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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Tuesday Push: Be Super Serene

I have decided to make Tuesday Push a weekly post. Wait, isn't that what I have been doing already ever since I put up this blog? Hahaha Anyway, this is a resolution that needed to be put in writing. I also needed to have some sort of explanation as to why it's called "Tuesday Push" and not something else, like "Monday Motivation" or "Wednesday Woes". :P

[A little trivia. I have a penchant for alliterative words or names (just like my favorite Marvel and DC characters: Pepper Potts, Bruce Banner, Peter Parker, Lana Lang, Sue Storm, and I could go on and on... so please bear with my blog headings. Hehe]

Tuesday Push would be a series of motivational quotes (I love quotes!) to help me start the week right and to get through the whole week. Yay! (Now, this requires discipline and time. Oh, dear.)

Why Tuesday and not Monday? or perhaps Friday? It's all the same to me. Haha

Hmmm. Well, it's because Fridays go by easily. Just think of Saturday and the great weekend ahead and you'll get through Friday. 

And in my experience, I'm usually up early on Monday mornings. I also psyche myself up on Sunday nights to prepare for the first day of the work week. But Tuesdays? Sometimes Tuesdays are just spent going through the motions. 

Tuesdays needed much much more push to get through the whole week. ;)

Now, here's a gentle push:

Photo Source

Ooops, not that... Hahaha 

I am talking about this... :)

Photo Source

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Electric E-Bill

I have had all my bill payments handled electronically since 2011 because I dislike waiting in long queues and what I dislike even more is getting away from more important tasks. 

I have been using BPI Express Online in paying the utility bills (that includes our bills for Sky Cable/Broadband, Manila Water, and Meralco). This has been very helpful in getting back the time spent in long lines at the bank and payment centers (which sometimes takes hours). I could say that life is much easier and late payments are definitely avoided because of this. 

On top of this online payment system, I have discovered another convenient way to handle our electric bill: through the Meralco E-Bill.  

With this online access to our bill, managing bills and payments are a breeze. We can also get our Meralco bill ahead of time, via the Meralco's Customer Management System website or via my personal email. No more waiting for the kartero to deliver our bill (which sometimes unavoidably wanders in other floors in our building).

How does this help? Well, there'll be no more late payments (no more unnecessary trips to payment centers) and no more standing in queues that take hours. One less thing to worry about. ;)

Okay, I keep talking about "me" and "our". You can also benefit from this. Aside from having easy access, you can also get an idea on how much electricity the family consumes. The consumption chart shows the trend in your electricity usage. This graph below is not surprising because April and May are summer months in the Philippines. It's expected that the bill shoots up on these months. But this helps when on off-peak months, you still get high electric bills. You can then ask yourself what changed and how you could get back on track. You can also look back and plan your usage so you can save more money. 

Back when I was paying Php5,000 monthly for electricity in a one-bedroom apartment, I didn't realize that I could be saving more. I didn't have to spend that much on electricity! Especially if I don't live in a three-bedroom house, not yet. Hehe

I thought of ways to cut back on electricity. I replaced all our lights with CFLs (there was one which wasn't a CFL that still needs replacement, and it's in the laundry area so it's rarely on) and I asked the household help/nanny to unplug all the appliances that aren't in use. I also made sure that my work laptop is fully charged whenever I take it home. Hehe The idiot box also has its schedule since Zeff is only allowed to watch TV when I'm around. Although I'll never know if Yaya watches soap operas in the afternoon or Zeff goes behind Mommy's back, toss his books away and watches Jim Jam. Hehe

I noticed that all these things did help in minimizing our consumption. All it took was careful and conscious use of electricity I wouldn't want to give up using the AC because my son's comfort is one of the things I couldn't trade for lesser expense. So, the AC is kept on when the little tyke is asleep or when he's playing inside the room. Now, our usage is down to 160-350 kwh, that's equivalent to Php1500-Php3,800 monthly!

If I continued paying Php5,000 for electricity without checking our habits and our consumption, I would have missed out on a lot of savings! That's a savings of Php1200 per month = Php14400 for the entire year! You can't find this amount of money lying around somewhere. Can you?

So, if you're interested, here's how you access your Meralco e-bill. (This is assuming of course, you've already registered your bill online.)

Go to Meralco E-Bill website and type in your log in credentials.

It will lead you to the page where you have the Service Identification Number (this is found on your actual paper bill). Click on the applicable SIN

 You can now see your billing history

The last column on the right is for payment options. I pay mine on BPI Expressonline so I don't use this one. On the Billing History page, you can also see the Consumption Graph (which I showed above).

See? Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy. :) 


Tuesday Push: Intend to be Ideal

Photo Source

Monday, July 8, 2013

Pensive Preoccupation

This is an 'unauthorized' picture of my clutter-free work space. :)
Good Monday Morning, everyone! :)

I thought of 'Monday Meditation' as the title for this post but I thought meditations are hardest to do on Mondays, especially on craze-filled Mondays! But in retrospect, it may be helpful to meditate on the first day of the week because it's actually when you need most of your brain or mental capacity to work fully. Now, I don't know exactly how meditation works or how it's done in the truest sense of the word so I had to scrap that. Okay, I have devoted an entire paragraph talking about a blog post title that I had to think twice about. Now, that is not really a digression. Hahaha

I have not been meditating. I have been thinking. Thinking about my future and my little family's future. There are days I just stare at the ceiling when the baby is sleeping and I think about where we're going to be in the next 20 or 30 years. Earlier today, I have been staring at my work laptop when I came to work this morning (thus the idea for the blog photo). I am excited about the future. But I have also been wary about it. I am a chronic worrier. I have been so, since high school or maybe even earlier. Maybe when I was in my mother's womb, I was already a worrier.

There are times  I get anxiety attacks thinking about the future and what always gets me through is a silent prayer or a visit to the nearest church and spending a few minutes with our Creator. That sounded silly since I don't profess to be a very good and devout Catholic. (I have been raised to have a deep relationship with God but I just stray most of the time. It's a constant struggle, a continuous struggle to be a good Catholic and a good person but most days, I don't and I just can't feel Him.) 

And you know what they say, God is everywhere. He's omnipresent. 

I recently (and stupidly) told my seminarian brother, "God is so distant. On most days, I can't seem to feel His presence in my life."  It was like saying, "there is no God." And he told me, in a fashion that's almost like a revelation, "He's not distant. You're the one who's distant." Now, I don't have conversations like this with my brother every day so you can imagine how that felt. 

It was true. I am distant. Not only have I maintained my distance from everyone else, but I have also not let God to be fully "around". I have been preoccupied with work, my family life, my academic life, my quest for a better life. I have to get my act together and stop worrying all the time. Hayyy... This probably is 'mid-life crisis". (I think I've used up my quarter-life crisis allocation so I'll have to use the mid-life now.) Hahaha I just had to laugh about all of this. I am turning nuts! This post should be renamed 'Monday Madness'.

Okay, I just had to let that out. Whoooosh! Breathe in. Breathe out. Everything will be alright. Here are some calming words for days like this: 

And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? 
- Matthew 6:30
Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all. 
- 2 Thessalonians 3:16

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy House Hunting!

It's been months since I last went on a 'tripping' or a house/site visit (some real estate agents call it "project viewing"). I now do most of the "tripping" or house hunting online. Hehe

I made it sound like it's a regular thing, like going to a favorite restaurant or watching a movie. Haha Okay, in a way, yes. It is like that because it's fun! It is always a treat to check out nice model houses that are meant for viewing. All because the entire house is all made up. It's impossible not to fall in love with these houses.

My peg look for that house we can truly call our own

But more than the experience and the aesthetics, what I really watch out for and focus on are the prices. Of course! Why shouldn't I?! I am not over-thinking this. It really is difficult to decide. It's a major, major decision after all.

Can my little family afford this house? Is it enough? Over time, will the quality of our life not suffer after investing in a house? Will it be worth it? Will there be no regrets? How long do we have to pay for this dream house? Would we be done paying for it when our son goes to college? Do we take advantage of bank financing or take out a loan from PAG-IBIG? 

All my questions just brought more questions! It could be overwhelming if you're used to weighing the pros and cons and sometimes it takes you a really long time to decide on something. It's also hard to make a decision on something that you would be tied to for most of your remaining work years. So when I saw this infographic from one of my favorite personal finance blogs, I knew I had to share it here.

I've been to numerous site visits and this is something that the real estate people won't tell you. They either don't have the time or it's just not their job to explain these things to you. 

Anyway, I hope you get a little something from this. I know I did. The original infographic came from this site.