School activities

Holland costume

The little girl is in first grade this school year. She and the rest of her schoolmates will be celebrating the United Nations festivities this coming Saturday. All the first grade students in her school will be wearing traditional Holland garb and we have to buy her costume tomorrow to prepare for the school activity.

You know when I was in grade school there were also a lot of extracurricular activities that I was forced to participate in. I am also aware of the fact that extracurricular activities are good for the mind and body of the students. It’s socialization and a practice on how to be an active part of the community. But in this time when the economy is down and money is hard to come by, I do believe that school administrators should be aware of the economic status of their students. Not everyone can go and buy a costume for the UN festivity. Not all students can go and spend money just to participate in an extracurricular activity. There are priorities that parents should be thinking of and I know too well some of those parents are forced to spend cash meant for paying a bill on their kids’ school activities because they don’t want their kids to be left out. It would have been okay if the UN festivities is the only special occasion the school will hold. They already held other festivities and the kids spent money there as well.

In my opinion, schools should hold less of these activities and focus more on academics. At least three or four festivities with less expenses for the parents would be great.

What do you think?

Traveling and foreign currencies

Going on a vacation means spending money on the currency of the place of your destination. For example, I am currently in Thailand so I am spending Baht where I am now. I wonder… Do you convert your local money into the currency of your destination at your country? Or do you wait until you are at your destination before you exchange your cash?

What I learned in this trip, on the very first few hours that I am here in Thailand, is that it is best to leave your country with your cash converted into the currency of your destination. Most specially if the country of your destination is a non-English country where very few people can speak English fluently. I am not discriminating here, I must say. I am just saying that the language barrier makes it more difficult to transact and understand the rules in banking and foreign exchange here. Plus the fact that conversion rate here is way higher than the conversion rate in my country.

My sister was trying to withdraw money using her international ATM card in several different ATMs here in the Thailand airport but it kept giving back a “transaction is invalid” message. What should have been the money meant to pay for our hotel stay is still in her bank account in our country because she opted to withdraw here thinking the rate would be in our favor and it is easy to transact foreign exchange here.

So that’s a lesson learned for me and my sister. Don’t ever rely solely on the foreign exchange of your destination. As much as possible, prepare everything including the foreign currency of your destination at your own country.

Relying on a single source of income

usdThese days it’s not advisable to just rely on a single source of income. No matter how big that income is, another source should be created.

I know most employees are relying on promotion to increase their income. I did, too. I kept waiting for a promotion, a performance appraisal and bonus, quarterly, mid-year and annual bonuses, 13th month pay, tax refunds. I kept waiting for anything that would add to my paycheck. But then I experienced being without work. No paychecks coming in. No clear source of income in the horizon. I was in a state of panic the whole time I was without work! The longest was three months. I swore that time that I would find another source of income. And I did.

I found blogging. I found out that my love for writing hasn’t diminished over the years. In fact, I missed it so badly I wrote and wrote every single day since I became a blogger. I found that I can earn from all of this. So I put my heart into creating blogs. I socialized with other bloggers and visitors who would leave comments. I visited other blogs and gained inspiration from them. I chose topics I could write about and stuck to it.

And you know what? I haven’t felt happier in my work life! I was working a nine to five job while blogging and earning a bit on the side. Writing and earning from it… that’s more than what I asked for! I felt free financially and my fear of losing my job was lifted from my overburdened shoulders. I now have a second source of income.

But I made a mistake along the way. I quit the corporate world. I concentrated on writing. I forgot that having a second (or third, fourth and so on) source of income is freedom. It meant having less worries that no matter if one of the sources dried out, there’s still another source to rely on.

So now I am creating another source of income. I won’t say yet what it is as I am still in the process of creating the source but this is my advice to all of you breadwinners out there… DO NOT rely on a single source of income! Make sure there is another one ready to take the place of your primary source. Make sure you have a second, third, fourth and many sources of income, if possible. It will give you the financial freedom you need.

Trust me. Been there, done that.

Someone won the 6/55 draw already!

Somebody already won the most coveted prize bag this side of the planet… the 741M pesos Grand Lotto 6/55 draw! According to ABS-CBNNews.com, a lone bettor won last night, getting the winning numbers 11-16-42-47-31-37.

741 million pesos! Can you just imagine how much money is that? Can you even imagine how you’re going to count that much money if you have it in cash?!?

If I was the one who won that much money, I already know what to do with it. 70% will be divided among my dad, my siblings and I. 10% will go to a common fund for traveling. The rest will be divided among relatives, really good friends, and charity, the cancer institute in particular. It would have benefited a lot of people but it’s not really meant to be mine. I do hope the person who got the prize is someone worthy and will use the money for good.

I also hope that it’s not the president who won. Imagine this, just when he took over the PCSO that’s when someone won the prize money. Hmm… just thinking out loud, okay? 😉

What will you do if you won that much money, huh?

The danger of being a co-maker in a loan

I did a stupid thing five years ago: I became a co-maker in a co-worker’s loan. It was an act of kindness. Loans were extended to the employees of the company I was working for and since we’re in the Finance department, we were prioritized by the bank. So to race ahead of other employees, we signed loan forms right away. Since there were only four of us in Finance back then, we asked one another to become co-makers of each other. I was just unlucky to become the co-maker of this former staff of mine.

I, along with the other two of my Finance team, already paid the loan within the payment period given to us. Only one is still unpaid to date. My former staff, the one whose loan I was the co-maker of.

I thought she was able to pay off the loan two years ago. Apparently, after the last time I saw her, she stopped paying. Until I got a call yesterday from a lawyer handling her loan. This time around, I was lucky because my former staff is now working for one of my good friends. I was able to track her down easily. Today, she paid a percentage of her loan. I am monitoring her payments this time around. I was stupid not to have done this a long time ago. This time around, I won’t be the stupid one anymore.

I have an unsolicited advise to all of you (one I know most of you already know way back when): don’t be a co-maker to a loan! Because chances are, you will end up the loser in the whole deal. Unless, of course, you know the capacity of the person you are co-making a loan with. Otherwise, save yourself the headache and DON’T!

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