Saturday, February 28, 2009

Invest NOW!

Stocks, mutual funds and other investment instruments are way down right now. But you do not really have to worry if you are investing for the long term (and not the short term buying and selling) as history shows us that in the long run, economy is bound to improve somehow. If you do not really need the money, it's best to just keep it there, so your paper losses would not translate to actual monetary losses. In fact, if you do have some extra money, it's best to invest right now, when everything: stocks, mutual funds, residential and commercial real estate, are all at an all time low. When the time comes that the economy has improved, years down the line, you would be having properties worth much, much more than now.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Getting Ready To Pop The Question?

Getting ready to pop the question? The single biggest expense of a man proposing to his chosen girl is the engagement ring. While society feels that "bigger is better", it really is not practical in these times. These are some ways to save on engagement rings:
  • Use an heirloom ring. A ring passed down from your mother or grandmother is rich in sentimental value. And you wouldn't need to spend another cent on it.
  • Use gemstones other than diamonds. There are great looking rings which use emeralds, sapphires, rubies, pearls or even some stones considered semi-precious. These are beautiful and unique. Maybe you can pick a ring with her birthstone.
  • Use gold or white gold. Platinum is the hardest metal...but it's also expensive. If you can't afford platinum, the more classic gold or white gold is less expensive, but no less elegant.
  • Use a classic solitaire. No need to add additional diamonds or gemstones, which could add to the cost.
  • Recycle the gemstone from an older ring. My mother-in-law got the ring from her own engagement ring and had a new setting done for it. I loved it! And I love even more the sentimental value. And of course, the diamond did not lose any of its luster, or its value, but my in-laws didn't have to spend a lot more for it.
In the end, a girl who wants to marry you and is waiting for you to finally propose will love you no matter what engagement ring you present her.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Simple Room Makeover

After a while, we all tend to get a little bored with the "overall look" of our living room and would feel the "need" to redecorate. But, that's easier said than done. For one thing, changing furniture or fixtures take money. For another, you have to have the time to do it. One fast, easy way to change the look of your living room (or any room for that matter) is by putting area rugs in strategic places. We have a few in our living room and they have made it look more homey. And it's easier to clean and maintain area rugs than fixed carpets, not to mention easier to replace when the need arises.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Maver's Contest!

As I've said before, it may be worthwhile for you to try joining contests. Like this one by Maver of Gossip Gehl. You might just be the lucky one to score a smart prepaid broadband! Click on the link below to join!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Blog's Got a New Look!

Do you like this blog's new look? I really do! At least for now....

It's sometimes get a little bored with your layout and would want something snazzier. Or something a little different, not just the default themes that everybody uses. However, you are just not as creative as you would like to me (sounds like me!)

There are plenty of free templates for your blog on the net. You can simply just google "free blogger templates" if you're using the blogger platform, or "free wordpress templates" if you're using wordpress. A number of sites where you can download free templates will result. Just look for one that you like.

Or if you're surfing and you see a template that you like, chances are there is a link on that blog as to the creator of that template. Click on that. Hopefully they give out free templates too. But don't be surprised if they don't...creativity is a business too.

On the download pages, there are often some instructions on how to install the templates. Follow those instructions to get the new look that you want, but before doing so, be sure to backup your old template!

Also, if you have javascripts or HTML that you want to appear on your new template, be sure to copy the codes unto a notepad so that you can get them and reinstall the codes after you've put up your new template. Some widgets get deleted when you install your new template.

One last thing, you can set up a private blog for "practice purposes". Put in a few links and a few posts. Before setting up your new template on your blog, use this "practice blog" first to see how it would look like and if you're ok with that. Sometimes your title gets lost, sometimes it doesn't look so good on your blog...things like that. If you don't like it, at least you didn't get to all those trouble.

Good luck and enjoy!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Weddings: Make Your Photos A Priority

One thing I splurged on (well, just a bit) for my wedding was a good photographer and videographer. The wedding may last only a few hours, but having those few hours captured on either a good quality Canon camera or another good brand, by people who know their craft, is priceless. This is not the time to experiment.

Years after my wedding, I still find myself smiling, laughing, and tearing up at the sight of my wedding photos and videos...Precious memories that are forever captured!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Join Contests!

No joke!

I scored a free meal and free movie tickets when I joined a blog contest. Free meal + free movie tickets = free date for hubby and me. What can be more frugal than free? :)

Read all about it here: Our Nuffnang "Date"

Monday, February 16, 2009

Bamboo Blinds

We are blessed to be living in a country where changes in climate are not very extreme. That means that unlike other countries where provisions have to be made for extreme heat or extreme cold, we don't really have to have different wardrobes for different seasons, we don't have to install airconditioners AND heaters and we generally have great weather all year round, except for some typhoons that may occasionally visit us.

We also get a lot of sun, and while the sun does a lot of good. Too much UVs is not only irritating, it actually causes a lot of health problems in the long run. Bamboo shades are a great idea to cool off your room. These also make air conditioning a lot more efficient and look great as an additional decor.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Valentine's on a Budget

Hmmm, my post is actually a bit late, but that's part of the frugal tip! Don't go out on the day itself! Here's my list:

  • Have a romantic dinner at home, with candles, soft music in the background, and quiet conversation, and a bottle of your favorite bubbly. (Restaurants and hotels are usually so crowded and expensive!)
  • Chocolates instead of flowers, if you insist on a Valentine's gift on the day itself. (Prices of flowers get jacked up during this day. And you can't buy in advance, because they wilt and won't look as nice anymore. Although even the most unromantic girl like me melted at the sweet gesture of flowers :) )
  • Celebrate the day before or the day after. (It won't be as crowded)
  • Watch a romantic movie on DVD (your own time, your own space. We used to do this after the baby goes to sleep.)
  • Think out-of-the-box. While the usual romantic gestures still score points, some unusual gesture may be even more meaningful, without costing you a lot of money. (I thought the lanai in the grandma's house would be a perfect spot for a date. You may know of some other places like that).
Happy Valentine's Day to you all!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Secure Your Home

Your home will probably be your one of the things you spent more for. It's also a place you consider your sanctuary, the place you rest after a tired day at work, the place where you raise your children. So it's best that you make sure that your home is secure against break-ins. Buy a good wireless alarm system. Make sure your doors and windows cannot be easily broken into. It would also help if your home is located in a safe neighborhood. In these uncertain times, crime rate may be on the rise, so better protect your family and your home as much as you can.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Indulge Yourself...Sometimes

Let's face it, we all have things that we want but we think twice about buying them because we are trying to practice frugality and leave a little bit more money for the more essential things. You can however, try to look for sales for these "wants" and maybe, just maybe, the cost is low enough so that you can actually spend for them and not feel guilty at all -- and be a little happier in the process, which is also important to your well-being.

Just make sure that your budget can handle it. :P

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Inexpensive Drinks

This article was intended for the Christmas holidays, but I guess it can also be good for Valentine's dates.


Monday, February 9, 2009

Splurge Only When You Have the Money to Do So

Splurge only when you have the money to do so.

I can never understand people who would use their limited resources to buy a plasma TV and plasma stand when they can't even scrounge up enough money to pay for tuition and send their children to good schools.

I mean, if you've already satisfied the basic needs and you still have a lot of left over money, you can probably think of buying expensive non-essentials. If you've won yesterday's lotto draw, you can afford to go all out and still have money to live on. But if you're only earning minimum wage with a family to support on a single income, it does not make sense to buy a non-essential that will cost you about a year's salary.

That plasma TV sure looks nice, though.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Hire Experts

Yes, experts don't come cheap. But they may turn out to be more practical in the long run since they already know what to do and what not to do, and they know how to overcome red tape and other pitfalls. For example, if you're bent on living and working in another country, it might be better if you seek the help of immigration attorneys rather than trying to DIY the whole process. You may shell out more money, but you save time and effort on your part while going on with your normal life. Of course, you should also check their credentials and track record first before deciding on finally hiring them.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Weight Loss after Childbirth

Many pregnant women gain a lot of weight during pregnancy and never get back to their pre-pregnancy weight. I was lucky. I lost all my excess poundage within three months after giving birth without having to diet (in fact I ate more because I was breastfeeding and was constantly hungry), exercise, or looking around for the best weight loss pills. My shape, however, is not what it used to be.

My secrets for losing what I have gained:
- Not gaining too much weight. I gained a grand total of thirty (30) pounds throughout my entire pregnancy, which is more or less within the recommended weight gain (25-25 pounds). The average weight gain should be about 2-4 pounds during the first trimester, then a pound a week for the rest of the pregnancy. Of course, there are variations if you are overweight or underweight. But you should NOT lose weight, however, during this time.

Any weight gain above this is NOT going away soon after you have your baby.

- I breastfed for 1 year and 10 months. This is because my fat was used to produce milk :).

Friday, February 6, 2009

Good Luggage

You can look for cheaper airfare, cheaper hotels and cheaper ways to travel (by train, by bus, by subway) or just do backpacking. One thing you should not scrimp on though is your luggage. Good brands like Swiss Army luggage would ensure that your luggage stays intact even during hard travel and with less-than-gentle handling by airport staff when throwing your bags into the airplane's luggage compartment or the airport's conveyor belt.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Right Watch

Much as we'd like to have a lot of watches in our collection, sometimes our budget does not stretch enough for us to afford more than just one good watch. So take a look at your lifestyle and make a decision.

If you're an active person who engages in a lot of sports and physical activities, a watch like Technomarine watches would serve you much better than a leather dress watch encrusted with diamonds. Not only does it look hip and fashionable, matching your personality and lifestyle, they would also be useful and much more suited to the "hard knocks" it has to take from your lifestyle, unlike flimsier watches.

If your job however, involves more of dressing up formally, a dress watch would probably suit you better.

Office workers could go either way. Look at what your after office affairs mostly are and decide which to get from there.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

5 Lessons the Rich Can Teach You

I guess we all want to be rich enough to be able to afford everything we want and need. However, not everybody gets out of the rat race and trying to make ends meet. I found an interesting article which may help us become rich, or at least get out of the rat race.

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 :)