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Thursday, August 28, 2014

About Nailing that Budget

As indicated in this blog, I have officially started on this journey to financial independence this year. It’s been (only or already) 5 months since then and I tell you the journey is not as easy as pie. I’ll try to tell you why. But just as disclaimer on this entry, I will not be talking about all the aspects of the journey; rather, I’d be focusing more on where I am at household budgeting.

To give you a background, I am the sort of person who likes to get things done ASAP. It’s good and bad. It’s good because I can get really determined at accomplishing something; yet, it’s bad because obviously, loving “ASAP” means I am not a very patient one. So getting a household budget in place is definitely a challenge for me. Why? Because first, the budget is going to be a hit or miss for some time (as can be read in most personal finance sites and books)—meaning, there’s just no way I can get it “right” the first time/month, ; and second, I can’t get it done ASAP.

Knowing where I’m coming from, you now understand if I say the first 2 months was a horrible experience.  :hide:  I was such a mess (on the inside only, I hope). Let me tell you the reasons why:

  1. I don’t really have an existing budget in place.
Not having an existing budget in place means a lot of things. This means I have to try to set a temporary budget while I have to track each and every expense we have for a month or two and tweak the budget every month until I get it right.

  1.  I believe and want to practice the 70-30 principle.
Already told you I was determined. LOL! So the 70 is 70% of the income goes to expenses while 30 is 30% goes to savings. So this means I have to evaluate the expenses and eliminate what needs to be eliminated as much as possible. 

  1. I have existing debts.
These debts are not as high as the Eiffel tower though. These are short–term debts incurred due to inexistent plans for the year’s school tuition. Period. Lesson learned. :O (So with #2, you do understand it was not going to get easier.)

  1. As I constantly tweaked the budget to get to the right working one, I had to change the budgeting spreadsheet I use twice.
I’d like to think this is very easy to understand. I just can’t sit there and wait for something to work out for me. Hehe. In one of my previous entries, I used a very simple spreadsheet based on the 7-30 principle. That was actually okay. However, with #1, I have to keep track of every expense, so I just have to use a spreadsheet where it’s possible to input all of the expenses and sums them all up as the actual expense, placed side by side with the planned expense. This way it’s so much easier for me to see how I’m progressing with my budget outlook and at the same time, have all the info I need (planned and actual budget, list of expenses) on one workbook. Here’s the spreadsheet I currently use which I got from Christian PF, which I love to read very, very much. :)

It was difficult and besides, (singing) “nobody said it was easy” anyway. So I guess I was really prepared for the worst. Fortunately, five months later, I’d like to think I’ve finally nailed building our household budget. It’s not perfect, but it’s close to the best budget for us given our situation. 

But do you know what’s tricky about budgeting? 

You may already have one set up, but you do NOT stop tweaking it to increase your savings/investments; 

as you make more financial plans or goals, you do NOT stop tweaking it to increase your savings/investments; 

as you pay off all your debts, you do NOT stop tweaking it to increase your savings/investments; 

as you get salary increases, you do NOT stop tweaking it to increase your savings/investments. 

To cut to the chase, it’s always about living below your means and wisely saving as much as you can for your retirement and your family's financial goals. And most importantly, don’t forget to share, and celebrate or have fun especially when you reach a goal.) :)

How's your journey so far? :)

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Growing the Emergency Fund

As shared in previous entries (here), one of our goals this year is to build up a starter emergency fund. And while doing this, it is inevitable to think of getting the best deals in town in regard to the bank account(s) for the emergency fund: the higher the interest rate the better. However, the fund must remain liquid and accessible (in a right way) as much as possible. So, we're looking into a time deposit account where ideally we can get a higher interest compared to ordinary savings accounts and at the same time, we have the option to choose a maturity date that matches our need (30 days for now).

So I did some research regarding the time deposit interest rates of some banks that were accessible to us, at home or at work. I’m sharing some information of Time Deposit Rates (Cebu) below:

Time Deposit Interest Rate
Minimum Initial Deposit
Minimum Term
30 days
90 days
Chinabank Savings
30 days
30 days
(not  in website)
30 days
30 days
(not in website)
30 days
PS Bank
30 days

How about you, where do you keep the emergency fund? Do share some thoughts! :)

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Project Home Organization

Just like anybody else, I always long for organization (at least in the household). During long weekends, I always try to make a home project. Usually these projects are brought about by a need for change such as the points below.

Project Kiddie Cabinet

Lately, I got really annoyed when we can’t seem to put together all of the kid’s school stuff in one place. Honestly, I was dying to get a new bookshelf/cabinet for this use. But the budget is really tight right now. So there’s nowhere to go but work with what we have. So I put an existing cabinet for an optimum use. The problem was, the cabinet was full writings by my youngest daughter! hehe. But it’s really not a big of a problem. I had a stock of paper wrapper and a stick of glue to use. So, voila! Writings covered. :)

This cabinet is stationed at the entry way. No excuse for kids to just throw stuff around. I believe in developing habits!

The other half's table, which he also shares with the kids. Covered the table top because it got scratches here and there. Not sure if it'll last but it looks pretty to me. hehe.

Project Home Office

I really think all of us need to have this kind of nook at home. Period. So I reused an old computer table which was just sitting outside the house for a year or two. Then, I got clipboards, notepads, and sticky notes. Voila!

Calendar posted on the boring white wall. :)

Shoe boxes, an old computer table, clipboards, and whatnot work wonders!

Definitely one of my favorite spots. :)

Project One Notebook

I admit I am still into paper when it comes to getting organized with thoughts and schedules. I keep one for personal use, one for work use, etc. This explains why my bag is so heavy all the time. Haha! Then I got the idea of having all of life’s compartments in one notebook/binder from Jenny. Her daily planner is just amazing, BUT beside its expensive price, I just can’t find anything like it here in Cebu. For some time, I frequently visited the notebook/binder section of National Bookstore. After two weeks, I finally found what I was looking for only P120. I'm loving it! 

It comes with a ziplock envelope. Wii! So there's no excuse for me to stop bringing the lil butingting things I just love! Toinks. hehe.

I find beauty in little things.

Sticker labels are dainty little things you can use to brighten up your day with ideas and whatnot. :)

How about you? I’d love to hear home organizing ideas! :)

the greatest goal of all this will always be:

Have a meaningful and fruitful Sunday, y'all. :)

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Read and Met Mr. Francisco J. Colayco

I can’t believe I’ve been neglecting this blog for such a long time! :hide: So much has happened that for some time while writing this entry, I honestly didn’t know where to start. However, one name stood out, and that’s Mr. Francisco J. Colayco. :)

Maybe you already know about Mr. Colayco for quite some time, while I just heard about him when I started on this journey and started reading about personal finance profusely. But you know what probably makes my journey better than I actually think? It’s the support of some important people around me: the managing director of the company I’m working in and my former manager who I look up to as a mentor. I’ll always be grateful for their generosity in sharing time and knowledge on a topic (personal finance) they know and apply so well. To cut to the chase, my former manager lent me two of Mr. Colayco’s award-winning books (this reminds me I still have to return them! Lol!):

  1. Wealth Within Your Reach
  2. Making your Money Work
Then the rest is history. After visiting Mr. Colayco’sFoundation website, I was able to attend one of KSK Coop’s seminars and I was lucky enough to meet him in person and have him sign the Pera Mo, Palaguin Mo workbook, which I bought at a discount during the seminar.

If there’s anything I’d like to share other than the links I’ve placed on these entries for your reference, then it must be the very interesting “Asset Allocation Table” that Mr. Colayco wrote in book #2 above:

Personally, I really think the table is a good guide in diversifying regardless of whether you are just starting or building up assets. So as you’re saving at least 20% of your income, it would be good to take a look at the table above because I really think it can help you achieve every financial plan and goal you have.

What are your thoughts? :)

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