I’ve been living in my head the past couple of weeks. How is it possible to feel stuck and at the same time feel like you are unwittingly being propelled forward but not on you own volition? Are these the markings of a midlife crisis?
Maybe this is it. Maybe this is why I have been questioning every single life choice I have made for the past 25 years. Thinking about all the times I could have said yes and all the other time I should have said no. Life would have been so different.
Is that what I really want? The notion of overhauling this life that I have that is the cumulative result of all the yes and no decisions I have made in the past? Or do I love this life but I just want to experience some things a little more?
Always wanting more is a natural human reaction to progression. The very tenet of #goals. But is more better? How does one know if what we have is enough? How do we know when to stop when truly, we feel like this is just the beginning? Or how do we know if this is the end – the end product that we have doggedly worked for?
Where do we look for all the answers to these questions? Or will these questions answer themselves as time unravels?
How do I get outside of my head? How do I layout all the jumbled thoughts, hopes, dreams, ambitions, regrets, plans in a strategic and practical way that I can make sense out of all these and put them to good use?
In the meantime, I will stay here. In my head. And try to make sense of all the voices and noises that may or may not be welcome.
We were never really taught about credit and taxes and managing funds in school and what little I knew of it, I kind of picked up from books and magazines and tidbits of overheard adult talk.
I was always amazed at how much power a microchipped piece of plastic can yield. Blinded mostly, by the sheer convenience of just swiping away hard earned salary I literally couldn’t see. There’s a huge difference between paying cold hard cash and paying with a card, and it’s mostly psychological. No money in my wallet, nothing to spend. Simple. Credit card equals “I’ll pay this right after. Will go to the bank. Promise. Wipe this clean next payday.” Etcetera etcetera. The lies I told my 20-something self are now so cringey. 😅
Unless you were born into a family of financial gurus (I wasn’t) or was fortunate enough to be exposed to financial literacy during the developmental ages (nope, not I) or was born with an uncanny knack for math, fund management and self-control (def not me!), well then, my friend, we’re probably on the same boat. 😆
When we’re young and impressionable, we don’t initially pay attention to the interest rates or annual charges or the other details in the fine print. Until we have been sucked into the abysmal world of credit card debt.
At one point, I had 4 credit cards with credit limits exorbitant enough to pay for ten of my neighbors’ children. And as i was young, wild, free and reckless, didn’t really bother much with due dates and what nots. Until the bank and the bank’s collection arm started to bother me with it. Bothered me enough to awaken my financial conscience and take control of my wanton spending. What did I swipe for? Shoes, gadgets, bags. Mostly revolved around those items. Long story short, I slowly paid off my credit cards and stuck with only one.😊
Now, I usually prefer paying with a debit card instead. Or cash. Because out of sight, out of mind (this refers to my virtualy tucked away money, whether I really do have money to spend or not) and tangible money or money I can see/smell/touch, triggers my visual brain that no-money-in-wallet means nothing to pay for my shopping.
So what are the simple steps in saying no way josè to piling up credit card debt?
1. Read the fine print a.k.a. T&C (Terms and Conditions) of the bank. Some banks offer low interests rates and zero annual fees. Collect and select.
2. Be aware of your due dates. Calendarize it. Write it down. Set an alarm. Tell your mother. Do it. Pay on time.
3. Self-control. If you don’t need it, don’t buy it. No Lizette, you don’t need 30 Muji ballpens, 10 notebooks and 5 different sizes of acrylic boxes plus a cute stapler.
4. Use the reward points. Credit card companies usually have marketing promos. “Get a free 2 piece Jollibee chickenjoy meal for every Php5000 single receipt purchase.” Yes! That means that’s one free lunch somewhere in the future. Most people use this feature to redeem miles for their #travelgoals but I’m really just happy with free meals.
5. Relative to #2: Pay on time. And pay in full. If you can. The idea of a credit card is to pay for something in advance. This is where the old adage comes in: Give credit where credit is due. (?!) And when credit is due, pay it pronto. This means you are a responsible, trustworthy adult who has enough discipline to maintain good credit standing in all aspects of the banking universe and with this, you can sleep in restful peace.
6. Relative to #5: If you have current credit card billS, the trick is to pay this off with consistency and persistency. Slowly but surely is the key to success. If you’re a visual person like me, type up or write up your budget and expenses in excel file and use the hoarded multi-colored highlighters and Muji pens to really see where your money goes.
Financial awakening is similar to the process of mourning: Denial (WTF I.do.not.spend.that.much.in.a. month!), Anger (pistingyawaanimalkulerabitok kamahal ba diay!), Bargaining (dear self, if you stop spending, I swear I will…*insert half hearted promise*), Depression (huhuhuhu self pity crying) and then finally, Acceptance and Awareness. And I would like to believe that this is where the real journey towards financial freedom truly begins.
Thank you for taking time to read as I’m really just writing this to remind myself not to repeat my past mistakes. 😇 The road to financial awareness is an interesting, but tough one. If you see me at the mall with my credit card, please approach me and check if the items I’m purchasing are essentials.😅 Catch you on the next installment of #moneymatters 🤗
What is the most useless thing you bought during quarantine?
I bought hair curlers and glass nail files and bags but I have massive hair fall because of stress, super short nails because I can only manicure one hand and hello, I have pretty bags but I have nowhere to go.😅
Coronacoaster has besmirched my better judgements. And ate away my supposed savings with useless things to fill that wide gaping hole caused by missing window shopping, malling and retail therapy.
As I wallow in self abomination at my complete lack of self control, I got to thinking: How prepared are we really for the things we don’t quite expect?
Documenting my journey of shoulda-woulda-coulda’s because someday I want to look back and pat myself at the back for getting over the add-to-cart quarantine addiction.😅
Fun fact: I wanted to become a teacher when I was a kid. I grew up in an academically inclined family, my maternal grandparents were teachers in Masbate, my paternal grandmother was a college librarian, and P.E. teacher, my grandfather worked in the University of the Philippines Cebu College, and my dad was an aeronautical instructor and engineer. I remember receiving lesson planners when I was about 7. Ahahaha! 😂
I will always be thankful for my parents who worked very hard to give me and my sister the opportunity to study in schools that has made all the difference in our lives because of the quality of education, the classmates we have who have turned into friends who we also now consider family, and he overall experience that has shaped us into lean, mean, hustling machines. 😉
Today, I hope to pay it forward by grabbing the opportunity to help other children have a fantastic educational experience.
I came across a Facebook post of a friend asking for help for public school elementary teachers requesting for donations for bondpapers to be used for printing student modules and decided to ask for help from my batchmates and officemates. I thought, if we reach 10 reams of bondpaper, that would be great! Less than two hours later, my friends came through and we were ate 30 reams! This morning I woke up to donations of more than 70 reams of bondpaper! Bless your kind hearts. 🥰 Amazing how collective effort can make a bigger difference!
The focus of of the first virtual Brigada Eskwela is the continued children’s education despite the pandemic we are experiencing. Since many students don’t have gadgets and don’t have access to internet connection, the schools will provide them printed Modules.
One module per student and per subject will be distributed each week and some modules contain 10 to 20 pages each.
One ream of short bondpaper (containing around 500 sheets) costs around 177 Philippine Pesos or around three (3) U.S. dollars.
We all know the government and the schools have budget allocations for these, but wouldn’t we rather actively participate than just sit back and watch? 😉 I’ve always been a believer that a little help goes a long way. I hope you share my sentiments of giving these in good faith and momentarily setting aside our pandemic-induced politicizing. Hahaha. Let’s pay it forward! 🙂
Your donations will be distributed to four (4) teachers from different schools in Cebu. Rest assured, your donations will be properly documented.
If you’re interested to become a Brigada Hero, you can send your donations through:
In a bid to be environmentally conscious, my sister and I have decided to start saying no to single use plastics. Growing up in a generation banking on convenience, we’ve gotten so used to using plastic materials in our daily lives that it’s a monumental challenge embarking on a zero waste journey. Plastic bags for groceries, plastic bottled water, plastic spoons and forks, plastic straws. It had become a mindless habit until recently, when my six-year-old son demanded McDonalds two-piece chicken and six-piece chicken nuggets with large iced tea delivery every night for almost three months straight. Haha. Imagine the mountain of trash the take aways alone generate.
So, we decided to do the following baby steps to minimizing our carbon footprint:
Bring your own water bottle
Make do with re-usable straws
Bring eco-bag when doing groceries or shopping
Bring your own utensils
SAY NO to plastics
The struggle is real AF when it comes to saying no to things that have apparently made life so much more easy. Lugging around your own tumblers and cutleries and storing extra eco-bags in your existing bag is no easy feat. It’s a constant struggle for my personal fight for minimalism and being environmentally conscious. 😀
For the skeptics and the cynics and the naysayers, please don’t judge. Please don’t mind me, the size of my bag or the burloloys in it. 😀 My personal choices are none of your business. I want to do my share, no matter how habitually tiny they might be, in securing our children’s and our grandchildren’s future. My trash should be no one’s treasure. 😀
It’s really not about joining the eco bandwagon or drastic lifestyle changes. Plastic bags to eco bags. Coffee cups to tumblers. Styrofoam packaging Toothbrush I can change, yes, but sanitary pads to menstrual cups, that’s a whole different story. As I said, baby steps. We will cross the menstrual cup bridge when we get there. IT’S THE LITTLE THINGS. The little things make a difference. Baby steps to eco-friendly solutions.
For those who have unquestionably supported this quest for sustainable living, thank you for your words of encouragement and for your unconditional friendship. 😉 And for those who are already in this journey, thank you for the inspiration. We can do this. One less plastic thing at a time. 😉
This weekend marks 18 weeks of baby number two being hell bent on experiencing the wide spectrum of pregnancy symptoms known and unknown to mankind. From projectile vomiting, to debilitating cramps and dizzying migraines, lousy is an understatement in trying to describe the past 4 ½ months of this pregnancy.
This weekend also marks my lovely mothers 53rd birthday and I’ve been looking forward to this getaway for weeks. I needed to feel the sand between my toes and the sun on my skin and let the sea float the fugly preggy feelings away. How I look like in a bathing suit is an entirely different story for an entirely different blog entry.
Back to the beach. The best thing about living in the wonderful tropical island of Cebu, a close second to crispy, tasty, crunchy Cebuano lechon, is that you are only 30 minutes away from world renowned beaches. For dear mommy’s birthday weekend, we are staying at Movenpick Resort, located in Punta Engano, Mactan, Cebu City.
I have been waiting with bated breath to feel the lovely white sand beneath my feet and to taste salty water so you can just imagine the orgasmic sense of fulfilment when we got to the beach. The sun, sea and sand does waters for the tired and weary city soul.
So, as I sit here, staring out into the beautiful blue sea framed by a blazing orange sunset, I think about all the despicable choices I have made and all the crappy things I am stuck with because of the choices I made. But despite the significant amount of stress, I know my gratitude should be bigger than my regrets and my fears.
Thank you Mama Mary for my mom, the best kind of mother any kid could ever ask for. I pray for her good health, happiness and success and may you hear the deepest prayers of her heart.
Thank you Mama Mary for the gift of family time, for fulfilling weekends, for something to look forward to, for new adventures and for the gift of new life. All praises to you.