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 🤗

Self-care Stories: Pandemic Self-care.

This pandemic has given us the perfect opportunity for self-discovery. We’ve all been fighting bouts of anger, confusion, fear, depression and anxiety through varying levels of acceptance and forms of adaptation (cooking, baking, planting, bartering, excessive online shopping, the works – hey, this is human evolution in the modern age!)

Pre-pandemic self-care seemed simple. Not to mention accessible. And taken.for.granted. Who would have ever thought that simple things like coffee breaks or ice cream runs or midnight joyrides or a hug and beso-beso – and simple dining out with friends and families – would someday become  distant memories (for now). But we gotta do what we gotta do, yes?

My pandemic listicle!

So while our lives are currently on semi-pause, sharing with you a couple of the pandemic self-care essentials that have helped me keep my sanity in the past 130 days of quarantine.

1.)    Sleep – An extra hour or two of slumber always keeps the depression demons away. The average adult needs 6 to 8 hours of sleep a day. Take that power nap and don’t deprive yourself of beauty sleep. You will thank yourself for it. 😊

Beauty sleep is the key to balance and clarity.

2.)    Exercise – Quite surprised how quickly gym instructors and enthusiasts adapted and offered online sessions. I joined an online mat Pilates class, mainly to stretch out my back and hip muscles since I sit on my office chair around 10 to 12 hours per day. Super helped my chubby muscles, not to mention, mat pilates is a good way of grounding yourself.

Stretch those muscles!

3.)    Food – Now where to start with this. This is one subject that I am an expert in simply because I consume so much food. Hahaha. My palate-related judgements have always been on point. 😉

a.       I like to eat food that I do not cook. Haha. No, Seriously. There’s something about food that someone prepares or someone buys you that speaks volumes to me about how much they care. Food (and eating is perhaps my unique love language)

b. I’ve always been a believer that mealtimes and food are meant to be shared and having someone else cook (or buy me food) is a love language that makes me feel more appreciated, thus this makes me a propagator and habitual practitioner of ‘together-apart’ meals! If there is a will, there’s a way! Quarantine and border control and this pandemic have not been hindrances in showing people you are thinking of them and you care. 

*p.s. for all family and friends who sent me food in the past few months, thank you! *

The way through an anxious woman’s heart is through her stomach. (In pic: Gorillabowlz Ahi Tuna)

4.) Grounding techniques– I learned about grounding techniques through one of the health and wellness seminars offered by the company I work for (Gotta love Maxicare!) Grounding techniques are used to bring you back to the present and keep your ‘what-ifs’ (what-if’s: example: fear of the future) at bay. As grounding techniques usually center around the five basic human senses: see, hear, taste, touch and smell, I made sure to have an activity with one of each:

a. Smell – Aromatherapy has so far been my favourite. There’s something about a nice smelling room that uplifts the spirit and inspires the soul. I have amassed a collection (or an obsession) over the past 60 days. Please don’t tell my husband how much these oils costs. Haha. My favourite scents are lemon in the morning and eucalyptus in the evening.

Aromatherapy for the tired quarantined soul.

b. Touch – I have also developed an obsession with silk. Pillowcases, scrunchies, sleeping eye masks, pajamas. Running your hands over its silk smooth goodness just feels so nice and offers you some sort of calmness and peace. Maybe because you just want to sleep and wallow in silk. Haha. Also, recommending bleeves (blanket with sleeves) – made of super fluffy ultra soft cuddle fleece for that feeling of extra comfort. Best paired with silk, but of course. 😉 Inserting here too: Massage. Oh how I miss my monthly full body and foot massage it makes me want to cry. Self-massage will have to do for now.;-)

Touch therapy as grounding technique.

c. Taste – See # 3 above. 😉

d. Hear – My spotify playlist as follows: Calming Acoustics, Stress relief, 90’s pop (hahahaha yes, they invoke happy carefree memories), John Wick soundtrack and Nine Inch Nails (for the times I want to drown out negative thoughts. Yes, MarketingMama always has been and always will be a rock chick)

Music to fuel the soul.

e.) See – Arrange and re-arrange. Marie Kondo the crap out of every room. There is a place for everything. Seeing your stuff organized and clean will also give you a sense of peace (and accomplishment). *Disclaimer: next to impossible with children in the house. I make do with my bedroom and work space. Hahaha. Also, I have meticulously color coordinated my curtains for this month and bedsheets and pillowcases and towels in white and pink. Don’t tell my husband because he doesn’t know because he is color blind. Nyahahaha.

Matchy matchy everything! Haha

5.) Write it Down – all the jumbled thoughts in your head, let it out and put it on paper. Writing (together with reading) has been my favourite form of therapy since childhood. There’s just something about getting lost in a book or in your thoughts while putting together a piece. I guess it helps you connect to your self more and it blocks out unwelcome negativity too. 😊

Put your thoughts to paper.

6.)  Online shopping – Guuuurrrlll if it makes you happy, add it to cart! Your money, your choice.

Retail therapy is still therapy.

But don’t forget to set aside savings for future rainy days and other pandemic essentials!

Save for rainy days!

Self-Care Stories: Mulberry Silk

Have you ever woken up to a pillowcase full of hair? Or do you vacuum or sweep several times a day and notice clumps and clumps of hair on the floor? Well, I have and it’s been mildly disturbing and highly stressful to do the math in my head : if I shed this much hair in a day, it’s only  a matter of time until I become completely bald! I have honest to God thought about shaving my head off in the hopes of re-stimulating my scalp for fluffy hair growth.

I vetoed against this fantastic fantasy of anti-hair fall. So, it has come to exploring alternative treatments: shampoo 3 times a week, coconut hair spa aaaannnndddd SILK SCRUNCHIES.

Lily and Adora Silk scrunchies comes in Black, Nude and Blush.

Silk scrunchies are claimed to lessen hair friction and tension as compared to traditional hair ties since it has a natural slippery feel. Theory is, because of this, silk scrunchies are gentle to use on dry, damaged and brittle hair to avoid breakage.

I got my fabulous stylish silk scrunchies at www.lilyandadora.com . They’re Philippines based and have a whole line of mulberry silk products like pillowcases, sleep masks and headbands, perfect for self care!

Made with an elastic band covered by 22 momme 100% pure mulberry silk.

Their products come in lovely packaging with super thoughtful extras (comes with a personalized note and alcohol pad!)

Signed, Sealed, Delivered, Sanitized!

Check them out at http://www.lilyandadora.com