Money Matters: Credit Card Debt

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.

#moneymatters

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. 😅

Purchasing power!

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.

Cash. Tangible cash.

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 🤗

Money Matters by the Marketing Mama

Road to Recovery and Redemption begins today.

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.😅

Challenge Accepted: Journey to Zero Waste.

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:

  1. Bring your own water bottle
  2. Make do with re-usable straws
  3. Bring eco-bag when doing groceries or shopping
  4. Bring your own utensils
  5. 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. 😉

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Beach please.

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.


Now on the next adventure.

 

 

 

 

The Eyelash Experiment.

After a series of meetings at SM Seaside, walking from one wing to another, I suddenly felt cramps and back pains, signifying I needed to take a rest. As I was walking and looking for a place to sit down and put my feet up, I passed by Stylash Eyelash Salon and saw the perfect bed to rest my tired, swollen feet and my aching back and asked the kind lady to explain to me in super slow motion the options and procedures for eyelash extension because, number 1: I have quasi virginal eyelashes, with only the occasional glued-on falsies for weddings and events and number 2: I wanted to maximize my time lying prone on their beds while my cramps subside and my feet stop screaming bloody hell.

The Stylish lady walked me through the procedure and was done in less than 20 minutes because I chose the Nude look – 100 pieces of lashes for only Php 550. I ended up staying there for more than an hour and talked to the lady about vanity during pregnancy and told me I shouldn’t feel so guilty in wanting to look pretty even when I feel that I am at my worst physical state. We deserve a little pep talk every now and then. Besides, having nice curled lashes while you bloat like a balloon would be a nice, twisted touch.

Stylish is located at SM Seaside City and SM City Cebu. Current promos include 50% off on their Full Diva and Superstar lashes.

P.s. Excuse the zits. I am going through an extremely hormonal phase of unparalleled portions complete with sporadic cravings, wolf-like hair growth and teenage acne. 

#17weeks

The Beautiful Miracle That Is Pregnancy.

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The beautiful miracle that is pregnancy. This tiny miracle mutant in your body begins to dictate every single aspect of your life from the way you sleep, to the way you eat, how you function at work, why you cry when you watch Revenge Body with Khloe Kardashian. Mothers do not own their bodies for nine whole months. For you to willingly accept a tenant in your own body who manipulates and controls every aspect of your being for a long period of time, that, that my dear friends, is True Love.

Did you know that your body can do a multitude of tasks at any given second? Yessss. Men have no idea about the maximum capacity of bodily functions because they never get pregnant. Yessss. You have not truly lived until you become a mother. Say for example, the mundane task of sneezing. Did you know that you can sneeze AND burp at the same time? Ha. Bet you didn’t know that. Bet you also didn’t know that brushing your teeth, regurgitation and peeing could happen at the same exact time too. Ha. You know nothing and your life experiences pale in comparison to the beautiful miracle that is pregnancy.

It’s awesome being pregnant. I also didn’t know you can produce so much saliva you start to think you can hydrate yourself without drinking any liquid. Bet you also didn’t know the super power of your olfactory nerves. You can actually smell what your neighbor three doors down is cooking for dinner, or what exact liquor your husband drank 18 hours ago. Ha. Bet you didn’t know that. Also, pregnancy is a contradiction of sorts, you don’t like the smell of cooking oil but you want stuff yourself senseless with fried spam, fried hotdog, fried pork, fried chicken. You become completely bipolar and you know it but you can’t really do anything about it. The things we find out during the beautiful miracle that is pregnancy.

It’s great being pregnant. Once the morning sickness goes away, the indigestion and the constipation takes over. Have you tried belching and barfing in supremely high decibels it would put the exorcism sound effects of Linda Blair and Emily Rose to shame? I didn’t know my vocal chords could do that. Seriously. The things we discover during the beautiful miracle that is pregnancy.

It’s lovely being pregnant. I go to work and when I come home at night, and ask the sperm donor husband if he bought me fuji apples and Chowking chicharap and he says, “I’ve had a long day. I forgot about it, I’m sorry. I’m tired.” And my head snaps and faster than you can say sperminator, the pregnant lady can start a verbal and physical assault of nuclear proportions, husband will want to go back to his mother’s womb and come out as a girl instead. Tip to Fathers: You are not growing an arm or a foot or building someone’s brain and liver, therefore, never, ever say you are busy, all the more, never ever say you are tired. And never ever forget the fuji apples and Chowking chicharap. Just breathe. And follow instructions. It’s only for nine months. This beautiful miracle that is pregnancy.

I heard somewhere that the second pregnancy is easier than the first. Ha. My first pregnancy was easy breezy compared to this! I ate like a vacuum and drank like a pirate. Zero physical drama.

My husband and I have fervently prayed, and fervently tried, haha, to give my son a brother or a sister for four years. After several unsuccessful attempts, false positives and mini heartbreaks, we prayed that if we were meant to have a bigger family, we will leave it all up to God. And by some divine intervention, here we are, despite and inspite of the high velocity barfing, zero control over bodily functions and mental and emotional instability, we are “enjoying” and above all, just GRATEFUL for the beautiful miracle that is this pregnancy.

 

 

Post Baby Blues.

Five years ago, I sat in the hospital nursery, staring at my beautiful newborn son. It was less than 24 hours since I gave birth. In the past 10 months, I had a new husband, new job, new family, and now I had a brand new baby too. And I remember feeling ecstatic but exhausted; feeling like laughing and crying at the same time; feeling excited about motherhood but also feeling melancholic because I had to let go of many parts of the old, pre-mama me. I felt proud of myself, for pushing out a 7.2lb human out of my very own vagina but at the same time, questioning if I had the actual balls to raise a child. The list goes on.

miggy 1

I remember asking the nurse to teach me how to hold him. And as she placed my son in my arms, I remember feeling overwhelmed, my heart pumping like crazy as I tried to hold back tears. I had pictured this moment in my head a million times, but here I was, right smack in the middle of it, and the only thought running through my head was – F*ck. I’m not good enough for this.

I asked the nurse to teach me how to help my baby latch on for breastfeeding. And after a few tries, I started feeling like a huge failure. I shifted my chair and faced the wall, afraid that the nurses, that the other parents in the room have judged me. And I sat silently crying and telling my son to please please please just drink my goddamn milk, and as if he understood my whispered pleas, he started feeding and after a couple of minutes, stopped, and gave me this big, beautiful smile. And amidst a flood of tears and noisy sniffling, I snorted out a laugh.

miggy 2

And I knew then, this baby, this tiny, helpless, noisy, semi-belligerent human being, had unfathomable power over me. And in that highly emotional, confused state, I was certain of one thing: I loved this baby more than anything or anyone else in the world.

On the day, the nurses showed me how to bathe my baby, I cowered behind my husband. The feeling of being incapable to be given such a monumental task of taking care of another human being  was overwhelmingly real. My hands were sweaty, trembling and I was an emotional and mental mess that when they asked me to comb his hair, I cried. I f*ck*ng cried. I knew everyone thought those were tears of joy, but really, tears for fears would have been a far more accurate description.

When we got out of the hospital, I was a happy spectator rather than a doting participant. I was tremendously relieved when my mother or my sister or my husband or anyone else for that matter would take my son.

Before my Mama Hat, I wore my Events and Marketing Hat with far more courage and bravado. Rubbed shoulders with famous personalities and even met the president of the country without breaking a sweat and batting an eyelash. Yet, there I was, a quivering mess of disoriented mama jelly, scared sh*tless of my very own tiny human.

Don’t get me wrong. Again, I knew I loved my son. I just wasn’t so sure about myself. Would I ever be the perfect mother I was in my imaginations? Would I be enough?

Post partum depression is real. Nobody just talks about it because everybody just expects you to wear your Mama hat as if it was as easy as that, wearing a hat. Or putting on a tshirt. Motherhood, or parenthood, is like any other adventure: preparation is the key to success.

Today, I sit in my messy kitchen, watching my beautiful, gregarious, smart-mouth five year old wreak havoc in the living room. And if only I could turn back time, I will give myself a hug and tell my weepy new mama self, “It’s going to be okay”.

Miggy1

To all the new Mama’s out there, stay-at-home or working, millenials or not-so-millenials, you are not alone. And yes, it’s going to be okay. You are going to be okay and your adorable screaming baby will turn out just fine. 😉

 

Of Mice and Men and Babies and Boobs.

There are days when i forget I am a parent. And in these unfortunate times when i get temporary lapses of judgement, i unconsciously pass on widgets of knowledge to my precocious son.

At 13 months, we taught him the different human body parts. Two months later, his favorite (female) body part to point at are “boobs”, which i unwittingly explained to him one day not so long ago when he saw me dressing up for work. The next day, he in public, he triumphantly declares BOOBS! and points to all human concerned, sales ladies, grandmothers, neighborhood girlies and not to mention my female co-workers and my lady boss.

And he come across a girl friend of mine:

GF: Hi Miggy! I’m (let’s call her Anna). (Ppoints her finger to her chest to indicate she is indeed Anna)

Miggy: (stares at her chest) (shakes head left to right) says, No Boobs.

well, kids say the darndest things.

So here I am, writing this blog. Torn between berating myself for teaching him part 1 of the dreaded sex talk at such a young age and being mighty proud that his brain absorbs info like a brand new sponge. 

The wisdom you impart cannot be undone. So help me God.