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.