Budgeting repairs and maintenance.

Rickety steps. Leaky faucets. Uneven flooring. And a million other things inside the house in need of repair or maintenance. Ugh!

There are two things that are crucial in fixing or maintaining something at home: a reliable professional and a sizable budget. Do you agree?

It all started when we are discussing about how to fix driveway interlocking before winter. My sisters and I want everything secure and safe at home more for the kids than for us. The discussion turned from the driveway to the garage door to the main door barrel bolt lock. After locks, CCTV made a grand entrance in our discussion. It was one topic after another, all related to securing our home.

Then, came the ceiling, faucets, flooring, and a million more items on our list of things in need of repair or maintenance in our house.

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When we moved into this house several years ago, it was already an old house. In good condition but old. We loved the house instantly because the neighbors were quiet, the house sitting along a wide road so there is not much interaction with annoying neighbors which we were very unfortunate to encounter in our old residence. The rickety old house was perfect for us!

Over the years, one by one, the things that need fixing made itself known. It started with the pipes in the laundry area. We fixed it by replacing the old pipes. Then, the leaky shower heads. All of it were replaced as well. Then, leaky faucets, a broken bathroom sink, and toilet flush acting up. All of it were replaced.

Truth be told, replacing the old fixtures is totally fine with us. The budget of fixing those things is quite sad. We are all earning good salaries but the bills and everything else together with the repairs and maintenance are putting a dent into our savings. My sisters and I were discussing setting aside a budget account in the bank so we can deposit to it every payday. Then, in summer, we will hire a good professional company to come fix whatever needs fixing and to maintain whatever needs some tender loving care in the house. No more sporadic repairs this time around. If it is a small repair, then it’s fine. We can dip into the budget account. If it will require time and money, then we need to schedule it when we have enough.

There are days when we scratch our heads in unison after huge sighs of frustration. Old house means lots of tender loving care needed. And TLC means budget needed most of the time. But we love this house! It saved us from that old neighborhood when we needed a dramatic rescue from it. This house has blessed us with so much more than we expected from it, and it continues to bless us in unexpected ways.

So, off we save for that summer repair scheduie.

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Dating can be just for fun!

singleOne of my aunts posted this in her Facebook timeline a few hours ago. It says that if you can’t find true love, be a single for life in peace. And I totally agree! If there is really no one destined to be with me until I grow old, then, it is totally okay. I am at peace with being single for the rest of my life.

But that does not mean I will limit myself. I am still open to meeting other people. I am open to try video dating for fun because why not? Right? Being at peace with singlehood does not mean we single ladies are against dating. Meeting single men is fun. A date may not end up to be your special someone but the date can become a friend. The date can become a start of a network of people you can tap when you need a sale for your work or business. Am I right?

There was a time when I was still in my early 30’s when a co-worker kept asking me for dinner or to watch a movie. I kept saying no because that was the time when I decided that being a wife and mother is not for me. I thought that if I went on a date with the co-worker it would open up marriage again for me when it could have been just two co-workers enjoying each others’ company.

womanI think society’s dictating to us that when we date, it would naturally develop into a relationship. It should, for some. When we’re young, we get pressured by people around us to date seriously, to consider each date to be a potential life partner, the one. I personally witnessed two broken families because the man and the woman just got pressured by their parents to get married when they were really doubting their relationship already. One marriage got dissolved because the husband was having an affair. The other marriage got dissolved because the man got addicted to gambling, loving his time with friends than with his wife and kids. Dating with pressure from everyone around them to turn it into a long-term relationship when they should have chosen to get to know each other very well first.

As we grow older, most of us know better now. Dating can be just for fun! Meeting people, having a drink or two, maybe a meal to go with that or a movie, and a few laughs. Too bad if it’s a bad date. That one can still be a great source of story to tell the young ones in the future. Nothing to be wasted really. Date and just chill! Don’t let others pressure you into going into a relationship no matter how much you like your date.

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Perks of being an influencer.

Ayana is an influencer. She is not yet getting payments from her gigs yet but she is getting tons of products from different companies connected with the group she is a part of. Ayana is being egged by her friends to treat them to an out-of-town trip, preferably to the beach. Three days and two nights beginning on Friday is perfect for them since all five of them have nine to five jobs to go back to by Monday. Ayana acquiesced to the suggestion.

She got her van checked to make sure it is in good condition before they drive it out of the city. Good thing she was able to shop used winter tires so she has spare tires she can bring with them in case they would need a replacement.

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Since she is an influencer, she was able to use it in order to save on the following: accommodation, meals, water activities, and swimwear.

The beach resort Ayana was able to book for her and her friends has villas good for large groups. She talked to the manager of the resort and was able to convince them that in exchange for accommodations, she will promote their resort in her social media accounts. She also guaranteed them that they will take beautiful photos in order to post to all their social media accounts to attract other travelers to book their stay with them.

A local online food seller wanted to be featured digitally in order to gain more customers. Ayana was able to talk to the seller and in exchange for providing them meals for three days, she and her friends will promote her online shop in all their social media accounts.

The same thing happened in getting new swimwear and booking water activities. In exchange for digital promotion, they will be given free swimwear and will be booked water activities near the resort.

These days, there are so many perks of being a digital influencer. I have a cousin and two friends who are all influencers and would post products they have tried almost daily in order to encourage others to try it as well. No, they don’t do video blogging. They just do social media posts, mostly, in Facebook and Instagram. Those are the platforms I see them the most.

I remember when I was very active in attending blogging events. I was given sample products in exchange for a simple, short review in my blog. I said yes to some, no to most. The rule that I follow is that I will review the products that I actually used that’s why I said no to most of the samples.

Being an influencer, though… makes me think of being one now.

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The family room.

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I was watching a reality show of a popular Korean pop group when an idea suddenly popped in my head. Tada! I will convert a spare room in the ground floor to a family room! It is the perfect time to get a new mattress in winter and the idea is to put it in that spare room so that when any member of the family just want to lay down to play, read or just sleep, there’s something to lay down on.

Our family is a large one. We live under one roof. I have four siblings and one is already married. His family, wife and two kids, are also living with us. It is one chaotic household but we have our fun moments. I guess it is my parents’ influence on us that we stick together no matter what. We are just fortunate that we have a large, three-storey house. My brother’s family lives in the third floor. The rest of us in the ground and second floors. We one spare room in the ground floor which used to be Dad’s room. He passed away in March of last year so that room has been unused for more than a year already. I think it’s time to make use of it again.

Here are three ideas that I have for that family room.

A big mattress on the corner floor. As I’ve said, it is for anybody in the family who just wants to lay down. I think it will be used mostly by me and our youngest sister who love to lay down and browse social media. In my case, I love watching clips of my favorite Kpop groups in Facebook.

A huge television on the wall facing the mattress. Netflix is a big thing in our home. We love watching series together. In the beginning of the pandemic, just after our Dad passed away, one way to divert our attention from the grief of losing our Dad was through watching popular Korean drama series. Crash Landing On You and What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim were two of the first series we watched in Netflix. It really helped us lessen the grief we were going through that time.

Up until now, we still watch movies, series, and documentaries in that streaming app. It is a very effective tool in passing time especially when in lockdown.

A long fold-in-half table with two desktop computers. I have two nephews. One is turning eight next month, the other is turning four next month as well. The older one love playing Roblox with his schoolmates. My youngest sister also loves playing video games with her school friends. So, two desktops where both can play their video games is another idea that popped in my head while planning the family room.

I am also thinking of bean bag chairs, several throw pillows, blankets, and mellow lights. I will start transforming the room before the nephews’ birthdays next month. I can’t wait for it to be transformed into our family room!

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In between jobs.

Many individuals right now are in between jobs. It’s a fact. A friend of mine who used to work for an events company is now working part-time for an insurance provider. A cousin’s wife had to resign from her job at a car dealership company because she had fewer and fewer sales deals closed. She is now working part-time for an insurance provider as well.

It’s not easy finding yourself in between jobs. You find yourself worrying nonstop about tomorrow, your dwindling finances, your family or someone relying on you for financial support. Your confidence level goes from ten to below five, especially when you find yourself not getting calls from human resources of companies you are applying at. I should know because I’ve been in the same situation twice or thrice in the past.

Can I suggest three things you can focus on while in between jobs?

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Tinker around the house. Check all your appliances. There might be one or two you need to bring to an expert who knows how to fix home appliances in Brampton. Make sure everything is working fine and in good condition. Repair, maintain.

While you are at it, check all electrical outlets around your house. Make sure nothing’s out of place. And cables, ties, and everything that needs checking from time to time, do it now while you don’t have anything else to occupy your time. My suggestion: do it from nine to five, just like when you are in the office. It will make you feel productive and will leave you with a good sense of accomplishment.

Find a new avenue of income. There are a number of individuals who discovered their passion when the pandemic began, fueled by their need to earn while stuck at home, unsure of the future.

Baking, crafting, online selling of goods, and so much more. I’ve seen it from relatives and friends who discovered they have knack for business just a year ago. A friend discovered she is really good at baking gooey oh-chocolate-y cookies. Another friend discovered that she can do so many things with her cricut machine. She’s now selling seasonal crafts. A relative learned how to do eyebrow shaping, threading, and microblading. She just opened an eyebrow clinic with an older relative of hers. Can you imagine the possibilities? You are stuck at home doing nothing much and then suddenly you discovered just how good you are at something.

Improve your craft. And by that, I mean improve your knowledge of your profession. Attend free webinars. Take advantage of the free time and enroll in a short course. Learn a certain gray area of your profession you’ve always wanted to know more about. Improve the mastery of your skills!

There are so many things you can do with your spare time so as not to dwell on any negative thoughts and emotions. Divert your attention. Focus on something you can use for the future. In between jobs doesn’t mean you will wallow in self-pity and blame everyone for your predicament. Look at it as a blessing in disguise. You never know what’s in store for you in these crazy times.

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A useful housewarming gift.

A family friend and her whole family, husband and three kids, are finally moving to a house that they can call their own. It is a decent size house that they got outside the city. They are excited to move in it because they lightinghave been renting since the wedding.

We were one of the first ones to be told of the move. We live near each other so they thought it would be best to tell us they will be moving out in a month’s time. I talked to my siblings about it and we came up with the idea to give them a housewarming party. We are going to talk to the eldest kid so she can be our accomplice in the intimate party we are planning to throw for them. I also came up with the idea of asking common friends if they want to chip in so we can give the family something they can use for their new home. My suggestion is aesthetically great lighting. It came to me when the wife was asking me about appliance repair experts in Oshawa. They have a few items at home that they needs checking and repairing so I thought why not give them something that we all know they will find useful when they move in to their new home. Everything is in place and we already talked to some common friends who chipped in so we can buy lighting for their kitchen and dining area.

If you are also planning to throw a party or buy a gift for someone moving into their new home, here are two housewarming gift ideas if you are under budget constraints.

Rugs

There are different kinds of rugs you can get for the house. I am thinking about the ones you can use to wipe your feet on and the ones you can use to wipe surfaces in the kitchen. These household items are the ones you don’t think of when you go shopping but something that is most needed especially when there are visitors around. I am saying this based on experience. It is always handy to have a couple of rugs around the house.

Believe me, it may not be something grand to bring to a housewarming party but the rugs you will give are the items that will be most used on everyday normal life inside the house.

Plants

Indoor plants that clean the air are the best to bring to a housewarming party. It will be most appreciated, believe me. With so many people suffering from allergies, asthma, and other similar illnesses, it is best to have something inside the house that will clean and purify the air naturally.

There are snake plant, spider plant, peace lily, weeping fig, and so many others that you can buy for inside the house. You can ask your plant vendor the best one you can buy that doesn’t need to much care and sunlight.

There are other great housewarming gift ideas but the two I mentioned are the ones best for me.

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A new avenue of work.

The virus that hit the world brought so much sadness and misfortune to a majority of the people affected by it. But there are those who found their calling and hit the jackpot in this pandemic we are all in. One of those people is studioa friend of mine. She lost her job middle of last year. She was devastated when the company she was working for the past couple of years closed shop. Bankruptcy. She immediately looked for a new job but since a lot of people lost their jobs, too, competition was really stiff. After a month of job hunting, she was forced to accept the fact that a new source of income was needed.

She started baking cakes for birthdays. Cupcakes and pastries, too. She, also, started an arts and crafts studio, heated floors for winter, where she wraps gifts beautifully for others. It was the start of her online shop which now includes seasonal decors as well as distressed tables and chairs. She recently joined Etsy where she sells majority of her products and services. Income is not as steady as when she has a nine to five job but it’s more than enough to cover her bills and then some.

More than a decade ago, I found myself in a dilemma. I wanted to concentrate on my online work but I was afraid of letting go of my job. I was earning so much online but I think being an employee, earning every 15th and end of the month, is easier than to risk it and focus on going freelance. It took me a year before I finally decided to go freelance and concentrate on online work. It was scary in the beginning but when income started pouring in steadily, I gained confidence in my decision. I stayed freelance for about a decade before I decided to go back to the corporate world.

I think that each of us has this survival instinct embedded in our psyche. When we are thrust into a difficult situation our instincts will naturally kick in. We find ways in order to survive just like what happened to my friend. Especially if there are love ones who rely on us, we’d be quicker to find a new avenue of work in order to replace the one that we lost.

In my case, when I felt that online work was not giving me the same amount of income as when I started, I slowly disengaged from it. I picked up where I left off in my corporate life and, luckily for me, it was not as hard as I thought it would be.

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