Three Months of Being Married….And We Are Giving Up

It’s been three months since me and my husband Dave said “I DO” to God and to each other. And after three months, we find ourselves giving up.

We are giving up on our own preferences.

I love dishes with a spoonful of ground pepper. He hates it.

I make sure that the closet’s door is always closed. He always forgets it.

He wants me to speak with a medium pitch. I can’t help it!!!!

He always wants a glass of water beside him during meal time. I always forget it.

And the list goes on and on and on.

And for three months, we are learning a new and unfamiliar word. ADJUST. We learned that we can’t change each other but we have a choice to adjust. And this is true whether you are single or in a relationship. We need to learn to accept that we cannot put the person we love in a box of our preferences. There will always be expectations that will not be met.  As there is always a room for improvement in any relationship, we should also make a room for adjustment.

We are giving up on our selfishness.

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There are times that we still find ourselves in “MY” mentality. But God will always bring us back to the posture of “OURS”. My dreams are his dreams, too. His accomplishments are mine as well. Because we are no longer Dave and Sarah, but we are ONE. Sometimes, we find it tempting to decide things on our own but God will remind us that we are not single people anymore, and we are now a family of our own.

We are giving up on a better life…

Because we want the ‘best’ life.

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For three months, we have seen how our lives transformed from better to best. But just a disclaimer, it is not a walk in the park. Decades of marriages will prove that. Being married is more than the same-day edit video, pre-nuptial pictorials, and honeymoon getaway selfies. But marriage is the best decision we made. It is a gift from God.  Other people may see marriage as a hindrance to your personal dreams. But why not see it this way? In marriage, you are not alone. You now have the suitable partner who can journey with you as you reach your goals. You will wake up every morning next to the person who first believes in you. You won’t cry alone in every struggle and failure you faced. If you believe that you are called to have your own family, getting married to someone that God has prepared for you will be the best days of your life. If there is someone who is most excited when you see yourself walking down the aisle, he is God. God wants the best for you.

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It’s been three months since I said in my vow that I will always choose love. And after three months, we find ourselves, of course, not giving up on love.

Just Love,

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Grocery Shopping Tips That Will Save You Time and Money

As a newly married couple, I and my husband Dave find grocery shopping as one of the overwhelming tasks of a husband and wife. When I was still single, my mom was in charge of the grocery shopping. Dave went to a supermarket to buy his supplies just once in a blue moon. So the first thing we did right after our honeymoon aside from doing the laundry is to go to a supermarket. Exciting!

But our grocery-shopping-journey seems to be a trial and error. We discovered some ways that are effective, and some ways that cost us more money and time. So here are some of the tips to make you a WISE SUPERSTAR SHOPPER:

  1. MAKE A BUDGET and a GROCERY SHOPPING LIST

When you go to a supermarket, every single item has an invisible tag on it telling you, “BUY ME, PLEASE! Remember, you need me!”  So if you don’t make a budget and a list, you’ll end up buying things that you think you need, but you really don’t.

  1. MAKE YOUR WEEKLY MEAL PLAN

This is one of the things that we learned from our couple mentor. Aside from planning the things that you’ll do for the week (projects, meetings, date night), plan also your meal. With this, you’ll be able to know what are the dishes that you will cook for the week, what are the needed ingredients, etc. Then you can add this to your grocery list. In our case, I made a menu plan for the whole month of January and set a scheduled day and time in a week for our grocery shopping.

  1. DON’T SHOP IN A CONVENIENCE STORE

If you plan to buy your grocery needs from a convenience store, think twice. Convenience has a price to pay. There is one instance that I didn’t have a choice but to run to the nearest convenience store to buy pineapple tidbits for my Pininyahang Manok (The consequence of not making a list-I forgot that a pineapple is needed in that dish, duh?!?). I found out that the price of that item in the convenience store is 50% higher compared to the price in the supermarket. A convenience store is for urgent and emergency needs only. But buying your toiletries, canned goods, and other grocery needs in a convenience store is not a practical thing to do.

  1. BE FAMILIAR WITH THE LAYOUT PLAN OF THE SUPERMARKET

As a first-time grocery shopper, I believe this is a must. I remember one time when we were looking for table placemats. We had a lot of detours inside the supermarket and found ourselves carrying a half-filled basket and asking, “I thought we are just planning to buy placemats?” In order for us to save time and money, we took note of the sections of the supermarket. And every time we do our grocery shopping list, beside the item, we write down the section number where we can find it. Swear, this is really effective!

 

 

  1. TRACK YOUR EXPENSES AND YOUR CONSUMPTION

Use an expense manager app, an excel sheet, or small notebook to monitor your grocery expenses. This will help you analyze whether you are over the budgeted amount or not. Keep and organize your receipts for your reference. It is also our practice that we put tags on the items that we bought and write the date when we started using it and when it is consumed. This will help you track your consumption and include this as a consideration when making a grocery budget. So the next time you run out of toothpaste or shampoo, you’ll avoid buying those things from the convenience store.

With these things in mind, are you ready to kick start your new grocery shopping habits?

 

Just love,

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A Few Thoughts About the 52 Weeks Money Challenge

It is the start of the year hence; most of us are getting gaga on writing our new year’s resolutions or faith goals. And I bet that saving money (or should I say, a lot of money? ) is one of those resolutions that you want to accomplish for 2017. In fact, according to the GOBankingRates’ 2017 New Year’s Resolution survey, “SAVE MORE, SPEND LESS” is the top financial resolutions (23%) among the survey’s participants. This shows that people will always find ways to save money either by running after on discounts or by filling up a cute piggy bank.

 

 

One of the popular saving techniques is the 52 Weeks Money Challenge. Many people are pleased on the idea that you can save at least P100,000 after 52 weeks by saving in P100-increments weekly. On the first week, you save P100. Then on the second week, P200, and so on and so forth until you reach the 52nd week. Others who succeeded on this challenge found this fun and thrilling. This is not a straightforward kind of saving system compare to saving a fixed percentage from your income before spending or saving from what’s left.  There’s a feeling of satisfaction when you see that your savings are growing exponentially. Who wouldn’t love to have extra money of at least P100,000 at the end of the year, aside from your Christmas bonuses? But this 52 Weeks Money Challenge is not effective, for some.

May it be in an increment of P1, P10, P50 or P100, the truth is, our salary is not increasing every now and then. Everyone can start saving P100 on the first week but not everyone can save P2,000 or P5,000 for the nth week.

 

 

The 52 Weeks Money Challenge may work for you. If not, there are numerous ways on how to save money. But two things will matter more than the techniques that you are going to use to achieve this financial resolution, your WHY and DISCIPLINE. When saving money, you need a specific goal. Why are you saving? Is it for investment? For emergency fund? For down payment of a car? For travel? If you don’t know your WHY and you save money just for the sake of saving, you may end up spending it on things outside your priorities.  And if you are not disciplined enough to watch out on how you spend, after 52 weeks, you may end up wondering where your money went.

It is the start of the year and it is the perfect time to do this challenge- pay yourself first.

Just Love,

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How I Found an Affordable yet Stunning Bridal Gown

How do you see yourself on your wedding day?

This was the same question I asked when I started to dream about of getting married. Imagining myself wearing that little crown on my head and dancing with my long beautiful white gown, made my heart skip a beat. I couldn’t wait for that day to become a reality.

When me and my fiancé then, now my husband Dave started with our nuptial preparations, we set a certain budget for all the suppliers. As financial planners, we don’t want to indulge ourselves in a posh celebration yet will leave us with empty pockets after the ‘big day’. After classifying all the wedding items as negotiable and non-negotiable, I found myself crushing the reality that my bridal gown is a negotiable item for us and not on the top priorities of our budget. But of course, the woman in me wanted to make that ‘dream wedding dress’ a reality.

However, four months before our wedding, I still didn’t have a bridal gown. (panic mode!) Tapping a couturier was not our option since it is not within our budget which custom made gown ranges from 25,000 pesos and up. We also heard some horror stories that gown was delivered just few hours before the wedding ceremony started. We didn’t want to have that kind of stress since we know four months is such a limited time for a sewer to finish the dress. We went to malls and wedding expo and looked for ready to wear (RTW) gowns. There were very few low-priced gowns but some didn’t fit my body type and other designs are not my type. (Sighhhhh…)

“Oh dream wedding dress! Where can I find you?”

Ooops I forgot…

Oh cheap dream wedding dress! Where can I find you?”

But we still had our last option. What if I rent a wedding gown?

I made an extensive research about shops that offer wedding gowns for rent. I read reviews and testimonials from brides for each shop. Then I found this shop nearby called Damsel which is located in Makati Cinema Square. We went to the store and we were really impressed by the hospitality of Belle and her staff. They accommodated us promptly and showed us their available gowns though there were other customers at that time. Wedding gown rental rates starts at around 2,000 pesos. After trying out three gowns, finally, I found the perfect one for me. We avail their wedding package which includes wedding gown, accessories (tiara, veils, petticoat, pillows, cords, mannequin, etc.) plus the groom’s coat for only 10,000 pesos. We picked up the dress two days before our wedding day.

Budget-shoot!

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Some people will find renting a wedding gown amusing and unconventional. But if you are like me who is frugal, in a limited budget and time, who doesn’t know where to put the dress after wearing it (Swear, it will not fit in your closet!), and who doesn’t care if you’ll not be able to wear the same wedding dress on your 50th anniversary or for your daughter on her wedding day, then renting might be good for you.

 

After you make a decision to rent your wedding dress, research, research and research! Aside from the cost and their policies, read feedback from the shop’s clients. Read reviews about their personnel because they will be part of your wedding team. Check their online portfolio to see their designs. Consider also the location of the shop. It is advisable that it is near your hotel or house since you are going to return it within a week. Be mindful also of the accessories and be careful on how you wear your dress since any missing item or damaged to the dress will be deducted from your deposit.

Me and Dave believe that this was one of the best decisions we made during our wedding preparation. I was able to choose the best wedding gown for me without shedding most of our funds. But after all, a bridal gown is just a small part of your wedding. What really makes a bride beautiful is the love and joy that glow from within.

 

Just love,

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3 “Payday Habits” That Will Make You a Multi-Millionaire

Do you want to be a multi-millionaire?’
Multi-millionaire stories are not only for the businessmen, wealthy people, or lotto winners. Employees can also be one. But all big success comes from small things. So if you are working on an 8-5 job and you want to be a multi-millionaire, you should start with the following good “payday habits”:

1.Save First Before You Spend.

Have you experienced urging yourself to save but you ended up with no savings at all? Do you find it difficult to start investing because you have nothing to invest?

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Saving after what’s left is difficult since we have a long list of needs and wants. That is why if you want to be a multi-millionaire, you should spend what’s left after deducting your savings. As a rule of thumb, we should keep 20% of our salary. This concept originates from Pareto Rule or the 80/20 rule named after Vilfredo Pareto, which means that 80% of outcomes will come from 20% of inputs. In relation to financial aspect, 80% of your wealth will come from 20% of what you are consistently saving from your income.

But not all your savings should be placed in a bank. Money other than for emergency purposes or short-term goals should be invested in an instrument such as VUL or variable unit linked products which come with a protection, health fund, and stock investment that earns higher than the inflation rate.

2. Spend but not Splurge.

Have you noticed the frequent sale in a nearby mall? Before, it was only mid-year and year-end sale but now there is a sale every month, and for some stores, every cut-off.

Have you seen the latest gadget in various stores? Before, you need to have a big amount of cash or a credit card to buy a gadget. But now, you can avail some of those even in a minimum down payment and you can pay the balance even if you don’t have a credit card.

What are the dominant colors that you see in food logos or restaurant? According to Color Psychology, red and yellow are the chief food colors because these evoke the taste bud and stimulate appetite.

But what do these things mean? Business establishments want you to spend your money. Temptations to splurge are everywhere and as Dave Ramsey says, “If you don’t tell your money where it should go, you’ll end up wondering where it went.”

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Spending your hard-earned money is not bad. You work because you need money to pay for your dreams, bills, and pleasures. But the dangerous thing is when you spend it above your means or having unplanned expenditures.

Do your own math. Have a budget.

3.Share and Care.

If you take a look what is the common thing among the famous affluent people- they never forget to share and give. 

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But you don’t have to wait to become rich before you can give. You can actually start now. According to Jim Rohn,“Only by giving are you able to receive more than you already have.”

Give your family a small treat. Hand a spoonful of ice cream to a child or a dinner for a family living in the street. Never get tired of giving to God’s ministries. Because when we are giving, we are not losing but we are just emptying ourselves for bigger blessings.

Following these three simple steps will not only make you a multi-millionaire years from now but these will also help you learn how to treasure and manage the fruits of your labor.
If you want to become a multi-millionaire someday and you need help to plan your finances, just send me a message at sarah.grace.esteban@financeph.com and let’s talk about your dreams.