Monday, September 29, 2008

Christmas Spending Tips

It's now less than 100 days before Christmas. For some, including us, a big part of their bonuses will surely go to holiday expenses.

I am not in the position to give saving tips for the Holiday Season because based on my initial forecast (excel file) , i might be spending 32% of it for the expenses mentioned below. I will try to lower it down but I am finding a hard time to do it.

Anyway, below are the things that we can consider during the holidays:

1. List, List and List.
- all the people that you want to give gifts.
- what would you like to give them - money, wrapped gifts or both.
- all the parties that you may need to attend to.
- all the contributions and potlucks that these parties may incur.
- the forecasted prices of the exchange gifts that may be required to these parties.
- the amount you need to give the carolers - adults and kids.
- the amount you'll give to the security guards, carbage collectors, messengers, etc.
- your budget for the noche buena and meda noche.

2. Budget
- list down all sources of income you'll have before the holiday like bonuses, business, sidelines, etc.
- set aside 10% or more (whatever your heart desires) for tithes.
- limit item1 to less than 50% of you total income. The lower the better.
- Save the remaining either for emergency fund and/or investments.

3. Shop Early
- Prices tends to go up when holiday goes nearer.

4. Take advantage of the Bazaars
- You'll find good finds here in cheaper prices.
- You can even haggle if you buy by bulk.
- For us, we're always looking forward to St. James Bazaar.
- Some Bazaar Schedules can be seen here:

Enjoy Holiday Shopping but ensure that you'll still be Money Smart!

Did I mention that the picture above is our actual Christmas Tree. It is only 3 feet tall and have been using it for 3 years now. I decided to change the color of the decors but still didn't spend that much. The balls, ribbons and shaped decors cost less than 300php.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Did I made the Right Choice?

Our company recently announced the spin off of one of our subsidiaries. Most of us employees are also shareholders because they had given us an option to buy shares thru salary deduction at 15% off the market price.

They explained to us the impact of this but I didn't make any move. Yesterday was already the start of the "BLACKOUT". Hope I did the right choice. Let's just watched and wait for the news after 2 weeks. More news here.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Sometimes it's GOOD to Procastinate

When I 1st learned the meaning of procrastination, I knew it was not good. It is also not good when it comes to saving because the earlier you save, the more you'll have in the future because of the principle of compounded interest.

However, hubby and I have been practicing this lately and we learned that it is sometimes good.

One example for this is giving into our wants. We know that we should not be an impulsive buyer. We should save if we really want to buy our wants. However, when the money is already there, we are having 2nd thought of using it for our wants. We felt that it would be better if we just add it to our savings.

With this, I encourage everyone to procrastinate buying your wants. Try to save the money you'll be needing and when you completed it, think twice, thrice or more if you still want it. By then, you'll be surprise, that you'll be hearing a small voice saying that you don't really want that, you don't really need that and you can survive without it.

This works for us. I don't know if this will also work for you. But there's no pain in trying. You can either buy your want or save more.

On Emergency Fund (EF)

I have read a lot about emergency fund. This is the money that would be readily available for you in case you lose in a business, lose a job or in any other cases of emergency. It should be as liquid as possible. Some say that EF should be equal to 12months of your monthly expenses/necessities. Others say 6 to 8 months would be good enough. It all depends on the kind of business or job you have and your capacity to find another source of income in times of trouble. Hope some of the infos below would be helpful.

Other things to consider in computing for your EF
- hospitalization should be included which is approximately 100K-200K
- should add about 10% to cover for inflation or price increases
- food expense should be doubled since you'll be spending most of your time at home
- Other utility bills like electricity and water consumption might increase as well.
- insurance premiums and other pre-need plans should be included.

Where to Keep it
1.Bank/Passbook w/o ATM
PROS: Short term vehicle, Easy Access
CONS: Interest is small.

2.Time Deposit (Preferably 30D only)
PROS: Interest is higher than Regular Savings Account
CONS: With charge if you withdraw prior the maturity date.

3. Mutual Fund/UITF
PROS: Potential higher return.
CONS: Not as safe as deposit accounts because it depends on market status. Liquidity - withdrawal takes 3-5 working days.

In summary, according to Sherwin, the key words would be liquidity, accessibility and safety because the objective of this fund is not for growth, but for emergencies. HTH. You can also share some thoughts here.

Q308 Performance Report

I was not able to review our 2008 Goals for quiet a long time. But Hubby and I are still religiously following our saving method that we've committed.

So far, so good. Below are the updates:
1. DONE. As per my update last February, we thought that this goal is not possible. But due to hard word and God's blessing. We are able to Zero-out out Pag-ibig loan. A small part of it came from our mid-year bonus. Majority of it came from our company. Thanks to them. We don't need to shed cash. Instead, we just need to serve them for 5years. In case, we resign, we just need to pay the balance of the loan they gave us w/o any interest.

2.DONE. Since February, we already increased our deduction twice. This is to save for the premium of our VULs, our 2009 family outing, tuition fee of my sister and to deposit part of the supposed to be M.A. of our completed housing loan.

3. DONE for both Philam and Sunlife. We got some plans from Philam but not yet on Sunlife. We don't think that we need to have 2 plans at this time.

4. Same update last february.

5. Some thing came up last Q1 until the 1st month of Q2. We're not able to save the 10% from our bonuses and salary. However, by mid of Q2, we're back on track. We just considered the previous month's savings a loss.

6. I was not able to update this blog but I religiously update my excel file of A & L.

In summary, we're in good shape. But the market is not. Also, we have new set of goals which are very specific and can't be published in this blog. Hope I'll be able to complete it as per the dates I've committed and planned. Created these micro goals last 9/4/09 and so far, already completed 3 items. Keeping our fingers cross that we'll be able to do all of them.

I have also discussed this report to hubby last night and he told me that we should have a new GOAL for 2009 and this is for our Emergency Fund. We are still far from the target. And we'll be creating a plan to complete it by the end of 2009. We'll just publish it once we've finalized it.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

New Blog Find

I just recently found a new site which has a lots of info on Personal finance. Click link below:

Pinay and Money