January 26, 2010

Saving on Long Distance Calls

Posted in saving tips at 9:33 pm by kimsan23

My family is mostly in North America. In the past years, I used to pay over $0.40 per minute every time I call them up to check on them. Even my cellphone company that offers up to $0.10 per minute got way too expensive for me. It took a while for me to realize that there are lot of options aside from the usual long distance or IDD packages. Even calling cards have become too expensive and not really worth it.

I have a friend to thank for introducing me to Skype.Com. Skype is an instant messaging tool that enables users to chat, make video and audio calls with other users. Other programs like MSN Messenger and Yahoo IM do the same things but Skype has proven to be the fastest and most efficient one for me.

You can even make calls to actual phone using Skype (for a minimal fee) but I strongly suggest using the free service which is Skype to Skype calling.

My mom knows how to use computers and is now definitely on Skype all the time. I get to talk to my friends and family at no additonal costs on top of my monthly internet fee– at the same time, I enjoy clear and static free connections.

I no longer get frustrated when I could not hear the other person on the line when using a land or mobile phone. I no longer get upset over poor signals and cut calls. Every time a call used to get cut over the phone, one thing I really though about would be the waste in minutes. Every second counts and anything above 10 seconds is billed as a minute.

Through Skype, if it gets cut, all I need to do is dial again and not worry about additonal charges being billed to me.

I have saved so much in the past year that I have been “Skype-ing” with my family. My phone bill has gone down by almost 50% since I started using Skype. The money that I’ve saved has gone to other expenses and some to augment my savings.

So instead of using regular phone lines, mobile phones or call cards — try using online services instead. It is still cheaper to pay P25 (pesos) per hour to use the internet than to pay P100 (pesos) for only 10-20 minutes worth of phone time.

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July 29, 2009

Beating the Recession

Posted in obstacles, planning, saving tips, Uncategorized at 2:48 pm by kimsan23

A few months ago, a friend of mine heard a guy in a convenience store ranting about how the recession only affects “rich” people.  The comment was basically like this:

Recession?  We normal people won’t get affected by that!  It’s a problem for rich people!

I am surprised at how uninformed (or in denial) many people are when it comes to the ongoing recession in the USA.  Of course, analysts are saying that the market is picking up and getting better but you see, try not to get your hopes us too high!  25 years of making financial mistakes won’t be repaired in a year…thankfully, it won’t take another 25 years as well.  Give or take 5 years and hopefully, the economy experiences a full turnaround in favor of the consumer.

In the US, people are spending less to battle the economic situation.   They taking steps to ensure financial stability on an individual level.  Just because the recession has made a direct hit on the US market, doesn’t mean that we are not affected.

For the call center and BPO industry, it could go up or down.  US based clients may outsource more given the tight budget they currently have or may close down some business which may result to outsourced projects being canceled.  I myself have heard of a number of small business BPOs that have shut down Philippine operations because of account/client cancellation.  So you see, no matter how far away the US is from us, we are also directly affected by the economic crisis.

The US economic situation affects everyone involved in global business no matter how big or small…from the owner of the business down to the laborer.  this is a reality that many people are not accepting and non-acceptance leads to being complacent and carelessness.

Even when one is seemingly unaffected by the economic crisis, it is always advisable to be ready for any financial emergency.  Fuel prices are rising again (it just went up by 2 pesos) and normally, consumer good prices would rise as well.  Services will also become less cost efficient and many people will have to exert extra effort to maintain their lifestyles.

Beating the recession is not an easy lifestyle change but IT CAN BE DONE.

Many of things I’ve written in my blog lead basically to achieving financial freedom.  Now it takes on another role, gaining financial security amd preparedness.

1. Don’t cut down on savings, cut down on spending.  Prices have gone up but I still manage  to save the same amount of money I used to save even before the recession hit.  Remember, savings first before spending!

2. Cut down on leisurely activities or downgrade.  Instead of eating out 3 times a week, reduce it to once…etc.

3. Plan for meals at home and packed meals to save on food bills.

4. Unplug electrical appliances when not in use.  Put your airconditioner on timer settings if you must use it when you go to bed.  It saves on electric bills.

5. Try your best to reduce habits like smoking and alcohol.  These are expensive habits that could cost you a lot of money lost in the long run, not to mention they’re quite unhealthy as well.

6. Don’t invest your heard-earned money in get rich quick schemes, you may just lose it!  (Been there, done that and learned!)

7. If you are in debt, start getting out of it NOW.  Try these tips on becoming DEBT FREE.

If all of make a conscious effort to battle the recession by cutting down on spending without cutting it out  completely (which is impossible and if done, the market will definitely crash!), it would be easier for us to prepare for many financial emergencies that could affect our way of life.

May 11, 2009

The Objective of Saving Money for a Rainy Day

Posted in saving tips at 7:53 pm by kimsan23

Why did my parents always remind me to save money?  The answer was always: “Save for a rainy day.”

I  always thought it was very simple.   I fell into the trap of thinking that I was only saving for one purpose: retirement.

What are we saving for?  What are those rainy days?  Today I’m going to try my best to detail what those are so that we aware of the “more than one thing” we need to save for aside from our retirement.

The Essentials:

  1. Retirement: Everyone knows we need to save for this.  When we get old are are no longer able to work, it would be best to have enough money to spend until the end of our days.
  2. Medical Emergencies: If you don’t have medical insurance, it’s time to invest in that as well as set up an emergency medical fund.  It helped that my partner and I had medical insurance and savings specially when we both got very sick at the same time.  We were unable to report for work and were confined to stay at home.  One of our bank accounts dedicated to medical and household expenses surely helped us along the way.  My medical insurance did not cover medication if I stayed at home so we had to spend on that using our emergency fund.  Soon though, we will separate the emergency fund from the other funds to make sure we know exactly how much we have to spare in case of any medical emergencies.
  3. Household Maintenance:  Our homes depreciate too.  Every time you need to spend for repairs, it is wise to take it our of a fund that is meant for just that.  This has been very useful especially during times after heavy rains or floods.
  4. Automobile Maintenance:  Owning a car is like owning a small house.  It is important to spend some money on it’s maintenance so that it’s always in tip top condition.  Cars will last longer if maintained on a regular basis following it’s maintenance schedule.
  5. Family Emergencies: If you need to help a family member during a financial crisis, this is a good fund to set up.  Remember, sharing our blessings attracts good karma!
  6. Unemployment or Economic Crises: Be prepared for anything and everything related to losing your current job or source of income.  Put away as much money as you can and make sure you have at least a buffer fund that will support your lifestyle for at least 3 months if you are put out of work or if your business does not pan out well.  You will have 3 months to find another source of income and at the same time live comfortably.

The Extras: (rewards when we have some extra money)

  1. Travel
  2. Sports & Hobbies
  3. Other Entertainment

It’s always wise to be prepared for emergencies as well as occassionally reward ourselves when things are going great.  This system also prevents you from over spending on the “Extras” and focusing on the “Essentials.”

April 30, 2009

Book Review: 12 Steps to Build Wealth on Any Income

Posted in books, extra income, financial decisions, investments, loaning, planning, saving tips at 1:51 pm by kimsan23

I was browsing books in National Bookstore when I came across a shelf with an abundance of books on personal finance.  What’s so great about the book market now is that there are a good number of books that tackle personal finance for Filipinos.

There used to be a whole lot of books on personal finance but all of them were written mostly for other countries.  Of coure the basics will always be the basics but what’s nice about local publications is that there are local scenarios being discussed.  So, in short, I CAN RELATE better to local books in terms of managing finances.

I found a book which I eventually bought after browsing through the pages every time I was in National Bookstore.  Every week, I would pick it up and take a look at it to see if it was worth the buy.

Book Details:

Title: 12 Steps to Build Wealth on Any Income
Author: Alvin T. Tabanag
Peso: 300+ (sorry, i took the price tag off)
Availability: National Bookstore
Rating: 4/5

———

Review:

Alvin Tabanag’s book deals with the hazards of spending, the joys of saving and the struggle one must go through in the process of balancing ones earnings with his finances.  I am impressed at how much research as well as common sense went into the creation of the book.  He tackles several topics which include:  how to save, making the right investments, saving for retirement, understanding how money grows in a bank, and a great section on credit cards.

The book is written primarily in English but has some excerpts and examples in Filipino.  You don’t have to be an accountant or finance-savvy to understand his book.  He explains personal finance in layman’s terms making the book an easy and very interesting read.

I most especially enjoyed the section on templates where he shares some simple forms on budgeting.  There is also a section with a list of banks, mlm companies, mutual fund companies and other options for investment.

Soon, I will share some of his tips and how those tips have impacted my saving and spending habits.  I highly recommend this book.  So far, I have influenced 3 people into making the investment of buying the book.  It has been a month and they are happy customers!

June 29, 2008

Tips for Smart Grocery Shopping

Posted in planning, saving tips at 12:13 pm by kimsan23

I follow a strict budget when I go shopping for groceries and I really exert and effort to stick to it without depriving myself of the occasional food treat for myself.

The temptation is great whenever I go to get my groceries.  There’s always something interesting and something new to try.  Sometimes, some things are ridiculously over priced and I consciously decide to stay away from those things until next payday when I’ve included it in the budget.

Tips on Smart Grocery Shopping:

  1. Assign a fixed, budgeted amount you wish to spend for your groceries.  This must be in line with your objectives.  How many meals are you shopping for?  Are you also shopping to include packed lunches for work or school?  What other items do you need to buy?  What is your budget for pets?  What is your budget for cleaning implements?  Do you need to buy anything else for the house?  After answering all these questions, then you’re ready to make your list. Don’t forget to include gas consumption/transportation as well as parking expenses in your budget.
  2. Draft a menu for the week.  This will help you determine the quantities you need to purchase.  It will prevent you from unreasonable over shooting on your budget.
  3. Create a list of items you need to buy.  Organize your list according to categories like: Food, Cleaning, Health and Beauty, Pets, Kids and Miscelleneous.   Misc. items should be the last priority on your list.  Once your done, off you go!  Don’t forget your list!  Its happened to me and it could get frustrating aside from the fact that I’m out of control without a list.
  4. At the grocery, shop for the items on your list by choosing inexpensive but reliable brands.  Shopping for labels that cost and arm and a leg buut still deliver the same quality as something that is a bit cheaper is not practical.  To find out what brands work well, check out reviews on the internet, ask friends or relatives who have tried the product.
  5. Lastly, be disciplined in the grocery store!  Shop only for items you need and that are on your list.  Misc items are the last priority.  Bring a calculator as you move along so that you could keep tabs on your spending.  If your mind works like a mini-calculator (like mine)– go ahead and compute along the way.

If you have kids, try not to bring them along as they tend to ask for many things.  Otherwise, if you can exercise control over them, then that’s fine.  You can even assign a buffer amount for their own little spending so as not to deprive them of occasional treats.

Happy grocering!

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