The cost of freedom.

rental
Image Credit

When the neighborhood where we used to live became too much for us, we decided to sell our house and move somewhere else. It was not an easy decision since we grew up in that place, it was also the place where my parents spent their childhood. But the new neighbors brought a lot of issues with them that our peace of mind kept being threatened daily. We did everything to prevent us leaving that house we loved so much but it became a priority for us to keep our sanities intact so we left.

It took us quite a while before we were able to find a buyer. We pushed back on the idea, thought of getting a custom home builder to turn our old house into a sound-proof one. Just a day or two after talking about it, we were back to finding a buyer. When we finally found one, it took us less than a month to find a rental. We moved out of our old house and moved into the rental in a week’s time.

There are a number of concerned relatives who told us to find a new permanent home because we are wasting our money in rental payments. I refused to believe that. You know what we are paying for in this rental home we have been living in for the past few years? Peace of mind. Tranquility. Security. Accessibility.

It had been years that we tolerated the noise and nightly ruckus of our previous neighbors. We had enough of those, especially now that we have two kids, nephews, with us. The rental payments are nothing since it translated to our freedom! That is the best thing that our move brought us. We were free from all those issues that made our blood boil almost daily back then. We were wasting so much money going out whenever we could. We would frequent the malls. For those of us working nine to fives, we would stay as late as we could so as to avoid going home early. We would feel guilty leaving our Dad at home, taking care of the house and the dogs. It was such a mess back then! No amount of cajoling, demands, and everything in between worked with our neighbors. In the end, we surrendered and it was the best thing that we decided on and did.

The rental home we moved into? It was an old three-storey house located in a busy street. It is by a big road. Old floor boards, big windows, a tiny kitchen, and two rooms. Not enough space but the rent is reasonable and the neighbors are peaceful and quiet like us. It is so tranquil that most of the time we feel like just lounging and doing nothing. Netflix and reading with lots of eating in between are the best in this house! We can come and go as we like. We can even have deliveries at night without the need to walk past neighbors chitchatting at their doors and looking at us like we were gluttons for eating late at night.

Ah, freedom.

There really is no price for it. And rentals, it can be assets, too. Just like ours.

Continue Reading

A home upgrade in this crisis: doable or not?

home-upgrade Like any other large family out there, our family also struggle with space. Currently, our home is a three-storey, fully-functional old structure that we first rented out before we purchased it. The ground floor is being used as home office, the second floor as dining and living area combined, and, the third floor has the bedrooms. What we love about the old house is that every space inside it is being utilized by every member of our family. No space is wasted.

So, why the thought of upgrading the house, then?

This side of the world was put in lockdown back in March 2020. Scary times. Also, being stuck inside, it became a time when you zoomed in every little thing at home. Number one thought: why haven’t someone from the family noticed how cramped we are with the space we have now? Every sound echoes and can be heard in your meetings and online classes. Every space is being occupied by computer tables/desks, laptops, printers, and even writing areas. With three kids in the family and a couple of adults all in Zoom meetings every few hours, the cramped space is making us crazy!

Thus, the thought of an upgrade. Several considerations have to be discussed amongst family members, of course. Finances, for one. Timeline. And, there’s also the matter of a temporary house for everyone while the upgrade is being done. If you are considering a home upgrade like us, here are three considerations we are currently mulling over.

Financing the home upgrade. These are scary times to be shelling out our hard-earned money but this is also a time when banks and other lending institutions are lenient in loans. Why not take advantage of it? Interest rates are down, amortizations are more affordable. We are actually considering a home remortgage. Remortgage the house to upgrade and repay it in a couple of years. One idea is to use the space above the garage. We can convert it into two rooms to be used for online classes of the kids. Another idea is to put up a fourth floor which will give us ample space a room for home office and two rooms for online classes. We are tossing the ideas and we have been computing, using a mortgage calculator.

With the budget for the upgrade secured, how long will it take for the construction to finish? Timeline is another big consideration. Time is money. The time for the upgrade to complete is the money we will have to spend. We are also reading up on help with the home upgrade. We are weighing the pros and cons of a bigger budget and shorter timeline, or a smaller budget and longer timeline.

A temporary shelter for all of us should the upgrade begin. We are a large family consisting of six adults and three kids. Work and school will be interrupted with the internet connection being affected, plus, the noise of a home construction will cause havoc in our online meetings. This is another consideration being weighed by the adults in the family. We might rent out a house temporarily or stay with a relative but it will put a dent on the upgrade budget.

This pandemic has put so many things into perspective. That is one positive outcome of the lockdown, being inside the house 24/7. You see issues and you find ways to solve it. Every problem is now being zoomed in because we all have time, and that’s great, if you think about it.

So, is a home upgrade in this crisis doable? Yes, I believe it is. Just make sure the whole family is on board the idea and every little aspect will be discussed and decided on.

Continue Reading

Thinking Out Loud…

I have this idea of creating either a new blog (new domain and all) or a sub-page of this blog of mine.

What do you think?

thoughts
Image Credit

Two ideas for specific topics I have in mind:

Architecture: Interior design included.

Entertainment: specifically, Netflix movie, TV series, documentary reviews. And something about books!

Maybe, I’ll go for new domains. Fresh start and all.

We’ll see.

Stay tuned!

Continue Reading

Blogging, A Lifestyle

blogging
Image Credit

When I think of blogging, three significant contributions that it brought to my life come to mind: a creative outlet, a passive income, and a brand-sharing platform.

Blogging as a creative outlet.
If you are the type of person who love to write down their thoughts, blogging is one of the perfect platforms for you to do just that. You can share your thoughts not only to those who know you but also to others who will come across your blog. If you love to share your opinions and observations on just about anything, you can use a blog so you can be heard.

When I began blogging back in 2003, I just wanted an escape from all the stresses and frustrations of my life. When I feel burdened by life, I would write it down. Blog entry after blog entry, I would tell whoever would come to read my blog about what was happening in my life. I would also write essays about topics dear to my heart. Home and family, money matters, health and lifestyle. Blogging became a creative outlet for me and a way for me to escape reality even for a few minutes or hours in a day.

Blogging as a source of passive income.
A computer in good working condition, a decent internet connection, a few hours a day. You need it to be able to establish your presence online. Create a blog, write blog entries on topics you have knowledge of, and establish yourself as a source of information on those topics. Make sure that you are sharing information that are backed by facts. Then, find legitimate sites where you can earn through blogging.

I am an accountant by profession. I have a nine to five job that I love and pays well. But I have this idea in my mind that I cannot rely on a single source of income. I need to have another source, a passive income. And since I have been blogging when I am not doing accounting work, what better source of passive income but this side hustle I’ve been spending time on!

And blogging has been so good to me these past several years. I have earned a lot from doing something that I love and it is amazing, to say the least. I was able to send my youngest sibling to college with the money I earned from sharing my views about products and services on the web. And blogging continues to be the source of passive income for me to date.

Blogging as a brand-sharing platform.
This is in connection to blogging as a source of passive income. With blogging, you can share to the world wide web all the brands you patronize. You can review products and share it in your blog. That is one of the ways that I earn from blogging. Over the years, I have become an influencer through all the products and services that I share with my audience. You need to be authentic in the reviews you post for you to become an influencer. Your content has to be legitimate.

I can proudly say that my audience know the quality of my blog posts. They know what kind of blogger I am and how the quality of content, the authenticity of my reviews, have remained the same throughout the years.

Continue Reading

Slowly easing into the new normal.

Life is slowly going back to normal now that vaccines are being administered to almost every person around the world. The “new normal”, as most call it. We go about our daily routine but with face masks on and doubly cautious of every step we take. We can still get infected with the virus, yes, but with proper care and caution, we can go out of the house like we used to. No, we can’t go to salons and spas yet. Those places are just too risky to go to right now. But we can get the services of a professional for auto body repair Woodbridge so our vehicles are in tip-top shape. We can also go to places of worship, malls, and other places we used to avoid during lockdown, but still with extra caution.

new-normal
Image Credit

When the pandemic broke out, we were not prepared. We were jolted out of our existence into a period of our lives we only read about in school textbooks. All of a sudden, we were told to stay inside our homes and to avoid going out unless absolutely necessary. We were told to wear facemasks which we only see being worn by medical personnel. We were told to disinfect, use alcohols or any sanitizer effective on viruses. Tissues, paper towels, and wipes were flying out the shelves because people were anxious to stock up on anything that could fight off the virus. It was a period of chaos and we were afraid.

It is a good thing that humans are made with a built-in resiliency. Majority of us can easily bounce back from any setback. We fall down but get back up to dust our selves off. We are born to withstand whatever life throws our way. Of course, not everyone can bounce back no matter how much they want to. But we give it our best shot, fight until we can.

A woman’s parents tested positive with the virus. The Dad turned out okay but the Mom was hospitalized. She is still in the intensive care unit, fighting for her life. The virus turned out not only to be life-threatening but also a huge money pit. The medical bill is piling up, every person in the family has been contributing hugely just to cope up with all the payables. They are also now raising fund, asking friends and relatives for any amount. It is heartbreaking to see them struggling. I am sure majority of those infected by the virus and hospitalized are experiencing the same scenarios right now.

As we slowly ease into the “new normal” let us remember the lessons this pandemic has taught/still teaching us. Value the people who love you, especially your immediate family. Spend time with those who truly matter. Save! It is always best to have a fund for periods such as these.

We really don’t know what life will bring so we better be prepared, even 75% prepared, to battle it out with whatever comes along.

Continue Reading

An ace up the sleeve.

ace-IT What do we do if we know that competition is stiff? We reveal an ace up our sleeves! To be able to do that, you need to actually have an ace up your sleeve, and by an ace I mean something that will make you outshine your competition.

This is exactly why IT people should learn more about isaca spoto. SPOTO, which stands for Service, Professional, Outstanding, Teamwork and Obtain, is focused on IT certifications like CISCO examinations. You know you are partnering with professionals who are very much adept and knowledgeable in cutting-edge technology and who can help you with those IT certifications you need in your portfolio.

Most people would try to make it on their own. They would review for their isaca cism exam and think that they would make it without the help of professionals. A small push from people who know can give you a much-needed drive and motivation to do much better than you can imagine. You can pass the exams in your first try simply because you have the best help you can get. With SPOTO, you can practice with 100% real exam practice tests in a 100% real exam environment. A 100% passing guarantee is what you get with teams of professional tutors helping you review.

So, when you think of getting a guide to the isaca cism certification, go to SPOTO. Join and get certified in no time! You know that an IT certification will surely give you the edge you need to win over your competition. And an IT certification can be your negotiating tool in getting an increase in your compensation and benefits package in the company you are working for.

These days, if you want to become a better worker, someone valuable to the company you are working for, you need to improve yourself. You need to have a portfolio of your achievements and certifications.

Continue Reading

Setting up parental controls.

computer-internet Kids these days are expert in gadgets and the internet. They already know which is which and whatnot in order to play their favorite video game or watch that viral video on YouTube. Even a three-year-old kid can operate a tablet all on his own.

But we all know the dangers lurking in every corner of the world wide web. We all know that there are predators out there disguising themselves as kids the same age as ours in order to gain their trust before going for the kill. The internet is such a dangerous place for our kids to be in without our guidance and protection. So, how can we do that? Through setting up parental controls.

What is parental controls? You tinker with your settings in any gadget, tablet or laptop, in order to put control on what your child can see online. Parental control and privacy settings are best friends when it comes to protecting your child from what he can experience online.

A side note: If you cannot do it yourself, there is always a group of IT support team Toronto you can ask help from. It was the same thing we did for our home since we have our own network of gadgets we use and two internet service providers we connect to.

A child has this natural curiosity to explore things, especially what they see from others. Your kid can see you using the internet and his curiosity will likely get going just by that. We all want our kids to explore, learn, and be amazed by how big the world is right at their fingertips. But we also want to make sure that they are safe and protected while doing it. Who does not want a safe online experience for the little ones?

So, get that gadget your kid is using. Go to settings and you will most likely see a parental control button you can click on. If not, check online whether your gadget brand has it. Again, if you cannot do it, you can ask an IT expert to help you out. Just make sure you know exactly what will be done to the gadget so you know how to navigate the controls.

We used to say that we will not let our kids use gadgets until they turn a certain age. I believe it is not applicable anymore considering how we are all so dependent on technology already. Technology is now part of our way of life, every one of us. But since we are aware of how predators lurk in every corner of the web, we can do something about it in order for our kids to explore on their own and still be safe while doing it.

Parental controls. Read about it. Learn how to do it. And use it for your own peace of mind.

Continue Reading

Managing anxiety.

Two co-workers are suffering from anxiety disorder ever since the lockdown last year. It was triggered by the retrenchment of a number of co-workers who were told to walk because the company needed to stay afloat. They were victims of the cost-cutting measures implemented by management. The two ladies thought they would be retrenched as well, and there is still a chance they might should this pandemic would not let up. Every time there is a meeting being called, you could see the two of them zoning out, their anxiety being triggered once again.

anxiety The thing is, it is not easy to fight off anxiety especially in these trying times. All we can do is manage it in such a way that it would not destroy our sanity and for it to eventually go away.

Let me share my experience with anxiety and how I am able to manage it.

Deep breaths and naps. Anxiety can make you feel like the world is about to end. It can feel like you are about to die or that a heart attack is inevitable. If you start feeling this way, take several deep breaths until you feel yourself calming down. Focus on a happy thought, or something you are positively looking forward to. It will help in taking your mind off the panic attack you are experiencing.

Also, take naps. No matter what time of the day, if you feel like you need to take time off from reality, just take a nap and you will wake up feeling refreshed and ready to take on the world again.

Compartmentalize. One thing I learned from being the breadwinner and emotional reliever of my family is that you can put into boxes some things so you do not feel overwhelmed. Whatever I needed to tackle, I face it first, and push the others at the back of mind for the time being.

Delegate, get experts, don’t do everything on your own. That toronto SEO agency is there to help you with your online presence. You do not need to do everything on your own because it is another trigger to anxiety. Get an expert. Remember, anxiety is more costly. Delegate. Someone else can do it, too.

Maintain a healthy lifestyle. Eating well-balanced meals, exercising, limiting alcohol and caffeine intake, getting enough sleep. These are just some of the things you can do in order to become healthy. Being healthy and active will surely take your mind off the triggers to your anxiety disorder.

Pray and do your best. I do believe in the power of prayer. I have had several panic attacks in the past. I was the breadwinner and I always panic whenever I found myself low on funds. Over the yeas, I realized that praying and just doing my best helped me in overcoming every panic attack I have ever had.

Mental well-being is very important. Anxiety attacks are common these days but we do not need to give in to it. There is always a way for us to manage it and make it go away.

Also, seek medical help.

Continue Reading

Restrictions on traveling.

travel-pandemic
Image Credits

Along with other industries, the airline industry took a nosedive during the pandemic lockdown. Until now, traveling has been strictly for essentials only. There are health protocols that need to be followed, travel restrictions that need to be implemented, and quarantine rules and regulations that need to be observed. It has become one of the biggest source of disappointments for a majority of individuals. Can you imagine a number of travel bookings already arranged and ready to be used, then, all of a sudden, no traveling allowed. All the ones that could be rebooked would have to be rebooked, rescheduled, or refunded. It is a lot of hassle, to say the least.

Here are three things you can do to distract yourself while waiting for the travel restrictions to be lifted.

Get those repairs at home done. Instead of wasting away your time checking and re-checking your airline schedule, why not line up all those repairs that need to be attended to in your home. Line up all the parts of the house that needs maintenance. Get a professional to check what needs to be done. That door lock replacement you have been putting off? Now, is the time to do it. Yes, there is an emergency locksmith Toronto professional that you can call anytime but it is still best to get the lock replaced as soon as you find it faulty. The same goes for all the other necessary repairs at home.

Start that activity you have always wanted to get on. Gardening, crocheting, yoga. We all have that one activity we have always wanted to get on board but do not really have the time to really do. This is the right time to get on board that activity you have always had in mind. Check online if there is an organization offering free lessons, or if it is not free, check those that you can afford. You can also do some DIY lessons through instructional videos. There are many ways for you to get on that much needed activity to get your mind off this pandemic.

Spend quality time with your love ones. Notice how we always say that we want to spend more time with our love ones but we always use work and other things as an excuse not to? Now that majority are stuck at home, there are no excuses anymore not to say hello to family members we have not been seeing in a while. We can do so via video calls, or even a traditional phone call will do. Say hi, ask how everyone is doing, take time to really listen to how your parents are faring in this pandemic. Bond with your own family. Put down the phone, turn off all gadgets, and spend hours just talking and listening to one another.

This pandemic has not given us only bad things but there are also some good thrown our way. We just need to sort through it to see. The biggest positive this pandemic has brought to us… time.

Continue Reading

A steady passive income.

This pandemic has taught us so many things but the uppermost is that we should have a steady passive income from which we can build a fund for emergencies such as the lockdown that happened last year. Several co-workers were retrenched because the company was in dire straits. We needed to cut costs to be able to stay afloat and not close shop like what so many other companies did.

passive-income
Image Credit

My brother is looking for used tire for sale and it made me think of a car repair shop. My Dad used to own one but it folded and closed shop when someone in the family got sick and we needed the money to pay for his hospital bills. My Dad liquidated his business to use for the hospitalization. But we grew up around that shop so my siblings and I know how to run one. Plus, I am an accountant by profession so it would be easy for us to set up shop again and start that kind of business from ground up. It will become a steady source of passive income for my siblings and I because we do not really plan to quit our nine to five jobs.

Another idea is to go ahead with the plan to put up an online shop for our handmade candles. It has been months since this idea came up but I am really busy so my sister and I put a hold on it for now. My sister has been testing, researching, polishing processes. She is also completing documents so we can register our company very soon. This will be a work-in-progress for now but very soon, I am sure it will come to fruition. This business idea excites me the most because it was a long-standing dream of my sister and I to dabble in candle and soap-making. We love the idea of making something out of our own hands and for others to use the product for their enjoyment and relaxation.

These are just two ideas of our family on how to have a steady passive income flowing into the family coffers. We want to build a sizable egg nest in preparation for old age and also for the little ones. The idea also is to have them grow into businesses and not rely solely on paychecks like what we have been doing for how many years now. We want them to learn that it is totally fine to be an employee but it is so much better if there is a business that they can grow and earn so much from.

This pandemic really made us think and look back to some goals that we have set aside in the past years. Now, more than ever, is the right time to begin working towards those goals again. If not for us, for the little ones in our family. For their future.

Continue Reading