Saturday, February 28, 2015

RTB - First Investment Story

Friday, yes, finally, my last working night for this month. How time flies faster than I could keep up with. These couple of weeks has me spinning my butt for a heavy workload. But hey, I am not complaining at all. I appreciate that I am given challenges.At my current status, where I no longer grab overtimes since my hands are full at home and some other things, I still wanted to feel my relevance at work.

Most often than not, they say that married women tend to backslide at work because priorities has changed and all. Yes, I do. My priorities has changed. I wanted to be a full time mom. And because I dream of that, I wanted that my steps to that dream is worthwhile. That I can say that I did my best.

And with some to do list not currently updated due to this workloads, husband and I was able to squeeze a couple of hours the other day. The notice we received was a month old. A letter from the bank where we have gotten our very first investment. A Government Securities (GS) under the RTB (Retail Treasury Bonds).

We open a separate accounts for this on a government bank. I was scared at first to take this but they open at a very minimum investment amount a couple of years ago. 5000 pesos was the minimum amount for primary market during that time. I was super scared to lost a hundred before, but I thought, I am lending the government. I am sure, the government will be there in the next 25 years right?

You read it right. We park our little savings that time for a 25 years tenor. Hey, we are newbies with no knowledge at all to other forms of investments. And the yield, 6.125% only. Imagine, how much we are actually missing comparing to mutual funds. However, we were told that this of investments are risk free. The safest of its kind in the investment market since they are back by the full taxing power of the government.

The payout is every quarter. Not bad though, something's coming in every quarter.

Just sharing. :) God Bless.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

My Method to Financial Freedom - Part 1

Morning walk. I get the chance to think of anything walking my way home to our little apartment from the 8-hour shift in the office. I got the chance to sort some things in my mind. Thought about the whole day, how it went, and how I can be better later tonight. I have this desire to be at least efficient and effective in my post. The company has now all these rules set up and implemented which can provide grounds for termination. And I do not want that to happen to me to soon. Now that we are preparing ourselves to be financially free.

We need these jobs to keep us going. When our family experience having debts and my parent's can't nearly send us to school, I told myself that I am going to work until my retirement. You see both my parents have been unemployed for a long time now. When our youngest was born, my mother gave up her office job and stayed at home to take care of us. My father went oversea for 2 years. After that, he became a driver. Until he got sick, when I was in college. Our lowest of lowest when it comes to our finances. All four of us were in college and in some point one of us has to give way for the others.

So there it was. Where I am coming from. From the moment I became an employee, I never had a chance to be in between jobs. I keep going as an employee. But these last 2 years, have been a wonderful years of learning with 2014 a real blast.

I understand that family should always comes first. Just like what my mother did for us when we are young. And now, I understand as well, that at this early, I should not give up my work yet. Because, I do not want to tell my child someday that we can no longer afford her tuition fee. Yes, I know, financial literacy is not yet being taught in school. But, to at least land to a decent job, she should have the credentials. I credit my current job status to the university I have attended to. It pave a way at some point to my very first supervisory job.

As I progress to learning more of this financial freedom, and the influence I gathered from the financial blogs I religiously read daily, now I am aiming forward to staying at home looking after my little girl and financially stable. So how can I do that?

I think I need another source of income where I can work at home with flexible time. Blogging may help if it is monetizing or other online jobs. Initially, I have this blog but not yet monetizing.

Traditional business such as a rice retail store. It is generating a small income at the moment. This is a passive income for us where someone takes care of the business.

Other investments such as mutual funds. Yes, these are earning but in paper gains in the meantime.

Husband and I are currently employed and had no plans yet of giving up being an employee. Fine, we are corporate slaves at the moment. And maybe, we can look for greener pasture in the future and eventually let this go when one of our dream of managing a business will come true.

And though we have added streams of income, still if we are not careful with our spending style, I think we are no nearer to our change of status.

Part 2 coming soon. Smile. And God Bless. :)

Friday, February 20, 2015

Alms Giving - My take

I believe in giving and helping as shown in my previous post. It is a superficial aid to a long time problem of poverty but at least we share something to someone who are in need. Many of us need someone who can help. And most of us can. There is no small or big help. The word there is help. No prefix.

With the present 'gifts' showered upon us, I know I have to be a good steward of everything I have. No matter how insignificant it is in comparison to what others have. I know I have to share. My mentor often tell me that we have to give back to the society. Because we can be an instrument to someone else's needs. We can be a blessing to others.

We give our tithe to our churches. We support an organization we believe their cause. Because we are blessed in so many ways that we can spread it to others as well. There is no measurement of joy when you know within yourself that you are able to help.

I saw the following verse and thought of sharing in this blog.

6:19 "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal;

6:20 but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal.

6:21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Matthew 6:19-21

I know from the very start that accumulating worldly wealth in this world are not something I can carry into the other world. When I die, I will be like the others who turn into dust. And just as nothing.

So why not share while enjoying the journey to financial freedom? Afterall, when we achieve the financial freedom we dreamt and look back how we attend it, we may be disappointed when all we do was hoard money all by ourselves. Plus, when we give, though we don't expect something in return, we are more blessed. And the satisfaction we can feel is nothing to compare.

Remember that we have a life span. Life is too short not to show our worth as unique individuals in our stay. We can always make a difference.

Just sharing. Smile. :)

Friday, February 13, 2015

Our Aspirations

All this time, I thought that my life is boring and nothing to share at all. But then, in just a span of a little bit of more than 2 months, I was able to share at least more than 20 post in this blog. And I have a note in my minipocket notebook for topics I wanted to discuss in the future. Aha, my life is then not so much of a boring at all.

Before, when someone asked me to talk about myself or what were I am up to, I was often left speechless and immediately revert back the question or drop the topic completely to another topic. I am often out of topic when it comes to myself, because I thought that just like any other regular folks who spent 17 years in school, got the first job at the age of 24, been working for more than 10 years and no special achievements, I will not have anything to share at all. Kumbaga, hindi naman papasa sa MMK ang buhay ko.

No one will be interested at all. Hehehe. But then, when I started this blog, it all came to me that I have something to share. I have aspirations I wanna write and be able to look back and tell myself, hey, you made it or you can get better.

And though this aspirations are bigger than our lives, and we are this miniscule to achieving it. It helps that these are written in black and white. When it comes to dream streams of income, we wanted to have a least a franchise of 7-11 or a ministop, a franchise of a gasoline station and apartments for rent.

These are, at the moment, suntok sa buwan. I am hoping, with our current rate, that in 10 years time, one of those will materialize. Hey, libre naman ang mangarap.

Positive attitude attracts good vibes. And knowing what we want specifically will have our focus on the goal. And if I haven't achieved anything in the past 10 years of working, this is the best time for me to catch up and be good on money matters. I just started with my folks' house renovation. That is for them. It is a gift. Afterall, I could have done this when I was single but I was side tracked. (You know the story) Thank God, I have a very understanding husband that he completely understand I need this for them.

Just sharing. :) God Bless.

Finally, The New Bonus Tax is a Law

Happy! Yes, we are. As a corporate slaves, we are definitely happy with the news that the president finally signed the tax exemption for bonus today. This is to raise the tax cap from 30,000 to 82,000 tax exemption on 13th month and bonus. It's a great news, right?

This is something for earners like us where we can be able to have a bigger take home for our bonus and 13th month pay.

And we couldn't be happier since our company just announced that they will be giving us bonus in the coming month. Yey for that. My office mate asked me what will I do with my take home. I did not hesitate to answer that some portion is for the future. Talk about delayed gratification. While some others, for my parents and in laws. It is a gift after all and I wanted to share it with my family members. And a portion will go to tithe.

With all of these news, I should remind myself of, that these are gifts I should share with others. And that I am fine with delaying my wants. That I should look forward to the future. That I should be mindful with where these bonus will go to or else end up with nothing again.

I am super duper thankful for all the blessings this early of the year. Thank God for everything. I know it is just small for others, but still, this is something for someone like me.

Smile. :) God Bless.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Where We Learned About Finances

I have tried to open up conversations with few friends and office mates in regards to financial wellness and ended up most of the time on a topic eventually change to other things. I thought most of the time, that maybe, they just wanted to keep it a secret where their money is being invested. And we haven't gone that far to be a proof of nearing financial freedom either. We just started the journey, right?

It helps though when sometime we can exchange our knowledge to some others just like cooking recipes and be able to identify any pit or a better way to do it. Sadly, this is not the case when it comes to money matters. 

It inspires me that some anonymous people share their knowledge on how they started savings and eventually investing their hard earned money to an institution they prefer and believe in. This was the scary part when I know nothing with investments, or inflation rates for that matter. I know savings, but wasn't religiously doing it too.

Financial management wasn't taught in schools. We learned our basic savings at home through our coin banks and after that nothing more. Being from a poor family and 'isang kahig, isang tuka' lifestyle when we were young, savings is at the bottom of the list when we do not have anything to eat. And when I started working, I was charmed by the buying power of a plastic and eventually suffered the consequences. That is history, actually. Now that I have little knowledge and taking baby steps towards financial freedom, I have this renewed fire of determination to proceed further.

And yes, we fall, we get up and what matters is that we admit we made mistakes and we learned from the journey it brought us. We learned from our own experience. From our friends and relatives.

We learned from the others via financial forums. We learned from the financial blogs of known and anonymous individuals. We continuously educate ourselves from books and get acquainted with the new terms that comes our way. And we inquire when we do not fully understand how. We attend seminars and financial wellness training to gather insights. We guard our earnings from any scams by checking the backgrounds and doubt if the promised returns are too good to be true. We carefully lay out our plans, and dip when we feel we are ready to accept the challenge and the risk involves. Because all this learning will only go to waste if no actions are taken. It is now presented to us, so why let it slip when we have the chance? They say chance only comes once.

It wasn't an overnight change. We have to set our mind setting gradually to accommodate these new knowledge like learning how to use the touch screen to get away from the usual keypads. It is our dream to live comfortably in the future that motivates and keep us going. That no matter how difficult is the start up, because of that belt tightening and all, we always look forward to the experience this journey brings us.

To each his own. We are all unique in our ways.

Just sharing. :) God Bless.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

BPI: Index Fund - Not Yet For Us

Just as husband and I are contemplating to visit the branch next week, this is what I found out. BPI Philippine Stock Index Fund, Corp is temporarily suspended for new and additional subscriptions.


So maybe this is a sign to move on to other things. You see this is included in our financial goals for 2015. However, we can always wait for the right time. Besides, we have to inquire and ask more about this product. The reviews are all good and we want to hear it personally from the bank personnel as well. We still have a long way to go learning this bank products.

We will have to wait until this product becomes available again so we can compare with others and finally decide which to choose. Patience is a virtue. In the meantime, we will consider the other goals supposed to be for another quarter.

Smile. :) God Bless.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Tracking My Daily Expenses

They say that it takes 21 repetition or a month for something to become a habit. True to me. So it just gave me this time to write about it. My first month to complete a daily routine. Because I wanted to make sure that I already have this habit incorporated with my daily routine. Otherwise, it was just a mere blah blah and no action at all.

For the past years, I have tried several times logging in the details of my daily expenses but miserably failed. I used the excel file in the pc. Last August 2014, I did try again using the excel file and finally give up last November because the truth is, nothing tallies from my resources to the outflow. In short, never accurate.

My college friend is very good at tracking her money ins and outs.I remember, during our college days, she used to have this notebook where every time she spent, she listed it down to every centavo. When we went to our very first company, she does the same tracking. And 4 years ago, when we visited her place, we found her doing the same thing, this time on an excel sheet. We even kid her about it. And she told us that, that is her and can no longer take it out from her system. She's very dedicated to it. No wonder, marami na siyang napundar. It is admirable.

Following all the failures in tracking my expenses and thought that no applications will ever best suits me, I stumbled to an interesting blog. Yes, Pinas for Good. When I thought I have read almost every blog in the net about frugal tips, minimalism, financial literacy, financial wellness, and financial freedom, there is Pinas for Good. One simple glance at her notebook of expenses, investments, and the $3 Mcdo Meals every month.

Almost every blog I have read to track the expenses, they share almost the same common ground. Back to basic. Yes, old school handwritten formatted notebooks. But for Pinas for Good, it is very simple. No format at all. One of the reason I fail? Because, with formatted file, I used to end up, adding more on the 'other' fields. Thus, it has never been accurate for me. Almost everything has remained unaccounted.

Just each day, I write everything in the notebook. Those I received within the day and those which comes out to the very last cent. I no longer write those days when I don't spend at all. Very simple right and freestyle.

And definitely there is 'But' for this. This works for me. And may be different to yours. Different strokes for different folks right? So for me, though a little tedious, it is undoubtedly helpful to me  Maybe by the end of the year, I will be able to know by then, how much actually I have spent for the different things in my personal life. And can reduce or eliminate some unnecessary items I can live with a little or without at all.

Maybe someday, I can switch to a mobile application or an excel. We'll see. For the meantime, this is working for me.

Just sharing. :) Smile.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

January - Spending Less and Less

Shopping? Who in the world would not want it? Hahaha. I know every girl in the world just love to shop in every store that interest them. For some, it maybe a stress reliever. For others, just for fun. For a few, they just wanted to spend. And some others, they are just bored and wanted to go out.  Specially, nowadays that there are online shops left and right. So easy access for prepaid card or credit card and even COD (cash on delivery).

However I fast. I started my fasting last year. This was actually included in my 2014 new year's resolution. It's a personal choice not to shop clothes and oh those sandals and shoes. And the women's ever weakness - bags. For now, I only own a sneaker (2013), a rubber shoes (2011), 2 wedges (2013), a flats which my sister gave as a 2013 Christmas gift, and 2 summer sandal - one was bought 2012 pa. For the bag, I have an additional bag last year courtesy of my sister in law as a pasalubong from abroad. Though I am still not using it at this time. Maybe later this year. Hehehe.

At the end of December 2014, my flats and my sandals were broken after those repairs I made. So I could definitely say, I needed new pair. But the frugal me was contemplating until early this year before I finally decided to get a pair of flats. But instead of only one, i got two for 395 pesos only. I went looking for just a pair, and the price is the same, so why not make it two instead. Having two will lessen the daily usage, thus prolonging the life span of the pair.

Last January, my SIL gave a big bag when she arrived home as a pasalubong. Another of great use for me since I travel a lot lately. I have promised myself in 2014 not to buy a single bag and I can get an award for being such a good girl for this.

For the last quarter of last year, as I went through blog per blog, I came across the shopping fast of Miss Edel. Each month she chronicles her shopping fast. I became more encourage. So maybe, since I can't fully fast this year knowing most of my items were now for 'throwback', hehehe, I might as well chronicle the justification of why I bought something new for myself. Maybe, I'll make sense with it. And as of January, I thank those generous people around me who gave me gifts I can use. The only thing I bought myself were two pairs of sandals for 395 pesos only. Think of being frugal.

Just sharing. Smile. :)

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

A Lesson Learned from SideWalk Vendors

Good Morning Monday. Actually, Monday is the most difficult day for me. Not just the usual Monday blues, but the aching pain of leaving my child for a 5-day work away from home. For most of the Mondays, she would cling to me tight and utter a small cry when I have to leave. And it just breaks my heart and I die a little every time. And I just really have to work. Both of us, husband and I, or else, we will not be able to provide for the family. Just a wonderful reward knowing at her age, 1 year old, she knows me as her mother. I pray for the strength to keep this going.

And while we are at EDSA on our way back to the apartment, husband and I were looking out the window of the bus. And out of the blue, I blurted.

Me: Kita mo ba yung sidewalk vendor? (Particularly, a middle aged woman in Starmall, selling candies, kakanin and pineapple juice) Tignan mo mukha niya, hindi mo kita ang worry, pero ang andun is some form of serenity. Sapat kaya ang kinikita niya?

Husband: Iba kasi ang iniisip niya. (Referring to the calmness refleected on her face) Sa kanila, kung anuman ang kinikita nila, pinagkakasya nila. Hanggang dun lang. Yun ang level nila eh. Walang anumang extra. Kung meron man, yun yung normal naman na meron sa ibang tao. (Demonstrating his two hands with gap in between for me to see the difference. The vendors (left hand) below the normal (right hand) he is mentioning)

Me: So meaning, itong normal, (Pointing to his right hand), pwede pang bumaba dito? (Pointing to his left hand)

Husband: Pwede pero yung mga nasa normal, ang gusto nila eh yung asa level din nila. Or taas.

Me: I mean, kung ang thinking ng mga asa normal parang ganito. Then, mas marami silang ipon kasi very basic ang binibili nila di ba? Daily needs and food pero pinagkakasya nila.

And I wonder how the sidewalk vendors go through each day. But it makes me a little proud of them (speaking in general) because they are making at least a decent living out of selling not the other means. And I think this is a natural reaction to the present situation - matutong bumaluktot habang maikli ang kumot. The tendency is to response on our current level or in some cases climb up even if it is beyond our means. Sad truth. If only, we still know the basic, live in basic, and stay in basic, then most probably, most of us would be savings for our retirement. Not just for retirement, I suppose, but living as well financially free.

So it has been decided in one of our conversation in the bus ride to postpone the anniversary trip. The money from the 52 week challenge last year is now moving to the business we have been planning to but do no have a concrete details earlier. The idea of the nature of business has presented itself this weekend. Since, it has not yet been finalized and not yet in black and white, I cannot write about the full context yet. But one thing is definite, as the husband told me, we should grow the money first and settle for a simple celebration for the anniversary. Not a bad idea at all. It gives me the pride that my husband is thinking this way.

As the hashtag open use in our household today - #TipidPaMore and #InvestPaMore.

Just sharing. Happy Monday, folks! :)