5 Things to Cultivate for a Happier 2018

2018 is officially here and a lot of us have started to plan their year ahead or have made their new year’s resolution for 2018. But what does it really takes to find fulfillment and happiness today? More than the material things and achievements that we want to have this year, one should strive to cultivate these five attitudes for a happier new year.

Gratitude

Gratitude they say is a dying virtue. For some, being grateful does not come easy. In the world where there are a lot of distractions, gratitude is easily dismissed. However, being thankful to what we have, even the smallest things that we possess will give us a sense of serenity in the long run. Gratitude, when constantly practiced lets us focus on the good things that happens to us instead of the bad things. Thus, whatever happens at the end of the day we can always find something to be grateful for. 

Positivity

Have you ever struggled into finding peace of mind because you are always bothered by so many things? Our world today is so chaotic, fast-paced and hard to keep up. This is why it is hard for us to be optimistic in life. If you have been suffering from so many loses in the past, it is even harder to see a bright future. But if we just stop for a while and try to remove ourselves from the negativity around us, we may find that there is indeed a glimmer of hope in our lives if we choose to focus on them. A flicker of light amidst the darkness is a good sign that good things are just around the corner if we change how we perceive and react to challenges. A positive mind creates a positive outlook that fuels us to work on to our dreams however impossible it may seem. 

Initiative

We often want to be successful in life. We have a lot of dreams and we often make affirmations that someday we will reach the stars. But not all of the dreamers are also doers. Thus, they are having a hard time realizing their dreams. One thing that we need to learn for a happier 2018 is initiative. Simply put, we just don’t dream about success. We need to step forward on our own to reach our goals. We are responsible for our own happiness. Thus learning to get out of our comfort zone and take a step forward is a must!

Acceptance

They say that in order for a person to be happy he needs to learn to accept the things that he cannot change. But it is easier said than done. We have a tendency to hold on to things and try to make it work even if it is no longer worth our effort. We tend to hold on to our “what ifs” even though we are hurting ourselves in the process. Learning to discern the things that is worth our efforts and those that are no longer working out is a necessity so we can concentrate more on taking care of the things that can help us grow and make us happy. Learning to accept the things that we are powerless to change is the key to contentment and eventually to happiness.

Be Fearless

 The one thing that takes away our dreams are our own fears- fear of failure, fear of rejection, etc. We fail to realize that the things that we are afraid of doing become our limitations to achieving what we really want in life and what can make us happy. Because of this we are forcing ourselves to accept our current standing even if we know in our hearts that we can do much more, far better than what we have now.  Learn to be fearless and break free from the things that limit our capacity to be happy. You might be surprise on the things that you can achieve when you choose to face life’s challenges.

I hope that you will have a happier 2018 ahead! 😊

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What a year!

I can’t believe that in a few hours, we will be closing 2017 and will start fresh for 2018. New year means new beginnings to make, new dreams to weave, new challenges to conquer and new hopes for a better life. But before we say goodbye to 2017, I would like to take a trip to memory lane and reflect on the things that have changed my life this year.

A lot of things happened in 2017. In general, it is a fruitful year for me despite of the challenges that I’ve been through. This year marks my journey to self- discovery and I must admit that not all realizations are easy to face. However, I would like to dwell on my blessings instead of the hardship and I must say I am truly grateful on a lot of things. 

First of all, I did the most impossible thing that I thought I would not do in my entire life- RUN A RACE. I have challenged myself not only once but three times! Everytime I crossed the finish line it was the most happiest 5k in my life. It opened my eyes on the things that I can do if I just set my heart into doing it. It helped me a lot in boosting my self-esteem.

Second, I celebrated the biggest milestone of my career- 5 years in Huawei! It is the milestone that I am most proud of since I have never stayed that long in a company. It is a testament of my maturity in terms of career growth. It tested my patience but I did survived. 

Third, I made my first solid investments- I bought a house and got insured. These have the greatest impact on me since it opened my mind on the importance of financial security. It made me realized how careless I was in handling my finances and it made me take a detour to really assess myself so I can have a secure future.

Fourth, we celebrated my eldest daughter’s 7th birthday. It made me smile to think that I am experiencing the joys of motherhood for 7 years now. Seeing my daughter blossomed into a young lady made me want to wish that I have more time to spend with my family especially my children. I realized how many milestones I have missed  and that I need to make it up with them. It made me realize that family is the most important above all.

Last but not the least, I lost a friend. My labrador Tetay has passed away a week before Christmas. The sweetest creature that gave me much loyalty and love all these years has crossed rainbow bridge. Although it is painful and hard to grasp, it change my perception on saying goodbye. That no matter how we love and cherish our loved ones it is an inevitable thing to say goodbye. It’s just that we will never know when is the time. It gave me the hardest lesson of letting go and think of the happy times together rather than dwell on the pain of the loss. It taught me to create happy memories together so you will have something to look back and smile about when what is left are the glimpses of the past.

So 2017, I am very grateful for these lessons. Rest assured when the clock strikes to a new year, I will be able to welcome it with a bang! 

How to spend your 13th month pay other than shopping

It’s that time of the year again! Yes, Christmas is just around the corner and so is the most awaited 13th month pay. If you have received yours by now, you are lucky! But if you are still waiting, it’s something worth anticipating, right? 😊

So how do you want to spend your 13th month windfall? I bet you have a lot of shopping to do. But let me propose something different on how can you spend your hard-earned bonus (yes, you’ve worked hard for it for one whole year). Here are some ways on where to put your 13th month pay.

Pay off  your debt

Do you have an outstanding loan that you are paying monthly? Here is the time to cut off your debt numbers. Consider paying off your creditors using your 13th month pay or a portion of it if you cannot bear to part ways with your Christmas windfall this way. Yeah I know this is not your usual way to spend a christmas money but look on the brighter side. This big sacrifice will benefit you in the long run especially if you are lagging behind payments or merely paying the interest. Paying off your loans will shorten the time of payment anf will let you enjoy your money the sooner you full paid it. 

Get an insurance

Nowadays, getting an insurance is no longer as complicated as before as they are no longer limited to a certain product offerings. Most insurance companies give you the freedom to use your insurance fund to where you want to use it. Insurance is a good investment to have as it gives you a sense of security and protection from any unforeseen events. 

Enhance your skills 

Been wanting to learn new skill sets? Use your 13th month pay to enroll a course that will enhance your skills. Finishing a particular course can give you a sense of fulfillment whether that skill is a hobby or something useful in you current and future job. Take note, self-investment has always been the key of successful people. 

Fund a passion project

Use your 13th month pay to jumpstart a passion project. Whether your project is simple or big, funding something that you are passionate about and actually see it grow will give you a sense of accomplishment and happiness more than receiving your actual paycheck. Who knows, your passion project will eventually be your road to breaking free from your office cubicles for good. 😉

Travel

Lastly, use your Christmas bonus to travel to your dream destination. Buy a ticket, pack your bags and travel to your heart’s content this holiday. As you reach your destination, immerse yourself with the experiences and culture that will give you new perspectives. 

Enjoy the holidays everyone! 


                

How to be fit without ruining your budget

Myth: Being fit can put a hole in your budget. 

Most people find it very hard to get fit these days and one of the reasons is that they find it very costly to be fit and healthy. With a lot of social media hype about healthy lifestyles, fitness has become a status symbol rather than a necessity to many. Maybe because of too much commercialism, people automatically equates fitness with a hefty price tag that only a few could afford. 

But hey, do you know that you can still be healthy without breaking your bank account? Here are some simple tips for a healthier you without compromising your budget. 

Ditch the gym

Photo: P & G Everyday

Yes, gym memberships are costly. But there are still ways on how you can get your dose of exercise without enrolling in a gym. Running and walking outdoors for a minimum of 30 mins are simple ways of getting your exercise. Plus there are a lot of fitness apps and exercise videos that you can download for free from the internet which you can practically do anywhere. 

Hate of doing your exercise alone? Get a fitness buddy who will motivate you to exercise constantly.

Prep your own meal

Photo: Eat Yourself Skinny

There are a lot of wellness gourmet food delivery out there but with a pricey tag price. Try to prepare your own meal instead. You’ll be surprised on how much moolah you can save by simply planning and preparing your own meals. Plus, since you are doing the preparation, you know what’s inside the food your taking in. You don’t need the fancy ingredients as well. You can do a healthier version of your favorite food by simply substituting ingredients. Just remember these rules: less salt, less fat, more greens. 

Know your nutrition

Being healthy is no rocket science. In fact, health and wellness are being taught to us since grade school. If you’re at lost with your nutrition, go back to basics,i.e., the go-glow- grow food group and the food pyramid to guide you. Avoid junk foods and fast foods as well. And don’t be a couch potato- start moving. You’ll be surprised how much these little things can do to your whole well- being. 

Here’s to an easy, breezy staycation, ladies!

Feeling tired and burned out lately? Maybe you have been working so hard that stress is finally getting the best of you. While we need to work our ass off so we can have the finer things in life, it is also important that we look after our health as well. And taking a time off from your routine from time to time is a way to shake off that blues from our system.

Most people will go out of town or even out of the country to get that much needed rest. But if you have limited time and budget, a dream vacay may not be the best option. In fact it may be tedious for some of us. Why not try staycation? It is the best alternative to a short getaway without too much trouble of packing things, going out on a long trip and burning a hole in your wallet. 

Here are some useful tips to make out the most of your weekend staycation.

Pack light. Save yourself from the trouble of heavy bags. You will only be gone for two days. Pack two to three days worth of clothes and weekend essentials in your carry all bag so checking in will be a breeze. 

Plan your itinerary. Just like any vacation, it will be helpful if you plan your days ahead. Draw up an itinerary of the things you want to do and the places you want to visit. Don’t just go shopping. Visit places in the city that you don’t normally go on a regular basis such as museums, weekend markets, and parks to give you a different perspective of the city. 



Book for a good place to stay. Booking a hotel is sometimes one of the hassle of taking a staycation. One needs to consider a place that is accessible and with complete ameneties yet budget friendly. Lucky enough, there are hotels that can offer you this package in the metro today. One example is The Mini Suites in Ayala CBD area that is strategically located to provide you access to different locations of the city since it is connected to the walkway so travelling by foot is easy.  The room and it’s amenities are luxurious, albeit mini in size. And yes, they offer a competitive weekend rates too. 

The Mini Suites

Sneak in a little “me time”. Whatever your plans are, always give yourself a chance to recuperate from the hustle and bustle of your regular grind. Take a lot of rest, get a massage or take a long shower. Soak yourself with happiness and forget your worries so you can come back energized.

Enjoy your weekends! ❤

Your dream house within your reach

(Featured image is from bria.com.ph)

I just recently talked myself into buying a house. As they say, a real estate is a wise investment for the future. So my partner and I decided to purchase our starter home while our children are young and we still have the capacity to pay. 

Admittedly, house hunting is not my thing. I am a couch potato when it comes to house tripping. Luckily, I have found out that a childhood friend of mine is now a real estate broker and she has convinced me to check out several properties near our present house. She is very helpful and patient in walking me through the process of acquiring a new house.

Acquiring a starter house is one of the key milestones of adulting. Whether you are still single or have a family already, buying a house is an important part of your bucket list. For one, it is a testament of your hard work. Secondly, you don’t want to live with your relatives or rent our all your life right?

But before you bolt out the door to go house hunting, let me share to you some helpful tips in acquiring your dream house.

Know what you want. With the boom of real estate business today, there are so many properties that are up for grabs in the market. It is important that you already envisioned what your future house be like before you engage in property hunt. Decide whether you want to live in a condominium within the hustle and bustle of the city life or in a subdivision within a suburban area where environment is more laid back and relax. 

Consider your family’s comfort. When buying a house, you need to think about the comfort of every family members who will live in it. It should be accessible if not near institutions like schools, hospitals, supermarkets, etc. The roads going to your homes are en route public transports just in case your car breaks down and you need ti commute. There are amenities within the community which can cater to the interest and needs of all ages. 

Be honest with your budget. Now this is one of the tricky part. Buying a real estate property is an investment. And investment involves a large amount of money. So it would be wise to check your budget first before you commit yourself to buying a house. For one, you need to pay for a reservation fee to ensure that the unit can be reserve for you. The average reservation fee is around Php 10,000 and this is non-refundable just in case you decided to back out from the deal.

Second, you need to pay a down payment which is 20% of the amount of the total contract price within 30 days of your reservation date. You can opt to pay it outright if you have the money readily available or you may choose to pay it installment for a certain number of months agreed with the developer. Usually, the maximum number of months that you can pay the down payment as installment is 24 months. 

The reservation is easy. As long as you have the amount required on hand, you can pay it. However, paying the down payment especially if you opt for an installment scheme can be a potential problem if you are unsure on where to get the budget. 

Know your options. That leaves us to the remaining 80% of the contract price then. Before you commit to any house contract, ask your broker of your options to pay the bigger chunk of the deal. Since most of us are not rich to pay hundred thousands or even millions worth of money, house buyers prefers to pay monthly amortization until the 80% is fully paid. This is always in  a form of a loan which you can usually avail thru (1) government institutions (PAGIBIG Fund in the Philippines);  (2) bank financing; (3) in- house financing. The first two options are usually offered by most of the big named developers while the third one is not always available. 

If you are employed, you religiously pay for your contributions and has no default government loand, the PAGIBIG Fund is your top option. Since this is a government institution, they can offer you with a longer payment terms (max of 35 years) with a low monthly amortization. 

You can also opt to avail a housing loan in the bank especially if you have a good credit standing and a maintained a good bank records. Albeit, the loan term is shorter than the PAGIBIG (average of 15 years) but the property appraisal is almoat always higher. 

Pre- Selling vs RFO. One thing important when you are buying a house is when can you actually occupy it after inking with the contract. Pre-selling units in a way cheaper in down payment and monthly amortization since the unit is still for construction. This is for those people who are not in immediate need to transfer abode. Usually, a pre-selling unit can be occupied within the full payment of the downpayment, i.e. two years and upon the start of your payment of the equity. 

While RFO (ready for occupancy) units can be occupied once you settle the agreed down payment, you may expect that the amount of money you will shell out will be higher than pre-selling units. 

There are other things to consider on your house purchase such as utility provisions, improvement restrictions (i.e. putting up a fence) and others which you may need to clarify to your developer prior to contract sign off. This can be discussed by the help of your real estate agent. 

In general, owning a property is achievable if you look for the preferences that will suit your needs and your budgets. So know all your options before buying. Don’ t get tired of site tripping. Visit as many locations as possible. And you will surely find your dream house soon. 

How to make budgeting less stressful and more fun

IMAGE SOURCE: PIXABAY

Are you the type of person who sucks at budgeting? Well, most of us do. They say we are at the age where consumerism is a trend and the advent of technology (i.e., the internet) makes it easier for us to buy stuff even if we don’t really need it. But if this becomes a habit, it will really take a toll on you financially. 

Making a budget is admittedly one of the most difficult thing to do. In fact, it is dreadful for some to address financial issues that may arise relative to your budget. But, with a little practice and a little trick up on your sleeve, you can make budgeting less complicated and a bit fun. 

Set a goal. Whether you are simply saving up for a future investment or a dream vacation or just simply wanting to buy new things, having something to look forward to makes it easier for you to let go of some unwanted expenses. 

Think of something that you want to have and write it down. Know how much you need to get to your goal so you would initially know how much you need to set aside and for how long.

Make a list. List down all your usual expenses and break it down to two categories: (1) needs (food, rent, utilities, transportation, debt payments,etc) and (2) wants (entertainment, new clothes, gadgets, etc.). Review how much you spend on each category and compare it with how much you are earning. If your expenses are much lower than what you earned, that means you will only need little adjustments on your goal. However, if your expenses is way more than your income, then you need to re-assess.

 Carve out. Let’s face it. Deciding to cut on your expenses is a difficult thing. But to be realistic in achieving your goals, you need to learn how to spend less on some things. Cutting your lifestyle spending (i.e, buying trends, gadgets, dining out, etc.) and re-routing it to your savings will make a great impact in your budget. 

Celebrate your milestone. Create a savings milestone and celebrate this little success by treating yourself. Aside from the goal you have set, this little tokens will give you the motivation to stick to your budget. This will also prevent the thought that you are depriving yourself. 

Keep the faith. Just like any other things, you may encounter set backs in sticking to your budget. Never give up. When you have set back, just reset and go back to your track. 

It takes a lot of discipline for you to stick to your budget. But keep on going.  Once you completed your goal, enjoy the fruit of the hardship and then start again.