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! 


                

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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. 

A cup of tea

Well, it’s a chilly mid-week morning today. As I sit into my cubicle with my hot cup of Moroccan tea while browsing the net, I noticed that I haven’t visited my blog for EONS of years (hehe)! So, where have I been eh? No, definitely not visiting the Queen. 

Seriously, I was just busy on several projects that I neglected to write (sorry…). However, my hiatus has given me opportunities and more experiences that I will share here (promise). For starters, I have started two personal projects that have taken a lot of my time and effort for the last few months. 

Be Fit

Admittedly, I had neglected my health for several years that resulted to health complications and obesity. I started this year with a goal to lose at least 20 lbs this year. So I drag myself to the gym, started working out and choosing healthier food options. And I am so happy that I already achieved my goal in just 6 months! 

From 200 lbs in 2016 to a 180 lbs by June 2017 😉

 Be Ready for Rainy Days

I realized that I am not young anymore and that I need to be more disciplined with my finances if I want to retire in peace when I am in my senior years. That is why I have set up my financial goals this year and push myself very hard to save and invest. And that means learning to curb my spending and be more financially literate. So my first step is build my emergency fund by opening a savings account and take on the 52- week challenge. So far, I stick to my savings plan and now I am reviewing several policies for other investments such as VULs and mutual funds. ✌

Less spending, more savings 👌

In between these two things, I still have my 9am to 6pm regular jobs and family to take care of so my hands are really full. Nevertheless, I am back. 😉

It’s a Planner Thing (& You Wouldn’t Understand)

I’ve recently discovered the art of kawaii planning and I was hooked since the first time that I tried it. Now my IG feed is full of pictures of my planners (yes, I am using multiple planners! 😊) with my personalized and fully decorated monthly and weekly spreads. 


My partner somehow stumbled upon my new hobby (thanks to the messy stickers and washis), scratched his head and asked me if I still really use my planner for the purpose of planning. Well of course I do and my planning gets even better each day. Not sure how to react, I told him that “hey, it’s a planner thing you wouldn’t understand”.

For some of you who has no clue on what I am talking about, planner decorating or kawaii journaling is a way of creatively putting in entries to your planners or journals rather than the usual black and white scheme (which admittedly gets so boring more often). It is in a way a personal work of art with mixtures of different media,paper and pen. And you may ask, what do we gain from it? Let me give you my reasons why I am so obsessed with it now.

It gives my planner its own personality


Decorating my planner not only beautifies every plain pages but also gives it  a personality of its own. Oftentimes, it is a reflection of my own thoughts and emotions. Thus, it is no longer just a Happy Planner or Erin Condren, it has become me. 

It makes remembering things easy and pleasing to the eyes


I am a visual person and I easily remember things by what they look. Thus, when I decorate my planner it is easier for me to remember things  and events by having a visual reference. Plus, when the going gets tough and I have a very bad or toxic day, I have something beautiful to look forward to to lift my mood. 😉

It makes me goal-setting a breeze


I use my planner not only for daily schedules but to set short- term and long term goals. Thus, decorating it with my favorite things create an on the go vision board for me. Planner decorating makes me stick to my goal even more than when it was just the plain black and white it used to be. 

It unleashes my inner Van Gogh


I must admit that I am a frustrated artist.I love arts but because of my busy corporate schedule, I haven’t got the chance to fully explore my artistic side. Planner decorating gives me the license to be creative and to use every pages as a canvass that I can carry with me wherever I go. 

I gain new friends

Planner community is growing fast.And because of social media, planner junkies can easily exchange ideas, share their works and encourage each other. Joining the community opens me to a more diverse perspective and gain new friends who share the same passion. Isn’t that the biggest plus? 😙
I can still think a thousand reasons but it would take a lifetime to enumerate them all. I am grateful that I discovered this hobby. And I don’t plan to stop anytime soon. 

Happy Kalat! 😉