Migs and Alaine

Chronicles of a Happy Married Life

Category: Married Life (page 1 of 3)

Is It Debt, Or Is It Equity?

During this time of the pandemic, we should be more careful about how we spend our hard-earned money. When we hear the word debt, we sometimes have this bad connotation about it. But this article perfectly explained historical debt and how good debt can actually help us in our education, careers, and businesses.

For the longest time, since we started our relationship, we always buy all of our stuff in cash. Saving up for something has always been our go to strategy and it works. We were so scared of debt. Credit cards are a no no, because we know a lot of people who were burried in debt because of bad debt. Because we both work in a Financial institution, horror stories of our clients even haunted us in our dreams. LOL! That is until we decided that we need a car.

When we purchased our very first car, we paid it off through a bank loan in a span of 18 months. We didn’t have enough money to buy it in cash. But we realized later on that the money we earned because of our car is even higher than the car’s value. Same thing happened with the new truck that we also loaned in 2019. It has helped us with our food and tech businesses. These are perfect examples of debts that generated income for us.

One of the most successful entrepreneurs from Migs’ family educated us about the pros of borrowing money for a business. He told us that we should not be afraid of debt, as long as we set our priorities straight and use it to make more money. That’s how he started his first business. Although we haven’t tried a business loan yet – we totally get his point. It just takes hard work and responsibility to pay off a debt in order not to be burdened by it.

How do we manage debt? We follow these rules at home.

  1. Prioritize bills. We do not let bills pile up because that would mean additional fees.
  2. Needs before wants. As long as there is food on our table, bills are paid, our clothes are clean – we couldn’t care less if we do not have the latest model of home appliances, gadgets, shoes or bags.
  3. We make wise purchases. We do not settle for cheap items that we won’t be able to use for a long time. We always prefer quality products.
  4. We take care of our health. Even if you have insurance to cover your hospital bills, the time that you lost is invaluable. It sounds cliche but health is wealth!
  5. Taking a vacation once in a while for our mental health. Being frugal doesn’t necessarily mean that you shouldn’t be exploring. You can always travel and stick to your allotted budget.
  6. We prepare our meals. Home-cooked meals are always healthier and yummier.
  7. We only withdraw a small amount of money. We always prefer online transactions to save time and to refrain from going out. Because going out could mean gas + food allowance.
  8. We do not compare our lives with other families. Life was never a competetion. Our goal is just to make ourselves better.

Debt can be considered as equity depending on our mindset and commitment. Debt has saved many people and businesses. What about you? What’s your take on loans/debt?

How Blogging Helped Us Grow

All our readers know that we started blogging when we were just preparing for our big day. It was just an online diary and we were surprised that there were a number of people who actually read and even responded to our posts. Some posts were created out of frustrations from suppliers and some were simply recommendations for suppliers that were extremely nice and exceeded our expectations.

We were just like typical millennials who browse the internet for product reviews and such but it’s really different if you are the one reviewing or sharing your thoughts for things that happened to you first hand. From there we learned that product or service reviews can actually have different impacts on readers – these can also define who you are as a person because it will show how you react in ugly situations.

Documenting our lives from our wedding preparations through parenthood has been exciting and fulfilling especially when we hear people say that they have learned something from us. Sometimes, it’s also a bit challenging because others think that we are sharing too much information about our family.

There were times when we wanted to stop sharing especially when we’re too busy with work and business or whenever we don’t feel creative. But we just keep on documenting and sharing our lives in order for life to not escape us. It also felt like we now have the responsibility to give our readers our insights on things so they can pick up a thing or two from our experience.

Blogging since 2012 not only opened doors for different opportunities but also lead us to meet beautiful people that have become our close friends and event clients. It has also helped us with how we communicate with different types of people. It gave us the opportunity to get an inside feel of how things are done in everything that we review or document, like restaurant operations, production, etc. More so, our blog had been one of our tools in keeping sound mental health.

We also remember documenting our first attempt to buy a property from a developer that turned out to be a fraud. We published the article last 2016 and until now, we are still receiving emails and direct messages thanking us for our blog because it saved them from losing money. Others, unfortunately, share the same sentiments with us. That experience taught us a lesson on how to make life-changing decisions. We learned to be very vigilant when it comes to big purchases. Research, research, research, and never rush whenever we are faced with this type of scenario. It also taught us how to be more responsible in giving reviews and expressing ourselves but still being honest.

Although writing PRs for commercial brands makes money, we stand by our principles and review the products or brands fairly and honestly. We always have to remind ourselves that we started this blog not to make money but to write fair and honest reviews. Our blog’s integrity is what we’re most proud of.

A Survivor’s Bittersweet Life

Dear survivor,

Remember when you thought that you already figured everything out? You were so sure that your plans were really working out for you and your wife. Then life sends a tsunami towards your way. Do you know what amazed me? You didn’t flinch and attacked that tsunami head-on.

“2012 was my year” that’s what you said. After experiencing a really tough childhood where you have to work as a minor so you can feed your siblings and your sick mother. Send your youngest brother to school while you were studying. It’s not hard to claim that you’ve made it after all you’ve been through. It felt really good. You married a beautiful, loving, smart, and funny woman. You have a decent job that you really love doing. You drive a very reliable car and have saved money for your dream home.

After 2 years of enjoying the fruits of your labor, your life came to a halt, you and your wife dealt with, death, unemployment, fraud, sickness, and bankruptcy.

Chapter 1: Death

It all started when your mom died, and followed by your wife’s mother’s passing after only a few months. The pain was unbearable, but you have each other. Also practicing “Leaving and Cleaving” made it easier for you to cope with your losses. Aside from the emotional stress that these deaths caused you and your wife, they also left a big hole in your bank account. The money that you saved for your dream home is no longer yours to keep.

You kept your positive spirit and said “we can always finance our house” and so you did. You started paying the equity every month with ease. Finally, you’re just a few months away from owning your dream home only to find out that your house developer is a fraud.

Chapter 2: Fraud

After months of paying for your home equity, you realized that your developer was lying to you about having acquired a license to sell and a certificate of registration. You asked for a refund but you got nowhere. You even seek help from your government, but your current laws were designed to protect development fraudsters. So there goes your hard-earned money.

“Well renting for a few more years doesn’t sound bad”. There you go again facing another loss with a positive mindset.

Hang on to that smile Miguel, because what comes next will question your faith.

Chapter 3: Unemployment, Sickness, and Bankruptcy

You read it right, that’s a 3 hit combo.

Just 1 month after the ordeal with your home developer, your company suddenly realized that they have too many trainers and decided to let half of your department go. Yes, you’re part of it. After serving the company and producing the best and the brightest in the field, all you are to them is just a number. But you’re a fighter. Unemployment is just a walk in the park. But wait, there’s more.

I heard the news that one of the last trainees whom you had a feedback session with just died of Tuberculosis as a complication of his HIV. Your wife has been telling you to get yourself checked because you’ve been coughing nonstop for the past weeks. Sometimes you are really stubborn and just don’t listen until one day, you noticed that your athletic build has succumbed to the sickness. Your right lung already collapsed and could barely walk. You are officially sick, tough guy! You started facing this situation with a positive outlook again. You still tried to make money by selling random stuff to make yourself useful. TB is highly curable. Just take your meds for 6 months and you’re done. But you were wrong. After your lung operation, your doctor told you that TB has reached your liver.

April 2016. What used to be a happy spirit who takes good care of his health and small family was reduced to skin and bones. Couldn’t stand on his own. Couldn’t lie on his bed either. Cries every night while his wife is at work, begging God to take him so he wouldn’t be a burden anymore. This situation has forbidden you to fulfil your purpose and just wanted the pain to go away.

But you know that your old self still lives somewhere in that very frail body. You know that you wouldn’t allow a survivable challenge to beat you without giving it a fight. Most of all you love your wife so much and you want to continue annoying her every day for the rest of your lives. LOL! You’ll also leave her with a lot to think about because you now have a bigger hole in your bank account. So you decided to get better and live for her.

It took you a year to be better despite the bankruptcy. You even reached a point where you only have 200php in your wallet.

This is the part where you realized that you can lose everything, but being with the love of your life makes it ok.

Chapter 4: Recovery

(For the Reader) You might be wondering about one thing. Of course, I sued my company. Hahaha!

Yes, you did Miguel, you monster killing machine! While suffering from a deadly ordeal, you spent your time waiting for your counterattack to bear fruit.

Life gave you lemons and you made lemonade out of it. You regained your good health and got back up.

The good news doesn’t end there, you and your wife even got a big bonus. After being together for 9 years, you guys were blessed with Chuck, your pride, and joy. 

You enjoyed your recovery very well, so well that you forgot to maintain your weight. Yes, you have gained so much weight after recovering from TB. Since you can’t lift weights anymore due to your previous back surgery, you have to look for an exercise regimen that will not strain you. 

Another challenge is about to hit not only you but the entire planet. I’ll tell you what you did and still doing to overcome ‘The Pandemic’.

Chapter 5: Pandemic

Start of 2020. The world shuts down due to this new crisis. People died, businesses closed including yours. The businesses that you started with your wife did not escape the wrath of COVID 19. You had to think quickly as your depleting savings won’t last very long with a baby and other bills.  Thanks to your wife’s work income, you guys are still able to barely survive.

Thanks to your never-ending desire to overcome every challenge, you turned this roadblock into a business opportunity while worrying about maintaining your health.

You quickly started a business that helps other entrepreneurs go through this pandemic without closing shop, like what happened to you. Another silver lining is you found a way to stay fit and healthy. Cycling blew up because people ran out of activities that won’t give them the virus.

We’re still in it. I know that you’re still facing this new tsunami head-on with a smirk on your face.

Keep on surviving champ! You got this!

-Migs

This story is an entry to ComCo Southeast Asia’s “Write to Ignite Blogging Project Season 2: Dear Survivor”. The initiative continues to respond to the need of our times, as every story comes a long way during this period of crisis.  The initiative aims to pull and collate powerful stories from the Philippine blogging communities to inspire the nation to rise and move forward amidst the difficult situation. The “Write to Ignite Blogging Project” Season 2 is made possible by ComCo Southeast Asia, with Eastern Communications and Jobstreet as co-presenters, with AirAsia and Xiaomi as major sponsors, and with Teleperformance as sponsor.

The Carmelence Lodge Tagaytay – Review

We’ll never forget the first time we traveled out of town with our baby. We’ve come across The Carmelence Lodge’s Facebook page while searching for a place to stay in Tagaytay. We read good reviews from their previous guests and we thought that maybe we should give it a try since we also wanted to visit relatives in the South. The Carmelence Lodge is located at Villa Carmelence 3, Tagaytay-Nasugbu Highway, Maharlika West, Tagaytay City (just beside Robinson’s Tagaytay).

We arrived at The Carmelence Lodge 15minutes before Check-in. Their staff seems too exhausted when we got there. It was a 30-minute wait before we got our room keys. Our room also came with free breakfast but the front desk staff forgot to ask us about it. They have don’t have a lot of breakfast options but you’re supposed to choose ahead of time so they can have it prepared and served to you according to your preference. We shrugged it off because maybe, she was just having a bad day or she woke up at the wrong side of the bed?  Who knows?

We love our room. It has a little kitchen, a decent toilet, and washroom. Their comforter and pillows are also awesome for a lodge – comparable to the ones used in hotels. The place was quiet and the staff was polite too.  Their food is also reasonably priced but I wish their brewed coffee was served hot. Overall, we had a great stay.

We booked our room via Agoda for only Php2,600/night.  For people who’d like to explore Tagaytay on a budget, we highly recommend this place.  It’s also near Sky Ranch if you’re planning on a side trip to the park. The internet signal strength is superb too. Perfect for people who are able to bring their work anywhere or those who need to be online all the time.

For more details, please visit The Carmelence Lodge’s official Facebook page.

 

 

Breastfeeding and Marriage Difficulties

This post is a bit late for Breastfeeding month.

I had a catheter and dextrose on when Migs handed me our baby so I could try to breastfeed him.  This was few hours after I gave birth and after my son was given formula milk because I couldn’t breastfeed him while I was at the recovery room. Before I was transferred to our hospital room, the nurse said that my baby’s pedia already left a prescription for a formula milk. We still tried to breastfeed our baby because that’s what Migs and I have agreed to do even before I gave birth. Why not? There are a lot of benefits that we can get from breast milk and if my body can produce milk, I’ll feed my baby with it.  Sadly, we received zero support from the hospital staff. We were not taught how to massage the breasts for possible clogged ducts, etc. Although instructional videos are readily available online, getting help from a professional is still a huge thing.

Recovering from my C-Section and being frustrated with breast feeding, I somehow feel depressed.  My son knows how to latch but would only cry whenever I try to nurse him because he ‘s not getting any milk. I’ve cried countless times and have tried to pump milk round the clock so I can feed my baby with breast milk but I am only getting 10ml – 20ml per session. I thought pumping every 2-3 hours would help increase my milk supply. I have tried everything from malunggay (moringa) capsules to essential oils but nothing seemed to work.

My frustration hurt my relationship with Migs as I became a slave to my breast pump. I am always exhausted. I felt that the time I needed to recuperate from my operation were wasted but I couldn’t stop because I wanted to give what’s best for my son.

Good thing one of my friends told me about Arugaan, a support system for women with infants and young children. They have seminars for breastfeeding mothers and they also offer home visits for those who’d like a lactation massage. I immediately reached out to them.

I was visited by Ms. Rhea last September 3 and was given a lactation massage as well as some tips on how to successfully breastfeed.  I was so relieved seeing so much milk while being massaged. I almost cried knowing that I will be able to nurse my son on demand and I don’t have to worry about my supply. I couldn’t thank Araguan enough for helping me especially Ms. Rhea. She was very accommodating and she still answers my questions even after our session.

I have been nursing our son on demand since September 3 and have only been pumping milk 3 times a day – whenever I am working. I get to sleep and eat better now which also means that I get to spend more time with my boys (Migs and Chuck).

If you want to know more about Arugaan, please visit their official Facebook page.

 

Build Your Own Wealth

Most Filipinos believe that supporting their parents once they are old is the best way to show “utang na loob” (debt of gratitude). Although the Church (whichever religion you are in) is teaching us about leaving and cleaving,  many couples still struggle to leave their parents because of the obligations that are either given to them or they feel that they need to do. That being said, the concept of having an extended family or a shared home became a norm in our country and sadly, it becomes harder and harder to break the chain.

It’s never too late or too early to invest. Migs and I used to practice traditional way of saving money. We used to save a portion of our income to our preferred bank. When I was 22 years old, I tried investing in a life insurance but I failed because I wasn’t really ready to invest yet but I was able to invest on Memorial plans which I do not regret. We thought we were doing well because we were able to save money for our car, a beautiful wedding, leisure, down payment for a house, etc.

Our wake up call was when Migs got sick. Although our Health cards covered the hospital bills, we had to spend a portion of our savings considering that he has been sick for a year. I also had to let go of some of our signature bags and some pieces of jewelry. It was tough and the reason why I am sharing our experience is because I don’t want anyone especially young couples to experience the same thing.

As soon as Migs is back on his feet, I have reached out to several financial advisers so we can start preparing for our retirement fund.  In the end, we chose to sign up with Sun Life. We felt that everything that we need and looking for are in one package. Sun Life phone app is also user friendly and lets me monitor our plans wherever we are.

After signing up, we decided that we are ready to have a baby by 2018. But guess what, about 2 weeks of getting our retirement plans – we are already pregnant. It seemed like everything was perfectly planned.

What did we learn from Migs’ near death experience that convinced us to sign up for a Life Insurance?

As parents, it is our responsibility to raise our children no matter what the circumstances may be. We should not obligate them to give us everything that they worked for when we’re old, not even a portion of it. Why? Our children never chose us to be their parents. If you think you cannot send your children to an exclusive school – then don’t. We always have options. Send them to a public school and still be able to provide their basic needs or find another source of income in order to afford your preferred school. We don’t need to live a life full of debts just to be able to fit in or prove something.  After all, it’s our family that we should be worried about not a certain status that we’re trying to portray.

As children, let’s allow our our parents to enjoy their retirement fund. They have already raised and have spent their resources for us. They are not our emergency fund. They have worked to hard to provide all our needs.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying that it’s bad to help a family member in need. But we should know our limitations too.  Part of leaving and cleaving is putting your immediate family’s needs first.

 

Happy weekend!

 

How Ketogenic Diet Changed My Life

Just like other women, I battled depression because of the pressure brought by some family members and friends because they thought I couldn’t bear a child. If Migs wasn’t supportive, I wouldn’t be able to get over it. I have shared my experience thru a blog post that I published last year. It was comforting to read comments from strangers who expressed their support as well.

Migs and I decided that we should just focus on things that would make us both productive.  I chose to quit my job and decided to become a Stay-at-home-wife. It was fun because I have all the time in the world to prepare my husband’s meals. We both tried ketogenic diet (we had cheat days too!)  and religiously go to the gym every 6:00 AM. This lasted for nearly 3 months.

Fast forward to October 2017, we opened a business and have been very busy that I forgot record my monthly period. I knew I had spotting but I thought it was just caused by stress. So, I never really recorded it. Plus, I have done so many pregnancy tests in the past that I no longer want to be disappointed. I was at the point where I couldn’t care less about fertility as long as I have my regular check-up with an OB and a pap smear, then I am good.

Everything was doing well until I was rushed to the hospital on the eve of our 5th wedding anniversary. I thought I was having another vertigo attack.  After an hour of waiting at the Emergency room, the Doctor came back congratulating us.

We visited my OB the day after and found out that I was already 7 weeks pregnant! It wasn’t really a happy story. My sense of smell was very sensitive.  Migs had to ditch all the onions and garlic at home. I was very picky when it comes to food that I lost 3kgs. But everything went back to normal when I reached my 4th month. Now that I am on my third trimester and have gained almost 8kgs, I started cutting rice from my diet again with hopes of having a normal delivery.

Five years of married life and here we are – busy preparing for our little one’s arrival. I am now 34 years old and I am still amazed with how amazing my pregnancy turned out.

If you want to know more about Ketogenic diet, I suggest that you visit your doctor first and join a community where you can get tips and exchange recipes too. You may want to check out this Facebook Community.

Here’s a photo of me taken last week.  We can’t wait to see our little one!

 

More photos posted on our Facebook page.

Celebrating Motherhood

It has been more than a year since I left my corporate job for a more healthy and chill life. I have applied for several home-based jobs before I landed one a month after I resigned.  Joining several Facebook communities whose focus is on legit home-based jobs helped me prepare for interviews. One of my favorites is Filipina Homebased Moms (FHMOMS), a group created by a Filipino mother with the mission to help fellow parents, mothers especially, to find jobs suitable to their lifestyle through onlinejobs.ph.

I like how the group members share their views with working from home and even share job opportunities. They also have a line-up of seminars that you can sign-up to in case you are clueless with working from home or if you just want to upgrade your skills.

Last May 12, 2018, I was privileged to be invited to an exclusive FHMOMS event sponsored by Pampers. The event was held at Mom and Tina’s Bakery in Pasig City.

It was a short yet meaningful event where speakers discussed different topics. It is really helpful to attend events like this for soon-to-be-moms like myself. My favorite topics where Healthy Baby food ideas and Homeschooling.

If you are a mom planning to have more time with your family by working from home, or if you already are working from home and needs a support group, I suggest that you join Filipina Homebased Moms and follow their Facebook Page too.  It always feel good to be in a group who share the same passion with you and understand your needs and frustrations.

I hope you all had a meaningful mother’s day celebration!

From employee to employer in 3 years

A lot of you already know that Miguel had been sick for a year.  Having a sick person at home can hurt you both emotionally and financially. We are very traditional when it comes to saving money. We save money thru our bank accounts. Though we have considered investing , we still haven’t decided yet the best investment for us. We tried real estate but I would say that  it’s not really an investment (unless you bought your house in cash) if “passive income” is what you are looking for. Especially when emergency arises.

I have had a good number of signature bags and shoes  that I had to sell online just so we can have enough funds while Migs was still recovering. It was the best choice to make instead of spending whatever money we have saved in the past. We both regret not listening to financial advisors who were very much willing to help us with our finances. We have made bad decisions and would like to be more secure of our future.

I have read so many financial books and all of them are very inspiring but took me hours/days to finish reading. When I received a copy of Don Soriano‘s Break free, I was excited to flip through the pages. The guaranteed 1 hour of reading triggered my curiosity. But it’s true! I read the book in 56 minutes. It’s just like spending a lunch break or your idle time learning.

What I love about the book is that it didn’t use jargon or words that might be difficult for someone who’s financially illiterate to understand. When I say illiterate, I don’t mean anything wrong with that – I just meant people who are clueless on where to put their hard-earned money, okay?

Majority of Filipinos can relate to Don Soriano’s story. He’s just like almost everyone of us. Normal person who earned a college degree (well except he is a CPA board top notcher) who entered the corporate world then shifted to putting up a business, buying things that he doesn’t need and ended up being broke.

I don’t want to tell you every single detail about him because I don’t want you to rely on this post alone and not read his book. LOL!

Grab a copy while you can. Find out how he managed to overcome his financial struggles. You may also reach out to him via his official Facebook Page.

I tell you, I have attended several seminars with different business owners, CEOs, etc and the seminars do not come cheap so, if you get the chance to learn a lot of things about finances just buy buying a book and spending just an hour to study it… You are saving lots of money! I am not saying that seminars are bad. I have built a network of career and business minded individuals from the seminars that I have attended, but if you are skeptical in spending money for a whole day of seminar – Don Soriano’s book may be a good start.

I can give this copy to one of our readers (that might just be you). Just let me know why you want to receive it by leaving a comment below. In case I won’t be able to pick you, you can read a chapter of this book for free, just click this link.

Fantastic Scents And Where To Buy Them

Hey, lovely wives! Have you decided what perfume or cologne to wear this Valentine’s day? If you’re like me who prefer perfume that are not too strong, I have some recommendations for you  that I am sure you and your husband will love.

Jo Malone Wild Bluebell

The scent is so delicate yet mesmerizing. Although it is quite pricey for a cologne ($130/100ml), it still is my favorite everyday scent. It’s so feminine and it smells like you just got off the shower.

Lanvin Eclat

I discovered this scent when one of my friends wore this on her Wedding day.  The scent is as elegant as its bottle. The scent is very warm and inviting. Your husband will definitely fall in love with you all over again.

Bvlgari Omnia Crystalline EDT

Florary and woody at the same time. Just the right smell to match a little red dress. I usually wear this scent whenever I have client meetings.

That ends my Top 3 recommended Valentine’s Scents. What about you?  Do you still rely on the current weather to choose which scent to wear? I used to do that too before I came across these three brands. Now, I don’t have to collect too many scents and end up not using them for a long time because either the scent is too “summery” or too formal for a lunch date. These scents are so versatile and can definitely be worn on any occasions.

There are some online stores selling these scents for discounted prices. My favorite online shop so far is The Leather House PH.

Order thru their Shopee account to avail free shipping fee and Cash on Delivery.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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