Saving tip: Small things add up to big things

Once, when one of my kids was still quite small, we were crossing the street when I chanced upon a 10-cent coin on the road. I stopped, picked it up, brushed away the dirt, and kept it. “Mom, why did you pick it up? That’s just 10 cents!“, my kid asked me. I told my kid, “Everything has value. Even if that was just 5 cents, I’d still pick it up.

At home, I keep large medicine bottles after the contents have been consumed. I have transformed some of them into coin containers, labeling them by denomination. They come from leftover change from parking places, change from purchases, even coins I find lying around the house. And when there is enough for at least P100, I send the coins to the sari-sari store nearby for exchanging into paper bills. It goes into our family savings.

My containers for coins

My containers for coins

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A Recycled Computer Table

I have this beautiful computer table made of synthetic wood. When I bought it, it was just perfect for me. It had a pullout drawer for the keyboard and mouse, a recessed stand for my CRT monitor, and an eye-level shelf for the printer. On the left side was a small area where CD covers could be slotted in and on the lower right side was space for the CPU. Directly below the keyboard area was another shelf for other stuff like my CDs.

But when I moved to a laptop, there was no need for the table. And yet I needed a decent work area instead of my bed converted into my working table. Of course there are days when I opt to sit on my floor and work from a collapsible low table (sitting on the floor is a great yoga hip-opener). But on other days, I want to sit properly. After all, right over my computer table is a very bright fluorescent light and a computer chair that had not been used in ages.

I was thinking of donating the table but the thought of plunking down money to buy yet another table did not really appeal to me. So today, I tried something different. I decided to recycle the computer table.

This is how it looks now.


The printer was moved to the top of my filing cabinet. A scanner used to be there but it was no longer compatible with my Macbook so it moved out. Where the printer used to be, I placed my pen holders, memo and post-it-note holder. Also put a small electric fan there.

The keyboard area became an area for storing press kits and papers that I needed to write about. The mouse area still served its purpose. Where the CPU used to be is a free space so for now, I drop the bag I regularly use there so that I can just pick it up when I leave to go out (I do not change bag often). And the lowest shelf near my feet houses my external hard drives, a UPS and a few folders.

My next move is to rearrange some stuff so I do not have too many wires and cables going here and there. But that requires a trip to CD-R King to check on their cable organizers. And I still do not know what to do with the recessed stand for the CRT monitor since it is slanted. I have to check to see if I can raise it so that instead of being slanted, it is level with the floor. That can become another place for my papers and stuff.

There, I saved myself some money and put to use a space that has remained unusable for some time now.

How do you like my recycling attempt? Got any other ideas to reuse what seems to be obsolete stuff around your home?


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Financial Peace Begins NOW!

Whether you’re still in school, in your prime or about to retire,
You need financial peace to live a happy life.
And there is no time to begin but NOW.

Highly sought-after financial planning consultant, Randell Tiongson, who also happens to be a dear friend, invited me to his workshop recently, Steps to Financial Peace. The opportunity to attend and listen to the counsel of someone known for his know-how in investments was too good to pass up. And truth to tell, there was a little voice inside me saying that maybe blogging was another way to share stored-up knowledge from almost two decades in the corporate world.

Randell Tiongson

Some Things to Keep in Mind

When you invest, your goal is to earn at a rate higher than inflationary trends. If all of one’s extra money is in savings or time deposit, which at the moment hovers in the range of less than 1% to 2%, depending on which bank you use, your money is really losing value while it is sitting there because your purchasing power is being eroded by an inflation rate that is higher than the interest rate you get.

80% of what is needed for investing is BEHAVIORAL. People need to get into an investment mindset. Randell mentioned that even those who are themselves in the financial industry are not spared from financial woes. Many know how to preach but do not apply the principles to themselves.

There is what is known as a Filipino vicious cycle — the parents spend everything they have on the kids, ending up with no savings of their own. Then when they are old and medical issues begin to crop up, they become fully dependent on the children to support them. And the cycle continues. Some will say but that is because we are family-oriented and that supporting elders is a natural obligation. This mindset, however, results in generations of people who have no financial peace.

55% of families in the Philippines do not own their own homes. Many have been renting for decades with nothing to show for the money spent.

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