Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Smart Shopping



Fashion and the retail calendar are very predictable. With fashion, you can be sure that trends will be recycled with regularity, and with retail, you can bet your bottom dollar on two major events: the mid-season and post-holiday sales. Which means, it's now time to shop!


Smart Shopping


Fashion and the retail calendar are very predictable. With fashion, you can be sure that trends will be recycled with regularity, and with retail, you can bet your bottom dollar on two major events: the mid-season and post-holiday sales. Which means, it's now time to shop!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

My Kryptonite


I have a weakness for buying things on installment basis. So far, I've been fairly responsible, choosing to buy mostly big ticket items for our house on installment basis (i.e. aircon, ref, steel shelves etc), although I have slipped a few times and bought non-essential things (i.e. new eyeglasses and leather bag), since my mind automatically chops up the price into 6 equal pieces and proudly declares it as kayang-kaya!

Another weakness that has made its evil presence known fairly recently is a hankering for jewelry. I don't really like jewelry per se, but I do have this secret dream of collecting pieces that I can pass on to my daughter during milestones in her life. The pieces I have in mind are pearl earrings, diamond earrings and a gold necklace with a simple diamond pendant. Classics that any generation can appreciate.

I was introduced to my friend's alahera a few months ago after I revealed my dream of owning south sea pearl earrings (a dream that had its inception after my lola's SSP earrings were passed on to the eldest cousin, a.k.a. Not Jill). And there it was, a set of obscenely sized champagne colored pearls set in gold. The price made me gasp at first, but compared to the alahera's other pieces, it was practically a giveaway. She agreed to sell it to me for 12 equal installments and we were both happy.


However, I saw that she also had these gorgeous diamond donut earrings set in white gold and I couldn't stop thinking about them. The alahera came back last week to tempt my officemate and I with her new pieces. I wasn't really interested in the jewelry sets or the pearl lariats, but the diamond earrings were still there and when I tried them on I was smitten. Ack. 

To cut the story short, I am now the proud owner of a pair of diamond earrings and while I love how it sparkles on my ears, I will never, ever reveal how much I paid for it (at least to my husband). The alahera cut me some slack and told me that I can start my installment payment by May of 2013, since I'm still paying for the pearl earrings and will continue to do so until July of 2013. 

I appreciate the consideration but what worries me now is that I'll be on maternity leave by May or June of 2013, and the thought of the monthly payments eating up into my SAHM budget, as well as cutting short my planned maternity leave, troubles me. I have thought of returning the earrings, but I don't want to (cue brat mode). So I have come to the conclusion that if need be, I will dip into my VUL fund, a.k.a. The Europe Fund, to subsidize my new earrings.

What is it about diamonds and girls? Sigh.

My Kryptonite


I have a weakness for buying things on installment basis. So far, I've been fairly responsible, choosing to buy mostly big ticket items for our house on installment basis (i.e. aircon, ref, steel shelves etc), although I have slipped a few times and bought non-essential things (i.e. new eyeglasses and leather bag), since my mind automatically chops up the price into 6 equal pieces and proudly declares it as kayang-kaya!

Another weakness that has made its evil presence known fairly recently is a hankering for jewelry. I don't really like jewelry per se, but I do have this secret dream of collecting pieces that I can pass on to my daughter during milestones in her life. The pieces I have in mind are pearl earrings, diamond earrings and a gold necklace with a simple diamond pendant. Classics that any generation can appreciate.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

MEG Unloaded

I've been tracking Megaworld (MEG) shares for the past few days now ever since my gains reached 25%. Today, my gains were at 28.8% and even if the price at 2.78, was still below the 2.87 sell price pegged by Bo Sanchez, I decided to sell all my shares. I wrestled with the idea of waiting for the price to reach the official sell price, but the difference between what I sold for and what I could have gotten with the official sell price was only Php700++ and the excitement of unloading my stocks for the first time with an actual profit (28.8%!!) drove me to sell, sell, sell!

From the proceeds, I added to my First Philippine Holdings (FPH) stash and bought Metrobank (MBT) for the first time. Both companies are included in the Truly Rich program because I have already learned that I am a ninny when it comes to choosing stocks to invest in on my own.  

What a happy day this is turning out to be :)


MEG Unloaded

I've been tracking Megaworld (MEG) shares for the past few days now ever since my gains reached 25%. Today, my gains were at 28.8% and even if the price at 2.78, was still below the 2.87 sell price pegged by Bo Sanchez, I decided to sell all my shares. I wrestled with the idea of waiting for the price to reach the official sell price, but the difference between what I sold for and what I could have gotten with the official sell price was only Php700++ and the excitement of unloading my stocks for the first time with an actual profit (28.8%!!) drove me to sell, sell, sell!

From the proceeds, I added to my First Philippine Holdings (FPH) stash and bought Metrobank (MBT) for the first time. Both companies are included in the Truly Rich program because I have already learned that I am a ninny when it comes to choosing stocks to invest in on my own.  

What a happy day this is turning out to be :)


Saturday, December 1, 2012

Truly Rich Club's Wealth Summit 2013


I hemmed and hawed a bit last night because I'll be 7 months pregnant by March and I was thinking of how uncomfortable it will be to attend a jampacked summit when you're lugging around a watermelon in your belly. But the 75% discount and the interesting roster of speakers really called out to me.

I slept over it and by this morning, there where still some discounted tickets left which I took as a sign and so with a few clicks later, I had a ticket for the Truly Rich Club's Wealth Summit 2013!

Here's what you can expect from the Wealth Summit:

11 Super Things That Will Happen To You At The WEALTH SUMMIT
Here is what you’ll gain at the TrulyRichClub WEALTH SUMMIT 2013. You’ll also find below the Superheroes of Abundance that will rescue you from the financial DANGERS around you:

  1. Explode The Invisible Financial Ceiling Over Your Head. Learn the Habits of the Happy Millionaire! Captain Abundance Bo Sanchez (Founder, TrulyRichClub) will defeat financial mediocrity in your life by helping you create patterns of financial success that all multimillionaires practice. Start a financial revolution in your life!

  1. Eradicate LACK (Never depend on your companys salary and retirement package alone!). Learn how you can create your MULTIMILLIONS by growing your money in the Stock Market; “Captain Abundance Bo Sanchez (Founder, TrulyRichClub) and Millionaire MakerEdward Lee (Founder and Chairman of the Board, COLFinancial) will teach you how you can make it your SAFEST investment in the world.

  1. Gain Simple Habits of Abundance. Be inspired by TV and Movie Actress and former Beauty Queen WealthWomanMiriam Quiambao who will share her exciting financial journey; Learn from her the simple winning habits and attitudes that made her abundant and how you can apply the same simple habits yourself! Youll be blessed listening to her.

  1. First things firstRemove all debt. Learn the liberating lifestyle that will get you to Zero-Debt in the quickest time possible. Learn the winning strategies of Financial Abundance from one of the most dynamic financial speakers in the country today, Money MultiplierRex Mendoza (CEO and President, Philam).
  1. Take your career to the next level. Move forward in your company. Get promoted. Perform your best! Learn from THE pioneer of the Call Center and BPO industry of the country, PioneerManBenedict Hernandez (President, Accenture) and Poverty Executioner Jon Escoto (President, LeadLife, Feast Builder, Light of Jesus).

  1. Convert Houses into Cash Cows. Find out how you can create passive income by buying foreclosed properties and turning them into money machines. Doctor RichLarry Gamboa, Ph.D. (Bestselling Author, Think Rich Pinoy) and “Megabucks ManRandy Manaloto (Founder and President, CityDorms Corp) will share the simple systems they use to make money in real estate.

  1. Turn your computer into an ATM. Find out how you can earn MONEY through an viable internet business; Money MagnetoJomar Hilario (Internet Marketing Guru) and “Doctor Rich Larry Gamboa, Ph.d (Author, Think Rich Pinoy) will teach you how you can become a highly-paid infropreneur.

  1. Earn Dollars While Working from Home. Learn how to become a dollar-earning Virtual Assistant. “Money Magneto Jomar Hilario (Internet Marketing Guru) will share how you can do this and the steps necessary to make this dream job happen.

  1. Start your own money-making business. Absorb the Entrepreneurs mindset needed for you to launch your very own profitable enterprise. Learn from the distinguished Asian Institute of Management Professor who runs 8 successful businesses, Professor $ Dean Pax Lapid. (He starts one business a year.) Teaching with him is another serial entrepreneur, Magic Man Ronnie Siasoyco (Founder, Trion—the biggest producer of electric meters in the country today).

  1. Enjoy And Have Super Fun. This isnt your staid, melancholic, boring conference inside a room. Youll have so much fun with this exciting speakers and exciting crowd! It will be out of this world; You’ve got to experience it to FEEL it.

  1. Receive an Anointing for Abundance. Captain Abundance himself, Bo Sanchez, will lead you into a special prayer for Gods abundance to flow into your life. So that you can be a channel of Gods abundance to this hungry world.
It might just be the hype or the fact that I've been drinking Bo Sanchez' Kool-Aid for the last few months (and that Kool-Aid led to an almost 14% growth in my stocks in 8 months!), but I'm really excited over the Wealth Summit. This is my first time to attend anything of this sort and I'm excited to be around like-minded and inspirational people.

There were still about 20 discounted tickets left when I bought mine, so if you're also interested, hurry up and grab your ticket to the Wealth Summit 2013 ASAP!

Truly Rich Club's Wealth Summit 2013


I hemmed and hawed a bit last night because I'll be 7 months pregnant by March and I was thinking of how uncomfortable it will be to attend a jampacked summit when you're lugging around a watermelon in your belly. But the 75% discount and the interesting roster of speakers really called out to me.

I slept over it and by this morning, there where still some discounted tickets left which I took as a sign and so with a few clicks later, I had a ticket for the Truly Rich Club's Wealth Summit 2013!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

While still heady from the achievement of reaching half of my emergency funds goal, I suddenly found myself in a wanton spending spree that still leaves me a little guilt-ridden up to now.


I bought a pair of glasses early this year using a court subsidy and it's been serving me fine, but lately, I've been lemming for new glasses, more particularly, the emo-type of glasses. I know, I know, I'm too old to go Bieber on anyone and it's too late in the day to jump on the emo bandwagon. But what can I say, I've been thinking of buying a new pair of glasses for the last few months and so last Monday, I did just that.




Then that same night, we found out that Elton John was having a concert at the Araneta Center this December 8, and before you could say "Rocketman" I had charged two upper box tickets on my card.


The thing is, we've been quite responsible with our spending as a whole (although we could do with less of eating out to be perfectly honest) and we don't exactly live an extravagant lifestyle, so why am I beating myself up over these little luxuries?


Maybe it's because my now waning Catholic guilt is slowly being replaced by financial guilt. Where every expense has to be accounted for and must be devoid of frou-frou. And there's the fact that we need to save up for my planned maternity leave and Bean related things (strollers, car seats, immunizations Oh my!).


So I'm currently on damage control mode. Last night, I called my credit card and asked that my recent purchases be converted to 0% installment for 3 months and the hubby and I decided that the concert tickets will take the place of our Christmas gifts for each other. Of course, it also goes without saying that we won't be going on any out of town trips anytime soon.


Everything has been ironed out and new pledges have been made. So why do I still feel so guilty? It's tough to be a Type A personality Catholic on the path to financial independence. I sure hope I don't pass this slight neurosis to Bean :(

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

While still heady from the achievement of reaching half of my emergency funds goal, I suddenly found myself in a wanton spending spree that still leaves me a little guilt-ridden up to now.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Thoughts on the Aman Futures Group Debacle


I've been following the Aman Futures fiasco for the simple reason that it hit close to home, both literally and figuratively.

Pagadian City, a sleepy city in Zamboanga Del Sur, has suddenly become a lead player in this year's biggest scam. My grandfather served as a fiscal in Pagadian for many years and I also spent time there when I was a toddler, as I'm a "laking lolo and lola."

I've been mentally composing my post on the Aman Futures scam for the past few days, and my thesis was that the investors simply didn't know any better. Most of the early investors were fishermen and market vendors who probably had no idea what the usual bank rates are, or the historical gains in money market placements. So when faced with a charismatic figure like Amalilio, the tacit approval of the LGUs (does anybody really believe Mayor Co's excuses?) and the unmistakable proof of wealth from their neighbors, the double your money offer seemed perfectly logical.


That's why I was disturbed when I read this article where an interviewee was quoted as saying: “From the start, I knew it was a scam and bound to burst like a bubble, but I took my chances,” and "“For those of us who have simple hopes and limited means, the idea of hitting [the big] time … is very attractive. It was just unfortunate that we came in late,”

Wow.

I was particularly struck by his statement that it was just unfortunate that he came in late in the game, because he seems to be implying that there was nothing wrong with jumping wide-eyed into a Ponzi scheme, just as long as you join early enough. And that's why  I believe that a similar pyramid scheme will reappear in about 5-10 years time and we'll be reading the same stories about life savings lost and relationships ripped to pieces. 

About a decade ago, my mom joined the Mateo Group with its 20% (or even higher pa nga yata) monthly interest rate promise. And for the next few months, my mom did earn money from her investment and several friends and family members even joined the Mateo Group because of my mom's experience.

An uncle was a little hesitant with placing money in Mateo Group because he knew that a 20% monthly interest rate was too good to be true, to which my mom responded that she had no choice because she desperately needed the money for my bro's tuition fee in pilot school, and she added that it's really just a matter of taking your money out after a few months and not letting greed get the best of you. 

I never did find out if my uncle invested with the Mateo Group, but my mom managed take out her capital a few months before the pyramid crashed. It would be nice if I ended this story by saying that my mom was wise enough to pull out because she didn't let greed get to her, but no. Her sister needed money that time, so without second thoughts, my mom took out her placement to lend it to her. So this story does have a happy ending after all, with love overcoming greed and my mom never investing in similar outfits ever again.

Sadly, the other stories don't have similar happy endings, but at least this should serve as a lesson learned to everyone who lost money and to everyone who read about the Aman Group scam. Because really, if it's too good to be true, run very, very far away.

Thoughts on the Aman Futures Group Debacle


I've been following the Aman Futures fiasco for the simple reason that it hit close to home, both literally and figuratively.

Pagadian City, a sleepy city in Zamboanga Del Sur, has suddenly become a lead player in this year's biggest scam. My grandfather served as a fiscal in Pagadian for many years and I also spent time there when I was a toddler, as I'm a "laking lolo and lola."

I've been mentally composing my post on the Aman Futures scam for the past few days, and my thesis was that the investors simply didn't know any better. Most of the early investors were fishermen and market vendors who probably had no idea what the usual bank rates are, or the historical gains in money market placements. So when faced with a charismatic figure like Amalilio, the tacit approval of the LGUs (does anybody really believe Mayor Co's excuses?) and the unmistakable proof of wealth from their neighbors, the double your money offer seemed perfectly logical.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Government Work

The good thing about working in the court is that we get all sorts of bonuses disguised in different names (same with our leaves), such as the Emergency Employment Assistance bonus (equal to 1 month pay) which we received just before the Halloween long weekend. The EEA is supposed to help out with tuition fee related expenses, with the other subsidy happening just before June. No wonder resignations are tendered between July to September, aka the lean months.


The Christmas bonus, or 13th month pay, is given in two tranches, with half handed out in May and the other half in November. There's also the grocery allowance to reckon with, which varies every year but is usually a sizable amount as well.  Then every month, there's the bonus from the judiciary funds, which is not a lot but can just about cover 1-2 weeks worth of groceries.


You would think that with all of these windfalls the court employees would be awash with cash, but the opposite happens. The cooperative is usually teeming with employees inquiring if their last loan has been paid up, so that they can take out another loan. A typical government employee would generally be well-versed with the different loans that he/she can take out on his/her salary (i.e. GSIS, Pag-ibig etc).


Government Work

The good thing about working in the court is that we get all sorts of bonuses disguised in different names (same with our leaves), such as the Emergency Employment Assistance bonus (equal to 1 month pay) which we received just before the Halloween long weekend. The EEA is supposed to help out with tuition fee related expenses, with the other subsidy happening just before June. No wonder resignations are tendered between July to September, aka the lean months.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Of Dubious Radio Commercials

There's this radio ad I hear on the AM channel and it never fails to annoy me. It goes something like this:

Matatapos na ang 2012, hard work pa rin ba ang solusyon mo para yumaman? Sumali na sa xxxx raffle bonanza at manalo ng limpak-limpak na salapi!!

(The year is about to end and are you still relying on hard work to get rich? Join xxx raffle to win millions of pesos!)

I think it's sad that that radio ad seems to be poking fun at working hard to earn your keep and plays on the typical Pinoy mentality of betting on odds to win an easy fortune. But really, that ad just mirrors how Pinoys think about finances.


Hard work is part of the strategy towards wealth, there's no question about that, however, it doesn't end there. There's also living within your means and making your money work for you, because if the radio ad sadly got anything right, it's that hard work is not enough. You have to work hard AND be smart with your lifestyle and asset planning at the same time.

But will anyone tell that to the dreamers who will join the contest? Nope.

For most of us Pinoys, retirement refers to our SSS or GSIS pensions and relying on our children to support us when we get old and sick. That's what seems to happens with the "study hard- get a good job- pray to God" upbringing that most of us were reared in.

I went to a good school but I was never taught about budgeting, how to balance a checkbook, open a savings account or use compound interest to my advantage. Honestly, I think learning skills like those would have served me better than the agonizing hours of trigonometry and physics.

So what's going to happen to us and the next generation? I actually am hopeful that things will turn out better, what with the prevalence of entrepreneurship and the accessibility of money market placements these days. For my part, I try to encourage my friends and family  members to at least invest in mutual funds, specially when I see their bonuses going towards building up their wardrobe or replacing their phones. While I know Lyn-Lyn also regularly conducts mini lectures on wealth building among her fellow OFWs in the UK. Come to think of it, maybe I should come up with my own presentation as well, seeing that my friends are becoming more and more interested in financial planning as well. Hmmmm....

As for that contest, it involves consuming x number of liquor to get the bottle caps in order to come up with a qualified entry. At least somebody's going to get rich with this contest, and that's the liquor company.

Of Dubious Radio Commercials

There's this radio ad I hear on the AM channel and it never fails to annoy me. It goes something like this:

Matatapos na ang 2012, hard work pa rin ba ang solusyon mo para yumaman? Sumali na sa xxxx raffle bonanza at manalo ng limpak-limpak na salapi!!

(The year is about to end and are you still relying on hard work to get rich? Join xxx raffle to win millions of pesos!)

I think it's sad that that radio ad seems to be poking fun at working hard to earn your keep and plays on the typical Pinoy mentality of betting on odds to win an easy fortune. But really, that ad just mirrors how Pinoys think about finances.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Planning and Plotting


 
My due date is around middle of May next year and I'm seriously toying with the idea of taking a prolonged maternity leave, as in to take the rest of the year off and just tend to the baby.



Obviously, this leads to a lot of financial issues, first and foremost being, can we survive on a single income? My hubby freelances as a website developer and runs an advertising network. Just like most freelancers, his income teeters between feast and famine. When the projects are bountiful and the payment orders come on time, then we're awash in cash. But on the flipside, delayed payments are also common in his line of work, so when I make our budget, I rely mostly on my income and treat his income as windfall, characterizing it as fun money or something to add to our emergency fund.


It's not difficult to see why I'm hesitant to let go of my stable and regular paying job. However, the thought of spending time with my child seems to make it all worth it.


The way I see it, if I can build up 6 months worth of expenses in our emergency fund, keep my current writing jobs, accept some legal consultation gigs and rework our monthly fun fund to actually pay for bills and their ilk, then this half a year maternity leave might just work, without us having to sell our kidneys in order to pay our mortgage.


In the next few posts I will try to be ruthless in analyzing our spending patterns and see where we can save, because with my prolonged maternity leave, every peso saved will really help.


Wish us luck!

Planning and Plotting


My due date is around middle of May next year and I'm seriously toying with the idea of taking a prolonged maternity leave, as in to take the rest of the year off and just tend to the baby.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Stocks Update: Getting There


This week's stock market performance may have been generally meh, but my personal portfolio was pretty exciting as 2 stocks inched closer towards their buy below price.

SMPH actually surpassed its 14.48 buy below price earlier this week, I think it even reached 14.55 at some point, but then slipped back to 14.24 by the time the market closed for the week.

My hero stock, MEG, on the other hand is slowly but surely making its way towards the 2.50 buy below price, closing at 2.40 for the week.

The thought of actually selling at a profit is giving me chills of excitement! Huzzah!

Bo also issued a buy order for Ayala Corp (AC) and because AC costs Php430++ per share (mahalia!), I advanced my November budget just to be able to buy the minimum board lot of 10 shares. But it was a good move because I bought in at 434.3/share and now it's up to 439/share. I wonder if the buy order was triggered by AC's successful bid over the FTI property? Feel ko yun  yon.

Anyway, I hope either SMPH or MEG reaches its sell price soon because I'm feeling the AC loving and want to scoop up more shares. And by "more" what I really mean is merely 10-20 shares. Hello Ms. Moneybags!

Stocks Update: Getting There


This week's stock market performance may have been generally meh, but my personal portfolio was pretty exciting as 2 stocks inched closer towards their buy below price.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Guest Post on The Wise Living


Last week, I published Lianne's post on a ridiculously simple way to curb spending, now it's my turn to guest post on Lianne blog. Read about the book that set me on the path towards financial independence and hopefully it will inspire you as well.

Guest Post on The Wise Living


Last week, I published Lianne's post on a ridiculously simple way to curb spending, now it's my turn to guest post on Lianne blog. Read about the book that set me on the path towards financial independence and hopefully it will inspire you as well.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

How to Start a FAMI Individual Account (and some thoughts on the Colayco Foundation)



I first learned about First Metro Asset Management Inc. (FAMI) when I attended a half-day seminar conducted by the Colayco Foundation. The speaker said that FAMI-SALEF (Save and Learn Equity Fund) was his mutual funds of choice and we would all do very well to open accounts there as well and take advantage of the high returns. However, he also emphasized how inconvenient it was to open a FAMI-SALEF account. How you'll have to go to the FAMI office in Makati to fill out forms and the same goes if you want to make additional investments. According to him, you'll have to take a day off from work and go to Makati, while you also have to factor in your commuting expenses and how much you will spend for your lunch or dinner during the day, double or triple this if you're bringing someone else with you.


Whew! He almost sold me on joining the Colayco cooperative, since the cooperative will do everything for you, and all you need to do is pay their yearly membership fee. However, a quick check with the FAMI website showed that it was very easy to open an account and make additional investments. It was so easy and the information was available in the website for everyone to access, that I had to wonder how the speaker could lie with impunity. Seriously, if you're going to lie about something, you better make sure that you won't get caught with a quick Google search. And that's why I don't trust the Colayco group anymore.


How to Start a FAMI Individual Account (and some thoughts on the Colayco Foundation)


I first learned about First Metro Asset Management Inc. (FAMI) when I attended a half-day seminar conducted by the Colayco Foundation. The speaker said that FAMI-SALEF (Save and Learn Equity Fund) was his mutual funds of choice and we would all do very well to open accounts there as well and take advantage of the high returns. However, he also emphasized how inconvenient it was to open a FAMI-SALEF account. How you'll have to go to the FAMI office in Makati to fill out forms and the same goes if you want to make additional investments. According to him, you'll have to take a day off from work and go to Makati, while you also have to factor in your commuting expenses and how much you will spend for your lunch or dinner during the day, double or triple this if you're bringing someone else with you.

Whew! He almost sold me on joining the Colayco cooperative, since the cooperative will do everything for you, and all you need to do is pay their yearly membership fee. However, a quick check with the FAMI website showed that it was very easy to open an account and make additional investments. It was so easy and the information was available in the website for everyone to access, that I had to wonder how the speaker could lie with impunity. Seriously, if you're going to lie about something, you better make sure that you won't get caught with a quick Google search. And that's why I don't trust the Colayco group anymore.

Anyway, without any BS, here's how to open a FAMI account

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Spend Less: Calculate Your Salary per Hour






This steak is worth 10 working hours of my salary?!


How often were you plagued with the urge to do impulse shopping?


Or with the sudden call to order for impulse delivery?


How about impulse flight-booking? Have you done this?


Impulse spending is nothing more but a trick done by marketers to trigger your subconscious need for instant gratification. These marketers place signs like “Buy NOW and get one free!”, “Limited offer ONLY!” and the ever-famous “Sale for today ONLY!”


Do you see what these signs have in common? They urge you to buy NOW. Pay TODAY. Pull out your hard-earned cash and give it to them WITHOUT THINKING.


Spend Less: Calculate Your Salary per Hour

 This steak is worth 10 working hours of my salary?!


How often were you plagued with the urge to do impulse shopping?

Or with the sudden call to order for impulse delivery?

How about impulse flight-booking? Have you done this?

Impulse spending is nothing more but a trick done by marketers to trigger your subconscious need for instant gratification. These marketers place signs like “Buy NOW and get one free!”, “Limited offer ONLY!” and the ever-famous “Sale for today ONLY!”

Do you see what these signs have in common? They urge you to buy NOW. Pay TODAY. Pull out your hard-earned cash and give it to them WITHOUT THINKING.

My friend, I understand your woe. I know how you feel! I’ve been a victim of these deceptive tactics before. But those days of playing victim are over. We can stop our impulse spending. We can tame the lion within. We can be the masters of our own souls.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Growing Up Rich


My two grandmothers and grandfather were public school teachers, while my other grandfather was a fiscal (or public prosecutor as we call them now). For the life of me, although they never went on lavish vacations abroad or carried around designer items, I was always under the impression that my grandparents were rich. Money was never an issue with them, except for my Lola Teresa who was an amazing spendthrift and who would seriously consider every purchase she made, from bulbs of onion to ship fares, although I later on found out that this was partly due to her OCD.

We usually never talked about money, probably because there was barely just enough of it to go by. But I never ever felt poor or deprived when I was with them. Maybe it's because I always felt loved and was raised in the "let kids run wild until they get tired enough to drop straight into bed" school of thinking.

My Lolo Ange's generosity knew no bounds and we would run to him when Lola Teresa refused to give us 5p for candy. And instead of 5p, he would brandish a 20p bill and give it to us with much pomp and pageantry. Oh the riches!

I also thought that my paternal grandparents were rich because of the fact that they had a beach resort. But that beach resort was really just a few cottages and rooms for rent which provided work for whoever wanted work and acted as a venue for our family reunions. I guess I thought they were loaded because they sold ice cream and we could get as much popsicles and pints as we wanted with Lolo Mesyong's permission, as long as Lola Pesing wasn't looking.

Suffice to say that that beach resort wasn't raking in loads of money either:p

So why did I grow up thinking that my grandparents were rich? Simply because they were happy and content, and in my young mind, I thought that you needed to be rich in order to attain happiness. But clearly that wasn't so. My grandparents lived on government pensions but were the happiest people I knew, and it's probably because they lived their lives well with honesty and integrity, trusting in the innate goodness of man and in God's wisdom. 

From them, I learned that your name is the only thing of value that you can pass on to your descendants. That respect is currency that not even MVP's billions can buy. Though they are gone, I continue to follow Lolo Mesyong when he told us to do what you say you will do. I will always remember Lola Teresa for continuing to make empanada even if her fingers ached from arthritis, simply because we begged her to make them. I pluck courage from Lolo Ange's constant pronouncements that I was the "Pinaka bright! Pinaka maganda!" of all (even if this was also his constant spiel with my other cousins:p). And I am inspired by Lola Pesing's quiet strength and unwavering faith.

Happy teachers day Lolo and Lola (times two)! Please put in a good word for us up there.

Growing Up Rich


My two grandmothers and grandfather were public school teachers, while my other grandfather was a fiscal (or public prosecutor as we call them now). For the life of me, although they never went on lavish vacations abroad or carried around designer items, I was always under the impression that my grandparents were rich. Money was never an issue with them, except for my Lola Teresa who was an amazing spendthrift and who would seriously consider every purchase she made, from bulbs of onion to ship fares, although I later on found out that this was partly due to her OCD.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Frugal Honey on ANC On the Money


When Salve Duplito tweeted a question about lending money to friends or family, I responded by saying that it was usually a big mistake and look, I even wrote about it here and sent her a link to this post (epal much?). A few hours later, ANC On the Money asked if they could quote portions of my post in their show. I asked for the terms of the exposure and my talent fee, oh what the heck, I said yes in a heartbeat!

We don't get ANC on our cable and so I had no clue if the episode actually aired until a reader sent me a link to the episode.


That day's guest said that the odds of only 1 out of 3 paying a debt is fairly normal and my mistake was in failing to conduct due diligence before lending money to my friends. I actually  didn't know what to make of that because how exactly do you conduct a due diligence study on your friends?

With the one who lost her job, I really had no inkling that she would renege on her debt. She would always pay her share of the tab during our night outs and never tried to mooch money off me, so I honestly had no clue that that would happen. But looking back now, maybe I should have made them sign an undertaking, even a one pager, just to make the deal more official.

As for the other one, he really was just forgetful and in fairness, he did pay me when I demanded the whole amount.

Anyway, lessons have been learned and I am still not convinced that being a guarantor is a good idea.

Frugal Honey on ANC On the Money


When Salve Duplito tweeted a question about lending money to friends or family, I responded by saying that it was usually a big mistake and look, I even wrote about it here and sent her a link to this post (epal much?). A few hours later, ANC On the Money asked if they could quote portions of my post in their show. I asked for the terms of the exposure and my talent fee, oh what the heck, I said yes in a heartbeat!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Monitor My Funds

In order to track the performance of my mutual funds, I have an email in draft mode where I write down the date I bought in, the number of shares and the NAVPS at that time. I would then check out the current NAVPS over at Sun Life or FAMI and then compute the value of my shares. It's a very low-tech system but it gets the job done. However, The Thrifty Chick showed me a much better and more efficient way to monitor my funds, through a website aptly named: Monitor My Funds.

The premise is very simple and upfront:

Monitor My Funds allows you to keep track of the values of mutual funds and UITFs. You can see the past performances of funds in graphs. You can create an account and track all your funds in a single page. Check out the demo here
Registration is also easy and takes all of 30 seconds.


 To start, click the Add Fund to Portfolio link and input the necessary information.


I have made several investments in my Sun Life Balanced Fund for the past 2 years and you can see the corresponding gains/loss per investment made as well as the total gains.

 I've only made one investment with First Metro Save and Learn Equity Fund, so that row is basically it.

Monitor My Funds also has a compare funds feature so you can see the past performance of the different funds.



And that's that. Nothing like technology to make life a little easier.

Monitor My Funds

In order to track the performance of my mutual funds, I have an email in draft mode where I write down the date I bought in, the number of shares and the NAVPS at that time. I would then check out the current NAVPS over at Sun Life or FAMI and then compute the value of my shares. It's a very low-tech system but it gets the job done. However, The Thrifty Chick showed me a much better and more efficient way to monitor my funds, through a website aptly named: Monitor My Funds.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

One for all and all for one!

*Originally posted in Kikay Exchange.


I rarely get tapped to write a sponsored post, so when I was asked to write about Sun Life Financial's latest short film Sun Dance, on a topic that was very close to my heart (personal finance), all I could think of was: "This is great! Thank you Sun Life for subsidizing my next Maxi Prime premium payment!":p

When I first started reading about personal finance about two years ago, I was amazed at the wealth of information available. I would usually browse through the personal finance topics in Yahoo Finance and my favorite topic then was how to pay off my credit card debts as quickly as possible (two words: Snowball Method). I also got hooked on personal blogs where people openly talked about their household budgets, how they save on money without cutting out fun from their life. In short, I was getting into the frugal lifestyle and seeing that it wasn't that bad after all.

And soon enough, the random chitchat with my friends turned into long talks on investments, how we manage our respective households, what bank gives out the best housing loan rates etc. In short, we were on full-on adult mode and I couldn't have been happier. It was nice to have a support group both online and in real life whom I could talk with.

When I watched Sun Dance, I was reminded of my own friends and the personal finance community. No, we don't prance around restaurants like Ina Feliciano and her friends, but we're also always on the lookout for each other and always willing to share our knowledge and experiences, believing that financial success is not just for a chosen few but for everyone to enjoy. Besides, think of how lonely your journey to financial freedom will be if you were to travel solo.


My favorite local finance experts/bloggers seem to be genuinely nice people who are motivated by a sincere desire to spread the gospel of financial success as everyone's right. I am humbled at how accommodating they are and how willing to help out newbies such as myself, proving that the more successful you get, the more light you emit for others to follow.

Enjoy the Sun short and remember that when it comes to financial freedom, first you must believe that it's yours for the taking and then everything else will fall smoothly into place.

*To know how life can be even brighter, please visit the website www.experiencethesun.com.ph
** Sun Life is having a flyaway promo to Singapore, please click here for more details.

One for all and all for one!

*Originally posted in Kikay Exchange.


I rarely get tapped to write a sponsored post, so when I was asked to write about Sun Life Financial's latest short film Sun Dance, on a topic that was very close to my heart (personal finance), all I could think of was: "This is great! Thank you Sun Life for subsidizing my next Maxi Prime premium payment!":p

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Investing in Luxury




An investment is simply defined as putting in money or capital in order to gain profitable returns, as interest, income, or appreciation in value. That's why I always wondered about women who buy expensive bags and shoes and declare them as "investments". Do these really appreciate in value? 


Investing in Luxury


An investment is simply defined as putting in money or capital in order to gain profitable returns, as interest, income, or appreciation in value. That's why I always wondered about women who buy expensive bags and shoes and declare them as "investments". Do these really appreciate in value? 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Meralco bill update


I wrote about getting an inverter aircon in this past post, and after much soul and wallet searching, we finally bought a Koppel 1 HP unit from SM Appliances.

The unit cost Php27,495, but we made use of SM's deferred payment plan, staggering the price to 6 monthly installments of Php4,582.50. I honestly thought the unit would run up to Php40,000, so paying "only" Php27,495 was a very pleasant surprise. What really hurt though was the Php7,500 installation fee that we had to pay upfront. Ouch.


Anyway, our Meralco bill arrived 2 weeks ago and there really was a decrease in our monthly electricity consumption. Take note of our July bill:



Now our August bill:



From Php4,228.85 (333kWh), our bill went down to Php3,436.80 (272 kWh)! That's a difference of Php792 :)

Admittedly, I expected more savings than that, but I remember that August was the month my hubby was bedridden for almost a week and spent most of his days watching TV. This month, our TV routine is back to normal, so I'm crossing my fingers that our Meralco bill will go down even further.

For even more good news, electricity rates are supposed to go down by Php1.73 per kWh this month (read news article here) leading to a potential savings of Php470 for our household (Php1.73 x 272 kWh) :) I'm hoping to whittle down our electricity bill to Php2,500/mo. and let it stay there for good. Hooray for saving money!

Meralco bill update


I wrote about getting an inverter aircon in this past post, and after much soul and wallet searching, we finally bought a Koppel 1 HP unit from SM Appliances.

The unit cost Php27,495, but we made use of SM's deferred payment plan, staggering the price to 6 monthly installments of Php4,582.50. I honestly thought the unit would run up to Php40,000, so paying "only" Php27,495 was a very pleasant surprise. What really hurt though was the Php7,500 installation fee that we had to pay upfront. Ouch.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Thank goodness for emergency funds!

My husband's PC suddenly gave up on him a few days ago, giving off an ominous and high pitched "eeeeeeeeeeeeee" sound, and no amount of whacking or coaxing could get it to work again. That's the PC where he spends hours hunting and shooting down German soldiers and zombies, but it's also where he works on his projects and websites. In short, it was time to dip into our emergency funds to get a new motherboard and other what-have-yous for his down and out PC.


Thank goodness for emergency funds!

My husband's PC suddenly gave up on him a few days ago, giving off an ominous and high pitched "eeeeeeeeeeeeee" sound, and no amount of whacking or coaxing could get it to work again. That's the PC where he spends hours hunting and shooting down German soldiers and zombies, but it's also where he works on his projects and websites. In short, it was time to dip into our emergency funds to get a new motherboard and other what-have-yous for his down and out PC.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Lending Money to Friends and Relatives: More Harm than Good


This article from Learnvest brought back a barrage memories of the first and last time I acted as guarantor for my friends.

In my old law firm, one of our clients had an ex-deal with Gold's Gym and was paid with 1 year membership GCs redeemable at any Gold's Gym branch. Our client then sold these GCs for Php12,000 each, payable in 12 monthly installments. Of course I pounced on the deal and informed my friends about this fantastic offer from Gold's Gym. Several friends bought GCs and we agreed that they would pay me Php1,000 monthly for each GC, I would then remit the cash to the client every month.

Sad to say, of the 3 friends who got GCs through me, only 1 religiously paid every month. One always forgot it was that time of the month and the other lost her job and gave back her GC to me, promising to pay me back later.

The forgetful friend eventually did pay me, but only after I demanded the whole amount after he forgot for 2 straight months to remit his payment. The other friend still owes me money and from the looks of it, she has already wiped off that debt from her consciousness, even if she got a new job about 3 years ago.

I'm still friends with these two, but I will never, ever lend them money again or act as a guarantor for them, or for any other person, for that matter. The stress and disappointment are just not worth it. 

For me lending and borrowing money involves so much more than the actual value of the transaction, as it really boils down to respect. Do you as the borrower, respect the lender enough to make good on your word? Or will you just disregard the loan, reasoning that the lender has more than enough to not notice that she's out a few thousands of pesos?

I know money problems can't be avoided, but what you can control is how you will honor your word to someone you are indebted to.