Monday, July 25, 2016

10 Years of Being Together and I Feel The Same Love

It has been 10 years since I met Daryl and it felt so good to realize that all those times weren't mostly what we planned but still we made it this far.

Our Dalaga and Binata Days

It was in 2006 when we first met. Uso pa dati ang mga text mates when phone companies released their unlimited texts promos. Naabutan ko pa non yung Php25 unlimited texts for 2 days. Sulit na sulit grabe so most of my classmates and friends would have text clan. This was where I met Daryl. I just had a second handed phone from Kuya and a globe prepaid sim. Originally, ayaw ko ng Globe because almost all of my classmates used Smart Sim. A childhood friend introduced me to her clan that she's a member of and asked me to join too. I later on realized na ang daming nag tetext sa akin na anonymous numbers 'welcoming' me to their clan. Since I was so new to these, I deleted all text messages where in fact I have to reply and say Hi to everybody (Group Message). I asked my childhood friend to send me the phone numbers of the members so I could send a text to them. While scanning through, I saw one named 'Earl". Natuwa talaga ako sa name because for me, it sounded cute. Right after that was Daryl's name and number. I texted all of them with a 'Hi,' including Daryl's number.

I had then some 'text mates' after. Some of them were from provinces of Cavite, Nueva Ecija etc. Yung tipong ang lalayo talaga ng location. It tooked 3 days before Daryl replied to me with a "Hi, Nasl please." meaning Name, Age, Sex, Location which was a normal question back then. Of course I replied to him and that's the start our journey. =) Thinking about it, we didn't expect things to be this long. Meeting each other on texts messages felt that it wasn't something serious but it was technically.

Although I can't say that the journey we had was a smooth sailing, we tried our best to be strong. I remembered having an agreement that no one should ask for a break up when our fight is uncontrollable. "Break na tayo" is something that we decided not to use at all when things don't go our way.

I am so proud with what we have become. Yes, we are not married yet and hoping we could accomplish this soon. Alam ko naman that he wants our marriage to be funded by him and not anyone else, and that's what I want too. I am praying that God will bless us more so we could be as one soon. =)

To Babe:

I love you babe and I am sorry for being so stubborn, the tendency to nag you every day and the super Mommy that's me. I know you understand and that we are two strong people playing the man in the house alternately. I can't thank God enough for you and Jami. You are both one of the best people that I have met. I am always praying for your success and your future. I will always be right here supporting and helping you the best way I can. Again, Happy Anniversary and may God bless us with more healthy years together.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

How I Budget our Money

When 2016 started, I was looking forward to be able to save more. I was planning to build our emergency fund so I could tick that off of our goals and proceed to the next priority. I haven't been this organize in my entire life in terms of finances and I never ever budget my salary back then. I spend my salary and would come up to the last thousand more than a week before my next salary. I lived paycheck to paycheck and would even come up short two days before the next salary. I have been a good spender really and that's one of the things that I regret. I started working in 2008 and never had the chance to save even a thousand. Could you imagine that?

Anyway, last month as I turned 26, I realized a lot of things in terms of finances. I have been reading financial books since last year and wasn't able to apply it in reality. I almost give up until I realized the culprit on why I wasn't able to save - I failed to budget our money. I was wondering why I can't build our fund faster (my plan was to put Php1000 per month only!). Anyhow, after kong matauhan, I was so inspired in building the fund and even having a target up until the end of the year to complete at least 3 months worth (ideally 6 months worth of salary). Since hindi ko na mahahabol pa to the end of this year the ideal amount, I would take just the half for a starter.

So how do I budget our money?

I am using the technique that I read in one of the books that I bought. It was the Kaya mo Pinoy! 12 Steps to Build Wealth on Any Income by Alvin TabaƱag. He has shown a very simple way in budgeting an income which works for me so far. I have been using it for almost 2 months and the outcome is so far positive. Believe me, I bought and read the book last year but it was just now that I used it to my advantage. Now here's how I do it.

Budget should be divided into sections that is important to you and your family.

Section I. Active Income

According to the book, this is where I'll put my Salary. Any money that I received that requires my effort will be placed in here. I also include here the amount that I earn from baking. Passive Income should also have it's own section but since I don't have one, I skipped that part.

Section II. Savings 

I always remember the saying Income - Savings = Expenses and this is what I am doing at the moment. Before I proceed with the bills, I have savings to deduct from my salary to make sure that I get it to safety before digging into other things. At the moment, I am saving 20% of my salary which I am quite happy. In September, I am increasing it to 25% to achieve the goal I have set for Emergency Fund. By next year, I hope I could increase it to 30% and so on to achieve my goals sooner.

Section III. House Expenses

This is where our monthly rent goes along with electricity and water bill plus our drinking water. Our drinking water was the same water we use to make Jami's milk so I really have to allot some amount for it.

Section IV. Consumer Loan

One of the next important thing for me was to pay off my loans and money owe from friends and relatives. I listed down all of them and paid them one by one in order where I could delay some of them like those from a friend that I asked to pay a little later or made it installment so I could pay more than one every 2 weeks. I started this technique on 3rd week of June and looking forward to complete all of them by September. One of the things that I learned from financial books was to pay your debt so you could sleep comfortably at night and free up the money you're using to pay for savings eventually. Having a budget allows me to figure out how much money I have to allocate in paying our debts. I am so happy to see the amount going down as the weeks go by. I also keep track of them to make sure that I won't left something behind.

Section V. Other General Expenses

I have my last section tagged as General Expenses but it is divisible by a lot of other things. I kept them in a single section since these are the things that I could cut down on in case our budget is tight. I am just so happy that at some point or two there were unexpected money that Daryl could shell out too to cover for some necessities.

Groceries - I only buy those that we need the most and can be used for the next 2 weeks. I buy my detergent and fabric conditioner etc. in the mall and get fresh produce in the local supermarket. I prefer to buy them on the same day that I'll cook them rather than buying them ahead of time. I also bring pack lunch in the office so I won't have to spend more.

Transportation - I am lucky that Daryl's Mom shoulders the cost of gas for their car so I can get to work. I only have to spend Php7 for jeepney from Pasay to Magallanes. I also allot money for our tollgate.

Work Allowance - This is for some money I use in buying snacks in the office.

Entertainment - Last month until August, I placed our entertainment budget on hold to give way in paying some debts. Our entertainment fund goes to our dining out, movies, going out, travel etc. I am looking forward to get them back up in August for some fun time. :)

Unexpected Expenses - More often than not, there were times that an unexpected expense comes up so I make sure to protect the budget by allocating some amount into it as well.

Babe's Budget - I am allocating a budget for Daryl that he could use in looking for a job. Since we're having trouble with time management (he's in charge of baby sitting), he can't spend his whole day of weekdays applying for a job because I go to work and no one else would look after Jami. 

I am using an excel sheet to keep track of my budget and print it out during paydays so I could tick off those that are paid. From time to time, I am updating the budget according to our situation but I always make sure that I follow these sections accordingly. I have yet to learn so many things about budgeting and one of them was the shortage I had two weeks ago. My budget says I was short of this amount. Instead of me adjusting the budget to make it zero or positive, I kept it on negative thinking that I'll be able to create another cash flow to cover it. But I didn't so I struggle on that for a bit. Moving forward, I make sure that if the budget says negative, I have to make sure that I'll adjust those that are listed down to make it Zero or even positive or we have to work double time to increase our cash flow.

I hope that this will be beneficial for you too as it was to me. I am keeping this until forever as it's very important to budget the money that we worked hard for. =)

Monday, July 18, 2016

Our Boracay Trip 2016

Our short stay in Boracay was all about rest. Lol! Since we arrived around 4pm in our Hotel, our main goal was to take a good rest (physically, mentally, emotionally etc) since we all have a very short sleep the night before. 

I would have to consider that Jami felt so tired as well so I opted to stay in our hotel for almost half of our time there. I will blog about Royal Park Beach Resort in a separate post for sure. 

We arrived late in the afternoon on our first day since our flight was behind the schedule for one hour. Our transfer was great (except for the van) so I got no problem with that. I made an itinerary for the entire duration of our stay but failed to follow it through since it was scorching hot and that Jami wasn’t really fond of beaches and the sand. Since our hotel is situated in Station 1, we have to walk our way going to Station 2 for 5-10 minutes to look for a restaurant for our lunch or dinner. 

Although we had the chance to try the hotel’s menu, I wasn’t really happy with their Sinigang kasi hindi malambot yung meat. Yun pa naman ang pinaka ayaw ko sa lahat. Lol!

We ate in several restaurants in Station 2 although I forgot their names! I think one of them was in Hapag? We also tried one near D’ Mall pero nakalimutan ko talaga ang name ng resto. Lol! So next time, I would really have to blog about them at least 1 week after no?! Hehehe. It’s just now that I had the time to do so. Anyhow, what I can tell is, ang mahal talaga ng food in Boracay. For two person with a minimum of 1 main course with 3 cup of rice, you’ll spend Php500-700 for it. So expensive! Well yes, I always try my best to cook food at home so alam ko kung magkano ang prices ng ingredients sa palengke. Hahahah! Well, I would have to accept that traveling costs money so you really have to make sure meron kang enough on your pocket. With that, we won’t travel for the next couple of months. Probably next year na lang ulit if our finances allowed :D

Anyway, our stay was filled with happiness in dipping into the sea specially in the early morning and the late afternoon to avoid the dangerous heat of the sun. 

Jami loved the sea later on since the waves weren’t that strong compared to previous beaches we’ve been too. We stayed indoors and enjoyed each other’s company. 

I am so glad that we had this chance to at least relax and have a family bonding. I am looking forward to more of these (in a year’s time). I am really glad that our experience wasn’t as stressful as I thought. With a toddler in tow, Boracay is definitely a place to be. 

 You know, I realized that we don't have so may pictures when we were there. Honestly, sobrang lazy ako mag take ng picture because I have to mind Jami and our things. I am also in charge on our transfer and where to eat so I really don't have the energy to take pictures anymore. Wala pa naman akong talent in photography so I can't take kahit snapshot lang na maayos. Lol! Add in the fact that phones camera wasn't that good either. =( But then, I know these memories were captured by the best camera and film in the world - my eyes, mind and heart. Lol! ;P

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

The Importance of Budgeting

For a new Mom like me, budgeting can be a real challenge. I am working in a BPO industry although my salary wasn't huge like those who are working on a graveyard schedules. I basically chose an afternoon schedule since mother heart needs to cuddle with my baby at night. Having that said, I don't enjoy the full night shift of 20% that could add up to my take home pay.

It was odd that money management isn't part of our school program. That's maybe one of the reason most people doesn't follow a budget for themselves or for their household. As I aged, I realize the importance of creating a budget and the most challenging part? Sticking to it.

photo source

When June came, I started a new goal regarding our finances. I have created a goal that's mainly good up to 2020. Although the coming year's goal isn't as planned as what I have in the remaining months of the year, at least, I have started. So why planning where your money will go is very important? Here are the things that I have learned last month.


I am sure you are aware of the formula Income - Savings = Expenses? This is mainly how I now budget our money. As you might already know, we are a one income household at this stage so money only comes from one source alone. For sure if you don't have a budget, you wouldn't know how much you need to save to achieve your other financial goals and end up not having any savings at all. You might ask, paano ko pa naba budget ang money with savings given all the expenses? We are being paid every 2 weeks which makes planning easier. Before I pay all the bills I make sure that the very first thing on my list will be our savings. I know I have mentioned it before that I am putting at least P500 on Jami's passbook to keep it going and later on decided that the money placed into it will be our emergency fund. Yes, that's another essential that I have learned as well and that deserves another post. At this stage, I allot 20% of my salary to our savings. Given that it is at the top of my list, whatever that is left, yun na lang ang pinagkakasya. We have also decided that whenever there's an extra money (from relatives, commission etc), 20% will go to our savings regardless how big or small it was. I even created a budget for the remaining months of 2016 and that made me figure out kung kailan ako magtitipid at kung kailan ako may extra money to add into savings or maybe for shopping or eat out.

Consumer Loans 

From time to time, I am sure you would borrow money from friends, relatives, officemates just to buy certain things. Or maybe in my case, my officemates are very much into business, almost everyone is coming up into selling something tapos babayaran na lang on our next payout. Oh! That could be really tempting, ang makakain ng masarap na Leche Flan without paying for it, get hold of products from Direct Selling companies because mainly, pinapautang and you could get the product without even paying for it upfront. That's the same with credit card, you charge it to your card and get away with the product in a snap. You later on realize when the next payout comes, almost 25% or more of your salary goes to paying your consumer loans. Yes, I fell in this trap too, multiple times. But then, it's never too late to go back up. At the moment, paying those loans are part of my budget too.

Paying Bills

Not having a budget may lead you to pay your electricity or water bills late. Since you don't know the due dates of your bills, you might feel that you have this amount of money to spend where in fact, you forgot to pay a bill. You'll figure it out after you spent the money on something that's not important. The result of not budgeting our money lead me into being behind my apartment rent. Since I was able to budget our money in the remaining months, I was able to figure out now that there will be no eat out or entertainment of that sort until next week so we'll be updated with the bills.

Groceries, Food and Work Allowance 

Budgeting our money also gave me an opportunity to look into the food that we'll eat until the next payout. I didn't realize that having too much of consumer loan lessens the amount that goes to our groceries since I have to make adjustments to surely pay those borrowed money. Now that I have a good budget plan, I am also able to plan the food section and the things that should go in the cart while doing grocery shopping. Having that said, I am also able to bring food for lunch at work which saved me a lot. I won't need to allot more money to work allowance because my food will be coming from our groceries. I am trying my best to be able to cook food for our lunch so I could bring some too. Talk about hitting two birds in one stone. =)

Entertainment and Unplanned Expenses 

The very last on our budget is our entertainment budget. This comes with dining out, movies, travel etc. Since we are behind of our bills at this point and consumer loans were left and right, we cut the entertainment section to zero. Although this doesn't mean that we completely deprived ourselves of eating out, there were times when Daryl would have some spare money so we'll use that to our advantage. We tried our very best to limit the dining out at this time to make sure that we are sticking to our budget. I also allot an amount named "Unexpected Expenses" just so my budget won't be ruined in case something that isn't included in the budget comes up (Gas, (which is usually shouldered by Daryl's Mom), new toys and unexpected cravings of Jami). As much as possible, we are avoiding malls to make sure that we will not get tempted to buy stuff that's not necessary at this point.

We were still lucky that we get little help from some of our relatives although I wished that one day, we will opt not to. Budgeting really taught us a lot including our goals in the next 5 years of our life. Planning could really be fun but sticking to it is your real challenge. I had my budget created at the start of last month and following it was really painful. But as the days go by, I was able to contain the overwhelming emotions and looked positively on my goals.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Boracay Transfers To and From Kalibo International Airport

Boracay is a small  island situated in the province of Aklan. It was a very known island because of its fine white sands. I tell you, this place is very much a kid friendly place to visit. That's the main reason I chose this over many beautiful places here in the Philippines. The very next was, it was what I found as the easiest place to travel to with a toddler in tow. We could just lounge all day and swim to our hearts content.

Well, there were two ways for you to consider when visiting the island. Boracay can be reached thru plane rides to Kalibo International Airport and Caticlan (Boracay) Airport. These is one of the things that you have to consider planning your itinerary or before booking your plane tickets. Of course you want to be prepared with all the pros and cons while traveling with your kids.

Caticlan Airport is a lot closer to Boracay. From the airport, it will be 10-20 minutes ride from the port where you would get on a boat to bring you to the island. On the other hand, Kalibo requires a land transfer from the airport to the port then a boat to Boracay. You have to bear in mind that going to Boracay thru Caticlan is a lot expensive (airfare) than in Kalibo. So what did I actually chose and why? Well, for the sake of airfare, I chose Kalibo. During a seat sale, I was able to score a plane ticket for the three us (including Jami) for only Php3,500. It was a very good deal I guess since it would take the same amount for one person per way if we'll take Caticlan.

Now the Why's.

Well, Jami is 2 and a half years old and is very used in long drives. He can be easily told of what he has to do so it wouldn't be so much of a hassle  for us. I anticipated that Jami will wake up very early and that would mean that he'll be sleeping in the entire time of travel. Alas! That's what happened on the day of our travel, lol!

The first time I've been to Boracay, we took Caticlan going there while we tried Kalibo to Manila route on our way home. It was a long time ago and even hired a private van from our hotel since there were many of us back then. Now that we were only three, I'm sure I can't afford to pay the whole van just to take us from Kalibo to Boracay and vice versa. Although I was told by my sister that there were travel company outside the airport that offers transfers to and fro, I just don't want to risk ending up without a transfer at all with Jami in tow. Of course I am up to convenience too somehow. I know it could cost me fortune if we didn't get a transfer ahead of time.

I also google'd some options that I found online and even tried a mock booking at Southwest Tours Boracay Webpage. I hesitated somehow so I have decided to call the hotel and ended up choosing their mode of transfers so I would only be paying at once. The transfer that was quoted to us by the hotel was Php600/pax/way. So that means, it's Php1,200/head which was actually the same fare that the Southwest Tours has. Kids 2 years old and below are free. Oh well, one of the perks in traveling with younger kids - they are free. lol!

The day that we were waiting for came. We arrived in Naia Terminal 3 at least 45 minutes before our scheduled flight just so to make sure that we have ample time. Jami was so energetic at this point although he had a very short sleep from last night. We had our web check in in one of their kiosk and lined up on one of their counters to change Jami's seat allocation. Everything was a breeze including our check in baggage. Oh I forgot to tell you that I bought a baggage allowance of 15kgs for almost Php220/way. I bought for each flight since I am not sure how much baggage allowance we have and to avoid the hassle of over baggage for carry on baggage. Besides, I would rather have our luggage checked in so we don't have to worry about it while waiting for boarding than chasing toddlers while carrying a baggage. hahaha!

It took almost forever before we were called for boarding. No, the flight wasn't delayed yet at this point, we were just there really early. I was so excited for Jami's first airplane ride, I can't keep myself from smiling. I have been telling Jami that; "sasakay ka kay airplane, seatbelt ka lang kay airplane." In that way, he'll be ready and knows what he's expected to do. True enough, he was sitting the whole time. Take note, our flight was delayed for 1 hour.

Waiting for our take off

We spent an hour seating inside the cabin for that long because of air congestion in Naia. We have done so much at that moment, taking videos, pictures, looking in the window and ended up on the lavatory kasi he pooped na. Grabeng delay yun! So sad, good thing that when the plane took off, Jami fell asleep! Lol. We were all asleep until we landed in Kalibo. Yess.. No drama! =)

Knocked out! :p

Taking back our luggage was a breeze too. We waited outside the airport and was waiting for our hotel to pick us up. Yun pala, they have arranged another tour bus to pick us up buti na lang, we checked those tables across the exit. I saw my name listed as one of the guests although wrong lang ang last name. Hahah! We ended up riding a SouthWest Tour Bus going to the port. The bus was like an airconditioned bus here in Manila but way cleaner and has a better AC unit. I was so glad that the bus didn't have to be full packed before leaving. We were given a sticker stub to be placed on our shirt to be recognized by their staff.

We arrived in the port in schedule and there were staff who assisted us. We were asked to fill up a form and was directed to take a seat. I was so glad that they are very efficient and organized. We waited not very long until we were ushered to the port and rode our boat to Boracay. It only took 5-10 minutes and we have finally set foot in the island! Almost there.. but not.

Just woke up look! :)
We waited for couple of more minutes (around 5 minutes) before our land transfer to our hotel to be ready. What I didn't like though is that the L300 van that was used in transferring the passengers are quiet old, airconditioning is worst! We have to open the windows dahil mas malamig pa sa labas kesa sa loob ng van! That's the only part of the transfer that I didn't like at all. But then, thank you for driving us to our hotel safely.

The transfer going back to Kalibo was kinda same. This time, we have learned that we should open the windows of our van so we'll feel a little presko. Well, that's aside from the fact that we just took a bath diba? Lol.

My final thought was, I actually don't have any complaints if the Van has a great air conditioning unit. People are sure tired from the long travel so it is better to make sure that you get what you paid for. Overall, I'll rate Southwest Tour Transfer a 7 out of 10. That was because feel na feel ko talaga ang summer during our van ride hahaha! But I have to commend the staff for being efficient and friendly. =)