Saturday, April 25, 2015

Am I Productive Each Day?

As I grow a little older each day, I now notice that what is important to me is being honest with my own self. When I started to write down my dreams, resolutions and goals whether financially or personal, I tend to be more clear with myself. Knowing that self worth is achieving something in private. Yes, ganito pala ito. I never knew that those simple steps of writing down first could make a huge impact on how I view things right now.
I guess, another factor is that I am now in midlife. Plus I read more of the financial blogs by anonymous people inspiring me to become better not just in finance but with personal worth as well. And then again, each day I come to realize that I should move forward with all those things I envisioned myself to be. Change comes to it gradually. Before, I would often say that I am going to change. But then, after few days, I am back to my old self again. It's a different thing when I achieve something in private and not broadcasting it via social media or any else for that matter. Happiness within my self, with my little personal achievements. Ganun pala yun.
And with that, I can say I am able to utilize a day to achieve small items for the bigger goals in life. This month, I am in a morning shift - from 6am to 2pm. I have more time than ever. I get things done which were long over due. I get to have my 'me' time.
I have lots in my to do list, and having some items slashed each week, I think I am more productive than I used to be. Sa dami ng kailangan house chores because I am also a wife of a workaholic, I know within myself, I am satisfied with what I accomplished each day. After the shift, I run the errands, paying bills, doing a little grocery trip (which husband and I used to do but been months since we went to the grocery together - blame it to the hectic schedule of his), having my routine check up, bank trips, and others whichever is scheduled for the day. And I am making sure I am not spending on unnecessary items. Strict budgeting tayo eh. As in.
Before going home, dadaan muna ako sa wet market para bumili ng gulay or spice sa iluluto kong dinner, breakfast at baon ko bukas. Right now, I think namamaximize ko ang bigay na 24 hours ni Lord. Yes, we all have 24 hours a day, and it is up to us how we can make good use of it.
Nagbabago lang naman ang routine ko, when I am home with my little girl, where I devote all my time for her to make up of the 5-days I left her sa nanay ko.
It is a choice. I have never use the word 'boring' for myself since, I am more of the word 'busy'. Note this is just for me, saying that I am bore is like telling myself, that I am not grateful with what I have and that I am complaining when in fact there are a lot of things to do. Whether grabbing a book, doing a hobby, writing, cooking, connecting to long lost friends, and etc. And even the long queue to the dentist, doctor, or a bank, I can find time not to feel bored at all. I have a book, or a notebook where I can write, or my cellphone to clean up with messages, or check my emails. It is a choice.
And busy is bad? No, for me, being busy in good terms. Busy because I fill my time with things that I need and wanted to do. Not necessarily turning down an invite because I am 'busy'. But by allocating the time for each aspect of life to accommodate each and everything, family, friends, work, hobby, dates, and just anything.
Nothing is boring for me even if it is a routine. Remember the time, when the husband started to have a heavy workload, I have looked for alternative because I just don't want to label myself as 'bored'. And going out, malling and spending is something I have ruled out since I mind set my mind no to spending pitfall. Ganun pala yun. When it becomes a part of your system, it comes out naturally. Less effort na.
And so I guess, if I rate my productivity status, scaling from 1 to 10 with 10 the highest, I can say that I am on the 7th. Still a long way to go. But at least, the realizations are a good reminder that I am work in progress.

Smile. God Bless. :)


Friday, April 24, 2015

Decluttering Again

Yey, almost done. Yes, my parent's house is almost complete. With few more details and they can now move in. Actually they have chosen the date to be on May 3rd. I am excited as they are. I am now visualizing the content of the house. Remember that I wrote the clutter at home. Now will be the time to finally have to let go of few more things so it can fit to the small house I dreamed for them.

The old house was full of unnecessary clutter as I have mentioned. My mother is a keeper, like I said. And I guess I inherited that. But with how things are going right now, looks like in the very near future, I am giving up that treat.

Finally, I was able to set my mind, that things are meant to be use and not keep till they become unusable due to brittleness. Also, that I should only buy what is needed. And for those given to me as a gift, if I am not going to use, should go to someone else who will use it. That I should never have an attachment to things.

Remember that things should be of good use or else it will fail its expected function. So, if it is collecting dust in our home, they are then not maximized. Somebody else could make use of it.
The procrastination to use it will only make it useless for the time being. I know, I use to collect items before and often times tell myself, someday I am going to use this. But then, people grow, people faces changes whether we like it or not and priorities and views changes over time. One item which is important to you today, may not be same intensity of importance tomorrow. So, why not use or work it out today?

Difficult for me, because personally I treasure even receipts of dining out with the husband. Reminds of a date with him. That is how I am emotionally attached to things given to me specially from those I loved.

Learning the art of letting go is way harder that it sounds. I know when you see this thing, we were reminded of someone who gave it to us a long time ago. But then, is it of use for us today? Is it still significant to what we have nowadays? Learn to let it go. Move on. The item may be intact as we remember it, but do we remember when was the last time it was significant to our daily living?

If we still don't want to let it go, then make it useful to us. We'll then realize, "Ay, hindi na talaga kasya sa akin ito". Right. We will see and figure out that no matter how we wanted the same old dress because it had looked good on us for a certain period of time, time will come, when it no longer suit us. The color. Our age. And even our own preference. Same goes through with other things. Those throw pillows because we have a new set of sofas. The high heeled shoes because I have changed preferences to flat shoes. The high waisted pants which no longer fits my waist even after almost two years of giving birth. The blouses. And anything we can find in our closets.
How about those stationery I have kept all along? Because I have visioned before that I will be writing tons of letters to friends. Yes, I am guilty. I have to give them away to my niece who would just draw a bear and colored it.

Those cute scented candles given during Christmas and valentines in high school and college? Remember those bear candles that I wouldn't wanted to light up because they are too cute.
Hahaha. How about those mugs with my picture on it or a group picture in it? And yes, I have lots of stuff toys. But I am having second thoughts for the stuff toys, my little cutie may like it. Not yet this early because of those furs. I have so many things I have to let go.We all need a fresh start if we wanted to at least redirect our current path to where  we wanted to be. And selecting which items should go and should stay have been very difficult.

With the newly built house for my parents, it now can breath from all my unnecessary things. I have been on a strict compliance with my own rules not to add any thing insignificant to our daily lives.

So I am hoping that by May 3rd, after a simple house blessing. The house will remain clean as it looks like today. Aja!

Just sharing. Happy weekend! God bless. :)

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Few Simple Tricks I Do To Save - Part 1

I am not a jack of all trade person, really. However I am glad, at least I have learned some few tricks to help me save.

Last Monday, I am on a rest day, my mother in law asked me if I can bring my girl to the salon for a haircut. Her hair is growing long so fast and this summer heat makes it more difficult for her to handle. So I said, why not? I haven't brought her before to a salon and I am not sure how she would react. As a mother, I became excited for my little girl's another first. Off we went and I am in awe as she welcomed the hair cutter very much in behave. She just held my hand as the hair cutter did his work on her hair. She would glanced at me and back to the mirror and then just obeyed what she's asked to. And she's just 1 year old. I am in wonder really.

Ok, I side tracked the topic, hehehe. But not really. What I meant, when we entered the salon, I smell the familiar air surrounding the confine room. Looking around, I see the very same common interior. And it sunk to me, that it's been ages since I entered a salon. Honestly, yes! I have my hair trimmed thrice to a barangay hair dresser in the province for only 25pesos. Of course, she didn't shampoo my hair. She only had to sprinkle water to achieve the damp look and then trim. The cost of my little girl's hair cut was 50 pesos. And as for me, I will just have another trim sa barangay next month. Saka na sa salon kapag need talaga.

And since the time I was pregnant, hindi ko na pinarebond yung buhok ko. Bawal sa buntis di ba? After giving birth naman, ayoko naman na maamoy niya yung chemicals. Plus the schedule doesn't fit anymore. A whole day for a rebond? I opted to spend it to my little girl. Tipid na, mas healthier na yung hair ko without those chemicals. All I need is to take care of it with a shampoo, conditioner, and a healthy diet.

And my pedicure is done by yours truly. Oh yes, I bought a Persian red nail polish for 34 pesos and a colorless nail polish of the same price. I already made 3 cleaning and polishing and I could say it is super worth it. Hindi pa siya ubos. I could make few more polishing from it.

I don't do it on my fingernails because I do the laundry and I cook. So I wouldn't like any chip nail polish on it. Plus, when I am home, I prepare my little girl's milk. Basically, no manicures for me.

You read it right, I do the laundry. Before, I don't. I pay 27pesos per kilo and the minimum is 3 kilos per transaction. And often than not, I do not meet the 3 kilos minimum and yet I got to pay 81 pesos. Sayang di ba? So, now I just allot a day in the week for the laundry. I just need laundry soap and detergent which we bought in bulk. Mas tipid. And the sunlight. Yep, sunlight so it won't smell bad. This way, I do not need the fabcon. It's a different story when it's rainy days. I really need the fabcon during those days.

I don't iron our clothes as well. Unless, it's a very important occasion such as being a guest  speaker that I need to iron out the crinkles in my outfit and the like of it. Otherwise, just a smooth fold.

Basic sewing, yes, I do that too. I am glad the elementary home economics taught that to us. Well, aside from the home teaching. Since I do the laundry and the folding, I am pretty sure which clothes needs mending. I just segregate those and find time to do the stitching. Sayang kasi kung gagawin ng basahan or itapon kung pwede pa naman.

I love cooking however it looks like it's a one way street. Hehehe. Just the same, I still do it and learning few more simple recipes. We save a lot by cooking our meals and eating at home. Specially, if the ingredients were brought from the wet market.

For the meantime, these are few of my ways to save. I'll share more of the do-it-yourself methods I apply to save more.

Good vibes. God Bless. :)

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Where We At Financially This 4th Month Of 2015?

I just checked our current portfolio as of the first quarter of the year. Looking at it, and our goal to achieve 1 M by the end of the year, appears like I am monitoring it on the wrong time frame. Hahaha. Ok, it reminded me that I still have lots of stuff to learn. Anyway, after this, my next post will be at the end of the 3rd quarter or by October. And the final update is at the end of the year.

I am just giddy looking at the numbers right now. Like I have told you from the previous post, this is our goal for this year. That is to achieve our first M in cash and paper assets. And that they say the most difficult part is reaching the first M and then the next M will be easier. Positivity.

To be honest, all I wanted is to spend this amount but I know if we do not start with this simple goal, then how are we going to see the next goals/dreams we have plotted? Remember, we wanted to reach financial freedom where we can sit back, relax and enjoy while money is making money for us. Oh, how I hope that is too soon.

Anyway, at this time, we are way far from it and we are enjoying the lessons this journey is bringing us. Aside from being giddy with the numbers, I am a little bit disappointed to some key areas. It is good to know that we have increase our MF composition by 4.51%, retirement fund by 2.74% and 2.11% for our child's education. Note that this percentage is the percent composition in our 1 M target. Overall, we were able to increase our savings and investments by 6.23% for the first quarter. Lowering our gap by 17.36% still lacking to the target 1 M. Way to go.

The major increase was derived from the bonus I have received last February. Also the interests earned by our RTB, time deposits, MFs, and retirement fund. My current stocks pick are not doing well yet. Looks like I picked a different one and may take a longer time to turn green. Anyway, I am not in hurry and I am in the learning process, so this is just fine for me.

Notice that our Emergency Fund, is lower in the composition matrix as well. This is where I am disappointed the most. I actually borrowed an amount from this emergency fund (Php 40,000) because I went short with the house renovation. Those little details that I have unforeseen at the renovation start up. I know Emergency Fund should be treated as really for emergency situation but instead of borrowing with interest or withdrawing funds which could incur charges, I opted to get from the EF. The notification that there was a short budget came late too. Just last week when I made an audit to the expenses. So we are a failure with building the Emergency Fund this quarter and we are hoping that this next quarter we can be able to get back on track. A lesson learned for me, that aside from the amount set aside for anything, I should have saved a back up or a little over the said amount for any miscellaneous.

Anyway, I am more positive we can do that since the house is almost done. I can feel they can move in in the next few weeks. Hopefully before the rainy seasons. The delay was mainly cause by the unavailability of workers. It's been since February, thus, with no one to work on a daily basis, work is only during the weekends.

Just sharing. God Bless. :)

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

I Collect Coins - A Little Saving Obsession

During my younger years, I remember too well that me and my siblings used to have this bamboo coin banks. We would fill it up until we can no longer shake it. Once we break the bamboo coin bank, we enjoy counting the contents varying from 25, 50, 1 peso and the octagonal 2 peso coins. (Hahaha, yes naabutan ko pa ang 50 cents at 2 peso coin) We would normally asked my mother to keep it. It was a motivation for us to save for something we wanted to buy, and eventually claimed it.  Or sometimes, my mother would asked us if she can borrow it para pandagdag pambili ng ulam. Until it was totally forgotten.

As time goes by, I then used those empty powder bottle as well and then just anything I can put coins. Until I totally stopped. (You all know the story)

However, it came to me a few weeks back, while filling several canisters of 5s and 10s, these money ain't earning anything at all. Not even the 0.25% minus the 20% tax interest of the bank. And although, I deposit the contents whenever I get the chance to count it, still there are these missing months that they were stuck in those canisters.  I then decided and added to my 'monthly to do list' to make a regular bank trip for these coins.  I did for the month of March (1,100 pesos in total) and will resume this month for the rests of the canisters. I then moved the amount to our emergency fund.

So, where does these 5s and 10s are coming from? They are actually from the daily loose change from jeepney/trike fare off to and fro the office. And I get the obsession of collecting those 5s and 10s when I attended a leadership seminar once. We were asked what we were collecting that time. And I do not have anything to contribute while others said they were collecting 5s, 10s, and even 25 cents in a 6 liter empty mineral water gallon. Curiosity got me and eventually started collecting as well.

The husband gave me one cylinder coin bank which contains 1 peso coins for 'something' I want in the future. Why only 1 peso? It's the biggest coin that could fit in the slit aside from the 25s and 10 cents. But decided to exclude the 25s and 10cents. As of this writing, I think it is now half full (I depended on shaking it, lol). I just hope it is more than what I thought when it is time to open it.

Therefore, I can conclude that I am a saver since I was young but, yes there is this BUT. I have to polish my savings skills. I am not yet that consistent enough. Though I am now able to resist few temptations and tries to live in a minimalist way since 2014. Yet, there is still those little urges for sandals and shoes. Oh women's love. Having the correct mindset is keeping me sane that I still have pairs I can use and there is no need yet for new one.

Thanks to this blog which actually helps me hold it off because I am accountable to what I post. Not only to those who read but more purposely to me who writes my journey towards financial freedom. After all, I do not want to start all over again. My goal is to move forward and if there are bumps along the way or detours or dead ends which are parts of the journey, still my financial trouble in the past is a lesson learned the hard way I should always remind myself with.

Just sharing. God Bless. :)

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Holy Week - My Thoughts

I thought of being in hiatus to all social medias including this blog for this holy week. Yet, it came to me this morning to post my thoughts. Almost everyone is on vacation na away from the city life. I too, wanted it too before. But as I grow old, I thought that the better way of spending holy week for me is at home. And so, for the last few years except for those times when I have to stay at work because I can not avail the holiday off. In as much as possible even before I have my little girl, I spent it at home.

Now that I have her, the more I wanted to spend it at home with her. I often told her that I will teach her everything I know and she would just stare at me, maybe trying to grasp what I am saying.  Yes, I talk to her a lot and those are the moments I enjoyed when she look at me in the eyes and appears to be absorbing what I just told her.

And just right now, because I haven't been watching tv and reading the news, my colleague just told me that there is a typhoon coming. The news said it is super typhoon and will trace central Luzon either by Saturday or Sunday. I pray that it weakens and disappears. Let us prepare as early as now. Charge those phones and rechargeable lights/flashlights. Prepare those emergency supplies such foods, candles, matches, medicines, and others. Keep ourselves updated with the current typhoon status. And pray.

Climate changes, they say. A typhoon in April. There have been many changes as time goes by. Our ways of observing holy week has changed as well. Let not our faith be one of those changes. Let this week reminds us how Jesus has died for us. For us to be save. Let us remind ourselves His sacrifices for us to achieve salvation.

As we made little sacrifices to finally achieve financial freedom, let us be mindful as well in making sacrifices to achieve eternal life. After all, I read it somwhere, that it won't matter how big our house is, how big our savings account is, our grave will always be same size.

It takes a lot of discipline to work on our financial freedom and so let's take a lot of discipline to achieve our personal worth as well. As I type the word discipline, I keep typing the word 'disciple' so may be it is a remider as well. Be a disciple not only to become financially free but also a follower of Christ.

And just like I mention most of the time, I am  a work in progress in everything. And these are my personal choices and views. I acknowledged that I have a long way to go in everything. And I thank God for all the strength and what I have.

God Bless. :)

March - Spending Less and Less

Wow, the month of March has ended swiftly than I thought. Honestly, I frequented the mall for the month of March. But I haven't bought anything for myself. (Hooray for me!)

I have spent for a shoes and a polo for the husband though. Remember, I wrote we have a bonus. So I decided to buy him shoes and a polo as his share from my bonus. I was immensely happy seeing him looking for shoes that would fit. The daily usage of his previous shoes has served well its purpose. It was actually a pair we have bought at Greenhills way back 2012. Imagine how worn out it was.

The repairs have prolonged the usage for a long time and now after the rain last last week, it finally gave up.

I also bought my little girl her shoes. My first time to do so, since my mother in law has bought her one last October and after a lot of walking and running, nagopen na yung front. As in, hindi na repairable kasi super worn out na. But, binilhan ko lang siya sa palengke. Ang kuripot ko. Hahaha. Pero kasi the frugal me told me that mabilis lang naman niyang kalakihan. True enough. Kasi yung mga sister in laws ko, binilhan siya when she's a baby pero twice lang niya nagamit since hindi naman kami laging lumalabas. Ayun, nakatago na.

I think being a mom and taking seriously this financial planning and all, I have set my mind that going out to the mall and seeing those fancy clothes, shoes, and bags doesn't really necessary means that I have to empty my pocket or swipe my card. Truth is, it helps that I haven't brought my cards with me or an extra money for me not to trigger the shopaholic within me. And also, that I am full when I went to the mall. Added to that, since we have this crazy schedule (husband and I) I get to check our little space and made inventory to what I have. And yes, I still have enough supplies for myself and I still have many items to let go since it is still sitting in our room unused. I will come to that in a few days.

Other expenses on my part were for the investments which are excluded for this post. Because this post of mine is mainly about the items I bought for myself and expenses beyond the regular needs of the family which was drawn out from my account.
Just sharing this first day of April. :)

God Bless.