Frugal Honey

My Financial Journey

Election Day Ramblings

It saddens me that I don’t write for this blog as frequent as I used to. The culprit is yoga.

I used to block off my Saturday mornings for developing and writing blogposts, thus, I was able to churn out a least two posts a month. But now Saturday mornings are for yoga and I honestly don’t know where to sneak in writing for my blog. I must reassess my schedule though since I really don’t want to give up this blog and I have so many half-composed posts milling around in my head.

Another thing that bothers me is the repeated questions on Manila Bankers Life Insurance, questions that can be answered just by reading the post. I have half a mind to just post a nasty “Hindi ka ba nagbabasa?!” reply but then I think twice and remind myself that they were already victimized and that I should be more empathetic to their predicament. It’s really a good thing that I only go through comments when I’m in a good mood, otherwise, meet Mother Dragon.

Third thing on my list is the realization that while I’m a conscientious payer of bills and debts, I’m not as diligent when it comes to saving. It’s so easy to pay off bills because they’re scheduled and already factored into my budget, but it’s not the same with savings and investments.

Debt and bill payments are usually on top of my financial priorities because the repercussions of not settling them do not sit well with me. But now that I’ve almost paid off all my personal loans, I now have the good problem of deciding what to do with my extra cash.

The financial rockstar way would be to pour all of that cash towards one of our mortgage and then once one is fully paid off, to work towards decimating the second mortgage. In that way, both mortgages (which are now below Php1,000,000) will be gone in less than 2 years.

But our 11-year old starter car is starting to show its age, hence the need to save up money for a downpayment for a new or new-to-us car and then make room in our budget for a year’s worth of car payments. The grand plan is to get an Avanza or Ertiga at 50% downpayment and then pay off the balance in 12 months.

Because I am no financial rockstar, just a groupie at best, I have decided to do both. Make extra payments towards one mortgage while saving for a car downpayment. Of course, since I’ll be traversing the middle ground, I won’t be able to do any one of those as quickly as I would like. But I’m ok with that.

Setting up a PERA account, reviving my COL Financial account and opening up a TD Ameritrade account to buy US mutual funds are also on my list. But that’s still for the future, because our present goal is mortgage reduction and saving up for a car downpayment.

But before you get all impressed with my financial discipline and fortitude, I would like to inform everyone that my boys and I will be going to Tokyo tomorrow and will be there for 7 days. In short, we’ll be spending money that could have been used for extra mortgage payments and/or car downpayment. But I have no regrets because I saved up for this trip while also paying down debt and running a household.

I know myself well enough to know that going all out with debt reduction will only make me miserable since I’m all about finding the right balance between enjoying the present and saving money for the future. Of course, enjoying the present does not always entail spending money, but you have to admit that having some money will add to the enjoyment.

And with that, I end my ramblings because I have to get ready to vote and do my part in securing a Philippines that will be worthy of my kids and grandkids.

Thank you Moneymax!

I received fantastic news the other day that this blog was included in Moneymax’ Top 10 financial bloggers to follow in 2019. Awesome!

For the new readers who reached this blog through the Moneymax article, welcome and feel free to browse through my past posts. You can go chronological by going through the posts monthly or by categories, the links for those can be found on the right column.

I’m glad that you found my blog because that means you’re interested, or at the very least curious, about personal finance and are probably trying to better your own personal finance. We’re all in the same boat.

I can’t guarantee that reading this blog will magically make you a personal finance ninja, but at the very least, you will know that you’re in a safe space where you won’t feel ashamed for talking about money or what you don’t know about money. More on this in a future post because the husband and I have a date at our most favorite place in the world, the grocery. Catch you all later!

Looking Back and Moving Forward

In line with the annual essay writing contest in time for the new year, I also began to reflect on the year that just passed, but for the life of me, I couldn’t remember half of what happened or how I felt about the events of 2018.

A quick browse through my Instagram account reminded me of how eventful 2018 actually was. To recap, 2018 was when

  • I finished the second month of my maternity leave;
  • I got to know my second son and reacquainted myself with the joys and challenges of mothering an infant;
  • I had my face-palm interview with the Judicial and Bar Council (although to be kind to myself, it must not have been all that bad since I did get shortlisted for a position);
  • my husband had an angioplasty;
  • we almost lost my parents’ house;
  • my sister went back to New Zealand and her family followed a few months after;
  • my mom sold a property which netted her several millions and then spent/gave/lent most of it in a span of 1 month;
  • my new niece was born ( lucky number 13);
  • I lugged my baby to Bacolod and Cebu just because he was the chillest baby ever (sadly, he’s not so chill anymore and he’s morphing into a little diva);
  • my baby turned a year old; and
  • we spent the holidays in Biliran and I got to spend time with my in-laws and US based cousins.

In between that was work, time spent with family and Netflix.

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2018 3Q Net Worth Report

It’s accountability time!

I have to admit though that I actually look forward to tracking my net worth every quarter. It’s nice to see my debts get smaller and smaller every time I check on them. My assets may not be growing as much and as fast as I would like them to, but that’s ok because I know that the priority now is to get rid of the personal debts ASAP. Then once only mortgage debt remains, I can focus my attention on savings and investments.

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2018 2Q Net Worth Report

Hmm… I just realized that I forgot to post a net worth report for the first quarter of 2018. For a quick recap, my last net worth report was for 4Q of 2017. For 1Q of 2018, my net worth went down because of expenses brought about by my husband’s heart operation .

Mercifully, there were no more health issues these past three months which meant that I could focus on debt payment and building up savings.

The past three months also brought with it a handful of bonuses so there was no need to take out loans and I was even able to bank a small amount in my emergency funds. However, the next three months will be the lean months with nary a bonus coming in, so double gulp.

Back to my net worth report for 2Q of 2018.

There was a minimal increase in assets, around 40k, because my Sunlife mutual funds and individual stocks were affected by the plummeting stock index. However, while my assets may not have increased as much as I would have liked, I was very happy with the almost 150k decrease in my liabilities. Debt payment is really where my money is going for now.

Starting September, my debt payments will start to get smaller because I would have finished paying off one credit card loan by then, with another loan to be fully paid off by November and all of my personal debts going kaput by March next year! Hooray!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So while the stock market and her many discounts are tempting me like an ice cream cone on a hot and humid summer day, I resist the urge to top up my account and buy-buy-buy because being debt-free is more important to me now than adding to my (meager) investments. I have learned the hard way that taking on “three tiers” at a time is a foolish thing to do. One step at a time is the way to go, with taking on a half step also acceptable in some instances.

My asset allocation is still very skewed towards real estate and I don’t think it will change any time soon because debt repayment is the priority and not building up assets:

That’s it for now. Until the next net worth update! Here’s hoping that the fates continue to be kind.

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