Another Way to Eat Oreos

My daughter loves eating Oreos. I admit that I also do love Oreos. It cures my sweet tooth. =)

Last year, my daughter found a different way to eat Oreos. Let me share with you her new way of eating Oreos.

Ingredients:

Hotcake mix

Oreo cookies

Instructions:

1. Prepare the hotcake mix by simply following the instructions at the back of the box.

2. Dip an Oreo cookie in the hotcake mix. Make sure that the cookie is well covered in the hotcake mix.

3. Place the dipped Oreo cookies in a plate. Then, put it in the microwave oven.

4. Heat the dipped Oreo cookies at high heat for one minute.

5. Let it cool. Afterwards, enjoy eating it.

 

 

FundKo Investment Process and Review

Diversification is important when investing your hard-earned money.  This is to manage risks in investing. One can put his or her money in different financial products.  Thanks to the internet! I have discovered an alternative investment. And that is FundKo (https://fundko.com/).

FundKo is an online peer-to-peer platform that connects borrowers and lenders.  As with any other lending institution, FundKo verifies borrowers by reviewing the documents that they have submitted.

Since we’re talking about investments, I will give my review as an investor.  Obviously, you will have to register for an account.  Once you have registered, you will need to  add funds to your FundKo wallet. You have two options: Dragonpay and Direct Deposit.  Instructions are easy to follow once you have selected your option.

As for me, I funded my FundKo wallet using Dragonpay. With Dragonpay, I made a bills payment at any 7-11 branch nationwide. My bills payment was processed in less than two days.

After funding your FundKo wallet, you can start investing in the FundKo Marketplace.  The FundKo Marketplace can be found in the Lender Dashboard. You can filter the loans you want to invest in.  The loans that I have seen in the market place have terms up to 48 months. The maximum term that I invested is on a 24 month loan.

Before investing in any loan, you can check the purpose of the loan and the documents that the borrower has submitted by clicking on the Loan id. If you want to invest on that loan, click the Invest button and enter the amount you want to invest.

Note: FundKo recommends that you invest only a maximum threshold of 10% of your money in a single borrower to manage your risks.

Once the loan is fully funded, you will receive an email notification. The next step is to sign the loan agreement. The loan agreement can be found under the Check My Loanbook tab.

Once the proceeds are released,  you will get an email notification.

The next step is to monitor the payments of the borrowers. You will see the schedule of the borrowers’ payments on Investment Details tab.

I like how FundKo’s website is designed. It is very detailed and summarizes how much your cash flow is for the current month. The Loanbook shows you a summary of the loans you funded and the status of the payments of the borrowers. The dashboard shows you your effective yield.  As of this writing, my effective yield is 14.7%.

So far, the borrowers have been paying on time on a monthly basis.

You can actually re-invest the payments you receive on a monthly basis.

Overall, I like how my money is working for me. The returns that I am getting are returns that I won’t earn by just saving in the bank.

 

 

Debt Free Since 2017

Last year, I made a commitment to myself to stop borrowing for other people. It’s all because of several experiences that brought me to a rude awakening.

Let me do a flash back.

Admittedly, there were instances when I was asked to apply for a personal loan. And I was also asked to renew a personal loan. There were also times in the past when people related to me asked me to use my credit card for some of their purchases for daily living.

Yes, it was difficult for me to say no.  I have to admit there were times I was so stressed that I did not want to look at my credit card statement. I was promised that the person would pay what he purchased using my credit card. The due date came and the bank called me to remind me of my payment due for that month. Well, of course, the credit card was in my name and it was me that the bank had to remind, not the person who rode on my credit card.

Then, there were times, that I had to foot the monthly amortization for the personal loan when the person promised that he would pay the monthly dues. That happened more than twice. I recall the instance when it was two succeeding months that I paid for the monthly due for the personal loan. And then, my daughter had to be confined in the hospital. After my daughter’s confinement, I called the person who owed me money and politely requested for it. The reason was I took some money from the envelope that was supposed to cover my daughter’s tuition fee in order to pay the hospital bill. The person said, “Wala!!!” Ouch. That hurt. But later that day, a certain amount of money suddenly was reflected on my savings account.

It did not feel good living life like that.  Honestly, I felt so overburdened. I am trying to stand on my own two feet and survive. I do pay my bills on time, send my daughter to a good, private school and finance everything on my own. It is a burden too heavy to keep.

At some point last year, I reached my threshold. I finally decided to stop applying for personal loans for other people in my name. I also stopped letting people use my credit card for their needs.

Since May 2017, I have been debt free. I even told the person this year to stop borrowing money from financial institutions because of the high interest rates. I also advised him that it is not good to keep on borrowing money.

I feel so relieved. It feels good to be debt free at 40. Well, it is not just good. It is wise to be prudent in our finances.

I Fully Paid My Daughter’s Education Plan!

Nine years ago, I purchased a pre-need education policy from Sun Life. The policy that I purchased has to be paid for 10 years. I paid for it on a monthly basis. Well, I could only afford to pay it monthly even though I knew I would be able to save by paying annually.

The pre-need education policy is Sun Education Plus. I know it may not be enough to cover the whole expenses during my daughter’s college years. It’s better than not having an education plan at all. Since I only have one child, I can simply add funds during her college years by looking at the benefits I have. Since I am a regular employee, I have 13th month pay and leaves that are convertible to cash.

Now, the only thing that made the expenses bigger is the implementation of Deped’s K-12. It added two more years of high school education before entering college.

Because of the sudden change, I decided to fully pay the Sun Education Plus policy this year.  I paid it full on January 2018.  Where did I get the funds? I took it from my leaves that were convertible to cash. I changed the payment mode to annual to be able to save on the last premium payment. My proof can be seen below.

It’s a nice feeling to have fully paid this education plan. I am free of the premium payments now.   I know I made the right decision by purchasing this policy.  Aside from being able to fund my daughter’s college, I will get the contract price n years from the last availment in two payouts. It can be used to avail a health insurance plan for me. Now that’s money that has been properly managed.

The Three Big D’s of Personal Finance

The journey to personal finance is not easy. It requires three big D’s: drive, discipline, and determination.

Drive. This is what fuels your desire to effectively manage your finances. This is simply what motivates you in your journey to personal financial freedom. This is your WHY.

I believe we all need to have this big drive in order to push us to action. It is the fire that will keep burning inside you. Without this, our journey will be meaningless.

Ask yourself, “Why do I want myself to be financially free?”

Discipline. Discipline is necessary in order for you to be able to attain your personal financial goals. You need to be able to stick to a certain habit every month. If you want to be able to save for an emergency fund, you should be able to religiously allocate a certain amount for the fund every month. And you need to be able to continuously do it until you reach the desired goal.

It will not be easy at first especially when you are just starting your personal finance journey. The key here is to remember your big drive. Your drive will remind you to continue doing what you have started.

Determination. Ultimately, determination leads to success. When you continue doing a certain habit for a certain period of time, you will reach your goal. In personal finance, determination is very important. Why? You need time to be able to grow your savings and investments. Have you seen someone who has become financially free overnight? I bet the answer is a big NO.

For example, preparing for retirement will take a long time. This needs your determination to be able to set aside a certain amount every month.

Drive, disciple and determination are the three big D’s of personal finance. Without it, the journey to personal financial freedom will be meaningless.

Money Tips for Single Moms

It’s not easy to be the sole breadwinner and pay for all the bills every month. But if you have a stable and high income earning job, I have some practical tips for you single moms out there.

1. Do not include the child support in your monthly budget. Why? This forces you to live on your income and helps you make better financial decisions. Also, there will be times that it will be difficult to collect child support.

2. If the father continuously gives child support, save it in a passbook savings account or try to invest it in a good financial product.

3. If you have 13th month pay or other bonuses, try to set aside a certain amount for your child’s tuition fee.

4. Encourage your children to learn to make money for their wants. They can sell their old clothes, books or other things that they don’t use. They can take advantage of their social media accounts to sell their stuff.

5. Set a certain amount of fun money for your children every month, especially in their teenage years. They will be socializing more and hanging out with their friends. Once they reach the limit, remind them that they have used their fun money for that period.

It all takes discipline. Living on one income is a challenge but it can be done.

Financial Planner’s Training

This year, I fulfilled one of my goals.

I attended the Financial Planner’s Training of the Personal Finance Advisers (PFA). I have been planning to attend this training for some time. I just couldn’t find the time for it. This year, I took the time to attend it.

I learned a lot from this training aside from personal finance. The estate planning module was overwhelming. It opened my eyes to the different tools that we can use to plan for our estate. I wish I had taken this training when I became an independent Oracle Consultant 10 years ago. Why? That was the time that I really needed to know a lot of personal finance stuff since I started earning more.

But I am still glad that I attended the training early this year. I started the year right! Although I am 40 and feel really mortal, I feel more knowledgeable and equipped to approach how I should be saving and investing for my retirement.

Also, I passed the exam. I am now an Associate Financial Planner.

How I Say No without Saying No

We have that experience when somebody would come to us and try to borrow money for various reasons. It is one of those moments where I used to impulsively say YES because I did not know how to say no.

Honestly, this has been my problem. There were times when I lent money and I did not get it back. And there were times that there were repeat borrowers.

I tried to overcome this by researching on the web the different ways that I can say no. It was not easy to do this. And it wasn’t an overnight process. I would actually practice mentally the line that I was going to say. I know some people were probably surprised when I started saying no without saying no.

A good friend suggested to me that I shouldn’t give details on why I am saying no. It turns out she was right.

Here are the lines that I used to politely refuse lending money to people.

  1. “Pasensya na, madaming gastos.”
  2. “I’m sorry but I value our friendship.”
  3. “Madami akong bayarin.”
  4. “Pasensya na.”

Ever since I started to say no without saying no, I eventually became used to it. In fact, I would consciously remind or ask myself if I am in a position to lend money. This is because I live on a budget.

This new habit has certainly empowered me. Everytime I politely refused, I was in fact saying YES to myself and to my financial well being. At the end of the day, it is just me fending for myself and my daughter.

Financial Awareness

There are things I wish that were taught in college. One of it is personal finance. I admit that I knew nothing about investments when I started working. All I knew was that I need to save. I have experienced saving when I was young and still studying. My dad encouraged us to save. Whatever we saved, he would double it. I was addicted to saving because of the interest that I would get from my dad.

Finishing college education and working opened a whole new world to me. Real life education started. Yes, I had a job. I did account for where my money went and I tried to save. I started working as a Programmer in one of the software companies in Ortigas Center. I managed to save especially when I rented bed space in Pasig.

I got married and had a family of my own. Due to unfortunate circumstances, I became a single mom by choice. Another unfortunate event happened in my life and I found myself leaving my parents’ house. I found a one-bedroom condominium unit to rent and started raising my daughter all on my own way back in 2008.

Yes, there was child support. It did help. I was lucky I got a stint to become an independent Oracle DBA consultant which allowed me to work from home and earn in US dollars. Full of ambition to give my daughter a good life, I vowed to myself that I had to make it all on my own.

The journey wasn’t smooth. I started reading blogs on personal finance and educated myself. I bought personal finance books and devoured the knowledge I gained from it.

 

I just did not read these books. I started applying what I learned from it. Slowly, I zeroed out my debt. I finished paying my housing loan back in 2014.

I did not have the time to attend seminars because of the nature of my work. But it did not stop me to learn. I still continuously invest on my knowledge by buying personal finance books and educating myself on best practices.

It has been almost a decade since I left my parents’ house. It was a blessing in disguise. I am still living independently from them as a single mom and raising my daughter all on my own.

Before 2017 Ends and 2018 Starts

Before the year ends and before 2018 starts, I reviewed and created my projected expenses for the year 2018. I have adjusted some numbers to reflect the changes that will occur for the year 2018. What is the change?

My daughter will be in Grade 11 for the school year 2018 – 2019. She will be moving to another school that offers the track and strand of her choice, Technical-Vocational. Her choice is Fashion Design strand. This choice comes with a higher tuition fee and a higher school allowance.

Actually, this is something I do every year before the year ends and before the new year starts.

I also plotted the projected costs for other expenses that occur on annual basis.

(I had to omit the numbers for privacy.)

Why do I do this? Doing this gives me a visual overview of my income, expenses and cash flow for the incoming year. This exercise prepares me for what lies ahead.

There is another task that I did before 2017 ends. For some time, I have been planning to organize my policies in one place. So I bought a bag that is big enough to hold all my policies (life insurance, health insurance, educational plan, investments, etc). I reviewed my policies which are active and discarded the policies that I have surrendered for reinvesting.

All my files are here. The contents of this bag are:

  1. Life insurance policies
  2. Current house insurance
  3. Education plan
  4. Health invest policy
  5. Retirement and other investment policies
  6. Diplomas
  7. Birth certificates
  8. Other relevant files pertaining to my civil status
  9. Green folder which contains all the files should I pass away

This is not to scare anyone. But as a single mom, with no other adult in the house to rely on to, I deeply feel the need to organize everything that is needed should something happen to me. It’s something that my daughter can easily access.