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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How Frugal Are You?

I grew up in a lower middle class family. Ours was a one-income household until my father, the wage-earner, lost his job in 1999. Frugality became a clear concept to me when I started assuming the role of breadwinner in a family of six right after I landed a job fresh out of university back in 2004. How our family survived from 1999 to 2004 was clearly a manifestation of the great love and sacrifice of my parents, our relatives, friends of our family, and of course, divine providence.

Frugality as a Need

These days as a married woman, I still find frugality a very relevant concept as I try to be a good and responsible wife. Of course, it’s the same with my other roles such as daughter, sister, friend, and citizen. How can I not apply frugality in my life when I’m not at all wealthy and my income is limited? I have to be frugal if raising my own family and having a comfortable retirement are part of my life goals, right? But the more important question is, how frugal am I?

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Teaching Financial Literacy at Home

I grew up in a family where money is a taboo subject and financial education is never taught. I actually learned about such important concepts as personal finance and financial freedom through self-study. My mother, who was in-charge of budgeting in our one-income household when I was little, wasn’t really a good example when it came to managing our limited financial resources.

Chalkboard Series - Money
Image Source: http://connexcu.wordpress.com/2013/09/03/connecticut-gets-an-f-in-financial-literacy/

Back then, we were living from paycheck to paycheck and we were acquiring liabilities instead of assets. While my parents certainly did their best to provide for our needs, the idea of financial freedom was non-existent to them. Or maybe they knew about it, but it was just not among their top priorities.

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On Generosity and Tithing

If I were to rate myself on my level of generosity (with 10 as the highest), I’d give myself a seven. Nope, never a perfect score because I’m not a saint. I’m just human and I can be selfish on occasions. While I tend to be generous to family and friends, I normally hesitate helping other people especially if I don’t know them too well. (I’m actually more helpful to people online than offline.)

In my quest for financial freedom, my generosity is constantly tested. Should I give money to charity on a regular basis or keep it to myself so I could achieve my financial goals faster? I guess the answer to that question should depend on how much I’m willing to give. Some say it should be 10% of one’s income and they have a term for it — tithe. Tithing is a practice, or more like a way of life, that a lot of Christians have adopted as part of their faith. And I admire them for that because let’s be honest here, not everybody can do it or is willing to do so.

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Choosing BDO Peso Balanced Fund (BDOPBAL)

Last Tuesday, the day after we received our Christmas bonus, the hubby and I realized another financial goal. Along with my sister Jodie, we opened a Peso Balanced Fund with Banco de Oro (BDO). It’s one of their Unit Investment Trust Fund (UITF) offerings. Our branch of choice was the one nearest to our place, SM Manila. Slowly but surely, this little investment, along with our other ones, will grow. We are already claiming it!

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It was quite easy to sign up. I just brought two valid IDs and that’s it. (We have decided to put this account under my name for easy monitoring.) Oh wait, another requirement is having a savings account with BDO which I do have. Anyway, the account officer had me fill up an application form and a signature specimen form. She also had me answer a Client Suitability Assessment (CSA) form to find out what type of investor I am and if the product I was eyeing suited me. She also took a photo of me through a camera attached to her PC (no need to bring 1×1 pics!). Then I handed my initial investment and I was issued an official receipt. I got the Certificate of Participation (COP) after three days.

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