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How to Increase Your Income to Start Investing

Last month, I set a money challenge for myself and that is to save and invest for a trip to Australia. It is my first time to save for something specific. Many of us moms know how to save and be frugal in general but like me, choose not to have any specific goal.

Part of my challenge is to use an app called Wally and already, I have listed down every expense that I pay for: for myself, work, social, and family. Nagulat ako sa dami ng gastos. Last month, my expense almost matched the money I made. Wala na halos natira. Based on the app, 63% of these expenses are made for my family and 37% are personal or pang-sarili lang.

It’s easy to be discouraged by this situation especially when you know that you work hard, you are frugal, and you already limit your expenses. Still, your income is not enough. Remember, I need to save more or less Php 100,000 to travel to Australia with my son. Huwag nalang kaya at baka wala na akong pang tuition next year? Then I reread my previous blog post and felt my determination then to show everyone I can and I will.

Speaking with a Financial Advisor

Kendrick Chua, Sun Life Financial Advisor is teaching me what the Index fund is all about. He uses a newspaper to illustrate what companies are included in this fund. (I posted below his contact details).

The last time I met my financial advisor was December last year or should I say, only when I have extra money to invest. This happens rarely nowadays but that said, I guess it was time to receive money advice again. Like an old friend, I updated my financial advisor on my current situation plus the ultimate question: how can I save Php 100,000?

My target travel date is March 2017, he said that I have more or less six (6) months to make this happen. Here is his advice: I need to save and invest Php 10,000 every month for six months to reach my goal. Wow! P10,000, paano? Here are some ideas I came up with and have started doing.

Some ideas to increase your income (so you can start investing)

1. Sell your stuffalam ko na yan, pero kailan mo huling ginawa? Me – two years ago. Stuff easily accumulates in the house, most of them we don’t really need. I started taking photos of all the things I want to sell and posted them on Facebook for friends, neighbors, and colleagues to look at. Virtual garage sale!

Result: I keep all the money I made from selling unwanted and extra stuff. Now I have budget for the sari-sari store. Based on the Wally app, madalas akong bumili ng mga gulay at iba pang ingredients dito. Now that I use extra income to buy vegetables, etc. it is one less expense to deduct from my main source of income.

2. Upsell your skills – if you are a work-at-home mom like me, chances are you have other skills up your sleeves. For example, aside from writing you also know how to manage social media pages or even setup simple websites. To achieve my goal, I started offering other services to the people I work with. Maybe I can even look to apply for other part time online jobs!

If you are a working mom in an office setting, do explore other areas of the business operations where you might have the opportunity to help or add value. Also check if there are job openings within the same company that offer a higher pay. Do communicate your intent (and your goal) with your employer to give them the opportunity to help.

3. Know your value – it’s not enough to take on additional jobs, the jobs you take must be worth your time and effort. I read a similar advice from a fellow mom, published on Brighter Life. There are many potential part-time jobs but sometimes the pay is not substantial. Or, if you are already in this situation – don’t be afraid to negotiate a raise especially if you have established a good working relationship with your client. Sabi nga nila, hindi mo malalaman kung hindi ka magtatanong.

Tip: Use the Wally app to track your work-related expenses i.e. transportation, food, childcare (when you hire someone to look after your children), etc. to find out how much you really earn.

Changing our Money Mindset

Personal finance expert Aya Laraya once said that “mindset greatly influences behavior”. Before I set this challenge for myself, my mindset was that I am happy, I eat three times a day, I am okay and I do not need to change anything because I already know.

However, one month into the challenge, I realized I knew nothing about where my hard earned money was going (expenses) and how tight my income really was.

Let us change our mindset to believe that we can do more if we want to. It is not bad to be contented with what we have but it is not bad to dream of a better life either. Instead of dwelling about limitations like time, the new sacrifices we need to endure, and imagining the extra work we need to do to achieve our goals – let’s focus on the wonderful idea of having money for life.

Contact details of Kendrick Chua (Registered Financial Planner)
0917 521 2482

Do you have any more tips and advice on increasing income or reducing expenses? Please share them by posting a comment below.

Mommy Lace is a blogger from the Philippines. She started this blog to share information on pregnancy, breastfeeding, childcare, family, and health.

How to cope with family moving abroad

For 26 years, my youngest sister and I lived together. We shared the same house until I got married, gave birth, and when the time came – when she became a Mrs. herself. Her recent marriage was a happy day for me, it did not make a dent in my life because she and I would continue to live together – just like nothing happened. Her spouse worked abroad and flew a few days after the wedding.

My not so little sister Liza and her temporary home in Australia

For the longest time my sister and I happily shared stories and bills.  And when we were just getting the hang of being a financial duo in managing household finance from electric bills to Internet bills, her immigrant visa to Australia got approved. Suddenly, both my sisters are now in Australia. I, the middle child left all alone in a house that used to be filled with girl sounds of sisters chattering, laughing, and bickering.

Money changes when family members move abroad

No matter how hard I tried not to cry and be lonely when she boarded the plane, tears could not be controlled. What I can control though is my mindset and what better way to distract oneself than with the thought of saving more money. I love my sister but at this time, the thought of reduced electric consumption, trips to the grocery, and faster Internet connection were more welcome thoughts versus living in the past.

It’s just like how the song goes, now that you’re gone I have more room in my closet. In the case of bills, I’d like to think that having one less individual in the house would mean more room in my budget. If you are in the same situation like me, focus on this thought and not the thought of paying “all by myself”. Now that you are alone, you are more in control of the expenses and how you want to reduce them.

Some ideas:

1. Is it okay to downgrade your Internet connection now that there’s one less person using it?
2. Does your cable subscription need to remain on the same plan now that one less person is watching the TV?
3. Are you willing to rent out the now empty bedroom to a qualified bed spacer?

Using Apps to Manage Household Expenses

Although there is no app to cure the heartbreak of being left behind, there are now apps that can offer support in managing expenses. This app came highly recommended by personal finance expert and #Money4Life mentor, Aya Laraya. It is called Wally (available in iOS and Andoid) and it allows users to enter every single expense made on a daily basis. Aya says that listing down expenses is one of the first steps towards financial literacy.

I use Wally to record all household expenses, even purchases from the sari-sari store

My sister and I never listed down expenses, we were so focused on how to split and pay them. That is how comfortable living with siblings are, you know there’s always each other to count on (and blame) that you get away not paying attention to details. Well today, I no longer have the luxury to be lax about expenses.

Taking Financial Responsibility

With both my sisters now working abroad, it is always a passing thought that I lost the race, that relatives will see me at the odd one out. According to Aya Laraya, it is common practice for OFWs and migrants to offer financial support to family left in the Philippines. Many offer to support the education of nephews, nieces, and younger siblings.

Aya Laraya to OFWs: “It is not wrong to say no. Make relatives responsible for their own finances.”

While the prospect of lounging around the house doing nothing and waiting for money transfers and pera padala sound amazing, the more dignified road to take is one that develops responsibility and ability for one’s finances. There’s a saying, it’s not how much you earn but how much you save. Regardless of your location and the currency of your income, it is not impossible to improve your financial situation and quality of life.

Setting a Clear Financial Goal

Many of us already know how to save, maybe even invest in financial products like mutual funds. The question is, do you have a clear financial goal? I always told myself, I don’t have any goal because I don’t want to buy anything.  I just want to have enough for my son’s education, our healthcare, and my retirement. But how much would these costs? I am sure it would be a LOT of money, so huge of a number that I am afraid of even thinking about it – hence I always answered to my financial advisor that no, I don’t have a specific number in mind.

Now that I am in the cusp of change (much like our country with the new incoming president), change should also begin with ourselves. When it comes to financial goal setting, I challenge myself to start putting numbers beside each of my financial goals. #Money4Life coach Aya Laraya recommends to start with something small and rewarding, maybe a trip to Australia to visit my siblings?

Example of a short-term financial goal:

In the next 6 months, I want to have enough money to visit Australia with my son. For this I will need Php 100,000 (cost of 2 roundtrip tickets). I am willing to save x amount every month.

This will not only inspire me to be financially responsible but one that can allow me to actually be with the sisters I dearly miss. To be continued.

How about you, what do you want to achieve in the next 6 months and how much are you willing to save for it? How do you feel about investing? Please share your thoughts on your own financial journey :)

Mommy Lace is a blogger from the Philippines. She started this blog to share information on pregnancy, breastfeeding, childcare, family, and health.

The Ultimate List on How to Save Money

For many moms, having a baby is the greatest catalyst for saving money. Suddenly, you have another human being to feed, clothe, and shelter. I thought I was already being frugal 3 years ago when I had Ashton. But now that he’s about to go to school, the next wave of shock came which is school fees.

Running is free and healthy

This isn’t to say we were not prepared but as Ashton grew, I wanted to spend even more time with him and ensure 500% that he will be provided for in the years to come. Enter the principles of simple living, minimalism, and frugality. Some people say these practices restrict life that is meant to be enjoyed, but for me –

1. Simplicity allows us to simply live, worry less, and marvel at the simple things in life i.e. spending more time as a family

2. Saving money also allows me to have “planned” expenses or “rewards” i.e. hotel staycations

3. Since practicing our frugal tips, we enjoyed even more adventures and discoveries around us

4. Finally, simple living encourages us to be more creative in everyday living

Below is a list I started writing on a piece of paper. I will continue to add to more as  I discover even more ways to save money. So please re-visit regularly. Everyone is free to add to it, just leave your marvelous tip via comments.

Saving Tips for Moms

1. Bring your own water and use the drinking/water stations in food courts

2. Service water instead of bottled water, juices, or soda in restaurants and fast foods

3. Discover cheaper food in food courts

4. Outside the mall, try food stalls, carinderias, or jollijeeps – always check for hygiene and best to bring your own drinking water

5. Bring your own food if possible and cook simple food

6. Bring your own rice if possible

7. Commute if you can and leave early to avoid unplanned expenses

8. Don’t buy if you can borrow

9. Don’t buy new if you can buy old

10. Repair broken or damaged items i.e. clothes, shoes, appliances

11. If you don’t need it, sell it

12. Ask for discounts and negotiate

13. Ask for samples and try before buying. Take your time.

14. Discover your neighborhood bakery, here bread is a lot cheaper but fresher

15. Try hot water instead of coffee. Especially if you’re acidic like me!

16. Use loyalty cards, earn points, and get rewards

17. Plan how to spend your points, rewards, or GCs well

18. Freeze anything

19. Celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, and other events at home

20. Find free entertainment online i.e. documentaries or webisodes on YouTube

21. Buy fresh produce from your neighborhood store or green-thumbed neighbor

22. Bring an eco bag everywhere you go, if eating out – containers for leftovers

23. Collect, sell and recycle junk – paper, cans, plastic bottles, bottles, etc.

24. Take advantage of free activities – parks, sports centers, public playground, etc.

25. When going out, bring a toy for your child instead of buying i.e. ball to play with in the park

26. Have a picnic more often instead of dining out

27. Don’t leave packed catsup, sugar, coffee, creamer or any condiments that goes with your order – use this for your own kitchen

28. Always have loose change so you’re never shortchanged by stores, drivers, and taxi drivers

29. Try store brand products, they are 50% cheaper than normal brands

30. Use and stretch meat by adding more inexpensive ingredients

31. Pork instead of beef, and chicken instead of pork

32. Ground beef or pork over solid meat cuts. They are more flexible and you can use it for more recipes.



Mommy Lace is a blogger from the Philippines. She started this blog to share information on pregnancy, breastfeeding, childcare, family, and health.

Grocery Warehouse Sale – Buying & Saving in Bulk

Following my journey to store brands, I just found new ones to try from Super 8 grocery warehouse. They have increasing number of outlets, frequented by moms who want to buy at wholesale prices and people running sari-sari stores. Didn’t we all dream of having one? For now, I’d be content in storing necessities and start a small stockpile of goods for a (huge) fraction of the normal price.

Buying in bulk can save you money but, to get the most of a grocery warehouses you still need to plan and make a list. You want to buy necessities that quickly run out or often used by everyone in the family. On top of this list are:

1. Condiments – salt, sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, ketchup, etc.

2. Toiletries – tissue paper, paper towels, feminine products, shampoo, soap, etc.

3. Cleaning products – sponges, brushes, dishwashing soap, detergent and other laundry products.

4. Canned goods – sardines, meatloaf, etc.

5. Disposables – I use to hoard baby diapers whenever they were on sale and bought them in boxes

Remember to buy only the things you actually use. Grocery warehouses normally package items in bulk – buying a product for the first time to try (in bulk) isn’t a very good idea.

I’m also checking out Super 8’s Fun Fest this week at the World Trade Center. According to the warehouse, grocery items will be on sale. How rare do I hear those words together! I can finally live my extreme couponing dream. Note there won’t be any coupons but up to 30% discounts. I’m also expecting to see cheaper choices I don’t normally see in the mall grocery.

If you’d also like to go, remember to go on Saturday – March 22 when the Super 8 Fun Fest 2014 it will be open to the public.

Tips for Super 8 Grocery Warehouse Sale & Fun Fest 2014

1. Bring your list and start making it now

2. Tie a calculator around your neck. It will be easier to access and you protect your mobile phone from being lost (since you don’t need to access the calculator through it).

3. Arrive early, anticipate long lines at the cashier and bring lots of patience

4. Look at activities, prizes to be won, and promos. Poster says iPad minis, cars, and motorcycles will be given away. I like participating in short programs to learn new recipes and win some useful product samples.

5. Buy storebrands in bulk and double the savings!

Do you maintain a stockpile? Let me know via comments below and also share your tips to help other money saving moms like us :)

UPDATE: Here is my Super 8 Fun Fest Review. Read to see what I got for P900 and what I got for FREE.

Mommy Lace is a blogger from the Philippines. She started this blog to share information on pregnancy, breastfeeding, childcare, family, and health.

Saving Money with Store Brands like SM Bonus

What store brands? This means generic labeled products. To set a famous example, SM Bonus products you find at the grocery store. As you know, these products are cheaper because they don’t spend on advertising. Plus, the owner of the label is the shop itself. This post will focus on grocery items I’ve tried and have saved me half the price from well-known brands.

SM Bonus Cotton Balls – 50% cheaper than my original brand

I use cotton balls every night for my face. Just last month, I ran out of it and added it to my shopping list. SM Bonus cotton balls was right beside my preferred brand. Surprisingly, SM Bonus version was 50% cheaper and looked the same. Of course, I bought the cheaper one to try and let me tell you, there wasn’t a big difference. Especially, it’s just a cotton ball that you’d use once then throw.

SM Bonus Spaghetti noodles – 50-70% cheaper than branded spaghetti noodles

My family can eat spaghetti everyday and I cook it up to 2-3 times in a month. Just today, I tried SM Bonus spaghetti noodles. First, I was nervous to taste it as it might be bland or end up soggy. But no! It was as perfect as the last brand I used. I can imagine how much as I can save now in this area.

SM Bonus Fish Sauce – 50% cheaper than branded fish sauce

This comes in two versions – premium and the pure type. My aunt said we don’t need the pure type for cooking and premium or normal would do. It was my first time to see two versions of patis! Looking at the shelves, it was 50% cheaper again than our brand. I tasted it and it tasted like any patis should taste like.

SM Bonus bananas

These are actually hard to come by but when you do find bananas with SM Bonus stickers – try them. I liked their taste, size, and most of all – its cheaper price. Very important to save in this area if you blend bananas every morning like me.

SM Bonus produce – onions, garlic, carrots, and more

Look for the label but be meticulous in inspecting the produce for bruises, cuts, etc. Think at how much you use these ingredients and how much you are saving by getting them cheaper.

This isn’t to say that all store brands will save you money. You need to try them to find out, plus always bring a calculator to compare prices per gram, liter, etc.  Also look out for promotions like getting to pick a prize after paying for store brands.

P.S. I will add to this list as I try more products. For more saving tips, check out my ultimate frugal tips for moms.

What store brand products have you tried and will recommend to other moms? Post your tips below! Note this isn’t a paid post. I wish to try other store brands but so far and because of my location – this post was limited to SM Bonus products.

Mommy Lace is a blogger from the Philippines. She started this blog to share information on pregnancy, breastfeeding, childcare, family, and health.