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Friday, October 31, 2014

that talk on the first 3 simple steps to freedom

A few months ago, one of the managers at the workplace asked me to speak in front of her teams about the 3 simple steps to financial independence. This was after I had my speech about the same topic in one of our Toastmaster’s meeting. So all I really had to do was reuse my speech and add some more information because this second time, I am given a full 30-minute speech/lecture.
To give you a background, I decided to become active again in Toastmaster’s for two reasons: 1) obviously, I want to improve more in public speaking and 2) I want to reach more people in my advocacy for financial freedom. Hence, when I was asked to speak to the teams of probably about 20 people, it was more of an indulgence rather than doing a favor. Haha.

Anyhow, on Monday, I did the speech/lecture. I think it went well that I even surprised myself I was able to answer questions calmly and collectively. Lol! I just know I need to do this more. It’s really a great way to pay forward: to share everything I've learned in the past 9 months from the generous people I barely know personally and to inspire ordinary people like me that it is possible to be financially free because I myself is walking the talk. So when I say that this journey to financial freedom is not easy, it’s not hearsay.  That it really is coming from a personal experience.  Note the operative word “personal” which simply means personal finance is not a one size fits all. I make my own. You make your own. But we can learn from each other. :)

In my speech, I discussed only these 3 simple steps to start on the journey:

  1. Pay yourself first.
·         Save at least 20% of income.
·         Rent/mortgage <28% of income.
·         For food/groceries, $100/per person in the household is more than enough.

  1. Pay your debts ASAP and stop incurring any more debts.
If there are debts, one can choose to put ½ Savings (see above) to the savings account and ½ Savings to paying debts.
·         Read about Debt Snowball.
·         Stop using your credit cards. Pay in Cash.
·         Read about budgeting (I’ll be giving a workshop soon on this and I am very excited. Lol!)
·         Get extra income (sell stuff you don’t need, sideline2x pag may time, negotiate with your boss)
·         Live below your means.
·         Oh, you can leverage on debts. But you just have to do #3 and a couple of other steps first.

  1. Build up an emergency fund.
This is just one of the “priority” Savings categories. Other categories include retirement fund, educational fund, and other financial goals.
·         What counts as an emergency is a life and death situation. Not because SM and Ayala are selling stuff on sale. Again, read about budgeting.
·         Stop using your credit cards for emergency stuff. You prepare for it in cash.
·         Emergency fund must at least be 3 month worth of expenses. How much is it? You wouldn't know unless you have a budget in place. Again, read about budgeting.

I think I gave a lot of other information that have been very useful to me. I also shared with them the budgeting template I use with a tab for reminders and links to resources. :) The discussion we had was so amusing, really. I encouraged them to use the budget envelope system and discussed how it works. I could see in some faces that they found it hard and unbelievable. But I had to tell them it works and that I do it this way:

To sum it all up, I really hope that somehow I was able to influence the audience to know more about this journey to financial independence and that if I did, they’d follow through with a plan—definitely a triple treat happiness to me. Meanwhile, I'm just right here to help them out as much as I could.

God bless us all. :)

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Of Chalks and Illustration Boards Project

A couple of weeks ago, we had an activity at work where the team used a board and a chalk to make a d├ęcor. Unfortunately, I don’t think I have the liberty to post some pictures here. But anyhow, the gist really is that after seeing that decor idea, I thought of using it to fill that boring, white wall at home. Lol!
So after running some errands at the mall this weekend, I bought 5 pieces of illustration boards: 2 for the children and 3 for me. J
When we got home, I immediately used the illustration boards and voila!
First, I gathered the chalks, illustration boards, and courage that I will do the writings the first time, without any erasures. haha!

Second, I posted them all in the blank, boring white wall in the house. hehe.

Third, I gazed at it thinking that really, these blank walls may never be the same again. You can always do stuff with it. You just have to make time and just do it. hehe.
PS I don’t have a pic for the children’s boards though, but basically they were just mounted at the back of the door for them to doodle all they want and for them to pretend to be a teacher to their imaginary students (yep, used to do that when I was younger. haha!)
 And this project only cost me less than P100. J How about you? What DIY craft did you get busy lately?
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