Saturday, February 26, 2022

6 Tips and Strategies for Better Budgeting

I went waaaaay over my budget for food this month. Again. Now that I'm working and homeschooling on top of my usual writing work and wife, mommy and homemaker duties, cooking is something I don't have time for. So wow, my Food Panda orders on my credit card bill... I hate looking at it! I really need to manage my finances better! In a few short months, it's time for enrolment again. Need to start saving up today!

So when I found this post in my inbox asking to be shared with you, my Loyal Readers, I decided to publish it. If it's relevant to me, it must be relevant to many of you, too! Here are 6 tips and strategies for better budgeting: 

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For many Filipinos, personal finance and budgeting can be a struggle. This is true no matter the person’s age, marital status, or work experience may be. By following some practical advice, however, this struggle can be overcome.

Here are some simple yet effective tips and strategies so you can get better at managing your hard-earned money:

1. Know Where Your Money Is Going—Always

There are two important things you need to know to get a good handle on your personal finances: how much money comes in on a fixed basis from all sources and where this money is going. Do note two other crucial details here: fixed basis and all sources. This means that if you can’t reliably depend on an income stream (e.g., an occasional freelance project), it might be better to just leave it out of your overall budget planning.

The bottom line here is that when it comes to money, you need to be as accurate as possible. This minimizes the risk of going over budget and also gives you a clearer idea of where you can make adjustments with regards to your spending.

2. Make the Most of Financial Management Tools

When you’re dealing with numbers, it’s difficult to keep up with all the details if you just rely on your memory. You’ll likely miss an important detail sooner or later, which can mess up your entire budget.

Thankful, there are various financial management tools that can help you set up, plan, and stick to your plans. First and foremost would be your bank’s own mobile banking facility, which you can use to check your transaction history, pay bills, and transfer funds. You can also use mobile banking to secure your account by activating two-factor authentication.

There are also budgeting apps you can download, although even a basic spreadsheet program can go a long way when it comes to tracking your expenses. You may even prefer the traditional method of using a ledger. The key is to find a tool or method that best matches your needs and works for your style of planning.

3. Set Realistic Savings Goals

When you’re trying to save money, don’t fall into the trap of going full throttle right at the outset. You may end up pressuring yourself too much and end up burned out (and without any savings to boot). Instead, set realistic goals based on your current financial standing. If you’re starting from scratch, saving 10% of your income every month is more reasonable, achievable, and sustainable, right?

Then, after some time, you can scale up your goals. This can make you feel more accomplished and therefore more motivated to save and manage your money the right way.

4. Try the 50-30-20 Budgeting

Also called the rule of thumb, this budgeting scheme allocates 50% of your income for your needs, 30% for your wants, and 20% for savings. This is a pretty simple but solid structure, especially if you don’t have a lot of loans to pay off.

If you’re having difficulties with keeping the bills at or below 50% of your income, review where you can make adjustments. Maybe you can follow a 60‐20‐20 model instead. The most important thing is to set aside money to save and invest; remember to also give yourself the opportunity to enjoy your money reasonably.

5. For Minor Goals, Try Envelope Budgeting

Ideally, you should open separate bank accounts for your savings and emergency funds. Doing this will prevent mix-ups that can throw your budgeting off-course. For smaller, more short-term goals, however, a separate bank account may not be practical. In these situations, the envelope method may be a great solution.

The envelope method of budgeting literally makes use of envelopes. Simply label them accordingly (e.g., new smartphone, weekly coffee shop order) then regularly put away an amount inside (e.g. Php 100 per week). This simple budgeting strategy is quite effective for smaller purchases because you’ll have easy access to the funds. It also makes it easier for you to monitor if you’ve made enough for your minor financial goals.

6. Review and Update Your Budget Regularly

Last but certainly not least, make sure to check your financial status regularly and update your budget accordingly. There are a lot of things that can happen that can affect your plans, both good and bad. Maybe you’ve received a salary increase or you’ve paid off a loan; maybe you got sick and had to be hospitalized, so you had to dip into your emergency fund. Perhaps you’re planning to get married; if you already are, maybe you and your spouse would want a child.

All of these things can affect the way you spend and save money. Thus, it’s wise to update your budget and financial projects whenever there are such changes. It can save you a lot of headaches and confusion later on.


As you can see, these are pretty simple tips that are easy enough to implement. Of course, remember that everyone has different financial situations at any given time. Thus, don’t think of these as rules but rather as guidelines. The most important thing, in the end, is consistency. This, more than anything else, can help you achieve your financial goals.

Good luck!

*image by Mari Gimenez from Unsplash

Thursday, February 17, 2022

Review: 7 reasons I love the acerpure cool c2 air purifier and air circulator

I finally have one! I finally got an air purifier for our home! My husband and I have always wanted to get one since we became parents almost 12 years ago. We live along EDSA and also have allergies. But when we were shopping for one before at a baby store, the air purifiers we found were priced at 50K. Pricey! So we decided to just buy air conditioners with air filters.

And then January happened. It really made me realize the fact that I needed to be more proactive in cleaning the air in our home. And this time, when we went looking for an air purifier, the models have become smaller, sleeker, more stylish, and more affordable!

This is the air purifier we got: the acerpure cool c2. And I'm going to do a review!

 
Okay, background first. Acer is a brand we have at home but our Acer products are a notebook and a tablet, which are both used by my sons for school. So we have a relationship with this brand. So when I saw that they started a new consumer line focused on cleaning the air as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, I didn't doubt the brand. I knew them already. I also liked that the new line is all about a technology that combines "Smart" and "Freshness" so that we can have a "Simple Pure’" lifestyle.

Acerpure is the name of their air treatment line of products. They have 3 now:
1. the acerpure cozy f1, which circulates air
2. the acerpure pro p2, which purifies air
3. the acerpure cool c2, which does both

We had to get the acerpure cool c2, of course!

Here's what I love about our new acerpure cool c2 air purifier and air circulator:

1. It's so beautiful! 
The sleek design makes it occupy very little space. It also looks like R2D2 and that's what the kids call it. I call it Wall-E. Its swivelling head reminds me so much of that little robot that did mighty things. And I feel our acerpure cool c2 is cute but mighty, too.


2. It cleans our air.
And this is the mighty thing it does! And why I really wanted it in the first place! This baby has the Ag+ Silver Coated Filter, which is certified to eliminate bacteria like E.coli and even viruses like the H1N1 and COVID-19. After our COVID experience a few weeks ago, this is the most important feature of all!

Its 4-in-1 HEPA filter removes not just fine dust particles and pollen, it also filters out pet hair. We have a rabbit and hamsters that shed their fur regularly, not a good thing for a family with allergies!

3. It deodorizes our air.
That's another thing I love - our home smells fresher. The acerpure cool improves indoor air quality through 10 million negative ions to get rid of harmful gases like formaldehyde. And I have three boys who like to fart a lot. I have pets that stink. I have neighbors who cook and the aromas of their cooking sift into our condo. And since we live beside a major highway, I keep our windows closed so our home sometimes smells stuffy. But with the acerpure cool c2, not anymore!


4. It circulates air.
We love the True Circulation Fan. It goes left and right and up and down. When they said it circulates air, they meant it! Why the need for the up and down movement? Well, hot air rises, cool air descends. A fan that can make those layers circulate is genius. 

It's so great for my home because even though we're a condo, our living spaces are generously sized so we needed a fan that can circulate air in a big space. The acerpure cool c2 has up to 12 meters of airflow distance. And it also has a 10-speed circulator and 5-speed purifier in case we need more power.


5. It's so high-tech!
We're loving how the Smart Sensor can detect how dirty our air is! As long as the numbers on the LCD display are green, then we know the air we're breathing is clean. It becomes orange when we're cleaning, cooking, or I opened the window, or I haven't cleaned the pets. What you don't want to see is red! The acerpure cool c2 uses a high-performance DC Motor that's powerful enough to circulate and purify the air but at a low energy cost. 

Our acerpure cool c2 also has an app! The acerpure Life can monitor our indoor air quality and send us automatic notifications if it needs to start air-purifying functions. Yes, even when we're not home! But we're always home so we haven't used the app yet. 


6. It's silent.
And when I mean silent, you truly can't hear anything. The fan and the motor - no noise at all!

7. It's only Php 14,999!
Okay, that's not cheap but it's certainly not 50K either. If I had 50K, I could buy 3 acerpure cool c2 units! Definitely so much more affordable and family budget-friendly!


You can tell from my acerpure cool c2 review that I love our new gadget. I highly recommend it! 

For more information about Acer and its new line of acerpure products, follow Acer Philippines on its social media platforms: @AcerPH on Facebook, @acerph on Instagram and @acerphils on Twitter (follow hashtags #AirMadeClean #acerpure #AcerPH ) or go to www.acer.com