Friday, August 30, 2013

How Did I become a Stock Market Investor?

Every journey has its start, and I want to share with  you how I got  started on this whole investing business.

To tell you honestly, I have zero background when it comes to stock market. Back then, I don't even know what Ticker symbol  means! And math is not my forte. I don't trust myself with any calculations without a calculator beside me. Yup, that's how bad I am when it comes to math, but hey, this bad-in-math  person has become an investor. So for all of you who are intimidated with the math involved in investing, I'm here to tell you that it's not a hindrance at all. I swear!

So, let me tell you how this bad-in-math-wanna-be-stock-market-investor took the plunge and got her feet wet into the world she never ever thought she would step in.

 3 years ago:  It's a long story but I became friends with one of our residents where I am working. We talked for hours and he would always tell me that "I am his daughter he never had". I grew up without a father so these words touches me deeply, and so we became close. I shared with him my desire to go home. I shared with him how lonely my life here and I also shared with him  my long time ambition of becoming a Catholic Missionary but, I just can't fulfill what my heart's desire at that moment coz my family needed me financially. I told him if only I could find away to save up and just don't worry about what future brings. At that time, I know its impossible. Out of the blue, he mentioned : Why don't you study stock market? Philippines is like 1960 USA. So much potential. So much space to grow...... I was like What?? Stock Market?? Buuuuuuuuut, math isn't my forte!

He smiled and we talked. He suggested a book to me to be borrowed at our nearest library. He said that this books will hopefully open my mind and the rest is history...

This book really change my mindset when it comes to my financial powerhouse. Super powerful book and I do believe that this is an effective book to read for those who are starting out:
I am on-the-hunt for a used book of this

After I read the book, I was hyped like a person on drugs and researched further on how to invest in the Philippine Stock Market. I found this book and I was really really  stoked!

Highly recommended book

I love this book! It is easy to understand. No intimidating jargons at all. Best of all, he is a catholic preacher. Our belief is kind of aligned so I am totally loving all his books. I got the e-book for free, by the way.

I was willing to get started at that time but I had problem coz I don't have Philippine bank account. No finance footprint at the Philippines at all. To know how I eventually open bank account and investment accounts, click here.

That's how I pretty much got started and to these days, I am thankful for the person who opened the door for me to get into the world of investing. I am the first in my family, immediate and extended, who is investing and I am proud of it. I will teach those who are willing to listen.  And when I finally become a Catholic missionary, I would dedicate that journey to him, my mentor, with all my heart.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Philippine Brand Coffee Overload

Morning+Coffee= Bliss

My friend was kind enough to send my all of these coffees from pinas! I love love love the love package I received a week or so ago! It contains stuffs I missed so much!

I am a certified coffee drinker. I consumed 8-12 cups of coffee a day ! We also have a coffee station  at work for the employees and my addiction spiked!

The always full and always fresh coffee at work

I mostly drink brewed coffee made at home and never ever buy coffee at store! Honestly, I can only count with my one hand the times I went for Starbucks! I can afford to buy Starbucks, but I chose not to! Oh yah! 

Let's take a closer look at the coffee that my friend sent, by the way, I am not paid to blog about this:

NESCAFE Frappe Cookies 'N Cream

NESCAFE Frappe Choco 'N Mallows

KOPIKO Kopiccino

NESCAFE Cappuccino

NESCAFE Chocolatte

If I were to rank all of those coffees, it would be in this order:

I love hot coffee more than cold ones

It's 7:41 AM and I am currently having this at my usual early morning spot:

 It's kind of a cool morning, fall is in the air! I'll go for a run soon ;)


Friday, August 23, 2013

Morning Person

Not So Glam

I am a proud early bird! I love mornings and look forward to it!

Mornings are times when I everything is quiet except for the beautiful things like the tweeting of the birds or the hooting of an owl and the coolness of an early morning breeze. Seldom  human activities are seen. It's like the world stop to give way to what nature is suppose to be doing.

The picture is one of my automatic things to do upon waking up. I'd sit on the stairs with coffee mug in hand and just be with the nature. This is when I just think and bask on God's goodness. It's like a sort of meditation for me. 

On weekdays, I'd sit here for 5-10 minutes, but on weekends, I'd sit here for 30-45 minutes.

I love mornings!

Are you an early bird or a night owl?

Thanks, Timer!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Throwaway Thursday

If there's a Throwback Thursday, there is alsoThrowaway Thursday. These are  pictures of stuffs that I am letting go or giving away to give way to a minimalist lifestyle, stuffs that I have been holding on for reasons unknown. This is one of my mantras: Less stuff, less stress.

This is my second Throaway Thursday , but I have been letting go of stuffs long before that which I did not document coz I wasn't blogging at that time yet.

Today, I am letting go of magazines which are sitting like bosses in my shelf. Someone subscribed me to these magazines. To tell you honestly, I don't even read or open these magazines. I'm not fashionista and I don't care what's happening on the fashion world . I wish that my friend subscribed me on other magazines like Nat Geo or Time. I have been receiving magazines since 2-3 years ago and I end up donating them to the library, unopened. Now, another batch is going to the library:

I am also donating another blower:

And oh, the Cargo Plus guy picked up my 2 boxes last Tuesday. Boy, those boxes were an eye-sore  for the longest time. Those contains my personal stuffs for my "for good" moment. I instructed mom not to open it yet. All in all, I have 3 large boxes full of stuffs, some for myself and must are to be given to my relatives.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

It's a Girl!

Nope, I'm not pregnant but one of my friends is!  I want share with you the pictures during my friend's baby shower last Sunday. It was fun catching up with my Filipino friends. I haven't seen them for a year! Most of my friends have children of their own. I was like, ''ba't ang daming bata?" Oh man! I am getting older! I am in the time of my life that I want to have my own family. I thought I meant to be single forever coz I don't have interest with opposite sex or falling in love, but seeing my friends get married , having babies and all, the burning desire to have my own family is stirring within me! In God's time, right? Not in a hurry.

And oh, I'm not posting photos of my friends coz I did not get their permissions, plus they don't know I'm blogging. haha!

It's A Girl!
I'd like to have a baby girl someday!

In-charge of blowing the balloons!

Yummy Filipino Food! I was looking forward to these!

Some of the decorations!


  • Guessing how many candies in the container
  • BINGO- I won!
  • Few safety pins were put in the container full of pasta,rice and all small stuffs. The player is blindfolded then the player find the safety pins!-- This game is tricky but super fun, and guess who won?! ME!!
  • Guessing the current weight of my pregnant friend
  • Guessing the measurement of my friend's belly
  • Guessing what kind of baby food we smelled
  • Guessing the weight of the baby when she comes out--- The price? $50!!! I guessed 7.5! I don't know if I'll win yet
It was fun and we finished late. I spent the night at my friend's house and went home super early , but before going home, I went outside and pose on their newly built gazebo.

Early morning pose with my friend, the coffee

My friend told me that I can doodle, so I doodled away
I covered my name, by the way.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Walk ,Spend and Eat Saturday

It's 8:04 PM  and I'm ready to go to sleep, but decided to write a little something about my day.

I started my day with a cup of coffee and I hit the jogging trail early. I always enjoy the early morning, plus the weather today was so nice!

I went to the store to buy gift for my friend who will be having a baby shower tomorrow. I walked to Target but did not find anything interesting. I checked the thrift store and eventually found 2 basic clothing for myself.
Thrift Store Finds
  • Converse button-down denim-ish: I am a Converse woman! I have a few collection of Converse shoes! I love this button-down top. It's a basic piece in your wardrobe that can be worn in so many ways so this kind of clothing is definitely a must-have. I'm glad I found them! ($4)
  • Mossimo Pink Shirt: OMG, this shirt is so soft! I can wear this all day! It looks brand new, too! ($4)
  • Champion Sports Bra: This one has still a tag on it. I have been searching for sports bra ever since forever but couldn't bring myself to pay full price. hehe ($2.50)
I then went to Ross and bought the gift there. Went to dollar store right after and went to Shopper's to grabbed something to eat.

Not so healthy lunch
Don't judge, I walked for 4 hours, give me a break! :)

I bought some grocery after eating lunch that consists of grapes, Nutella, donut, and spinach. Walked home after that. I rested for and hour and rushed to the library ( another 1.8 miles of walking) to pick up the DVD that I borrowed entitled Lincoln.

I end the day with yummy dinner: daing/buwad with rice.

Not so healthy dinner, again!
Yummy, indeed!


Donut with Coke- Not healthy, I know!

Overall, I think I walked 15 miles today, which I love, but I feel like I sabotaged my walking and jogging today by eating a lot of unhealthy food :( I have a weakness for anything fried :(

Its 8:48 PM and I need to go to sleep now. I am going to a party tomorrow to see all my Filipino friends. I haven't seen them for a year. I'm excited coz my Ate and Kuya will cook Filipino food! Pig-out tomorrow again! Yay!


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Throwaway Thursday

If there's a Throwback Thursday, there is also Throwaway Thursday. These are  pictures of stuffs that I am letting go or giving away to give way to a minimalist lifestyle, stuffs that I have been holding on for reasons unknown. This is one of my mantras: Less stuff, less stress.

  • Blow dryer : I got this one at a thrift store for 5 bucks few years ago and I'm not using this one anymore. I am practicing a heat-less way of styling my hair. Back to the  thrift  store, hair dryer.

  • Velcro Belt : Why do I even have this ?

  • Pringles Container
  • Water bottle
  • Salicylic Acid
  • Hair ties
  • Buttons
  • Containers
  • Room deodorizer 
  • Mirror
  • Medicines
  • Toothbrush top
  • Paper clips

Less Stuff, Less Stress

Sunday, August 11, 2013

A 500,000 Peso Mistake

One of my many money mistakes I've made is letting people borrow money from me. The total "receivables" is PHP 500,000+, and up until now, the people who borrowed money from me are not making a move to pay .What a costly mistake, right?! It took half a million pesos for me to realized that enough is enough. Ouch!

As I realized my huge money mistake, I contemplated and reached a conclusion on why I let them take advantage and why I let them borrow money over and over again. 

The reason? This is a hard pill to swallow, but the reason was  to let them know that I have money now and that I can afford to let them borrow such amount. I grew up having nothing and now that I have something, I let them know that I have it by letting them borrow on a whim.  Arrogance has its price! 

After reaching to that conclusion , I completely and absolutely say NO to any money request. That said, I don't give them any impression that its raining money here. Up until now, I don't let them borrow anymore. Nada. Never again!

One thing that hurt me the most was when I heard from a grapevine that one of my relatives who borrowed money from me had bought a car in cash  and renovated his house, and when I asked for my money back, he totally told me that, "I'm not the same person I once was." He was spreading rumors about me.    WHAT THE HECK? You bought a car and renovated your house and you forgot that you owe me
money? Ugh! Up until now, never did he pay me back and I'm the bad person for asking for my money back!

Another incident, my cousin borrowed money from me for placement fee for her work abroad. I totally let her borrow money and she promised she'd pay me back if she receive her first salary. Did she follow on her promise?  Naaaah. She already bought a house and a car and never bothered to pay me back. 

It still hurt that our relationship with my family is in chaos because of money. It's all my fault for letting them borrow money and its all my fault for being too trusting.

Learn from my mistake.

Never again.

Photo Credit:

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Minimalism: Downsizing and Purging

I stumble upon the word "minimalism" when I was searching for home decorations and home style. At that time, I just purchased a small townhouse in Cebu and I thought I need to furnished myself with decoration styles that are easy on the eyes-- less clutter. I was drawn to that style, but it never occurred to me that minimalism could be applied to all area of your life not just the interior of the house.

Call me nuts but I already started sending my stuffs to the Philippines since 6 months ago in preparation for my "for good" goal and I realized its just too much stuffs I have accumulated through out my stay here. I am currently filling up two boxes of my stuffs to be shipped to the Philippines. See, I'm telling you, I am really going home for good!

I started researching about  how to let go of stuffs that don't put meaning to your life. I met the words "voluntary simplicity" and "minimalism" and I liked the sounds of those words.

This video change my perspective about accumulating stuffs. I nodded in agreement to this video and this sums up what minimalist lifestyle is all about.

I started purging and donating my stuffs since February. I gave away at least 50 percent of my stuffs to thrift store. I wish I took pictures of those. I haven't started blogging at that time, so I did not document it. I gave away make-ups, perfumes, lotions, books, clothes I haven't worn in 3 years and all. It was hard at first but the feeling after giving away stuffs are great. I can't even begin to describe the fuzzy feeling I felt.

Minimalism is a continuing process. I still have stuffs I have hard time giving up which I will share with you one of these days. I consider myself a working progress minimalist, but I do feel good seeing all those stuffs go. Trust me, it really feel good. It's like a breath of fresh air!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Frugal Tip: Flaunt Your Real Skin Color

Summer here is in full swing and I would like to tackle a sensitive topic about skin color and skin whitening.

Okay, I admit I was once obsessed with whitening my skin. I grew up in a country where fairer skin is valued.  When I was little, while playing outside, my mom would call me to go in before I'd get too dark. Growing up, the media tells you that fair skin is beautiful. Filipinos are bombarded with commercials about whitening. We watch teleseryes with actors and actresses who have whiter than white skin. We are basically surrounded with reminders that our natural skin should be altered or else..... Even Maria Clara in Noli Me Tangere has fair skin as fine as an onion skin.

When I came and live abroad, the idea of what color of skin is beautiful completely shifted.  I realized that it depends on the culture. Most people here love and worship the sun , while Filipinos hate the sun. Most people here would strip in their backyards when the sun is out , while Filipinos would use umbrella when outside. When I see someone using umbrella  during summer, I would therefore conclude that is Asian :)

 I still use lotion but with no added whitening . I noticed that my skin tone changes. I go from light brown with prominent yellow undertone to deep brown depending on the season. My employer once came up to me and said  "I'd love to have that golden tan skin of yours". What?!?!?!   

Why do we love to alter our skin tone? The reason dates back to when the Philippines had been colonized by Spaniards, Japanese and American. Those 3 races have fair skin ,and in those colonization days, fair skin meant authority and superiority. Fair skin also meant that you were a very important person who don't work in the farm. This is what we call colonial mentality.   That, I think,started it all and to this day, whitening industry is a booming business in the Philippines.

Let's talk finance and whitening products. Regular soaps and lotions are less expensive than those soaps and lotions with added whitening stuffs sorcery.  I heard from a good friend that a regular lotion he usually buy cost PHP 130 with 532 ML whereas lotion with whitening products are much more expensive. The soap with added whitening stuffs are more expensive than those regular soaps.

Since I love Cocoa Butter, these would be my go-to lotions when I get home
These are cheap lotions I'd like to use!

 When you are trying to save money and you are looking for an area in your life where you can cut back, you should take a serious look at your beauty regimen. Maybe you can forgo that glutathione pills you are taking and what not. I even read that a woman spends PHP 94,000 a year on all the beauty regimen that includes glutathione injectables and all. MY GOSH, that's some serious dough!

Again, I'm not looking down at people who use whitening stuffs coz I came from that. Skin should be enhanced, not altered.  

Embrace your real you.

Accepting that I am beautiful with my natural skin color was not an overnight thing.  Habits are hard to change and it took a huge will-power to let go of all the whitening stuffs I was used to. Surround yourself with tv shows and programs that has actors who have natural brown skin. Look at local celebrities who has morena skin and idolize them.  Those were the steps I took so I can let go of my whitening skin obsession.

Again, skin should be enhanced, not altered.. Embrace your real you. 

Monday, August 5, 2013

52 Week Money Challenge

I am taking this challenge. I am stoked to start and take on this cool way on saving money. It's not that I have a hard time saving money, if you read my previous posts, you would pretty much conclude that I am "addicted to saving".

I have a hard time spending on my few wants. I kind of live a pretty miserable life. I still even drag myself to that $3 dollar "cheat meal" every month. Yup, that's how kuripot I am! I want to change this habit of mine. Hey, I am saving 80-90 percent of my income and I deserve to reward myself with small wants but I.JUST.CAN'T.

So, I am taking this challenge. This is a fund I can spend without feeling guilty. This is a fund I can spend for myself no matter what I buy and not think about it or list it on my Daily Money Log. This is a "ME" fund!

To read more about this, click here. The idea of this challenge is to start saving $1 for Week 1, $2 for Week 2, $3 Week 3, $4 for Week 4 and so on, At the end of the 52 weeks, I will have $1,378!!! I am doing the challenge in  dollars coz I am earning in dollars but for my Filipino friends, you can certainly do it in peso. What if you start at PHP 10, at the end of the 52 weeks, you will have PHP 13,780. Cool, right? You can download a Do Your Best Challenge chart found at that website or you can write it down, just like what I did:

52 Week Money Challenge

Since I just started, I have a dollar inside and crash out the First Week of the challenge. 

I am so excited with this  pretty cool saving trick. I don't know if I can bring myself to spend this amount of money but perhaps , with this pool of fund, I would treat myself once in a while on my small wants.

I would update you guys.

Take the challenge with me!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

PNB--How I Opened an Account While Abroad

I bravely went to Forth Washington, Maryland to open an account at Philippine National Bank (PNB). It was kind of far from where I am staying but New York is much farther,where most of the Philippines bank branches are located, so I opted to go to PNB-Maryland branch. It was a whole new experience from getting lost and all but that's another story.

As I mentioned in my other post that I went to New York to open a BPI account. And I also mentioned my whole ordeal in getting my ATM, which I don't want to go through again.. That ATM is in the hands of my mother now and she has the authority to get money from there. 

Coz I am going home for good soon, I wanted to start transferring my money  in peso but I couldn't do it coz my BPI-ATM account is in my mother and she always get money without my permission so, I need another bank account just to be safe:)

Notes and Requirements: 

  • There is a $47 charge on opening an account with them. They said its for all the mailing fees. My frugal self was saying no but my practical self said yes,after all the walking I did that day!
  • Money order or check with minimum deposit of $300
  • 2 valid Identification cards. Credit Cards are acceptable as a second ID as long as name is printed on the card.
  • Processing takes 2-3 weeks

How long did it take for me to get everything? Here's the list:

July 6, 2013 - Went to their branch. Filed paperworks and all.

July 26, 2013- Received an email.

August 1, 2013- PIN MAILER and ATM arrived in two separate envelope.

I hope someone out there find this post helpful.

I will register my account so I can access the PNB's online banking. I'll let you know how it goes.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Almost Free Weekend

Man, I woke up around 3:40 am. I couldn't go back to sleep so I read an ebook but sleep wont come. I gave up trying and just got up around 5:30 am. Had coffee and just enjoyed the start of the day. I jogged around 6:40 and I really enjoyed the solemn silence the morning can offer. I heard the tweeting of the birds and it was enough for me to conclude that it was a blissful morning.

I went to store and bought a 1 liter mouthwash. I paid $1.17! I used coupons. I also got a freebie from Victoria's Secret.

I also went to the library and returned the Cinderella Man and borrowed Sweeney Todd.

I hope you have a great almost free weekend. :)