Money Talks

For the first time in my life, I don’t spend as much on stuff anymore. I know it’s a big surprise to many. I was super gastadora before. I tend to buy all kinds of stuff at an impulse. Don’t get me wrong, I am still not the frugal kind. I still do buy stuff every now and then but the only difference is I am no longer impatient when I really want something so bad. If I see something I like, I think about it and assess my feelings – perhaps, tomorrow I won’t like it anymore, ask myself if I really need it, do I have extra money to purchase it, will it give me long term happiness if I do get it. I ask all these questions and if there are more ‘NO’ answers, then it’s time to let it go and move on.

I wish I had been more careful about my finances earlier in life. Had I been well informed and financial literate during my early 20’s, I could have been a millionaire now. But there’s no point going back and wishing I could have done it differently. Lesson learned. There is no perfect time to study and learn financial literacy than TODAY.

I want to share with you what I have learned so far as a newbie investor and some tips to help you in your finances. I am not an expert, I can’t guarantee you that these will work with your current situation. What works for me might not work for you. What I will write and share are mostly based from my own views and experiences hence, do not take this as a professional advice.

1. Track your expenses – if you are the kind of person who doesn’t monitor your money, I recommend you start doing it. If you are too lazy or not too keen on using the excel sheet, there loads of free aps available that you can download – I use expense tracker because it’s easy, user-friendly and serve its purpose. When you track your purchases, you will see where you are spending your hard-earned money and you will be surprised on how much crap you have bought. This will help you set your priorities right and learn how to stop spending money on things you don’t need.

2. Emergency Fund – ideally, 6 -12 months of your monthly expenses. I personally think that setting up your emergency fund is one of the most important steps in taking charge of your personal finance. Sad to say, a lot of Filipino families I know do not have an emergency fund. The first step in setting up your emergency plan is to know ‘in and out’ of your money (see number 1 above) so you can create your budget plan and allocate an amount to your emergency fund. It doesn’t matter if you start putting in small amount as long as you do it regularly and consistently. Our main goal is to build a solid rock emergency fund which you can use to support you and your family in case of uncertainties i.e. job loss, sickness/hospitalization, death etc.

3. Protect yourself with healthcare and insurance – speaking of uncertainties, there are some things in life that are beyond our control like SICKNESS and DEATH. I can’t stress enough how important insurance is. It’s a sad fact that insurance is considered a ‘liability’ or an added ‘expense’ by most Pinoys considering how expensive it is to get sick in Philippines. I remember when my mom was confined in one of the hospital in Las Pinas City for an overnight stay we had to pay around P25,000. In Western countries, you are obliged to have a health and life insurance. I don’t understand why majority of Filipinos would rather spend their money on Starbucks weekly for a freaking planner instead of preparing for your kid’s education or for your retirement. I know there are affordable HMO available in PH like Maxicare or Bluecross and pay between P3,000-P5,000 monthly. There are also a lot of insurance companies where you can get VULs (insurance + investment) and you pay as low as P52/day and you are already covered for at least P700,000 in life insurance. That is a small price to pay for your peace of mind.

4. Invest – once you have accomplished numbers 1-3, you can now start investing for your future. You can invest in the stock market or mutual funds. Please please please make sure that the money you are investing are your extra cash. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT use your child’s tuition or your house mortgage payment to invest in the stock market. Warning: it’s very dangerous and risky to get into it without proper guidance and knowledge. Since I am member of the Truly Rich Club of Bo Sanchez, I am being guided and taught on how to invest my hard earned money for the future. If you are interested, I suggest you check it out -> TRC. I used COL Financial for my stocks and Mutual Funds. I will write another post concentrating on Stocks and different types of Mutual Funds. Opening an account in COL Financial is very easy. You can read step by step process here – Opening an Account

5. Increase cash flow – now that you have built up your emergency fund and invested in the stock market, you can now think about ways on improving your cash flow. The formula is Make More, Spend Less. Easier said than done I know. There are ways you can make more money, heaps of them in fact. You can do freelance jobs online like encoding, translation, writing, editing at Upwork.com. You can try direct selling, start your online business on IG, eBay, etsy and sell stuff or your clutter even better (garage sale). Or join crowdfunding community like Farmon or Cropital. Not only you will earn profit, you are also helping our farmers on their financial needs. Just be creative in building your passive income empire and your portfolio will increase in no time.

Organicaholic Mama

A few months back, I decided to take this “clean living” lifestyle seriously. I told myself, if I enjoy eating all these gluten-free, organic healthy stuff, why don’t I take it to the next level? I’m talking about organic cosmetics, beauty and skin care for me and baby S.

The next thing I knew, I was throwing away most of my make-up from my drawer and kikay kits. Did you know that cosmetic products have a shelf life of maximum 18 months (lipsticks). They don’t have expiration dates but you have to keep track of when you opened them. When I saw all my stuff in my drawer, I realized I’m still keeping a 2 year old mascara, a few gloopy lip gloss, and quite a number of lipsticks that has a funny smell. I remember I used to hoard lipsticks and cheek tints because when you are in your twenties, make up is life. Haha! Oh wait, I just ordered $50 worth of Colourpop lipsticks the other day, so yes I still hoard up to this day!

I think I am beginning to be an organic advocate. Not hardcore though. I personally prefer giving my baby organic food. She does eat rice or any home-cooked meals every now and then. And I am happy she likes it. But I am happier when she eats the organic stuff I get her. I brought home 5 boxes of organic baby food from Berlin. The husband thinks I’m crazy. Lol. But it was way cheaper in Berlin I couldn’t resist baby food hoarding! I know time will come S will eat all these “bad food” you see everywhere but I am hoping she will find it yucky and would rather eat something healthy hehe.

Anyway, I have been ordering my healthy and organic stuff from iHerb. I personally love this website as they have almost everything you need if you are into “healthy, clean living lifestyle”. The first items I got from them was collagen bottles, organic shampoo, and organic make up wipes for me. For S, I got her organic tooth wipes and organic toothpaste (she loves the banana flavor! Btw, it doesn’t have fluoride so it’s safe if your baby swallows it). Browsing their website has become therapeutic for me. I get excited when I receive emails of their discount offers. Hashtag certified mommy. It used to be Victoria’s secret or Zara that gets me exhilarated. What happened to me? Lol.

So the other week I received my stash of ‘healthy’ stuff again. These DHL guys already know me it’s funny one asked me if I was a reseller. Was ecstatic when I opened the box as if I was opening a jewelry box of Harry Winston. I don’t know about you but organic coconut sugar excites me! Lol. And then there’s my new make-up collection – primer, lip liners, lip balms, face powder mineral wear, pure aloe vera etc. Can I just say that all these are organic, free from chemical, paraben, GMO etc. which makes it super safe to use. Although I have to admit that I am currently addicted to Colourpop lippies, particularly the ultra matte selection. So I am not sure if I will change my lippies yet to organic ones hehe.

I feel that as I grow older, my desire to live a longer and healthier life is becoming more intense, especially when I had S. I want to be with my daughter until I am old and gray, to witness all her milestone and achievements in life. I want to take care of my body and prioritize health and wellness because I think that’s the best thing you can do for yourself and your family.

P.S. If you guys are interested to get your healthy stuff from iHerb, click on this CODE and you’ll get $5 off your first order and you will also help me save on my future purchases. Good deal, eh?!

One tired mama.

It’s the last working day of the week and my weekend will officially begin in 2 hours. I am sooo looking forward to weekend. Not because I will get to rest or sleep longer (Asa pa!). Mainly because I am looking forward to accomplishing a couple of tasks I need to do and finalizing party details of Baby S.

I haven’t been feeling well for the last 3 days, with this nasty cold and annoying sore throat I could sense I will be down with a flu in the next couple of days. But a mama needs to attend to the baby 24/7, do household chores, run errands, works full-time in the office, so getting ill is not an option! I thought after getting back from our 2-week holiday I will be well-rested, fully recharged and active. Boy I was wrong! We were exhausted EVERY single day while touring Europe. Based from my phone app, I walked an average of 16,000 steps every day for 15 consecutive days! There was one particular night in Paris when we arrived at our flat I couldn’t move my legs and they were all shaking when I tried to put them up. Apparently, I did 23,000+ steps that day. Edi Wow!

I want to blog about our recent trip and share stories of our adventures (and misadventures) in Europe. One example is when I almost got pickpocketed in Paris. Or the time when we personally saw someone getting robbed in the streets of Brussels. So many things happened to us. There were some minor mishaps but overall it was a very pleasant and interesting trip. For one, it was our first trip without our baby so you could imagine the sepanx (separation anxiety)! To be honest, I did cry a little when I kissed my baby goodbye before we left. I know we will only be away for 2 weeks, but still. It was heartbreaking because my baby is still a baby, only 10 months old. Anyway, I wasn’t that worried because she was in good hands the whole time. Thank you to my ever supporting parents!

So, I will keep this post short for the time being. Hopefully I will get the time again to post about our trip, the next 3 weeks will be busy as hell again… too many things going on and I am having a hard time catching up!

Keep safe everyone!

To daycare or not to daycare?

So last week my babysitter told me she’s planning to go home for good at the end of the year. I was happy for her because she hasn’t been home (Philippines) for 5 years.

5 years is way too long not to see your family. Btw, she’s a lesbian so she’s not married and don’t have children but she supports her nieces and nephews. Yes, she’s very matulungin and sometimes tanga coz I think her relatives back home only wants her padala. Every month, meron nasa hospital. Haaay!

Anyway, I am all for her going back home. She needs to be with her family and spend time with them. Told her it’s ok kasi baby S will be 14 months by that time, I think she can manage na to be left at daycare.

I do have some qualms about it though. In this part of the world, babies & children left at daycares are the norm since most people here are expats and likely both parents have full time jobs. There are so many day care facilities around the city, and if you really want the best of the best, you should be willing to pay between Qrs. 3,000-4,000 (37K-50K in pesos). Yes, sending your baby to a daycare will cost you an arm and a leg in this part of the world. There are also options which are in mid-range prices but I am assuming your child will be with 10 or more other children and I don’t know if I will be comfortable leaving my child playing with kids that many. Not to mention the risk of getting all kinds of viruses from other kids. Sorry but as a mother, I am very protective of my child especially when it comes to her health. The last thing I want to know is her contracting some kind of disease from other children.

I know there are downside of sending your child to a daycare and I’ve read and heard terrible things. What kind of mother leaves her precious baby to strangers in a daycare? Definitely not the kind of mother I wanted to be. But what choice do we have? I don’t want other mommies out there making me feel guilty of not being a SAHM. I am certain all mothers would prefer that IF the circumstances allow them to.

I’ve started scouting for daycare close to my workplace or our home. No luck! Ugh! Actually there is one at the 2nd floor of our office building but never bothered to inquire as I already know it is way out of our budget so it’s useless asking really. I still have 3 months to find a suitable daycare for baby S, hoping I will find a place where they actually care for your child and not just after your money.

I’ve also thought of just getting a replacement of my babysitter kasi I am more comfortable with a Kabayan, there will be no language barrier, will understand how I want my baby to be taken care of. It will also be less hassle as I don’t need to take baby to the daycare every morning and then pick her up in the afternoon after work. Whew, that is a lot of work! I will also have my peace of mind knowing my baby is in the comfort of our own home. But the biggest question is – Where will I get a replacement???? We originally wanted a stay-in helper and have tried to get one from Philippines but her visa was denied by the Immigration. My current babysitter was just recommended by someone and thankfully she’s not the typical yaya na laging bumabale or intrimitida. She’s not stay-in, she comes on weekdays only at 7am and wait until I get home between 4-6pm before she leaves. She does other odd jobs too on weekends and evenings after babysitting my baby. See, she’s very masipag kaya I’m a bit nanghihinayang din na aalis na siya.

So, that’s my dilemma at the moment and for the next 3 months until I find someone to look after baby S. if only I could afford to be a SAHM! Sigh!

Stress Drilon + Hagardo Versoza

Ok so medyo nawala ako sa blog world ng ilang linggo. Sinabi ko naman sanyo kulang na kulang ang bente kwatro oras para sa lahat ng mga gagawin ko. Ano ba mga ganap sakin lately? Well, birthday month ko kasi kaya nag MIA ako sa blog. In short, sa buffet ako busy haha!

Nakakasira ng “weight loss program” ko tong buwan na to! Binilang ko kung ilang beses kami nag buffet – ANIM NA BESES!!! Watdapak! Tapos nagrereklamo ako di ako pumapayat! Haha! Lamon pa more.

Anyway, ang dami ko kasi pinagkakaabalahan nitong mga nakaraang linggo (bukod sa pagkain sa mga buffet). Siyempre, tinatry ko pa din mag workout kahit ng kahit 3-4 times a week. Kasama na yan sa routine ko. Tapos lalaruin ko na si baby, na natuto ng mag explore at maging spiderman kaya di pwede maalis ang paningin ko sa bulilit. Tapos andiyan pa yung bet na bet niya ng maglakad kaya lagi na lang masakit ang mga likod ko. Thunders na talaga!

Bukod sa pag aalaga ng anak, siyempre kailangan ko din alagaan ang sarili ko so maghahanda din ako ng mga healthy meals namin ni habibi. Pag inasa ko kay habibi ang lafang namin, makaasa ka naman na di ka magugutom pero makakaasa ka din na di ka kailanman papayat. Haha! Kailangan pilitin ko kumain kami ng mga staple foods ko – kamote, hard boiled eggs, couscous, quinoa! Pambawi ko kasi yan sa mga nilafang namin sa buffet.

Nag start na din ako ng party planning para sa 1st birthday ni baby. May venue na nabook, which is ang pinaka importante sa lahat. So ngayon makaka focus ako sa ibang details. Nag eenjoy naman ako sa planning kahit medyo stressful kasi alam ko naman di pa maappreciate ni baby ang eyfort ni mudra niya. Simple lang naman ang peg ko, ayaw ko din kasi ng bonggang 1st bday kasi nung minsan dinala namin siya sa birthday party, iyak siya ng iyak. Kawawa naman! Naiingayan siya sa dami ng bata na nagsisigawan, tapos si ate pa na emcee ang lakas ng boses sa mic natatakot si bagets haha! So inassume ko na iiyak lang din siya sa sarili niyang party (wag naman sana). So kaya ang gusto ko yung di maingay masyado (may party ba na ganon? Haha!) Parang prayer meeting lang ang peg!

Isa pa sa mga pinagkakaabalahan ko ay ang holiday namin. Nakakaexcite naman talaga mag travel pero nakakastress ang planning aminin niyo! May dalawa kasing holiday akong inaayos kaya doble din ang stress ko! Haaaay!!! Kaswerte ng mga lalaki, laging ang role ay aattend na lang ng birthday party o kaya sasakay na lang ng eroplano!

 

Nakalimutan ko sabihin, may full time job din pala ako haha! Nagbago kami ng boss kaya busy din ang beauty ko sa office. Ang daming mga big boss na nasa opisina ngayon kaya tadtad din kami ng mga meetings, events, at kung ano-ano pang socializing eklavu!

 

Ayan po mga friends ang mga activities ko lately. Iniisip ko nga kung kalian ako makakasingit ng punta sa parlor, kahit pedicure lang. ang buhok ko wala na namang direksyon ang buhay! Nagmamakaawa na ng rebond! Pedicure nga di ko maorasan, rebond pa na limang oras? Haha!

Eto na lang po muna ang update ko. Back to work na uli para sa pang gatas ni baby! Hanggang sa muli mga kaibigan……

Healthy Stuffed Tuna Avocado


So I have some spare time tonight while baby S is being entertained by SIL. I managed to do some work in the kitchen. Yey!!! 

Being a mother, time is very precious. Every second counts so I need to make the most of my spare time and be productive. 

I managed to squeeze in a 30-minute workout when I got home. Another yey!!! I try to do some workout at least 3-4 times a week. Not to be skinny but mainly to be fit and healthy.

Anyway, back to the topic… So ayun nga, I prepared some couscous and hard boiled eggs for our baon tomorrow. We have so many avocados that we totally forgot we have so I googled some easy and quick avo recipes and saw this healthy tuna stuffed avocado. It’s so easy to make and the ingredients are easily available in your fridge.  

I know it doesn’t look delish on the photo. But it’s surprisingly good and very healthy! Achievement!!!

Baby Blues

I honestly don’t know what to write for my 3rd post. So many things I want to share – parenting, party planning, money matters, health & wellness, baby poop haha! But for now I will settle with baby blues and PPD.

What are baby blues?

Just a few days after giving birth, you may feel moody, weepy and irritable. This is called the baby blues. It’s probably the last thing you expected to feel after the joy and elation of having your baby. The baby blues are so common that they are considered to be normal. As many as eight in 10 mums experience some changes in their mood after giving birth. You may feel:

  • worried about your baby’s health, even though he’s fine
  • anxious
  • unable to concentrate
  • tired, yet unable to sleep
  • tearful, without knowing why

Reference: Baby Centre (www.babycentre.co.uk)

The reality of parenthood had started to sink in when I left the hospital. My first 2 weeks at home was kasumpa-sumpa. Sorry for the term but it wasn’t all exciting, happy-happy, cuddle-cuddle moments like the ones you see in the movies. It was terrible, at least for me! I never felt so tired my whole life! My incision was f*ckin painful I couldn’t laugh, sneeze, cough! Like WTF!!!! Was struggling to breastfeed, no sleep, very hungry, no shower, endless changing of nappies, baby crying nonstop. OMG!!! I felt so helpless. I thought I was losing my mind! I was crying every single time. I was unhappy, I was so sad and tired every single day that there were times I was asking myself if I was a bad mother. I would cry and cry without any reason. I would cry while breastfeeding the baby or putting her to sleep, I would even cry while eating. Geez, PPD just got real!

This went on for 2 months. I didn’t think I will get used to being sleep-deprived, or with my very sore and cracked nipples, the smell of poop and vomit on my clothes and hair, not having a decent shower for days, expressing milk every 3-4 hours. Motherhood had taken its toll on me. The exhaustion was overwhelming and I was on the verge of insanity. Yes, I was going cray-cray!!!

But as days went by, things got better and I started to enjoy my little one. There is indeed a light at the end of the tunnel! Whew! I become more engaging, feeding time becomes more enjoyable, I find delight bonding with the baby. I stop doubting myself as a mother. I know i am not a perfect mom, but I always try to be a good one. I know my daughter will forgive me for yelling at her because she won’t stop crying in the middle of the night – sorry darling, it wasn’t your fault, it was the fatigue talking (or yelling). But this doesn’t mean I love my baby any less. Yes I did have moments that I want to give up and say “F*ck it, I am tired and I will sleep!” And I admit I still do have that moments once in a while. I still daydream about shower, food, and sleep. I still miss my “me-time” as the only me-time I do enjoy these days are the times when I take number two (sorry TMI haha).

Being a mother now, I realized that it IS indeed a lot of work. Your job as a mother never stops. It is a 24 hours, 7 days a week, 365 days full time job. I now understand the mothers who went through or are going through this baby blues or PPD. It is real, alarming and it is happening to almost 80% of all new moms. I’ve even read stories where mothers hurt themselves or their own child. Fortunately that didn’t happen to me. I went through that unhappy phase but my love for my baby is more than enough for me to fight it. Plus it is important to have a strong support group like your husband, partner, family, and friends. Talk to them if you need to. Let them know how you feel so they can help you to get through it. PPD is more serious, so if you think you are experiencing it and cannot handle yourself, please seek professional help. Don’t feel ashamed reaching out. Motherhood will drain you out – physically, emotionally and mentally. You will need all the help you can get, trust me.