Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Replicas?

The problem with genuine branded, quality watches is that they are so expensive! I mean, I love the look and the quality of classic brands like Rolex, but I just could not bring myself to shell out the money to buy one of those. Some do say that these make good investments, as certain pieces appreciate in value over time, but really, the price for one watch could feed a few poor families for a year! Definitely not for somebody who needs to be frugal. On the other hand, there are replica watches which are difficult to differentiate from the originals except by trained people, hence there's a thriving market for these.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Choose A Career You Love

When I was asked by some younger relatives about what course to take up in college, I would always say that you should take up something you're really interested in, not something that seems to offer more job opportunities. That's because the demand for jobs fluctuates. You never know if your chosen career will still be in demand by the time you finish with your course. If you love it, though, you'd stick with it.

Unfortunately, many parents here in the Philippines direct their kids to take up what seem to fields that seem to have a lot of openings at the moment. There have been waves of sharp rises in IT professionals because jobs in programming were very much (and fortunately, still is) very much in demand. Demands for nurses abroad have waxed and waned through the years, but parents still push their kids in that direction because of the current demand.

However, if you all have the same idea and we end up with an oversupply of one sort of professional, the demand will start to peter off and some people will still end up unemployed or underemployed. And if the career was not the individual's choice to begin with, it will only make him or her miserable.

Choose a career for love, not for money.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Wishlists and Registries

December is generally a time for weddings AND Christmas gift giving. While most view having a bridal registry as being tacky and having a wishlist as being materialistic, I, as a giver, actually prefer that the intended recipient of my gift tell me what I really want or need. That will make my gift shopping easier for me. It's pretty much a letdown if you think that the MP3 players you gave were cool gifts, only to find out that the recipient already has a lot more.

So, for me, if you're getting married, do let me know about your bridal registry or wishlist (preferably the latter so that I can just buy stuff anywhere convenient for me). Show your wishlish for Christmas or birthday. With so many people online these days, it's a simple matter of just writing it down on your blog or on your social network.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Use Your 13th Month Pay Wisely

At this time of the year, I envy the employees since they get their mandatory 13th month pay from their company. If their company is generous, they would even get a 14th, or even a 15th month pay. This not only covers most of their extra expenses during the holidays, but also, if they are prudent enough not to spend all of it, provides extra savings for the rainy day. The self-employed like me do not have this advantage.

If I were the lucky recipient of this windfall, the first thing I would do is to pay off my debts. The fast cash payday loans which were convenient and definitely helpful when money is tight, the credit card loans which pile up fast, these all need to be paid off. If I had already settled my outstanding debts, I would then set aside a certain portion for my savings and/or investments. Then and only then would I start spending the rest of the money.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Spend Only What You Can

Christmas is the time for giving. People are extra generous at this time of the year, getting a little something for most of their kith and kin.

However, do remember that your resources are finite. Before you go out on a holiday gift giving spree, do make that Christmas list, determine the total amount that you can afford to spend, and allocate a certain amount per recipient so that you don't go overboard with your spending. I do not think that you should resort to getting cash loans at this time of the year if it's just for presents, but that could come in handy for any emergency that may crop up during this time. Do leave a little money for yourself. Remember, the bills don't stop just because it's Christmas!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Try Not To Eat Too Much During The Holidays!

It's easy to go overboard during the holiday season in the Philippines. For us Filipinos, celebrations mean "food", and rich food at that! And the peak of the celebrations is noche buena, the feast on Christmas Eve! All that sugar and fats are not going to do your body or your health any good!

So, to avoid having to sigh about extra inches and having to lose weight through Leptovox, do remember to practice moderation. Some suggestions:
  1. Don't pile up food on your plate. Just put a small amount of each viand. You can always go back for refills if you need to.
  2. You don't have to eat everything! Skip those foods which appeal to you less and just get those that you really like.
  3. Taste everything, but only in very small amounts.
  4. Don't force your friends or family to eat more! (You know how Filipinos can't refuse....)
  5. Drink water. It's healthier (and no calorie too!) than alcoholic and soft drinks.
  6. Engage in conversation. You're less likely to eat a lot when you're talking.
  7. Eat slowly. Chew. Enjoy every bite.
  8. Don't drink and drive.
Enjoy your Noche Buena!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Sorry For Being Quiet Lately

I'm very sorry for not being able to update my blogs lately. This season has been quite a hectic one for me, what with all the things we do to celebrate the holidays here in the Philippines. Add to that the fact that I'm currently in my first trimester of pregnancy, and thus very uncomfortable with food. Just when there is food galore due to the many Christmas parties around. Unfortunately, because most of my symptoms occur in the evenings, I could not go to most of them, just the ones that are easier for me to go to (I also get dizzy with long car trips nowadays, which is made worse by bad traffic jams). Which is just as well, as I actually abstain from rich but unhealthy foods and would not require any Orovo detox after the holidays.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

DIY cakes

I just came across a site which would prove helpful to those who love to bake and would like to make beautiful cakes for their children's birthday celebrations. There are even themed cakes so if you would like to have a Barney cake for your little precious, there are step by step instructions to make it easier.

There are also links for cakes suitable for adults, for babies and for other special occasions.

Click here to go to the site.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Need A Constant Supply? Order In Bulk

Buying in bulk works if you need something constantly. It saves on travel time and expenses. Some stores would also try to give you a volume discount since you're getting a lot of merchandise. For example, hospitals would make sure there would be a continuous, unbroken supply of incontinence supplies since there is always a need for it, hence, they probably get the best price for it. Not only that, the stores deliver to them. If you need something continuously and in large quantities, like baking supplies for your home based business, it may be cheaper in the long run to do as businesses do, order in bulk.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Every Little Drop Counts

After washing your hands, don't forget to turn off the faucet. That one little drip-drip-drip doesn't only sound annoying, it also adds up to GALLONS a day if you're not careful enough, sending your water bills higher than it should be. If there's a problem with your faucet, it's best to have it repaired immediately so you don't lose more water than necessary.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Eat In The Kitchen

Unless you have company, eating in the kitchen makes sense, especially during breakfast time when there is not a lot of mess from food preparation. Nobody needs to bring all the food into another room (thus save some energy), there is less cleanup (since you only have to clean up the kitchen and not the dining room), and if it's cold, the kitchen is usually a lot warmer. Also the person in charge of preparing the food could actually get to eat breakfast while trying to prepare the next meal. Putting a few bar stools around the center island could do the trick.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Be Aware of Your Pregnancy Weight Gain

I'm happy to announce that I'm now pregnant with baby number 2!

I gained about 30 pounds during my first pregnancy but I lost all of it after 3 months of breastfeeding. I never needed any aids like alli to lose my pregnancy weight.

I think the key to it is not using my pregnancy as an excuse to indulge too much. Sure, pregnant women should gain weight, but there is a limit to how much weight gain is okay. A weight gain of more than 50 pounds is definitely too much for 1 baby.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Looking For A Business Job?

Are you an accountant, a manager, an HR specialist, a procurer or somebody who worked in a business environment and who now needs a job? Are you a small business owner whose fortunes have changed in the recent economic downturn and have to look for another source of income? Check out business jobs for a list of vacancies which you may apply to. Who knows, this may be the break in your career that you were dreaming of.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Easy Way Out

The hard way is to observe proper diet and exercise. The easy way is via surgery or liposuction or diet pills. Most people opt for the latter since there is less effort on their part. You really have to ask yourself, which is better for your health, in the long run? It's also best to consult a doctor AND a nutritionist on your weight losing needs before proceeding with anything.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Travel Insurance

This is something I've often ignored in the past but won't do so in the future: getting a travel insurance when going on a trip.

Anything can happen: you can get sick while you are in a foreign country, you can encounter thieves, you may even be involved in an accident! There are even minor episodes like the airline losing your luggage during the flight or during transfers.

You can have these covered at a minimal cost, if you think ahead and get travel insurance before you even leave.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Cameras?

The biggest names in cameras are Nikon and Canon, but there are other brands out there which may not be as top-of-mind, but which give great performance for the money. A good example are Panasonic digital cameras. My friend is very happy with the purchase of the point and shoot camera that she bought last year. We also have a camcorder by Panasonic which we bought 4 years ago at a very good price compared to the other brands but which gave us a lot of features that we're very happy about. We have no plans yet of buying a new one since it's still pretty good.

The point is, don't shut out the other brands. Search for user reviews, and maybe you'll get your perfect gadget without having to spend too much for it.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Find Out What Caused Your Acne

Acne and pimples are perpetual teen skin problems. However, they are not only limited to teens. Adults get them too, and it's often a source of shock and disappointment to get those when you are well in your twenties when you are supposed to have outgrown them. There are a lot of acne treatments out in the market, but it's best if you really investigate the root cause of the acne so that you can pick the treatment that is suited to your particular case. If you have to go to a dermatologist in order to know the problem, do so. At the very least, you avoid having too many scars that would affect you for a lifetime.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Insure Your Car

If you are a car owner, you should not think of insurance as just another added expense and a "waste of money". Accidents do happen and if you have insurance, it is so much more hassle free and cheaper in the long run. And since there are already a lot of insurance providers, you can easily find cheap auto insurance even online, so there is certainly no excuse not to have any insurance coverage at all for your car.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Don't Discount Discounted Furniture

If you are trying not to spend too much, are not in a hurry and you do not really have a lot of specific requirements regarding your furniture, you can actually just look for available discount furniture. Not all of them are castoffs, they are priced lower either because there are new styles coming in, or there's an oversupply of the same style. Unlike fashion, most furniture designs take a long time to be considered dated, and even so, that could still be a good thing for the look for the house. And, people usually do not change their furniture as rapidly as they change their wardrobe, so it won't be as bad as crowded mall sales.

In the same coin, you can also consider buying some durable furniture during garage or clearance sales. Who knows, you may get a bargain! We got a queen sized bed for only Php2000 (about US$40), made of metal and hardwood. What a steal!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Ask Those In The Know

We have to face the fact that we are not all knowing and someone is bound to know something more than we do. I would know a lot about ophthalmology and what are the best instruments out there since that is my work, but I have almost zero knowledge about things like golf. If I have the inclination and the time to take up golf as a sport or as a hobby, I would probably ask people play about golf equipment and ask them if Callaway golf clubs or some other brand are the best in the market. That way, I get first hand information from the people who actually use them.

This should be the case for almost everything--ask the experts. Or at least those who know more than you do.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Las Vegas!

Planning to go on a trip to Las Vegas? This las vegas strip map will be a great help. It not only shows you the different hotels along The Strip, it also shows which hotels give discounts at up to 77% off. Other hotel promotions like free meals, gaming credits, free nights, etc., are also featured. You could book online so that your room will be ready for you by the time you arrive.

Upcoming events are featured (hey, there's an upcoming Madonna show!), and there is even a section for Vegas tips.

All in all, a great guide for those planning to go to Las Vegas.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Credit Unions -- A Survey

Right for the times? "A credit union is a cooperative financial institution that is owned and controlled by its members, and operated for the purpose of promoting thrift, providing credit at reasonable rates, and providing other financial services to its members." (Wikipedia)



Do you think you need them at this point of economic downturn?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

No Unnecessary Purchases

Be prudent with your purchases. Most buying decisions would actually just require plain and simple common sense. For example, buying a heated blanket would be very practical if you are living in a country with cold winters, as you can then sleep more comfortably. But if you live in a tropical country like the Philippines, there is really no need for that since it's very warm. What you need here are electric fans and air conditioners so that you can have a cooler and more comfortable temperature.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Safer cutters

The accident-resistant box cutter seems to be a better choice than the usual blades, kitchen knives and scissors that we sometimes use to open up big boxes. This seems to be easier to use than the ones mentioned above. It's also safer than the usual utility blades and knives because the design features a blade that's partially hidden, therefore you will get less slips and cuts.

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Winner!

...of the raffle is Mari of http://gwenmarisalvilla.com . Click below to see the screenshot of the randomizer.



As this is a raffle, I used the online equivalent of a "tambiolo", put all six entries in, and voila! The list is generated! The number 1 on the list is the winner, and it just happened to be Mari! So please do send me an email with your name and address where I could send the prize. Email me at ethanmama[at]gmail[dot]com .

These are the participants: (in order of date/time of participation)
1. http://www.hthyou.com/2008/09/one-helpful-blog-to-another.html
2. http://jengspeaks.blogspot.com/2008/09/practical-tips-and-more.html
3. http://gwenmarisalvilla.com/2008/09/27/practical-tips-and-more.aspx
4. http://webbycontest.blogspot.com/2008/10/contest-to-celebrate-100th-post-from.html
5. http://entrepremom.blogspot.com/2008/10/practical-tips-and-more.html
6. http://qt.makemoneyonline-x.com/2008/10/review-of-practical-tips-more.html

Thank you very much for joining! I hope you will still join other contests that I will set up in the future. :)

P.S. I know I promised to post the winners yesterday, however, some things came first. Sorry po, that's the problem with being a one-woman team. I hope you understand.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Raffle!

In honor of this blog's 100th post anniversary, I am holding a raffle! The lucky winner will get a gift pack from Ethan's Store .

Unfortunately, this will only be available to those with Philippine addresses (because shipping outside the Philippines is too expensive for me).


Bloggers based outside the Philippines who have relatives and friends in the Philippines may also join, provided that they can give a Philippine address where the prize will be sent. So if you have relatives in the Philippines whose birthday is coming up, you may want to try to win a present! :)

The prize: A gift pack consisting of
- Caliko Room and Linen Spray in Lavender
- Caliko Lavender Massage Oil
- Caliko Lavender Essence Burner Oil
packed in a gift bag, with free courier delivery anywhere in the Philippines!

How to join:
1. Review my blog on your blog. Please make sure to link back to this site.
2. Make a comment on this blog that you have joined. Make sure to include the URL of the review that you have made.
3. This contest will run until October 25, 2008, 11:59PM Manila time. I will base the cutoff on the dates and times of the comments.
4. Drawing will be on October 26, 2008. Winners will be announced on this blog.
5. As mentioned above, please make sure you have a Philippine address where I can send the prize.

That's it! It's that simple!

This post will be kept sticky until October 25, 2008. There may be newer topics below for you to check out.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Training for Drivers

I think all truck drivers should undergo training at a truck driving school since the handling of such a large vehicle is different from handling a small car. Ditto with bus drivers. The accident that happened a few nights ago along EDSA could have been avoided had the bus drivers been more professional. I doubt if the bus and truck drivers here really underwent any formal training in driving and handling their vehicles. Ditto with taxi and jeepney drivers. Sigh!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

When You Have A Long Christmas List....

It gets more and more difficult to think of Christmas presents for a huge number of people. Each year, my Christmas list gets longer and longer. I haven't really mastered the art of buying for a huge number of persons, but here are some tips that I've learned through the years.

1. Set a budget. It may be a "budget-per-person" or a "budget for the whole season". Whichever works better for you.

2. Make a list. Categorize each person, whether they're family, people at work, or what. You can either list on a notebook or a computer program, do whatever is more practical for you.

3. Shop early. It does not have to be an all out shopping spree. When you're out, you can pick up some ideas, or you can start buying appropriate gifts then keep them (if you have enough storage or if the gift is small enough). You can even start wrapping the gifts so that you don't have to cram.

4. Buy in bulk. You can buy more of a certain item if you have a lot of persons in your list. For example, if you find a cute shirt and you have 10 kids on your list, you can buy 10 of those shirts, in the right sizes, of course. Items which are gender-neutral and non age specific are also great to buy in bulk.

5. Look to your own closet. You may already have some gift worthy items. For example, a pretty blouse that turned out to be a tad smaller but you can't return for some reason could be a nice gift for somebody who has a smaller size than you.

6. Regift. I'm pretty certain that some people will find this inappropriate but sometimes the gift you got before was totally inappropriate for you. Maybe someone on your list would find it more useful for them. Just remember NOT to accidentally return it to the one who sent it to you. And if you're not comfortable with this idea, just don't do it.

7. Emergency gifts. Once in a while, there may be some people who show up and who are not in your Christmas list. It's best to have a few gender-neutral, all purpose gifts with unlabelled tags lying around so that you can get one when the need arises.

8. I'd rather get gifts that people won't mind receiving too many of. Here's the result of an informal survey I did. At least I know they'd truly be appreciated. And if I don't end up giving it away, I can still use them myself. :)

------------
This is my entry to both The Christmas Gifts Group Writing Project by 1Happy Corner and The Blog Rounds 22nd edition hosted by Doc Cherri.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Pay Yourself First

Everybody wants have a little bit extra money as a nest egg but do not know how to do it. The rule is to "pay yourself first"/ When you get your salary and before paying, be sure to set aside a certain portion every payday, not to be touched unless there's an emergency. This is to be invested in either a time deposit, or mutual funds. Just try to budget everything based on the leftover amount after you "paid yourself". Try not to dip into this "nest egg" unless there is an extreme emergency.

Adequate parking spaces

When building a house, make sure that you have carports big enough for your family's needs. You also have to anticipate. A one car garage just does not cut it when you have a family of ten, unless nobody drives and everybody just relies on public transportation. And unless you live in a gated community, it's neither safe nor practical to park on the street either. So if I'm building my own house, I'd make sure there's enough parking space for all of us.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Blessing's Copy Center and Bookbinding Services

Last summer, I had the pleasure of encountering the owner of Blessing's Copy Center and Book Binding Services, Imee N. Gines. I had a report which I had to bookbind (hardbound) ASAP and I was quite desperate to have it done. Fortunately, I was able to get her number from the net, called her up and asked if it's possible to have the bookbinding even after office hours. She was very nice and said, yes, just come on over, we'll wait for you. And they did! They gave me a reasonable price too.

So the next time you need quality bookbinding services with great customer service, do look them up:
Blessing's Copy Center and Book Binding Services
Stall no 27 UP Shopping Center
UP Diliman, Quezon City
Tel: 925-6852
Mobile: 0917-8553999
Email: imeegines@yahoo.com

Friday, October 10, 2008

Potluck!

For birthdays, Christmas, Thanksgivings or other occasions where family and friends get together and have dinner, a potluck is a good practical and cost-saving idea. The premise is that everybody who goes brings his or her contribution to the buffet. Some would bring appetizers, others would bring the entrees and still others, dessert. It would be great if somebody were to be assigned to take charge of the event and to assign/coordinate who brings what, so that there will be less confusion and less food repetition. You don't want everybody to bring 10 kinds of pasta, won't you?

Monday, October 6, 2008

Simple Online Backup

Today's web-based emails have large spaces for you to store emails. In case you have files that you need to store, you can actually just email yourself and attach the needed file. Voila! Instant online backup which you can access anywhere you have internet access!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Change Locales Every Vacation Time

If I can afford it, I would pick a different location for my vacations. That's so I can experience more of the world. I've been to the USA, but the I haven't been to every state. I've heard that Outer Banks in North Carolina is very nice! I might explore that possibility the next time I get the chance to go to the States.

This may not be such a practical tip in terms of frugality, but if you think about it, it IS practical as you want to try a little bit of each portion of the world everytime you get the chance.

For Serious Bacon Lovers

If you're a serious pork lover who wants only the best bacon, the best bets are usually not the supermarket variety bacon. Serious bacon lovers get best quality pork from the Bacon of the Month Club from The Pig Next Door. There are two ways you can get your quality bacon delivered to your door, via the the Traditional Club and the Heirloom Club. Interested, click on the link above to find out more.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Term vs Life Insurance

If you already have a family, you should strongly insurance so that they will not immediately feel the financial impact of your passing, especially if you are the family breadwinner. What type of life insurance is best for you depends on your age and the money that you can afford to spend.

If you are young and have a lot of disposable income, it's best that you invest in a whole life insurance so that you get cheaper rates in the long run. These may be expensive though. If you are on a budget, you may just consider looking at some term life insurance quotes so that at least you are covered for a year. Take note, though, that for term life insurance, recomputation occurs later so you may have to shell out more and more as you grow older.

If you are past retirement age but would still want insurance (and you don't have a whole life policy), you can still go for term life insurance which would cover you for that year.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Kiddie Party on a Budget?

Parents automatically want the best for their kids. It’s understandable that they would want to throw a lavish party, with good food, party entertainment, games and prizes for their children. However, you do have to tailor your party to what you can afford and save up for. It’s not practical to have to resort to a cash advance loan just to be able to finance a party.

Practical tips to celebrate your tot’s birthday party:
Evaluate your budget. If P10,000 is what you can afford, you have to work within that amount.
Canvas! Ask around for the best prices and the best reviews for the price that you are willing to shell out.
Prioritize. If you can’t afford both an expensive caterer AND a great host, choose which is more important to you and stick with that. For the other, you may have to downgrade it a bit and something a little less expensive.
Leave out unnecessary details. Some things are just nice to have. If you’re on a tight budget, leaving these out would make it fit your budget better. For example, you don’t really need a host and 3 other entertainers, if you cannot afford it.
Do-it-yourself. You can make your own invitations, your own guest book, your own giveaways! All it takes is a little creativity. You can ask relatives to cook the party food or take pictures or videos of the party.
Cut the guest list. Less guests, less food and smaller (probably less expensive) space needed. (Less gifts though :P )
Just enjoy! In the end, what matters is that everybody enjoys the party. It doesn’t have to be very fancy. Even a small party can be enjoyable if done right.

I hope these tips would help parents with small budgets to still have a nice party for their tots. 

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Different Lighting for Different Needs

Lighting in your house must be customized according to the needs of your room. For example, wall sconces would look very nice in spaces intended for receiving and entertaining visitors, like the living room or the foyer, since they not only serve the purpose of dramatic lighting, but also adds to the decor. For the kitchen and the study, brighter but more cost efficient lights must be installed since you need better lighting in these work areas.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Pimples Be Gone!

I used to have bad acne when I was younger. I've tried all sorts of treatments that were available, and I even went for some unconventional treatment. One gynecologist remarked that I might be having hormonal changes since I was already in my mid twenties at that time and I'm not supposed to have such bad breakouts. I was simultaneously experiencing irregular menstrual periods. The best acne treatment for me turned out to be hormone pills, prescribed by my gynecologist.

The point of all this is that, sometimes, you look at all your symptoms wholistically and try to find the cure via treating the cause, not just the symptoms.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Windy Alternative

One of the fastest growing segments of the power sector, wind generation capacity is expected to more than double between 2006 and 2011 worldwide!



I know there are already windmills in the Ilocos. I hope we can make use of what we have in abundance -- wind energy, solar energy, hydropower, geothermal energy, biofuels -- so that we do not have to be very dependent on fossil fuels.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Eat Right

It's a pity that the most convenient foods are the most to blame for most of our health ills. Eating too much "unhealthy" foods supply us with a lot of "empty calories" which just contribute to obesity and all its bad effects (high blood pressure, diabetes etc.). Make the choice of picking healthier foods with more greens and natural foods, use less oil in cooking (boil or steam instead) so that you get more nutrients and less empty calories out of your food, so you'd never have to try to lose weight via crash dieting or taking in Phentermine. Prevention is better than cure.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Using the Internet to Prepare for your Baby

Preparing for a new baby is exciting, but may be difficult. Thank God for online help! You can ask friends and other moms on their recommendations on things like baby beddings, baby clothes, gear, and other stuff via online egroups and fora, so you'll know which brands worked for most moms. You can even shop for baby stuff online! Truly the internet has made things easier for a lot of people, expectant moms included.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Backup to Backup Power

It's a bummer when you get caught in a power outage and you're totally not prepared. Your rechargeable lamps haven't been recharged and you don't have batteries in your flashlights! Do keep one of those battery-free crank flashlights around so that you'll have a last resort to use whenever such thing happens!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Consider Franchising

Although it may seem to be more expensive at the beginning, it's easier if a prospective entrepreneur simply follows the business plan of established franchise opportunities rather than start from scratch. That's because established franchises already have a proven system, a proven business plan, an established "brand" or name, and support in place so that your business will have a head start getting off the ground.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Las Vegas For Families

More than just a city of gambling and of shows, Las Vegas is now also a one stop shop for whole family fun, as the city also has museums, kid friendly shows, not to mention the las vegas hotels which are works of art in themselves. Imagine seeing a replica of the Eiffel Tower, a volcano, Mandalay Bay, etc, all within walking distance of each other. I've only been to the US twice and I've been to Las Vegas both times, and there's always something new. A must visit, just keep the kids away from the things you don't want them to learn about -- it's not difficult at all.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Career Rut?

If you are in a career rut, you may want to consider submitting online Manhattan resumes (if you're aiming for a job in New York) so that prospective employers may find you and look over your qualifications. Then if you find a job that seems more to your liking, you can then send in your notice to your current company. It's not practical to leave a job without having another one to replace it, but it is not ethical to just leave your current work without giving your employer time to look for somebody to replace you.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Marriage And Money

When you get married, you have to realize that you do become one, even money-wise. All money decisions, especially the big ones, have to be mutually agreed upon.

Even before the couple takes the plunge, the issue of how to handle money should already be discussed. For a couple who both work, how much of their income goes into their joint account and how much can be used for discretionary spending should be considered. Here are the options:
  • Couples have their own personal bank accounts aside from the joint bank account which they contribute to. How much is contributed depends on your prior agreement.
  • Couples pool their money together and just get a certain amount of allowance periodically for their personal spending.
Two-income couples should also talk about kids and how that would affect their money decisions, whether or not one of the parent should quite the job and stay home, making them a one income family and changing the whole money management.

For a one-income couple or family, the money obviously comes from only one source. How to spend that income is something that must be settled even before the wedding itself.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Buy Quality Watches

Even if they are a tad more expensive, I would prefer getting tried and tested brands of watches like Nautica watches because they last longer than cheap brands. Watches are precision instruments thus it is also important that it does not conk out on you but instead gives you the correct and precise time each and every time. The wrong time could mean a difference of life and death.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Research!

With so many sports gear shops out there and with so many brands to choose from, it would be wise to shop first before you make your purchase. Although it may be tempting to just go for the cheapest items for frugality purposes, it may not be a wise and practical decision in the long run. Especially if we're buying team sports gear and equipment for the whole team.

Look at the features, check for durability, and check out other people's feed backs before you make your purchase. A good resource on the net is ShopWiki. You can actually do your research there AND purchase from there as well.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Get A Job Before Moving

If you're looking to migrate to another country, it would be best if you already did a job search even before you leave. It's difficult enough to leave for another another country, leaving family and friends and everything familiar in order to pursue a new life. It's even more difficult if you do not have the means to support yourself. So, it's better to make sure that you could at least earn a decent income in your new home.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Call Attention!

It's the -ber months and here in the Philippines, it means that it's also the season of Christmas bazaars and conventions (especially medical conventions). There is also a sprinkling of some trade fairs. If you want to take advantage of this season to promote your products, you have to make use of the right trade show displays in order to call attention to your booth.

You can use banner stands together with a tarpaulin poster of the product you are promoting. It pays to get a good, artistic graphic artist to make your poster look inviting and attractive so that people will come over to look at it. You can also make use of lighting truss to put attention on your posters or your product displays.

Sometimes, presentation is everything. You have to get people to notice your product, and you only have limited time to call their attention. Of course, that is only the first step. The next step is for your product to live up to its promise.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Rain On Your Vacation?

One good thing about the internet is that you can actually look up the general weather in the area where you are going to. Make use of this advantage. It's a bummer when you get to the Sunshine State and find that your vacation is not as good as your friends' Orlando vacations, just because you didn't do your planning well and ended up there during the time when rains are more common.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Easy Processing For Your Online Business

With the wonders of the internet, you can now easily have an online store and work in your spare time, in the comforts of your home for minimal expenses. The biggest problem is how to get your customers to pay you. However, since there are already experts like authorize.net which makes it easier for your customers to pay you and for you to accept their payments. Do check them out if you're an online merchant and would want to improve the way you do business.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Try Condo Hotels

If you're going on a vacation, do you know that you can have other options for lodgings other than the usual hotels? If you want a more homey setting with all the services of a hotel, a condo hotel might be a better option for you. This is more so if you are traveling with the whole family. And, they are usually more reasonably priced, considering the amount of space in each unit, as compared to hotels and motels.

It's also a good investment. The unit you buy could be rented out and earn you money if you're not using it.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Unlocked Rather Than Locked Cell Phones

Unless you are getting the phone for free from a telecoms company, it is always a better idea to buy unlocked cell phones rather than one which is locked to a particular company. This way, your cell phone becomes more versatile, as you can use a variety of SIM cards, which may also be an advantage when you travel. Also, unlocked cell phones could be sold for a higher price than locked cell phones (if and when you get tired of it and want to get rid of it), not to mention that you can have more buyers for it.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Quality Shoes

Be careful with too-cheap shoes. Some of them do not fit very well, hence resulting in foot problems and discomfort. Well made, branded shoes like Asgi shoes are made of quality materials, are and are fitted better. They are more durable and last longer, hence saving you money in the long run. And of course, your feet will thank you for it.

If you really want to save, you can watch out for sales so you get more value for your money.

Friday, August 15, 2008

About Car Insurance

If you are a car owner in the Philippines, you should already know that the LTO (Land Transportation Office) now requires that you should get the required TPL (third party liability coverage) from their accredited insurer. You have no choice about that. However, for comprehensive coverage, it would be prudent to compare car insurance from different companies. "Cheaper" does not necessarily translate to "better" or "more practical". And of course, different people have different needs for their insurance coverage. Also take note that you cannot change insurance companies if your car is already about 5 years old, when it is considered to be fully depreciated.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Budget

Every business owner, every administrator, every home manager (a.k.a. housewife) will tell you how difficult it is to make a budget. Although this is a very important aspect of any business or home, it's also a fact that not everybody can do it well. If you are one of those people who find it difficult to make and stick to a budget, maybe you should buy a budget software to help you.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Cash Gifts

Blame it on my parentage, but I've always thought that the Chinese tradition of giving cash (or gift checks) for weddings, Chinese New Year, birthdays etc. is actually very practical.

When I was getting married, I wanted to put a hint that I would prefer cash over other gifts, but decided against actually writing it down on the invitation because it IS tacky to do that.

Spare yourself the hassle and give what the newlyweds (or birthday celebrant) actually want and need, but are too embarrassed to say so (because it's not in good taste to say so). Give CASH!

Here are the advantages:
  • Very portable. Not bulky at all. Easy to carry, for both the giver and the receiver.
  • No need to shop around for what the recipient wants.
  • It's sure to be appreciated.
  • Very versatile, can be used to buy whatever the recipient wants or needs, or can be put away in the bank, or put in investments to grow.
So, what do YOU think?

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Buy New, Sell the Old

It's not just about looking for the best deals. It's ok to indulge yourself once in a while, for what is life without enjoying some of your hard earned money? But before you go and buy yourself that new HDTV, make sure that not only have you canvassed for the one with the best value for money, also consider selling off your older TV not only to get enough funds, but also to free up some space for your new "toy".

Unless, of course, you were really planning to have more than 1 TV for the household and have enough space for it.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Know Where You're Going

If have a poor sense of direction like me, you may benefit from having a GPS installed in your car. This would help tremendously in making sure that you are going in the right direction. Street maps are also still good, but some of us are not very good with reading maps, thus defeating the purpose.

Knowing where you're going would save you a lot of time and a lot of fuel, not to mention a lot of stress, since you would no longer have to make unnecessary extra turns just because you are still figuring out where to go.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Currently Updating Our Look...

...Please bear with us. We are not down, just changing the template, so some elements may be missing when you visit.

Update: It's really difficult to be changing the template. I'm getting an error message. I don't know what happened really. Worked well with my test blog. Oh well, will try later.

For now, my blog has reverted to the classic theme, which actually looks very nice and clean, except that it's quite common already.

Outdoor Relaxation

If your house has a garden or a lanai, you may want to consider putting a hammock chair in a nice quiet area under a shaded area. This instantly adds a touch of class to your garden setup and gives you a relaxing spot in order to read a book, take a short catnap or just chill out and relax. The fresh air and the wonderful garden view would do a lot to revive your spirits.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Sneaky Ways You're Ruining Your Credit Score

Credit cards are a great convenience to most of us. Do you know if you have a credit card, you can actually make a positive credit history so that you won't find it too difficult to get future loans? However, you may also be unwittingly ruining your credit score. Read more about it by clicking here.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Does Appearance Matter?

Despite the saying that "Beauty is only skin deep", we still cannot deny that our appearance does play a big part not only in our self esteem, but also in how others perceive us. I should know, I used to have very bad acne while I was training as a medical clerk more than 10 years ago. My self esteem was at an all time low and I believed my superiors think that I am not washing my face enough (which I did -- I washed too often, actually, hoping that the microbes would be washed off my skin and my pimples would clear up). Mine turned out to be a hormonal problem aggravated by stress. A three month regimen of a certain brand oral contraceptive pills cleared up my problem. Thankfully, it didn't come back anymore after that. I regretted that I did not have the root of the problem investigated at once. I could have saved myself the agony and the inevitable scars -- both the physical acne scars and the emotional scars from thinking that I was ugly.

My point in this rambling piece is that, yes, you do need to invest in your appearance. I do not really mean that you have to undergo drastic plastic surgery. I mean that you should take care of how you look. Get your pimples treated properly. Get a good haircut that looks right for you. Pick the right clothes. All these will make you feel more beautiful -- and it reflects in how you shine.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Invest In Life Insurance

A lot of Pinoys don't believe in life insurance. They think it's an additional expense on their part. However, we should probably change our mindset, especially if we are financially productive and we have family and especially children who depend on us. We should, however, compare the different companies who offer this, compare their life insurance rates, their benefits and your own needs, so that we can make a wiser choice regarding which one would be best for us and our family.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Spending -- A Good Thing?

Got this from Money from the I-Com.

Spending can be a BAD word if you are trying to save money, but here are some ways to spend and actually use the spending to help you make money:

  • Advertising - If you are advertising a product, business, and/or website, spending for advertising can easily double your profits even with the cost of the ads.
  • Stocks - You are purchasing parts of a business when you purchase stocks. Just make sure you buy low and sell them at a higher price to earn profits.
  • Mutual Funds - These are the similar to stocks as they are a consolidation of stocks and bonds together.
  • Real Estate - If you are buying to "Flip" the house, Or hold it for appreciation reasons then spending on real estate is usually a wise investment.
  • Credit Card spending - If you are purchasing anything then it's good to use a credit card as long as you are paying the monthly costs and there is NO anual fee on the CC. You can use the Reward programs to actually make money off of using the credit card and the CC company will actually be the one's paying you.

  • Tuesday, July 22, 2008

    Use Your Rice Cooker's Steaming Rack

    Use your rice cooker as a steamer too! While cooking rice, you can put the steaming basket on top and steam vegetables, eggs or meat dishes. Not only does this cut your cooking time, this also enables you to save money by cooking 2 things at the same time.

    Monday, July 21, 2008

    Vacationing With The Family

    Orlando is a great example of a place where a vacation would have something for the whole family. It's the home of Disney World, for one. It also has Sea World, Universal Studios, Orlando golf, Busch Gardens, to name a few. It also has great shopping centers, nightlife, spas, dinner shows, and some other theme parks. It truly has something for the whole family to enjoy. So, the next time you're considering a vacation, look for something similar to this, so that there's really something for everybody in the family.

    Sunday, July 20, 2008

    KVM

    Does your office need a networking system? KVM (an abbreviation for Keyboard, Video or Visual Display Unit, Mouse) is a hardware device that allows a user to control multiple computers from a single keyboard, video monitor and mouse. While this is less common, KVM switches can also function in reverse - that is, a single PC can be connected to multiple monitors, keyboards, and mice. There are now also some newer variations which extend to internet and VOIPing. I think it may be best to consult a computer expert on which of these would be best for your office's particular needs.

    Saturday, July 19, 2008

    Globe Exclusive Price-Off

    Got this SMS from Globe, through 2977:

    Tuwing Linggo (during Sunday), enjoy5 centavos per second charging on your SAKTO calls! Just replace the 0 at the beginning of the Globe of TM mobile number you are calling with 232 (ex. 232917XXXXXXX). Till Aug. 31. Per DTI-NCR#3466.

    Friday, July 18, 2008

    Ways To Save Money On Gas

    With the present high fuel prices (and getting higher every week), it's best that we know how to minimize our fuel costs. I've come across an article that tackles ways to save money on gas. Click here . I hope that this will help you. They even tackle commonly held but mistaken beliefs (myths) on saving gas.

    Thursday, July 17, 2008

    Time Zone Difference?

    If you need to, say, call up a long lost friend or a business contact, and you're not sure if it's the right time to call, check out the local time by clicking on http://www.worldtimeserver.com/. Enter the city or country where you want to make the call. The correct time in that place will be displayed.

    Tuesday, July 15, 2008

    HDMI

    I came across the term HDMI (High Definition Media Interface) which is reportedly the first and only industry-supported, uncompressed, all-digital audio/video interface. It is supposed to provide an interface between any audio/video source, such as a set-top box, DVD player, or A/V receiver and an audio and/or video monitor, such as a digital television (DTV), over a single cable. I just read up on it now, and it seems really interesting. Using a HDMI splitter would be even better as you could have use multiple screens to display your content.

    Admittedly, this is all new for me, so if anybody can tell me about all this, I'd appreciate it very much!

    Sunday, July 13, 2008

    Use A Pressure Cooker

    A pressure cooker saves cooking time since it cooks meat and softens them faster, thus it does not use up a lot of fuel. Perfect for soups and stews that use meat which need softening.

    Keep in mind, though, that foods cooked this way may not be as tasty as slower-cooked foods.

    Saturday, July 12, 2008

    Looking Young

    We all age, but almost all women would want to "grow old gracefully". Unfortunately, with the multitude of products aimed at preventing or removing wrinkles, it's difficult to know which one is truly the best wrinkle cream. Here's a tip: it's not necessarily the most expensive product out there. Cheaper brands may concern practically the same ingredients, and thus work similarly, at the fraction of the cost of the signature brands. It's best that you first use the smallest container available, so you can gauge your skin's reaction to that particular product.

    Friday, July 11, 2008

    Weight Issues

    Being overweight or obese is not only a vanity or appearance problem. It also has health repercussions. However, some people simply have too much weight to lose. Others may find that weight loss for them is too slow a process, even with diet and exercise. If you are one of those people who are having trouble losing weight, it may be more prudent for you to consult a doctor specializing in weight managment. The doctor may offer more options for you like prescribing Phentermine to speed up the weight loss, taken under medical supervision. There are also surgical options which may be explored by the doctor.

    Tuesday, July 8, 2008

    Ways To Save on Wedding Flowers

    Flowers are an essential part of the wedding decor. However, it has become so expensive! Here are some tips to try to lower the cost of your flowers.
    • As always, set a budget and stick to it. Inform your florist about your budget so that he/she will not overdo the flowers.
    • Avoid February. If your wedding date falls on this month, expect prices of flowers to be higher because of Valentine's Day.
    • Limit your entourage members. The less bridesmaids you have, the less flowers you need.
    • If your male principal sponsors wear barong, there is no need for them to wear buttonneires.
    • Choose local grown flowers. Imported blooms have to be flown in and are usually more expensive.
    • A large number of the same flowers will cost less since you would be buying in bulk, so try to limit the type and color of flowers.
    • Try to coordinate with another couple who will be using the same ceremony venue. You can decide on the same floral arrangements and split costs.
    • If possible, you can try moving the floral arrangements from the ceremony venue to the reception venue.
    • If your wedding is in December (or near December), you may need less floral decorations since the church is already decorated for Christmas.
    • If your venue is at a garden or park, you will need less floral decors.

    Monday, July 7, 2008

    Taxes and High Gas Prices? A Survey

    Tax or no tax: This is a way to immediately deal with high gasoline prices in the U.S.

    I hope that GMA would also consider this for our own country. Everybody's suffering from the high gas prices and even the cost of basic necessities are rising because of this.

    Sunday, July 6, 2008

    Hunt For Cheap Books

    I love books! Give me a book and a movie, and I'd rather choose the book. I'd bring a book even on long trips so that I have something to pass the time while waiting for the plane to land.

    However, books can be expensive. Not to mention that they do take a lot of space. There are some bookstores selling second hand books. Big bookstores also hold regular cut price sales. There's also online shopping for books, both old and pre-owned.

    Another resource for cheap books is ebay or other auction sites, as some people would dispose of their books after they've read them, as not to add to the clutter. You can also do that--sell off the books you no longer want, so you'll have more bookspace!

    Saturday, July 5, 2008

    MP3 Music

    Today's technology can be more economical for us. An example is the advent of digital files for music and MP3 players. Now there is an option for us to share music and other files with friends and family. They are also easier to bring around, unlike the necessarily larger CD and tape players of the years past. Buying music files is also easier, as you can buy MP3 files online and not incur shipping charges as the digital file is also delivered to you online.

    Friday, July 4, 2008

    Jewelry As Investment

    Here's good news for ladies who are fond of jewelry. Real jewelry made of precious stones and precious metals appreciate in value over time, so they are actually very good investments. Be sure, though, that you get jewelry only from reliable suppliers. Watch out for good deals. And, as with other investments, only spend the money you can afford to spend.

    Some people actually lose money with jewelry because they buy expensive jewelry with borrowed money and either pawn or sell them when the need arises. They are then forced to dispose of them at a loss. That is not the right way to invest.

    But with wise buying and careful disposal, this is an investment that you can actually enjoy.

    Thursday, July 3, 2008

    HSBC Double Your Rewards Promo

    If you are in the Philippines and a card holder of the Philippine issued HSBC credit card,there's an ongoing promo for you.

    For every Php1,000 minimum single receipt purchase using your HSBC credit card, earn double Bonus Points and get a chance to win one (1) of 7 Canon DC100 DVD Camcorders to be raffled off weekly.

    Promo period is from May 25 to August 23, 2008.

    To join:
    Download SMS credit card tip by texting HSBC<16-digit> and send to 2366. P2.50/download. Earn five (5) additional raffle entries for SMS enrollment.

    Or you may register online through their website .

    Monday, June 30, 2008

    Consider Parking Costs

    My husband and I attended a convention last week at Edsa Shangrila Hotel. Knowing that it is usually more expensive to park at the hotel itself, we decided to park outside. There's an open parking space in between the hotel and the mall where we parked our car.

    At the end of the day, our total parking bill reached 115 pesos! Our friends who parked at the hotel itself incurred 200 pesos, that's with the validation slip from the hotel. Without the validation slip, the charge would have been much higher.

    On the second day of the convention, we decided to park in the parking building beside the mall. Imagine our surprise when we were only charged a 45 pesos! That's a flat rate, so it does not matter how long our car has been parked there. True, it's a longer walk than the day before, but not by much.

    The next time we have an event or convention in the same area, I know which parking space to use.

    Lesson learned: check out the parking rates, especially for places where you frequent. There may be a big difference, and that counts.

    Sunday, June 29, 2008

    Shop For Travel Deals

    Most of us like to travel but are wary of spending a large amount of money. The secret is in shopping around first. Surf the net for airline, car and hotel deals, tours, etc. for the destination that you have in mind. But don't stop there. Ask around with travel agents. Ask friends who have already gone there. Canvas, canvas, canvas. You can get to your dream destination at a cheaper cost if you do your homework.

    Friday, June 27, 2008

    GonnaBe

    As a break from all the serious talks about being practical, here's a video from Gonnabe.com that brought a smile to my face. The video is about Barbie, (yes, Barbara Millicent Barbers, the glamor doll all little girls wanna have) but about Barbie seen in a different light...as a gold-digger no less! While it may be unfair to brand glamorous girls falling for guys with nice cars and fat pockets, with or without matching looks as gold-diggers, the truth of the matter is that some of them really are. Come to think of it, some pretty boys can also be classified into the same category.

    Come to think of it, while this video from is certainly funny, the cautionary tale here is realistic and practical too. It simply means to watch out for gold diggers! There ARE a lot of them out there!

    For now let's just sit back and enjoy the video. I watched this one a few times already and I still laugh at it! The people over at Gonnabe.com are certainly talented and I would love to see more of their videos!

    Thursday, June 26, 2008

    Complimentary Industry Resources

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    Wednesday, June 25, 2008

    Do All Errands In One Trip

    If a due date for one of your utilities draws near, try to find a place (like a bayad center) where you can pay all your other bills as well. Do some banking transactions, if you're due to do so, in the same trip if your bank is also in the same area. If it's located near a grocery, you can do your grocery afterwards too. Doing more during one trip saves you fuel, parking expenses and time.

    Tuesday, June 24, 2008

    Buy Back Issues

    Some magazine stores or stalls like Filbar's usually have a lot of back issues of popular magazines. Most of these magazines are new, meaning they have not been bought and haven't even brought out of their plastic bags. But they are already old in the sense that they were left over from the previous months' stocks. These stalls usually sell these issues at a discount, sometimes as high as 50% off especially if the magazine is already several months' worth. Most of the contents are still okay, especially when you consider that what they contain is not necessarily news. You save a lot if you buy these instead of buying the current issue.

    Monday, June 23, 2008

    The Light Rail System

    My favorite mode of public transport around Metro Manila is the MRT/LRT system (the light rail transit system). I like it because it is cheap -- almost the same price as a bus. It's also airconditioned, offering a respite from the heat. Unlike buses and jeepneys which stop anywhere they want to and start to go only when they are fully occupied or nearly full, the MRT/LRT trains have a more or less definite time when it starts. Also unlike buses and jeepneys, they also have predesignated stops where passengers get off safely. Also, I don't need to look for a parking space, unlike when I bring a car. Of course, the fact that I get to avoid traffic jams is also a great incentive for me to use this type of public transportation

    Additional tip for female commuters: Walk a bit more to the first train, which is usually a women and children only train. You'll have a bigger chance of getting seated. And even if you don't get a seat, it's not as crowded as the other trains.

    Sunday, June 22, 2008

    Leave Your ATM Card At Home When You're Shopping

    Unless you really have to withdraw some money for other purposes, you don't have to bring your ATM card when shopping because you might be tempted to withdraw on it and buy more.

    This is actually an extension of my previous post, Limit Cash In Your Wallet. Some people tend to see the ATM as an extension of their wallet, so when money runs out while shopping, they go to the ATM to withdraw money so they can do more shopping.

    Don't.

    Saturday, June 21, 2008

    Learn Massage Therapy

    People nowadays want to have a pampering treatment once in a while because they want a break from the hectic, stressful pace of their lives. That's why so-called wellness centers where massage and spa therapies are offered are becoming very popular. Enrolling in massage therapy schools may be a good investment for some people who are looking to open their own wellness business or want to offer home service massages as a sideline. This is a good side income since there is little capital and plenty of prospective clients.

    Friday, June 20, 2008

    Don't Go To The Grocery While You're Hungry

    ...because everything looks good and you'll want to buy them all!

    Thursday, June 19, 2008

    Walk!

    With the high fuel prices nowadays, it may be better to go back to walking, especially if the place you're going to is just a few blocks away. Not only will this save fuel, you'll get some much needed exercise at the same time. Also, no more hassle of looking for a parking space, no more dealing with (potential) traffic jams...AND you contribute less gas emission, thus less air pollution.

    Tuesday, June 17, 2008

    Have A Small Side Income

    Times are hard. Prices of fuel and commodities are rising, and people even have to line up for rice. Any extra income would be welcome. There are various ways to increase your earnings. Mine is through my small online store and other online "rakets". You might want to check these out to get ideas of your own.

    Other people choose to go through direct selling of various items or services like insurance, cosmetics, clothes etc. Like your main job, it should be something you are interested in. An additional requirement is that it should not interfere with your current job.

    Monday, June 16, 2008

    Get A Lower Priced Room Or Ward

    ...or be an out-patient.

    You see, the more expensive your room type is, the higher your payment bracket in the hospital will be. So, you see, it's not just the room instead that's more expensive...it's everything. At least that's the case here in the Philippines.

    So, if you're undergoing a surgery or a procedure that could be done as an outpatient, do so, unless you live very far from that hospital. If you have to be admitted, get the cheapest ward or room that you will feel comfortable in. Suites are only for people who have the deep pockets to afford it.

    Sunday, June 15, 2008

    Limit Cash In Your Wallet

    This is quite simple, really. Leave just enough cash in your wallet for your daily need plus a little left over for emergencies. No cash, no impulse spending. I usually limit myself to around 1000 pesos in my wallet, sometimes even less, unless I have a planned purchase that day.

    Of course, remember to leave your ATM card and your credit cards at home too! :)

    Saturday, June 14, 2008

    Where's Your Loyalty? -- A Survey on Brands

    Brands don't compete directly with each other when they are in different brand categories ... but they do compete for your attention, money, and loyalty.

    We want to know...what keeps you loyal to a particular brand and what makes you shift?



    For me, I have a top brand in mind, but when I see something new that is much cheaper but promises the same thing, I also try the new brand out. The new brand my earn my loyalty if it performs as well as or even better than the old brand. If not, I will go back to my old brand.

    This is the follow up to a previous survey here.

    Friday, June 13, 2008

    Wrinkles

    It's quite unfair that if women get wrinkles, we are said to be less attractive. With men, it's said to be getting "more character" and "more maturity". There's always pressure for women to stay young looking. That's why creams to prevent this are making a killing!

    Anyway, one of the top (and free ways) to avoid premature wrinkles is to stay out of the sun. The UV rays cause a lot of damage to our skin, causing the dreaded wrinkles. But this is quite impractical as we do need to go out every so often. That's why it's now imperative to use sunblock.

    But the thing is, wrinkles are inevitable. If you do need or want to buy wrinkle cream, ask around for effective products and shop around for the best deals.

    Thursday, June 12, 2008

    Less Gas Tax? -- A Survey

    Gas prices have increased worldwide and sad to say, we cannot do anything but accept it. I hope we get some sort of suspension of fuel tax here in the Philippines, but I doubt if the government will even consider it.

    Wednesday, June 11, 2008

    Personalized Children's Books?

    Reading to your children is a great way to both bond with your child and to stimulate love of reading and learning. Although children's books are relatively more expensive than the usual paperbacks for adults, given their materials, I would consider it as good investment in your child's future learning. After all, the child's education actually begins at home.

    I've seen my son respond better when people call out his name. I guess it's the same for other children. So I think that personalized children's books are a great idea! When the story revolves around your child interacting with his favorite characters, it is especially engrossing and entertaining for your little hero or heroine! He or she could be a off fighting crime with his favorite Marvel heroes or Justice League characters. Or learn about the story of his/her birth and babyhood. Or learn that school could be fun. There are many books with so many different themes that it is rather hard to pick just one.

    These books also make very good, very personalized, very unique gifts. I do hope somebody gives one of these to my son when he celebrates his birthday later this year, or when Christmas rolls around.

    Tuesday, June 10, 2008

    If You Have Relatives and Friends in the US

    My family is into new gadgets, even if they are quite expensive. I do try to make the most of what is actually a want and not really a need by trying to compare prices. I try to find out how much a PS3 costs here in Manila and compare it with prices over the net. If it comes out cheaper in online US stores (of course I will add shipping to the costs), I try to contact a friend or relative who lives in the area and have plans to visit very soon. I will ask them if it's ok for them to receive the item and just bring it when they come over.

    Monday, June 9, 2008

    Brand Loyalty

    For most of us, top brands come with a corresponding price tag. Generally, well known brands are very durable and of very good quality, but you can get quality items too at a much lower price. Some people are loyal only to one brand, others are more open to trying out other brands. What about you?

    Sunday, June 8, 2008

    Pay Your Housing Amortizations On Time

    It is probably a fact of life already that we have to take out loans to pay for a place we want to call our own. Property values have risen and inflation is so high that it's virtually impossible to save up and pay for a real estate property with cash.

    If you do take out a house loan, do pay all your amortizations on time. Set aside a portion of your monthly income for this, before you budget it for other things. You do not want to face foreclosure and lose the roof over your heads.

    Saturday, June 7, 2008

    Microfiber Mop

    If you're a harried homemaker with no domestic help at all, you should choose the cleaning equipments which will be easier for you. For example, a microfiber mop will be easier to handle than the traditional mop. It absorbs water much more readily so it's easier to mop up the spills. It's also much easier than just wiping spills with rags or paper towels, as you do not have to bend over. This may be a bit more expensive, but it would be well spent.

    Friday, June 6, 2008

    Don't Buy Expensive School Supplies

    School is about to start. This is the time when parents do their last minute shopping for their kids for their school needs. With all prices up at the moment, it is only practical that parents shop around for the best deals like cheap pens, notebooks, bags, lunchboxes and other school supplies. Inexpensive but still quality supplies, that is. After all, you want them to last the whole school year. But since kids still have a tendency to lose stuff, too expensive stuffs would not be practical at all.

    Thursday, June 5, 2008

    Use Water Wisely

    Soapy water used from the laundry can still be used to wash dirty rags or wash floors.

    Water from washing the rice can be used to water the plants. Ditto with water used to boil eggs. They contain more nutrients too!

    Water from the baby's bath can still be reused for flushing the toilet.

    Do not use laundry soap that is too sudsy because you will require more water to rinse it out.

    Wednesday, June 4, 2008

    Medical ID

    If your child or anybody in your family has a medical history like allergies, epilepsy, a heart condition, asthma or others, it might be a good idea to get them medical id. This is especially for allergies to certain drugs. In the off chance that a person gets to the hospital without family members and he were not responsive, it would be a simple matter to just look at the ID bracelet for the identity and the medical precautions, lessening the incidence of fatal incidents like an anaphylactic reaction

    Monday, June 2, 2008

    Go Into Sales

    There are actually 2 sides to making ends meet. One is to save as much as possible, minimizing expenses. The other is to earn as much as possible, maximizing resources. It is also prudent to try to maximize your productive hours in something that would supplement your current income. A sales career, if part time, may be right for you if you crave a little more income . If full time, it may be right for you if you want a little more flexibility in your schedule.

    Sunday, June 1, 2008

    Lessen Rice Intake

    Filipinos are big rice eaters, that's why the recent news about the rice crisis is such a big deal for most of us. Rice is such an important food for us that we cannot imagine any meal without it.

    With the rice crisis, it may be prudent for us to cut back a bit on rice and look for substitutes. We have so many--potatoes, sweat potatoes, corn, etc. Some of my friends who are on the heavy side swear that decreasing their rice intake also resulted in significant weight loss. This makes sense, because rice is a high carbohydrate food and some of the more popular diets promote decrease in carbos.

    So you actually save a lot of ways by cutting back. Avoiding the high cost of rice, losing weight thus lessening health problems and having less costs on health care AND no need to spend on expensive diet programs.

    Wednesday, May 28, 2008

    HammeRuler ... Short-Measure Acceleration for You!

    The HammeRuler is built on the notion of Short-Measure Acceleration (SMA). By cutting down on tool switching time when doing short measures, the HammeRuler makes you more efficient. You probably don't realize how much time you spend putting down your hammer to pick up your ruler.



    Frankly speaking, this is the first time I've heard of such a tool. However, it does make sense. If your ruler is already on the hammer itself, you save a lot of time and energy putting down the hammer, looking for the ruler, measuring then put down the ruler and pick up the hammer again.

    Monday, May 26, 2008

    Teach Your Children To Save

    One of the things kids must learn is to save money. This practice should be instilled in childhood instead of the "buy me" mindset. The good, old fashioned piggy bank is a good start, but you should later introduce the concept of the savings account to start your kids on their way to a lifetime of being practical about their money. It's infinitely better than them spending all their Christmas and birthday moneys on unimportant things.

    Any Handyman in the Family?

    If there is a handyman in the family, congratulations! Doing repairs and making some simple stuff around the house would save you a lot of money, not to mention that professionals would not be able to rip you off. If you are lucky to be one or to have one handyman at home, buying air tools is something that may come in handy. It's also more economical than most power tools, as it is mostly driven by compressed air rather than by electricity.

    For Pets

    If you are a pet lover but lives only in a small space like a condominium unit where it's impossible to let pets stay outside your living areas, it might be a good idea to get pet beds for them. This way they have their own space and won't use your carpet and furniture and leave fur all over the place. This, of course, means less cleanups, not to mention your household stuff won't be ruined.

    Sunday, May 25, 2008

    Home Entertainment

    Some people, like me, would rather stay at home than go out to watch movies. That's because I feel more comfortable when I'm home, and I actually spend more when we go out. See, we have to use the car, which means fuel consumption, pay for parking, pay for dinner, pay for overpriced popcorn and drinks, not to mention we have to find a babysitter. So I'd rather buy a home theater system. It does not have to be an elaborate one and it doesn't have to occupy too much space. Just a wide screen TV, speakers, sofas, a home theater carpet and of course, a DVD player in the living room and that's it.

    Buy Quality Furniture

    Being practical is not just about saving. It is looking to maximize use of everyday items. The furniture you buy may not be practical if it only lasts a short time. For example if you are contemplating on making use of your balcony or garden for entertaining guests, buy teak outdoor furniture and not just any wood furniture. Teak is considered weatherproof so it won't rot as easily as other wood when exposed to the elements.

    Standby Generators?

    Whether or not to get standby generators really depends on your needs. If you have a business that is heavily dependent upon a continuous supply of electricity, it may be wise to invest in a generator. This includes hospitals (who have life support equipment which run on electricity), factories with production lines, etc. For the home, it depends on what risks you can take if an outage occurs. 2 years ago, Typhoon Milenyo rendered Metro Manila electricity-less for about 2-3 days. That means a lot of spoiled food and inadequate lighting during this time. But, such a long outage does not happen all the time. Bottomline is, you have to decide if this is a wise move for you, given your own situation.

    Saturday, May 24, 2008

    Spend More...Sometimes

    Sometimes spending a little more is the more practical way to go. For example, if you or members of your family have problems with mobility because of pregnancy, mobility problems or aches and pains but do not want to be treated as babies or invalids that need assistance with everything they do, aids that make simple, everyday things more convenient like taking a bath in walk in tubs may be more practical in the long run.

    Convenient Clean Ups

    Cleansing wipes are a fast, easy way to clean up. They are gentle enough to be able to wipe even the most sensitive areas of your skin. But they can also be used for a lot of other things. In places where it's inconvenient to have soap and water, that can come in handy as an instant cleaner and sanitizer. Great to bring when you have to go out.

    Don't Do Drugs

    A drug habit is not only expensive, it is also destroys health, lives and relationships. Don't even try to experiment, since you get sucked into the bad habit with ease. If you have a family member or friend who is addicted to drugs, it is better to help him get over his habit by sending him to drug rehab so that he would be on his way to living a more normal life.

    Tuesday, May 20, 2008

    Shop online

    Sometimes the best deals can be found online. There are good stores online. The advantages of doing online shopping are:
    • easier to do comparison shopping
    • not very prone to impulse buying
    • easier to find hard-to-find items
    • no need to go to the store -- no fuel expense, no parking, less time lost
    • ideal for busy people
    Of course, you have to factor in the shipping price too and see if the total cost is worth it.

    NO KEYWORD COMMENT ON YOUTUBE VIDEO

    Saturday, May 10, 2008

    Exercise your creativity -- DIY!

    With the advent of Photoshop and other editing software, it's possible for the non-professional to make their own wedding and birthday invitations. You get to exercise your creativity and save a lot in the process!

    This also goes for other things like wedding favors and lootbags for birthday parties, balloon decorations, table centerpieces and a whole lot more.

    Wednesday, May 7, 2008

    Extra Cash

    The U.S. is giving tax rebates to its cash strapped citizens and taxpayers. I wonder when the Philippine government will think of doing that?

    Anyway, if you were given 600 dollars, what are YOU going to do with the money?

    Friday, May 2, 2008

    Stock up on price offs

    If there happened to be a price off on some non-perishable but consumable items in the grocery, stock up even when you do not have immediate need for it. This goes for tissue paper, canned foods that are a long way from expiry date, diapers, napkins, soap, toothpaste etc. Meaning things that can be kept for a period of time without breaking down.

    You have to check the food if there is a price off and determine why it is sold cheap. If it's because it's nearing the expiry date, don't buy too many because you may end with expired food in your storeroom.

    Sunday, April 27, 2008

    Photographers -- Get Labor Only

    If you want a good photographer but cannot afford the whole package inclusive of the album, consider asking if he/she will accept labor-only. Meaning you just pay for the photography services, with the output (either film or digital files) turned over to you for developing. This way, you can get good pictures and just have them made into an album at a later time when you get the budget for it.

    Thursday, April 24, 2008

    Bring your own lunch...

    ...or merienda!

    Home cooked meals are way cheaper than those bought at canteens, fast food outlets and most especially restaurants. They usually taste better too! The only drawback is that you may need to heat them up before serving so that they would taste even better, especially if it's the usual kanin at ulam (rice and viand, a typical Filipino meal). Fortunately, most offices nowadays have a microwave oven in their pantry. Or at least, an oven toaster. Worse comes to worse, you can even eat them cold.

    It's even more economical if it's the leftovers from last night's dinner. No food going to waste! Now that's good news, especially in these times of rice shortage!

    Tuesday, April 22, 2008

    Coffee break 1.6 -- What is your budgeting secret?

    This is actually a coffee break question from Jan. Very timely, what with all the recent price increases!

    What is your budgeting secret?


    I don't really have a secret. I try not to buy unnecessary things. I think before I buy, "Do I/we really need this?"

    Of course, there are times when we just have to indulge a bit. If that's so, I will think, "Can we afford this extra expense?"

    I do not put all my available money I have in my wallet. I put just enough to see me through the day.

    I use credit cards, but I try to use them wisely. I use them to fund big payments and purchases so that I get the points, but I also set aside money to pay for them. And I pay on time.

    Lastly, we still live with our moms. It's rent free. It would be easier to save up that way. Of course, it entails some loss of autonomy, but you can't have everything you want.


    Saturday, April 12, 2008

    3 in 1 coffee

    I just passed by a Starbucks coffee shop earlier. I suddenly felt a craving for the caffeine jolt. But the reality of the coffee shop prices hit me...I could actually buy a whole meal, complete with dessert, with the price of a single frappucino!

    So now, whenever I go to my clinic, I always bring a sachet or two of a 3 in 1 coffee. It gives me the same caffeine jolt at the fraction of the price!

    Wednesday, April 2, 2008

    Watch your checking account!

    If you're using a checking account, make sure you keep track of the checks you issue. The checkbook always comes with a ledger at the front wherein you can keep track of your deposits, withdrawals (including checks) and balance. Use it!

    Make sure the balance in your checking account is always above the minimum maintaining balance set by your bank. That's because you will be charged a service fee for every month that you're account is below this number.

    Never issue amounts greater than the balance left. Because you will also be charged with a fee for that! If you didn't fund it in time, your check will bounce and you may also be criminally liable.

    Be careful with issuing post dated checks. Make sure that your account is well funded enough to cover the amount on the check/s before they become due.

    A checking account is my favorite account for our day to day expenses. But if we're not careful about it, it would cause us a lot of problems.

    Saturday, March 22, 2008

    No smoking!

    I know people already know this, but some simply are too addicted to even consider stopping this vice. Nicotine in tobacco is linked to several types of diseases, including lung cancer, emphysema, chronic bronchitis, other cancers, age related macular degeneration, just to name a few.

    That means that you've lost several ways. You've lost a big chunk of your income on maintaining the smoking habit over the years, you get sick and VERY uncomfortable, and you spend a lot of money to try controlling the mostly incurable problems.

    You're the big loser when you smoke and you don't even try to stop.

    Wednesday, March 12, 2008

    Live with parents

    I have outlined in another blog, the reasons why we still live with our parents.

    I know some of you feel that it's unthinkable to still live with parents especially if you're already married. However, as I've outlined in my post, there are advantages to it.

    Do take note, though, that although there are perks to living with the folks, there are also disadvantages, the biggest of all is that you cannot really do all the things you want with your own space. You will have to follow the house rules set by the property owner, which in this case are your parents.

    Wednesday, March 5, 2008

    Hand me down baby stuff

    My son "inherited" a lot of his gear from his cousin. To name some, these are beddings, receiving blankets, a tub, a stroller, and a playpen! Imagine how much we saved!

    My brother-in-law and sister-in-law were also happy about giving away the stuff because their kid already outgrew them and they just ended up as clutter in their house.

    Of course, you have to choose the types of stuff that CAN be reused. We initially planned to reuse an old cradle but ended up not using it since the thing collapsed a few days before I gave birth. Shudder! So a warning -- do check if the things that you are going to use for your baby is still in usable condition.

    Thursday, February 28, 2008

    Go to the grocery alone

    This is especially true when you already have kids who can already sneak in a toy or a bag of chips in your shopping cart when you're not looking. Not to mention plead with you to buy a certain item that they've seen in TV ads but which you know you absolutely do not need. You can also go around the grocery faster if you are alone.

    Friday, February 15, 2008

    Read the News Online!

    Instead of buying newspapers -- which I have no time to read anyway and which adds to my already growing pile of clutter -- I have taken to reading the latest news online.

    There are several sites. To name a few...
    International: CNN, BBC, etc.
    Philippine based: Inquirer, Philippine Star, Manila Bulletin, etc.

    If you know of any others, please feel free to leave a message and I will add them to the list.

    Friday, February 1, 2008

    Don't forget the grocery list....

    List down everything you need to buy on a list....and stick to it! Simple enough, right?

    However, I find that the hard part IS sticking to the list because there's always something new or different that catches my eye. So it does take discipline to just stick to the list.

    The best way to do this is to shop in the same grocery, one you're very familiar in, so you just zero in on the aisles that contain the things you want to buy, minimizing temptations.

    Friday, January 25, 2008

    Save those coins!


    My husband hates bringing around too much coins because they are heavy, so what he does is put all the coins he has in his pockets that day to a can ( a child's piggy bank will do nicely). When the can becomes full, he has a nice tidy sum that could actually be deposited into the bank!

    So instead of letting loose coins lie around unused and ignored or use them to buy small, useless items, it's wiser to just collect them! In time, they add up!

    Monday, January 14, 2008

    Save the remaining toothpaste in the tube...

    One of my favorite frugal tips came from my mother-in-law. Most of us keep searching for the best way to squeeze out the remaining toothpaste from a tube, buying fancy thingamajings to help, with little or no success, at best squeezing out another inch or two.

    My mother-in-law's technique was so simple and straightforward, I wondered why I didn't think of it immediately!

    All you need is a pair of sharp scissors. After you have squeezed out what seems to be the last remaining toothpaste in the tube, try to cut up the tube as in the picture... (Click on the picture for a larger version).



    There's still enough toothpaste in both cut up ends for AT LEAST 5 brushings! Since we only use pea sized amounts, that translates into even more brushings!

    Saturday, January 12, 2008

    Being frugal is wise, but being miserly is not...

    That's why I started this blog.

    I aim to provide a good source of information for trying to save money, but not in a way that would ultimately compromise us in the long run.

    About Me

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    A part time ophthalmologist, part time micro business owner, part time graduate student and FULL TIME MOM struggling to find balance in the confusing world of multitasking :)

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