Category Archives: Liza’s Tips

My Mutual Fund Notes

mutual-fund-notesI admit that the first time Mutual Fund was introduced to me three years ago, I did not do my homework.  All I know is that it’s a good investment and I’m aware that I could potentially lose the money I invested in. But even though I know the things I learned now, I would still do the same thing. I know I made the right decision and I’m just glad I did.

Before you continue reading my notes, I  recommend that you read the previous articles I wrote about Mutual Funds below. They may not be comprehensive but I believe these articles tapped important details on how you can get started on Mutual Funds.

Again, I’m no guru in this field and these are so far the things I learned that have changed my insights and open my mind about Mutual Funds.

1. Mutual Funds don’t have insurance. Unlike bank products such as savings and time deposits, mutual funds are not covered by the PDIC. It doesn’t give guaranteed return and you can even lose money along the way. However, it has much higher potential to earn than a regular savings offered by the bank. Take note – higher return means higher risk.

2. Your money doesn’t grow over night. Depending on the kind of mutual fund you choose, the money you invested in Mutual Funds should be something that you won’t need in the next five years or willing to lose. So it’s always a pre-requisite to build your emergency fund and have separate high interest earning savings account first in case of emergency.

3. Set a goal and know how to diversify.  The earning of your investment does not roll over so it it important that you set a goal and diversify to maximize the earning potential of your profit. See this post about Diversification for Beginners.

4. NAVPS. According to Investopedia,  NAVPS is the value of a single unit, or share, of a fund. This figure for a mutual fund is the price at which shares are bought and sold. Because exchange-traded and closed-end funds are listed and traded as stocks, which are subject to market forces, their NAVPS and buying/selling prices per share can be divergent.”  

Depending on your goals and buying/selling strategy, it’s always good to know the NAVPS on a daily basis to keep you updated.

5. Know the amount of risk you can tolerate. I’m very conservative when it comes to money management decision that’s why I started with Balanced Mutual Fund. I don’t want to give it all out even though those are money that I’m willing to lose. I just don’t want this financial decision rob my peaceful sleep. If you do not have such risk-taking ability, it is always better to stick to funds with low-risks involved.

If you are an expert in this field and you find something wrong in my notes, please contact me ASAP so I can immediately correct them. In case you have something to add that is worth sharing, please leave it as comments below.

What is Delayed Gratification?

The Power of Delayed Gratification

It’s just recently that I came to discover the word “delayed gratification”.  The words are now more used by financial gurus in delivering motivational speaks to individuals who want to learn more about saving and investing.

So what is a “delayed gratification”? According to Wikipedia, Delayed gratification, or deferred gratification, is the ability to resist the temptation for an immediate reward and wait for a later reward. Generally, delayed gratification is associated with resisting a smaller but more immediate reward in order to receive a larger or more enduring reward later.

In general, its meaning pertains to the many things in life. And if we associate it to achieving our financial goals, these two words are one of the powerful driving forces that we can still in our mind to discipline ourselves in saving money.  Aside from my ever battle between “wants” and “needs” each time I’m tempted to buy something, I always think of how this little money that I will indulge to a thing that can bring me temporary happiness to me will affect the longevity of happiness I could have when I already achieved my goal.

So if you are really serious about saving and getting your financial goals, think about and practice “delayed gratification”. I bet you,  this mind set will spare you from buying things that you don’t really need for now!


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Gardening at Home Without a Backyard!

Part of me being a frugal is finding means to lessen my expenses. One of the ways I find really interesting, joyful to do and rewarding is gardening. I don’t have a backyard and I only plant on pots at the rooftop where it can get most of the sunlight.  I’m not also an experienced gardener and these are all from seeds of the veggies and fruits we’ve eaten. Thanks to the internet too because of the endless information about gardening.

Little did I know that after almost a year (on and off) since I started, I’m slowly building an edible garden on top of my concrete house. And I don’t have plans of stopping anytime soon despite of the small space. Currently, I have Calamansi, Papaya, Kamatis (tomato), Talong (eggplant),  Bell Pepper and Ampalaya (bitter gourd).

Gardening does not only help you in saving money, it also gives you the freshest harvests and a therapeutic way to spend your free time.

My roofop edible garden

My roofop edible garden

Eggplant on pot

Eggplant on pot

ripened tomatoes

Ripened tomatoes on pot

Ampalaya (Bitter Gourd) on square pots

Ampalaya (Bitter Gourd) on square pots

Credit Card Rebates

Taking Advantage of Credit Card Rebate Programs

They say that credit cards give us a penniless way to buy anything we want, literally. But little did we know that this plastic money, if incorrectly use will bring a lot of financial dilemmas to us. I was once a victim of my own misuse and negligence. And now I learned my lesson well.

It will be sad to know that you arrived here because you’re drowning to your credit card debts. However, Jeff and I are twice as happy that you found us because you’re seeking for some financial pieces of advice. I won’t go to the very details of the problems I encountered before about using my credit card the wrong way. I know that you knew those already.

To give you a background, I previously have 5 credit cards from different banks which are now down to two (Visa and Mastercard).

Citi Cash Back Card – Get up to 5% rebate at all supermarkets and other everyday purchases.

Citibank Cash Back

Citi Rewards Card – Earn Rewards Points from all your dining and shopping purchases worldwide.

Every bank has their own ways to attract customers to get a credit card from them. Prior to resorting of using only these two credit cards, I had several credit card products from Citibank and other banks (no personal promotion here, they didn’t pay or ask me to write this post). One day, I decided to sit down and check my options because I still want and need a credit card. Over other products, I believe that these two credit cards are what I need and will have a great good return to me.

I just switched to Citi Rewards so I still don’t have enough things to share about it . Let me share with you the benefits I got from my Citi Cash Back Card, instead. It’s been my card for a year already but only recently that I was able to maximize its power. I can now literally pay using the money rebates I get each time I use this card.

This statement is my September 2013 statement and as you see, I have accumulated Php 3, 3832.31 and was able to pay my dues using this money. An increment of 500 is needed to redeem the rebate, just a note.

Credit Card Rebates

The annual fee of the card is Php 2,800 and I saved it too because I reached the Php 180,000 required expenditures for one year.

You may be thinking how come a frugal like me would reach Php180,000 expenditures in one year just to be qualified on the waived annual fees and savings. I’m not an extravagant person and this is the result of proper management of credit cards.

Below are the proven techniques on using credit card rebates.

1. As mentioned in my previous posts, I normally allot budget for a month which instead of paying cash, I use my credit card to pay for my buys. So I don’t go over budget, the money allotted will be clipped to the receipt. It’s like I already paid in cash.

2. I enrolled my utility bills. This card has a good rebate program for utility bills.

3. I allow my sisters to ride in my card. Same concept as #1, I would normally insist my sisters to give me their payment then I pay for their purchases using my card.

4. Joined spending forces with my Honey. I was able to enroll a supplementary card for my Honey with no annual fees for life (it’s the card’s program too). We used to pay Php 750 annually for his card’s annual fee which we categorize as extra expenses.  He uses his card the same way I do in #1.

This maybe ridiculous for some but this strategy really works for me. It’s been three consecutive months that I was able to redeem Php1,000 from my dues, totaling of P3,000 rebates and counting. This spare money is saved or sometimes used to buy other things that awaits for the right budget. It took me a while to finally formulate ways to accomplish these things and I’m so happy to finally share it with you.

I personally know some people who completely gave up their credit cards due to debt. For me, despite of past mismanagement, I believe it’s still a  necessary tool.  I’m not just saving, I’m earning from it too. So let’s not blame credit cards for our endless debt, it’s definitely the way we use it. It may sound I’m taking advantage of this tool but it’s the way it should be used.  I’m a good payer and knows my limitations and budget.

Do you have other tips to share to maximize credit cards? Your ways might work for us too. Please share it with us by leaving comments below.

Liza's budgeting envelope

Budgeting With The Help of An Orange Envelope

I’m sure. you’ve met my Shisha – my cool, mouth-zipped, orange piggy bank. Now, you get to meet my friendly orange envelope which is the keeper of my monthly expenses in credit cards and household bills. She doesn’t have a name though. 😛

Liza's budgeting envelope

This envelope is relatively small and almost the size of a long letter envelope in length but it’s expandable and a little larger in height. It’s handy and requires little storage. The lock is just a string.

liza envelopes

I labeled each area with the types of bills to manage them properly. This is where I put the receipts and money that I allotted for each bill. I also have a notebook where I always update my credit card purchases. I used to have 5 credit cards (which I trimmed down to two now – Visa and Mastercard) and these notes are helping me in managing my expenses. Writing down notes maybe be time consuming but it’s definitely beneficial in tracking your budget that involves using credit cards.

credit card receipts

Above is some of the credit card receipts and money attached to it with my notebook in the background (please don’t use stapler, BSP don’t like it =P). So I won’t be over with my monthly budget, I normally buy things I was planned to buy but instead of paying with cash, I use credit card to get points and rebates (which will be another topic) and attached the cash then pile it in my orange envelope. This is what I always do unless I purchased some installment items and have some emergency needs. With installments, my notebook keeps me up to date for the next months due and tells me the best time to buy new installments again.

I know that this does not apply to everybody but I’m hoping that upon sharing this with you, I will be able to help you get started. I’d like to share with you things that works for me. I’ve developed this simple strategy when I started building my house to ensure that I won’t miss any bills which would freak me out in the coming months. Sometimes, I get a change from these payments which I now deposit to Shisha.

Liza's own pork barrel

Meet Shisha

Since the inception of this blog, I have been thinking what could be the topic of my first post. Honestly, I’ve listed down several money saving topics on the side but then, I decided to post about Shisha. (“,)

Liza's own pork barrel

I remember having my first coin bank when I was in Kinder.  Since then I would always buy different coin banks and fill those with the Pamasko’s and excess baon’s I have. I had my last coin bank when I was in my third year college.

When I got my first salary as an IT worker in 2004, I had a hundred peso bill placed inside a book  (I will try to find later and post here) which will serve as a remembrance.  From then on, I tried to save money but for almost two years of working, I remember giving in several times to temptations of buying things which I don’t really need.  Until one day, I got a news that our company has filed a bankruptcy and will soon close.  It was my last day at work.

When I got home and looked at my passbook, I realized that I only had Php 20,000 and that’s all. Suddenly, I woke up to the fact that I no longer have a job and so unsure about how long will it take me to find another one.  I had several financial obligations during that time and somehow worried.  When I got my second job a month after,  I made a pact to myself that I will save money as long as I can.

Yesterday, I decided to buy a new piggy bank which I named Shisha. This will contain all the excess money I have reserved for the bills and whenever I have something left from my personal monthly allowance. This is separate from my savings and emergency funds which are both in the bank. Today, I deposited to her Php150.00 from the change when I paid my PLDT bill. I normally reserve Php 2,000 for PLDT each month.

Until I’m sure where to use the money that I kept in Shisha, her mouth will remain unopened. See the date?