Instead of buying things instantly, I go to the bookstore and read the synopsis of a good book on saving and investing. This reminds me that I should save more and I should have more discipline when it comes to handling my hard-earned money.