Saturday, December 16, 2017

So Appealing Idea ~ I Wanted Now

A few days ago, I was scrolling my Instagram feed and my attention was caught with a bio of an Instagram seller. Her bio indicates that she's a stay at home mom, an entrepreneur, and a crafter.

If I had viewed the bio before, I would usually cringe - my usual reaction to self employed individuals. I often think why they've chosen to be self employed when being employed give you the edge for other benefits. The employer pay more than half of your SSS (Social Security System) contributions, they pay half  of your PAG-IBIG Fund contributions, they pay half of your Philhealth contributions, they give you insurance while being employed, they provide healthcare benefits, they give 13th month pay (some even reach 15th month pay depending on performance), they give additional bonus,  they provide assistance on learning and education, and even more. You will not have to worry with tax computations and filing. The only caveat is that you are tied for an 8 hour or 9 hour or more (when overtime is needed) at work. Of course, you still have to do your best to get the best score in your performance.

My office mate often told me when we were single that when the time comes, she'll just stay at home and takes care of her children. I would nod, but at the back of my mind, I know I will not repeat the same feat as my mother.  It wonders me back then, how can she think of that when a single income household was very difficult to manage in terms of finances.

But that was just me.


Now that I have my 4 year old, I had this longing to stay at home, have flexibility with my time, work in my own pace, become a homemaker, and others things I wanted to do. Maybe it comes with mid life thoughts? Or maybe just too tired (or maybe the correct term is burn out) of working for 14 years today (Hurray, congratulate me!) that I wanted to break the routine? Or maybe just the hormones of PMS kicking in again?

But no, the thoughts had been lingering for sometime now. And I have been making certain plans to make it happen. I've been saving, saving, saving, investing, investing, investing, and learning, learning, learning more on what I should be doing once I am out of my 8 hour shift.

I spoke with a friend the other day and she told me that when she was in between jobs for 2 months, she got bored. Will I suffer the same feeling? Will I survive not working when this is what I know best ever since graduation? Will I look for a job eventually?

My thoughts exactly is I don't know. I haven't been in between jobs for any more than a month. I have been to 3 companies including my present but I haven't experience not thinking about work. I had 2 months maternity leave when I gave birth but I don't consider it as really a time off because I still get to hear news and everything in the office.

My desire to get out of work and become FIRE is big right now. Well, not exactly retire and travel the world. Maybe just a little bit of working on the side if I WANT to but that is the work which I am not oblige to do because there are bills that depends on it. It is IDEAL. It seems like it was impossible to reach by looking at my current status.

But this desire was fueled by people who have made it. They are real life people who made it at an early age and some working on it in the same age as mine. I accidentally click the site of the Frugalwoods and their lifestyle inspires me. And as I continue to read, I came across other bloggers who actually made it.
This made my hunger to being financially independent even more overwhelming.

I am eyeing a different spectacular against the beliefs on money I had been made aware of since childhood. The start was difficult and I am nowhere yet in the middle of the journey, yet, it is good to feel that I have started.

The idea that I have started this path where the topic of money handling is taboo to almost everyone I know of, gives me a little security and peace of mind at the end of the day.

I may have lost friends who do not understand what I wanted to do with my finances, but I gain confidence in myself knowing that I am now able to at least handle what I have been entrusted by the one above.

I do not know why it took me so long to do this, but I am glad I am here now. Still working. With few savings. Few investments. Debt-free. Insured. Learning. Cultivating new skills. Exploring. And grateful.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Going Live With Made To Order Crochet Products

I usually post the items I made out of crochet using Instagram or Facebook for already a year now. I was a bit frustrated in the beginning because it seems like in my country, only a handful appreciates handmade. But, I just continued to learn and just make one after another even though I wasn't able to sell anything and it may seemed like all my time and effort to create one is futile and fruitless.

From my experience going through the process of mindlessly working on an item I was able to learn little by little few more tips. And eventually, ideas just came pouring in my mind. I thought of doing something which my current environment really needs and would have the people around me wanted to buy. Maybe for themselves or for their friends, at an AFFORDABLE price. So I did.

November this year marks the first time I was busy doing made to orders. And I can say, that it's true ~ when it rains, it really pours. Thank God. I began doing coin purses, clutch bags, headset covers, and beanies all the more. I am receiving more inquiries than ever but I have to get a hold because my hands are full this holiday season.

I have an 8 hour shift at work, I sell online and offline, and these made to orders. Of course, not to mention a wife and a mother when I come home. Oh, and these 2 blogs I try my best to update and maintain. Sales online for anything from fashion and gift related ideas are skyrocketing at this time of the year that often times, most items gets out of stocks sooner than a blink of an eye once posted in social media. I handle the selling online via Facebook, Instagram, Shopee, and Carousell. I take time to answer every thing at a given chance and whenever the time permits. So, if ever you visit my online shops, please be patient with my responses.

The other day, I am having thoughts of entering Etsy as well but have not pushed through yet. The only thing that is stopping me is the payment for listing which I will be needing a credit card. I am having second thought as of the moment, and will have to think more about it until the year ends.

I haven't had a holiday off from work so most likely I'd be juggling both the employment work and all these side hustles. I thought of rejecting some other inquiries, but like everything else, this is a phase. Thus, as long as I can, I really try to squeeze those I can complete without sacrificing the quality of services and products.

If I have a lesser sleeps these past few weeks, it is because I am grabbing the opportunity while it last. I know, by the following start of the year, things will go slow as it always happens. People would be starting their new years resolution of savings or paying yuletide related debts, or would follow a no-shopping ban. This is a chance I just do not want to let go. And I am thankful.

Because I really wanted to ensure the quality of my works, I do take time to scrutinize everything from crocheting itself to packaging and sending/delivering to the customer. I can say, that being a one-woman-team is tiring and sometimes exhausting. I really do hope that I can delegate. But right now, I know I still can. If I get to have big orders, maybe I can ask fellow crocheters to help me and get a small commission for referring customers. Of course, I wanted to make sure that it will be almost the same quality as what I make. After all, customers comes because of the quality no matter how much is the price. Aside from the fact, that it is handmade. A labor of love and time given to the item.

If I am a witness to people appreciating hand made and the price that comes to it, there are people who view hand craft otherwise. I don't blame them. I know from the very beginning that the market for crochet items are outside the country. I am just afraid yet to open an Etsy account. I feel like I still need to learn more and create more. And besides, sometimes, I think of not doing made to orders. Why?

Because, with our little space, I can't afford to stock every colors of the thread or yarn. In as much as possible, I wanted to consume all my current stocks of yarns and thread. Plus, while working with acrylic and t-shirt yarns, I notice the lint it drops. I know these materials are not good with my husband and child who has often an allergic coughs with lints and microfibers.
Lately, I only have a few stocks of acrylic yarns. I am most investing in cotton made items which has lesser or so I think lints.
Let me show what I just completed. An order of 12 pieces crochet headset and mouthpiece covers for a friend. I was really happy to do so, specially she also ordered a branded bag. Thank God, it save my current status of being cashless after investing my month end salary to retail treasury bonds.

And with each day, I am able to receive one by one my receivables from customers and friends. I couldn't be happier for being able to make ends meet. I still have bigger receivables that should be coming my way. I just hope they still remember.

Photo below: Made To Order Crochet Headset Covers with Mouthpiece Cover ~ 12 pairs in Solid Color of Maroon Red

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Getting FIRE!!!

Oh no! It's not what you think. What I mean is getting Financially Independent and Retiring Early. Yes, that's it. It's been getting the rounds in cyberspace and I was lucky to have encountered the idea of it.

Let me tour you on a little snapshot of what I have been into before getting to where I am right now. We are six in the family and as a child I have lived a 'normal' childhood. When I say 'normal', I went out most often outside the house or in the fields sans with rice plants to play. At least be able to eat two times a day - lunch and dinner. Our breakfast was usually a cup of black coffee and a couple of small pandesal. When we get to eat fried rice and 'tuyo' or scrambled eggs, that was when our father was able to earn a little more from driving his pampasadang motor. I woke up with debts left and right. More often, wala na halos gustong magpautang. Because, my parents would either borrow money to either cover another debt or to get us by for a day. We lived most on a single income household and we are four whose going to school everyday. We would sometime asked for money from relatives abroad. My baon was P2 in grade 6 that I would usually had to buy an ice candy from the vendor outside the school. We do not have fridge so an ice candy was heaven to me back then. The struggle was real when we reached tertiary level and we are only a year apart starting the semester.

Sometime I would wander why we were having so much difficulty with money. And I would blamed my mother for stopping to work to take care to the four of us. I don't have any something new for Christmas or my birthday. I can only have a new dress on commencement exercises of the year when I received ribbons from doing well in school. All through out the year, it was getting envious with my cousins who get to play with brick games or super mario or having the latest trend of clothes. And I have to be contented with the hand me downs dresses from my mother. The mentality instilled to me back then is to work until I am in a retirement age - 65. Otherwise, I will not be able to provide for myself or for my family, had I am not employed.

Some four years ago, when I talked to a Financial Adviser with regards to our life insurance, I was also asked when do I plan to retire. I said 55, bluntly and directly. MY FA nodded but in my mind I think I am being ridiculous. Impossible, I thought.

Just a month back, I spoke this idea of getting retirement from work earlier. And my father in law told me that I am still too young for retirement. I did not voice out my opinion.

But, whaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?! Really?! This is exactly my point, I wanted to retire early so I can enjoy what I have been working on and saving my almost 14 years of working now. Although I should be ashamed that in my almost 14 years of working I only have a few savings and fewer than few paper assets. we do not have a house we can call our own. No car. Although I have a car in my name, but my parents are using it. The reason for all these was because I stayed in the idea that I will not be able to do any other thing aside from working as an employee. An employee all through my life after graduation until retirement age of 65.
As I go to the phase of learning personal finance and independence, the reality is that, yes, it is possible. It happens and it will happen to me. I need to adjust my way of living and how do I see money in specific details.

I've committed mistakes with money handling before. For spending luxuriously money that I still don't own. For paying the bank the high interest rates of borrowing from them and mindlessly drifting to bing spending. And now leaves me today with no other options but to become strictly disciplined with money while I am still working.

I am late.

Well, I know I can make it happen. I will have to read more. Learn more. Invest in my knowledge and be able to adapt those that were applicable to our family of three.

I am now 36 years old. I did change my retirement age mindset to 45. So this leave me with 9 years to go. Right now, we are on a single income household. The challenge to save at least 70% of the income is super high. The good thing is we are debt free. We have nothing to worry about except managing the maturity dates of our paper assets and studying where to invest again.

One of the few things that thought me with not having everything in my childhood is that I can adapt to what I have and be able to find interest on free things alone. That I do not have to replenish my closet with the trendy outfits every pay day. That I should be able to make use of my time doing the stuffs that interest me like reading, writing whether it be a journal entry or a blog entry, spend quality time with the family, crocheting, doing crafts, selling, and many others.

I am 36 years old and in mid life. It is time to live the life I choose.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Life's Update ~ 12/02/2017

It's December.

Few more days and we are saying goodbye to 2017.  I have neglected this blog for the longest time now. Because I was not able to access blogger due to restrictions. But I have created a new one with wordpress and has continuously updated my journey to personal finance learning, my hobbies, my something-new path, and all other stuffs I've been working on and been busy about.

Right now, we have just invested with Retail Treasury Bill a few days early. It's the latest offering from the government. So, we grabbed it via BPI and Security Bank. If time will permit I will be able to update this blog before the year ends with our current standing to our target of our next M.

We are are currently back to single income household. Yes, money is tight but the good thing is, my 4-year old is now with us and studying at a daycare child development center near us. All right, I am now spending my weekly bus fare to US and been able to save a little more than before. Aside from that, I am now debt free, so I was able to funnel my income and other resources to savings and eventually to investment.

I have so many things I wanted to talk about like crocheting, side hustles, my plans for the coming year and other things. Let me just save those things for other future entry.

I wanted to show you some of my works at the moment.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

On Crocheting, Online Shop and the first Quarter of 2017 Finances

I had the most busy first quarter of the year. I have been learning a lot on crocheting and have been starting and finishing most projects I wanted to make. Anyhow, I wish I am more faster in crocheting itself than hoarding yarns and collecting patterns for future use. But, geez, I am really enjoying this hobby.
~ Anonymous cto from Facebook

I did refurbish some old clothes so my little girl can use it. These clothes no longer fits the bigger me. Like, really, it's really difficult to lose my weight right now. But I am steady at my current weight of 53kg. And no, I don't buy new clothes for me. Some of my clothes still fits and there were some gifts from relatives which just needed adjustments.

@sophidclothing on IG

@sophidclothing on IG

Also, I started a corner to corner crochet of a bear. Pattern was from Repeat Crafter Me. Also, I made the messy bun hat for my cousin in law and nieces who visited the Philippines this month. It's my first time seeing them so I just wish that it fits them. Pattern also from Repeat Crafter Me. I am a fan of Sarah's works.
Not yet finish c2c. Yes, been doing projects in between. :)

All these were made from a local hand dyed cotton yarns of Buffy Sibayan (Find her on facebook @looneylooms). You know what, I have been lurking for the longest time from all these local yarn winders and hand dyers and I am prettily satisfied with the softness of the cotton yarns. I am really in love with cottons. The tropical weather in the Philippines really do not match the use of acrylic yarns. Thus, since I make wearables for my daughter and gifts for friends, I opted for the cotton threads and yarns.

Cellphone pouch I made with zipper and flap

I still have some work in progress such as a  poncho, a virus shawl and a circular vest. Hopes that I can post it as well, no matter how bad I am in photography. Teehee. And though not all are perfect yet, I still love it.

Like I said I am busy too with the online shop. It's going to be summer in a few days here and people are going to beaches or having vacations. They needed all these stuffs for summer getaways. So yea, orders are coming up fast for swim wears. Please follow our instagram account @sophiadclothing for all this cool, wonderful, and affordable swim wears and accessories. And more on our facebook page @sophiadfashion.(shameless plug... hehehe)

I couldn't be more happier to announce as well, that we are no longer living on a single salary. Yes, the husband found a higher paying job. Yey!

Now, what I am trying to accomplish is living on my half a month salary. Yes! I wanted to be discipline enough to save/invest the other half of the month salary. I hope I can make it. I have been studying this for months and since the husband was in between jobs before, that was not possible. But I hope, this time, it will materialize.

So this is all I have at the moment. Enjoy your Wednesday, lovelies! :)

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Finally a Life's Update

Google photo - Tech-coffee.net

It has been such a long time, I think. I was on a graveyard shift since the start of the year and finally, today is a breather. Today starts my morning shift. Hurray for a good night sleep and corrected body clock. I was having a difficult time nowadays adjusting to night shifts. Unlike in my late 20s. It seems like that age is really catching up with me. Hay.

Anyway, I was revisiting my notes the past year and found a couple of pages left incomplete. It was a thought of the things I learned in my 35 years of existence. But sadly, never get to complete the list and never made its way here. Now that I am 36, (yes, over a year ago thoughts), I decided to write it down here since this blog now covers a little about my life's events.

Note: These were random thoughts and realization.

1. Not all who smiles at you, are your friend.
2. Even though, I do not wanted to compete, 'they' compete with me.
3. Some people claimed to be a friend, but talk behind you and spread malicious false rumors about you. (Sad fact!)
4. Knowing my self, my own worth, keeps me survive the phases of life.
5. I do not have the riches of the world, but I love everything that I have.
6. If people do not want me in their lives, I'm okay with that. Just don't fake it.
7. I am traveling the less traveled road and do not want to bring burden to others who do not want to go.
8. I am complicated, complex, and I am glad a few handful people stick with me.
9. I have this as one of my dream - to be able to share blessings to those in need.
10. I am thankful to a few people who cares to me truly.
11. I cannot please everyone.
12. Some people show up in my life for lessons and eventually has to leave.
13. Some things are difficult, but with God's grace nothing is impossible.
14. I am human, I make mistakes, I rebound from disappointments, I am resilient to life's challenges.
15. Love is a verb.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Where We At Financially? ~ 2017 Update

Source: google photo


Here we go. Where we at right now, financially? To be very honest, we haven't beefed up that much for the year 2016 even though, my sidelines are left and right.

We only have achieved 28.49% added to our next goal of 2nd M. Too slow of a progress. But I am very proud of it. Dugo at pawis yan para lang merong kaonting maidagdag. It was really a rough year.

And I don't have any excuses on what has happened. Because it was what it was. I don't have anything new in 2016 since we were trying to settle for less on only one income.

Even my tablet which is always dying on me, I ask it to stay alive a little longer for the online shop. I haven't saved up yet for a new one. I hope I can save up for a new one this year before it totally retires. 😁

Source: google photo

No matter how difficult the times are, God will provide. I am always reminded of that. Because when I thought I can't make the ends meet, I am presented with ideas. All I have to do is be very diligent, use any talent I have, and be grateful for what I have.

But I am just a human, sometimes, exhaustion hits me. And then I stop to reflect. Eventually, I am missing the life of it. And I am back again. It's the balance I need so I can be whole again and dance the tides of life.

I am hopeful and positive that this 2017 is a smoother year when it comes to finances now that, we are a little bit stable with our spending as well as budgeting a single income.

Cheers! :)

Friday, January 6, 2017

First Posts on Being Frugal

I was contemplating on what will be my first post this year. Although I have so many things in my mind, I just can't seem to decide which is which.

Anyway, before I review my 2016 Financial Goal Blog, this is what I decided to post/share with you.

My 2016 is a bit rough when it comes to finances. We are still living on a single income.

I am not complaining. I still have a full time job plus the online selling. It all helps to provide the basic needs for all of us while trying to save and invest on the side.

I am basically trying to teach everyone in the household how to save and live a frugal lifestyle.

Mahigpit na kung mahigpit sa pera. Even to my extended family. This is tough love I am trying to show.

Lessen eating out. The struggle is real when it comes to eating out. My hands are already full with the full time job plus the online shop and with a 3 year old, that sometimes, eating out is our only option. But, since, we have so little budget for dining out, we have tried so much not to go overboard. Thanks that we are located near a market where it is accessible anytime of the day to buy a little cheaper than mall price ingredients. We usually prepare those easy to make dishes.

Always bring packed snacks at work. Fast foods are becoming pricey nowadays. My 100 peso one meal in the fastfood, can stretch to 5 days packed snacks. I just have to settle for the free vending machine in the office.

Walking. I see to it that when time permits, I walk my way to the office and back home. Yes, it will consume some time which should have been devoted to the online shop, but it is also my way of reflecting my thoughts while walking briskly. Clears my mind sometimes. (Note: Alabang area is still not that much crowded in the morning or evening)

Always turn off/unplug the appliances when not in use. This is very basic. But with the hassle of following a 3 year old, from one area to another, we often forget that the electric fan or the tv is still on.

Buy only what we can consume and always check the expiry dates. First in, first out. We do not stock so much in the fridge basically because my 3 year old is not a fan of frozen foods nor canned goods. Thus if we go to the grocery, the biggest portion is her milk, mineral water, and diaper. All other else were of lesser quantity which are sometime on sale or an alternative to a brand. For those items on sale, always check the expiry dates.

Buy in cash whenever possible. Or use the debit card instead. I know credit cards has many perks and rewards. Like for example, right now there is a promo for BPI credit cards (http://www.bpicards.com/RealThrills/Items/35)that when you have a minimum of P3,000 single receipt regular/straight transaction at any merchant, you will be entitled for a Jollibee coupon. This is actually encouraging, but when buying and the total price did not meet the requirements, there is no need to buy more and instead pay in cash. Use and manage the card wisely. Never indulge in too much just to have the rewards/perks.

Plan ahead. We have a short staycation on the Christmas eve because I was at work on the Christmas day itself. (It is what I sign up with when I entered in the company over 8 years ago.) Because, I can't come home, we decided to bring my in laws in the city. We have set the budget on a limit (saving the money for a period of time) and we just stayed in the rented place the whole time, cooking our own meal, playing with my little girl, chatting, and video call with the sister in laws. Overall, we all enjoyed the stay.

Oh and the Christmas gifts? Well, I crocheted some items for my office mates. For my godchildren and family members, the gifts were bought since last October. Because, malls are overly crowded during December, we decided not to go on frenzie those days. Less stress. Less hassle. Less cramming.

All in all, sometimes, I feel like I overdo some of those mentioned above. Nonetheless, I welcome the feeling because it is more gratifying and fulfilling. (Just my perspective). :)