5 Effective Ways to Save Money… (based on experience!)

10 04 2011

Ever had a budget of ONLY 150 pesos for 3 days? I did. Read on to see how I survived and lessons learned along the way.

Want to sleep literally on money? Save and Invest!...

Have you ever reached down your pocket and saw nothing but lint?  Well I have and it’s the position I want to avoid as much as possible. So what I did was to check if I was making enough money or was I spending too much, more than what I had. Unfortunately I was the latter type. (I know right! I struggled believe me, that “Artwork” shirt was on sale! Can’t blame me though…)

I really didn’t care much about how much money I spend on things or food or whatever I laid my eyes on. But a contemptible moment in my life brought out the thriftiness in me. There was this time, a Monday of early last year to be exact, when all I had was 150 pesos and I had to save it until the next payout date. I was almost broke since payout’s a few days later, add to the injury, it fell on a Thursday that week. I was never really fond of borrowing money, probably because I know how it feels to lend money and never had it returned back *cough*”L-J”*cough*. He he he… Knowing myself, I knew I wouldn’t last a couple of days with just a hundred and so pesos, I tried my best to ask my roommate if they could lend me-  my ate, and colleagues but looks like we’re all in the same boat here.

So I did the impossible. Make a 150 pesos last for 3 days. It was not that difficult since I have free lunch at work everyday, so all I had to think of was breakfast, dinner, and fare.  I still got some leftover groceries from the week prior so I was confident I could pull it off. I remember buying rice and some few vegetables for a measly sum. I cooked “ulam” good enough for two servings. Breakfast and dinner solved! Lunch was provided for free so, nothing to worry about that. Fare on the other hand was much harder to budget since even though I only needed 14 pesos back and forth, for 3 days that’s already a hefty 42 pesos. And I couldn’t just walk to office, we’re talking about a good 50+ kilometres or so. Could not imagine arriving at the office all soaked up in sweat. Augggghhhh! That’s when I decided to give up snacks during break time. It was a good thing I actually bought some energy bars in my last trip to the supermarket, had to rely on these sugary sweets for a while.  I kept my budget in check all the time, to make sure I have enough to survive until Thursday. From then on I just kept on praying that everything would turn out just fine.

Then eventually it did! Finally, pay out day arrived. You could only imagine the relief I felt when dough came spitting out of the ATM machine. (That was exaggerated of course, just wanted to emphasize what I felt. It would be effin’ awesome if it did though!) Then it all came to me – how important managing money is. So the first thing I did was to correct my mistake and move on from there. I began listing my budget on a notebook. Income and expenses. Needs versus wants. Current and anticipated budget needs. One by one I was able to identify what actually placed me into this scenario. And it looks like I was just spending waaayyyy too much and too often.  The next steps I did were to look up additional things I could do to improve my situation. So here are the lessons I learned throughout this entire ordeal hope you find them useful too! No I did not take a 4-year course for this, no one has to. Although according to reports it helps a lot to be rational when it comes to money when you’re highly educated. I may not be an accounting major or a finance analyst but it’s just a matter of discipline I guess.

1.)  Create a personal budget – just like what I did, list down your expenses so you know where your money’s going. Check for little details on how you can save form day-to-day. Do you really need the coffee from the store? Will bringing in lunch cost less than paying for food in the cafeteria? Can you just borrow a book from a friend rather than buying an entirely new one? … I also make it a point to assign a portion of what you earn for savings, this is essential for your financial future.

2.)  Develop your art of spending – I know it’s not art per se but it just sounds so cool. Rethink your spending habits! Don’t buy it since it is on sale; think carefully if you really need it. Will you still buy it if it were not discounted? I’ve also read that being thrifty is not enough, there’s even some study suggesting that the “savers” spend more than the “spenders”. How? It’s a balancing act really. “Those who spend money like water don’t understand its value; those who shun financial planning and investing don’t understand its potential”. I also read somewhere that in every institution, there’s always both of these types to keep things in balance.

3.)  Follow up on Credit – I normally keep a list of people who owe me and follow them up once in a while, especially if they are owing a lot. Perhaps a few hundred to a thousand? Many people get discouraged when it comes to this, so it would be wise to make sure that you really REALLY trust the person you’re lending. Or else all that money will go down the drain. Trust me, it happened and it could probably be the worst mistake I’ve made. You could say it was ‘major major’ but nonetheless, it is from mistakes that we learn and mature. Speaking of credits, avoid “bad” debt like loans for personal use for non-important commodities, instead go for business or student loans could provide value over time.

4.)  Avoid paying additional fees- Greatest example would be the extra charges from withdrawing on an ATM not from your bank or fees for returning video rentals late. Also, if it is not needed to pay premium then don’t. This rule could also apply to commuting, by walking to your destination you only not save money but also help save the environment. Hitting two birds with one stone eh?

5.)  Shop wisely and never on an empty stomach! – Create a list! To avoid forgetting important items and making sure you don’t pick up anything that’s not essential. Also, make a budget and take a calculator to the store. I always do this to make sure I don’t go over board or if I need to, it has always to be within an acceptable limit. Avoid shopping when you’re hungry, it has been proven this leads to excessive & compulsive buying. Experts say it is best to shop at the outer aisles in a supermarket since “Produce, dairy, meats tend to be placed on the outer aisles with all the junk food and processed products in the center aisles. Avoid as many of those inner aisles as possible and you’ll see both your waistline and expenditures drop.” Specialists also advice to “…look below eye level. Bargain priced items are often shelved below eye level and out of your immediate view”.

Where’s the best place to shop? There’s no universal answer but canvassing significantly raises your chances of saving money. You’ll be sure to buy the item at the lowest price possible by doing so.  Add fun to window shopping by going out with friends to window shop, at least you have second opinion.  Clear-out stores are also places that are both savings-friendly and easy to see, very few people and lots of discount signs. Remember to search around carefully though, it doesn’t mean it’s on sale then it’s cheap.  Develop your haggling skills, this could come in handy to. From airline tickets to refurbished items; the important thing is to save even just a few bucks.

Yes it was certainly one of the toughest weeks of my whole life, but it was full of lessons that I needed to learn the hard way so it was worth it nonetheless. Right now, I am absolutely happy with the results of trying out these pieces of advice. Consistency plays a large role, so once you start, don’t stop! Seriously! I am planning on investing what I had save however that’s an entirely different territory I have yet to enter. I’ll start blogging about it when I get there but in the meantime these are all the tips I can share, oh and wait, never underestimate the power of the “piggy bank”. Even the tiniest of the penny / centavo is important, as our elders say “Hindi ka makakabuo ng isang milyon kapag walang ang piso” (You can never make a million pesos without a peso). Without a doubt there’s no overnight cure to stop spending compulsively or save hundreds of thousands of pesos, but if you start now then who knows you might be next millionaire just by saving! Ha ha ha! … 😉

"Save a centavo, you save yourself!"

Many thanks to the following websites who helped prove that saving money is actually doable:

Shine.yahoo.com

Ieke.com

Today.msnbc.msn.com

Moneyinstructor.com

Fitzvillafuerte.com

Photo courtesy of:

Uk-debtadvice.com

Bibokz

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Despicable Me – (8/ 10)

13 02 2011

Once again, here’s a movie that’ll tickle your funny bones. I personally find this satisfying to watch since all the characters are all different and unique in their own little ways. It may be targeted towards the younger audiences but it does not in any way alienate the more mature crowd. As a result, it is considered as one of the animated hits of 2010 trailing behind the Toy Story and Shrek installments.

This is a story about Gru, who delights in everything evil & wicked, plans on stealing the moon. Along the way he met three orphaned girls ( Margo, Edith and Agnes) who have found something in him that no one else did:  a father.  Gru brushes them aside but eventually develops a plan to achieve his goal and decides to adopt them to be used in his schemes – and here’s where all the chaos & fun begins.

Despicable Me” will easily draw you into the story and I can’t emphasize that enough. It often times deal with inner emotions that struggles to get out, somehow transcending other movies that tackle the same themes, with ease. Thankfully, there were a lot of fun-filled scenes that never fail to amuse.

Gru's ever so loyal minions, they're so cute I want one!

This very heart-warming film boasts of good storytelling techniques that will make you feel good until the very end.  Not to mention all the characters are likeable, but it’s not automatically though. Steve Carell did a brilliant job in breathing life into the character  of Gru. All the others did very well also but none managed to outshine the lead of course. Well maybe except one – her royal cuteness Agnes. You’ll tend to like them as the story progresses. Oh and did I already tell you how cute and funny Gru’s minions are?! They are a standout if I must say. Loyal with a wild sense of humor, they’ll surely part of the formula that made this movie successful. It may not be at the top of the list but if you’re feeling down & low then this is a perfect movie to help boost the mood & get that decent laugh… 😉

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Photos courtesy of Worst Previews & Hollywood News





New Year’s Resolution: Boon or Bane?

6 02 2011

Have been very busy again for the longest time, but finally I’d be able to keep up with the blog once again. I should’ve posted this last month. Anyway, I believe you’re familiar with a New Year’s Resolution List. You’re even probably either on your way to achieving your goal#5 or you wouldn’t want to start at all since you don’t believe in this kinds of things. I surely did not believe in its purpose until it came to me that goals are as important as the end results itself. I stumbled upon a website, which provided me the importance of motivating oneself to reach goals for self-fulfillment.  “Goals provide a sense of direction and purpose” (Goldstein, 1994, p. 96) . People will perform better when they are committed to achieve certain goals. That’s what I read. Just happen to forgot what website this is from so I apologize but rest assured as soon as I remember, I’ll modify this post. In the mean time, here is my personal list of what I want to change and achieve before the year ends. I’ve even segmented the list so it becomes a bit more organized:

Improve health:

–          Hard cardio exercises at least once a week

–          Light core and arm exercises everyday

–          Lose the belly!

–          Eat less burn more

–          Focus on whole-wheat and organic food groups for diet

Improve Finances

–  Save money for retirement

–  Manage finances by knowing what to prioritize

–  Favor quality stuff and invest in highly-productive activities

Improve career

–          Get promoted

–          Don’t let stress get in the way and stay focused

–          Find the suitable job in the media industry

Improve education

–          Learn the basics of a new language or dialect (probably French because of work and Kapampangan because of locality)

–          Finish reading at least five books

–          Be updated about current pop culture and the media

–          Watch at least a two new movies per month

Improve Self

–          Be less grumpy this year

–          Be more independent

–          Be more confident

–          Be more organized

–          Take more risks

–          Develop a forgiving attitude

–          Read the bible

–          Do something for the kid in me every month.

–          Reduce stress by laughing

–          Laugh some more!

–          Slow down when speaking

–          Before going to sleep,  remind myself of one thing I am grateful for

–          Be kind to unkind people (they probably need it the most)

Improve Blog

–          Personalize banner

–          Modify theme

–          Create at least a post every month

–          Impose quality in every post

–          Organize channels and headings

Being motivated is beneficial because it helps in putting oneself into action, improves efficiency by increasing productivity, leads to achievement of life goals, and fosters friendly relationships. So I don’t see any issues why having a list like this would be harmful. I know what you’re thinking, it’s a lot right?! Well at least now we have a lucid idea of what we want to accomplish. More or less the path is much clearer as compared to not making a list at all. By December for sure a review will be made to show how close I am in completing the goals. So now, I only have 11 months, so here we go! Wish me luck!… 😉

 

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Photo courtesy of Pharm marketing Blog

 





Morality on the Market Market Scandal and Venus Raj’s Fans

4 01 2011

This video has been circulating the net for quite some time now. If you watch it, is just like watching a scene in a movie about ‘the revenge of the wife’ or something. Seeing the video for the first time, I realized why this became a youtube sensation, it has some kind of voyeurism feel to it. You know that feeling in reality shows when you take a sneak peek into the lives of the contestants and learning how human they are, like you? This vid somehow captures that feeling into a much higher level. Oh wait I forgot, this isn’t a movie this is REALITY!

On the comments taken from youtube, a lot majority, sided with the legal wife. That is not surprising given the fact that if they were in her shoes they’ll also did the same thing. Besides, it is never right to claim something that’s already taken right?.

What’s just horrifying is that most of the comments on youtube also approved of this scandalous act. Yes, ‘revenge is a dish best served cold’ but it is disturbing how one can managed to do such a thing in public and let the whole world into her little own world she calls “private life”. (Probably an extrovert, I don’t know…) Some commentators say the legal wife did the right thing since they MIGHT have a child. That she MIGHT be in mid-lower class. That she MIGHT be fighter for a lot more. C’mon guys, we do not know the whole picture. What we know is that the legal wife along with her “minions” attacked a mistress that obviously had an affair with his husband. We even don’t know the other details but we certainly know she’s angry!

"Grab by the Hair Technique to Perfection"
She is enraged and we know the primary reason why. If she is trying to be brave, this probably isn’t the right way to do so. If she’s being confrontational, well then this still is not the best way to do it. Absolutely NOT a perfect example to the younger generation. If she does have a child and he/she watches this in future what will he/she think?! I’d feel embarrassed for sure. I will probably think something like this:

“Could not believe mom would do that to a person, or worse inside a mall! Now I know what those big muscle arms are for, talk about genes! Oh wait, who was capturing the video? Oh, my aunt! Geez, it probably runs in the blood, what can I say, birds with the same feather are beautiful eh? So nice to be in a peace-loving family – NOT!!!”

This is just my two cents worth. There are some things worth keeping to ourselves or to a small circle of friends, but definitely not everything is supposed to be open for the world to see. If that’s the case, everybody’s got their own little show to put on, and the police will certainly have a difficult time containing the aggressors. I guess this is not a question as to who is right or wrong since there will always be the three sides in a story. All battling out reasons why they are correct and the other party not. It all boils down in the belief whether ‘the end justifies the means’. I’d normally say it depends on the circumstances involved, but in this case I would have to say no. Society dictates that we have to behave in a particular way, which I’m afraid opposite of what happened in this vid. The Reason why we have society is to keep things in order and in check. In the Market Market Scandal’s case, it would have been better if the legal wife acted civilized and not in a “crazy” way. (I was trying to put it down a notch lower but can’t seem to find the word.) Yes it takes time, money, and all but that’s why we have a system. If this is how everybody acts when faced a distressing situation, then what is our ‘order’ intended for? What separates us from animals if we have to resort to this type of solution?

Gah, I never really write this serious since it takes a lot of emotions that needs to be under control. This is supposed to be my very first post in 2011, and I do not want the year to start on a negative note, so let’s go ahead and play a game called “‘pretend”. After watching the video above, assume that the next clip are also people like you watching as the legal wife “terrorized” the victim! Enjoy! … 😉





Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li – (5.5/ 10)

13 12 2010

Note: I was hoping to make a review for another movie, I just happen to notice I once again forgot to post a long-overdued article, and here it is!

Well first and foremost, I was disappointed with it. I remembered the first live-action feature of Street Fighter way back in 1994, and for some odd reason I liked it, not much because of the screenplay but the amount of action involved.

In Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li, there are some notable well-choreographed fighting scenes though but unfortunately was not enough to pull up some dull moments through the film.

This is a story about one of the most famous female characters in the game, young girl named Chun Li (obviously…) who embarks on a quest of revenge and justice.

I watched it because I liked Kristin Kreuk and the whole SF game but honestly the story kind of, sorry to say it, sucked big time. I understand that CAPCOM, the company bigwig behind the movie, wanted this to be centered on Chun Li’s journeys and history. But c’mon, they could’ve inserted more sub-plot lines that could’ve held the movie more cohesively. It’s a refreshing take on what I was used to seeing in the video games version than what’s on screen; maybe a little off here and there but over-all the changes are tolerable. The idea of the Order of the Web was cool too. What’s not are the other weak plot points. The movie’s not really excruciating to watch, it had problems sustaining interest all throughout the film.

It’s great they got Kreuk for title role, though I missed Chun Li’s signature look in the game with two large balls of hair and that qipao she always wore which was an early 20th century Chinese dress. Oh, was the actor who portrayed Vega, part of the Black-Eyed-Peas?

Kreuk plays the role of Chun Li, almost feels like the perfect choice


The spinning bird kick technique was cute, and they made a great decision by having it reserved for the end part. I was waiting for it the whole time, I was expecting more but it’s A-ok. M Bison was played by Neal McDonough, and he’ s so lean! I envisioned him to be bulkier! Oh wait, in the game he really IS BIG! Though on the plus side, he really made me feel he was evil and definitely worth some kicking in the butt! Nice choice of colors for the wardrobe but I hoped they stick with the original costumes instead. It would really make a difference especially for SF fans. Where’s Balrog’s boxing gloves?

If you’re new to all this (which you probably aren’t since you read the article…) there’s a big chance you may like it. But just like SF fans worldwide, a very huge number were expecting better. This is a sign that CAPCOM’s trying to take risks and would like to revive/relive the interest for the game franchise itself, which is a good thing. In other words, there could be more future features associated with SF characters that’s for sure. Are they going to make a sequel of this? If they will, I’d really hope it would be waaaayyyyy better than this one.

Photos courtesy of IMDB





If it’s your first time to get a police report, you might want to read this first

11 07 2010

Just arrived at home from the Just arrived at home from the police station

Nope, not imprisoned. And absolutely not moving into the field as my new career either!

I was just accompanying a friend who was doing some sort of follow-up for the police report she was expecting for two days now. Guess what, the officer who was supposed to investigate on the case and all was on off and as another officer was searching on their records, nothing was even recorded on the logbook. And to make matters worst, the head of the station told us to come back tomorrow instead and refused to assist us. One of the authorities even gave us the bad news that the OIC “P.O.2. JR”, lost the ‘paper’ where he wrote the case onto. Wow. So instead of writing the info legally onto the records, it was written on a piece of paper?! Who knows it might have been a tissue paper and God knows how & where he used it! Talk about incompetence. Why am not I surprised.

That’s when my friend broke down in tears. Probably because of all the trauma, emotions, stress, etc. had built up around her. Most likely triggered by the fact that the previous officer, who was in charge of the case supposed to be, promised to send her an SMS about any updates but failed to deliver. And now here we are, absorbing all nonsensical talk from a superior who knows nothing absolutely is of no help at all! He just kept going on and on that it’s our fault why we didn’t followed up yesterday AND that they were just humans AND that they do not have the capability to think things through since they have heavy workload ANDthat they file many reports everyday so we can not be prioritized unless we come in personally AND the list goes on. In short, he was putting the blame on us and frankly is just a total waste of time. Now, considering the fact that we were expecting a text yesterday, we do not want to appear as naggy if we dropped by your station. Oh and for the record, we are also working and don’t you preach about stress and all that crap since we coexist in the same society, we breathe the same air, and we work our a**ess off to feed our family. With all due respect sir, the reason why we are with your “accommodating” presence today is to get a police report and not for a sermon. That’s why we have churches and religious places! Talk about luck!

Good thing my friend’s charm caught the eye of one of the local authorities who decided to help. Finally! Who knew that there’s actually a good cop out there! A legend in the flesh, he extended his hands for assistance as “J” composes herself. Leaving me with blabbermouth. The caring officer, “P.O.1 VM”, took it from there. During the course of this whole ordeal, the “Head” just kept on going and going and going… I really felt he would never stop! Goodness! Our conversation was going around in circles and topics were going nowhere so I decided to stop responding and gradually he stopped too. He must’ve worn himself out. Finally!

Then there was light at the end of the tunnel. After a couple of minutes of questions and answer, we finally got what we came here for in the first place. “P.O.1 VM” with quirky remarks, handed over the police report to “J” who was overflowing with excitement and relief. Persons like this budding hero, is probably one of the reasons why I still feel there is hope for the Philippines. Kudos to “P.O.1 VM” who is an epitome of what a cop should and shouldn’t be. He gave us a warm welcome, listened to us without any pre-conceived ideas or partial judgment, and stood up for what is right. Instead of goofing around, slouching on the chair and telling us to just return tomorrow *cough-STATION HEAD-cough!*

So if it’s your first time to get a VERY IMPORTANT document such as this, do not whatsoever feel and show how intimidation. Cops will eat you up alive and push you around. With all of my experiences regarding obtaining such files, I have yet to encounter a positive experience. But maybe “P.O.1 VM” changed all of that. Well, just maybe. Hoping for the best and expecting the worst, as they say… So just be brave, patient, and rational, who knows, you might even meet a “P.O.1 VM” in your area’s police station right?… 😉

Photo Courtesy of: Gulf News





Overused Smallville phrases and dialogues

16 12 2009

During the summer of last year, I had nothing worthwhile to do so I decided to watch Smallville on DVD…

On a 1-MONTH marathon! … Guess what, since I was watching it day and night I was able to compile a list of lines or dialogues that I kept hearing over and over and over again. This was from Seasons 1 up to Season 6. It’s not that I think the writers can’t think of anything else, but it’s more of becoming engrossed or immensed in the language itself and how it was used…

Yeah I know, you might be wondering what the hell am I talking about…

Anyway, are you a Smallville fan too? Do you remember any of the phrases and expression below? You are actually encouraged to expand the list…

Go Smallville! …

Overused Smallville phrases or lines:

1. Got your message, it sounded important.

2. I have to call you back

3. I’ll catch you later

4. What do you want?

5. She’s not herself lately

6. I wouldn’t do anything to hurt you…

7. What are you doing?

8. You’re very sick, you need help…

9. Clark has nothing to do with this

10. What’s going on?

11. Look at me in the eye and tell me…

12. You lied to me …

13. Are you ok?

14. Never better

15. Somebody HELP!

16. You can’t blame yourself

17. We all have our secrets

18. I will not give up on him/her

19. Close that chapter in my life

20. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer…

21. Teach you a thing or two…

22. I know we had our differences

23. Let’s put this behind us

24. What’s wrong with you?!

25. There’s more to __(name of person)_ than meets the eye…

26. I thought of all people you would understand…

27. Made a deal with the devil

28. You have he abilities I couldn’t even dream of…

29. For what it’s worth …

30. Don’t get me wrong …

31. You’re my girl/guy

32. I get that a lot …

33. He’s on something

34. Something tells me …

35. Never start a game you can’t win ; never wound what you can not kill

36. If I didn’t know any better I think …

37. Vessel

38. RSVP

39. The crisis is far from over…

Just an observation: Louise Lane, Lex Luthor, Lionel Luthor, Lucy Lane, and Lana Lang? Double “L”s? What’s up with that?!…

Just a thought, you might wonder why I didn’t write any inspiring quote or striking dialogue. Truth is, I was so bombarded with the same old lines over and over again and I just can’t stop remembering all these expressions! With reference to the quotes, fans like me or “other” people have already enlisted what you don’t find here.

You’ll probably be taking down some lines as well if you heard it repeatedly. But hey, Smallville’s one heck of a show and it still blows me away! Except from a few lines here and there…

Smallville fans unite!

Somebody saaaaavvvvee meee! “ – The Fray

Photo Credits: Flickr