Making the Most of My Credit Card Rewards

Because I know better now (after learning my lesson the hard way years ago and eventually becoming credit card debt-free), I accumulate rewards from my credit cards instead of debts. I said credit cards (with an “s”) because from having just one credit card, I now have two from the same credit card company — Citibank Cash Back (Visa) and Citibank Rewards (Mastercard). These two different cards come with cool rewards that make using them worth my while. And because I’m now more disciplined than ever, I get to make the most of my credit card rewards!

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Finances 2018

I overspent last year. I actually got ashamed of myself, but not to the point of frustration. I knew that my “overspending” was still at the normal level. I didn’t accumulate any debts because everything was well-accounted for. It was just that I felt regretful because I could have saved more money had I not succumbed to overspending.

So, what did I spend my money on? Bigger clothes because I gained weight (this I’m admittedly quite disappointed about!). More pasyal which translated to bigger transportation and eating-out expenses. Some home stuff that I could live without but were too nice and convenient not to indulge myself in (you know, products of the I-deserve-these-comforts-because-I-work-hard attitude that I get on occasions). And other unexpected miscellaneous expenses that I’m too lazy to remember right now.

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Lessons on Stock Market Investing, Vol. V

One year after my last post in this series, I’m writing again to celebrate another milestone in my financial life — my third anniversary as a direct stock market investor via COL Financial!

So far, things have been doing great. The market is bullish once again after several months of being bearish. During those gloomy months, I intentionally didn’t check on my port. The few times I did, I just bought more stocks so I could average down those that were in the red at the time, SSI included. And what do you know? SSI finally recovered last month. It went as high as PHP4.33 per share against my average price of PHP3.88. Thinking that the trend would die down soon, I sold my SSI shares immediately when it got to 4.07, which gave me a gain of around 4.8%. Now, why did I not wait for it go higher? I have to admit I got emotional. It’s been more than a year since I had SSI on the red, with losses reaching as high as 43% at one point. Having seen it turning to green recently was an overwhelming feeling. I just felt I needed to sell it right away for fear that its price would go down again and I would have to wait for a long time before it could recover. At least I still made money from it. The decision also prevented me from selling at a loss when I felt like it.

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Tips To Maintain a Zero Balance on Credit Cards

While many can’t keep their credit cards at a zero balance, some people can. I’m one of those people who pay their monthly credit card balance in full (but not after experiencing getting neck-deep in credit card debt first which was one of the reasons why I got to appear on a local business and finance TV show last year!). More than learning my lesson the hard way, I think what made me get my acts together was getting drained (financially and emotionally) by this vicious cycle which only I could break. The thought of being credit card debt-free (and the joy that comes with it!) was just a bonus.

Maintaining a zero balance on credit cards is doable. Here are some practices I employ to make sure the hubby and I get to pay our credit card debts in full every month:

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My Monthly Income Distribution in 2016

I only started saving money more seriously in 2014. It was also around that time when I started investing in the stock market. Back then, I created this MS Excel file that I would update religiously. (I actually use it to this day!) I took advantage of Excel’s autosum feature as a way of adding up the money I got to save every month. I made several tables and filled it with relevant items and figures. I felt happy and accomplished because at the end of each passing year up to December 2016, I saw my savings grew dramatically from how it was prior to 2014.

My monthly income distribution, or how I divide my income to provide for my needs and that of my family, is pretty simple. Take note that this “income” refers only to the salary I receive from my job as a rank-and-file government employee. It doesn’t include the hubby’s as we manage our respective salaries and pay for our marital expenses on a shared basis. He still pays more than I do, like he solely takes care of our house and lot amortization, which is something I appreciate about him.

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