Tips to Financially Cope During Covid-19

It’s not just the governments and businesses who should make some adjustments, we, individuals, should also adapt. We have to make drastic changes to conform to the new normal, and these include our finances.

This pandemic has affected not just our way of life but also our livelihood. Businesses, large or small, have been severely impacted because of the lockdown. Thousands ended up with no work and no pay scheme.

Just a month after the lockdown, companies have started to cut salaries, lay off employees, and some have unfortunately closed. I’m one of those whose pay has been reduced and is anxious about the uncertainly that lies ahead.

Today’s situation had reminded me of a maxim that was thought to me when I was an accounting student in the university. “Maximize profit and minimize expenses.” This is what businesses usually follow, and can be applied to our individual finances. If you have a salary cut, then slash some unnecessary spendings and look for an extra income source.

Tips to
Financially
Cope During

Covid-19

Save More (Minimize Expenses)

Money saved is money earned. Now, more than ever is the right time to save. The quarantine, in a way, has forced people to save. There are no more impulse buying in the malls, no dining out, no entertainment/recreational activities, and a good saving in gas and transportation expenses.

Although we have seen a significant decrease in spending of individuals, we can still do more to save. Start by cutting non-essential expenses. Prioritize needs in order of importance: food, health, and shelter come first.

Budgeting is really an essential thing to do. Revisit your monthly budget and do some budget cuts. Audit expenses to see where you can chop big items or prevent small items – like deliveries – adding up. Focus on what gives you value and what is essential. Trim down your expenses and add more to your savings. Today, we are navigating in unchartered territories.

Water. If possible, use recycled water for your plants and to flush your toilet. When washing dishes, use a basin rather than keeping the water running. Use a glass when brushing your teeth.

Electricity. Turn off the lights and other electrical devices whenever not used. In electricity, every minute is consumption. Harness the free resources from nature. Open your blinds/curtains to get natural light. Unplug appliances if not in use. Use air-conditioning only when the temperature is unbearable.

Rent. Check with your landlord for a possible rental cuts or delay in payment. Some real estate companies here in Dubai are already extending rental reduction. Now is an excellent time to negotiate everything.

Food. Cook at home rather than ordering from outside, especially if you’re a family. Make use of the time in isolation. There is nothing healthier than home-cooked food, aside from the fact that you are sure of the safety and cleanliness of the food you are consuming. Don’t throw away food. You can keep them for later consumption. Don’t let fruits and vegetables rot or spoil.

Clothes. If you are working from home, then there is no need to buy new clothes. Just wear that a pajama set, and you can still be as productive when you’re dressed-up.

Cancel Subscriptions/Memberships: In April, I have used only 5% of my mobile data as I have WiFi at home. When you are not using the service of something that you are paying for, then why not terminate to get a good saving. Cancel Netflix subscription if you find it not essential for survival. Gym membership, nowadays, is of no use because gyms are closed and might not open anytime soon. Remember, every cent counts.

Buy in Promotions. Buy groceries and supplies on promotions. In Dubai, you can get a good saving during weekends in Carrefour or and some other major supermarkets. You can buy in bulk to get a good deal. Viva and Baquer supermarkets both offer low prices in many grocery items.

In General. It could be worth downsizing lifestyle costs: for example, cheaper schools and a smaller place if your contract is ending soon. Now is an excellent time to negotiate everything.

Earn More (Maximize Earnings)

After trimming down your expenses, focus on what you can do after this is over. Once the economy bounces back, we need to be creative in keeping costs low and generating more income for the family. Work on a new idea to solve the current financial struggle by engaging in activities that give you extra cash.

Sell Products. The internet is a very useful tool in commerce nowadays. You can start selling products to your friends on Facebook. If you have a talent for artworks, then you can sell some handmade products like this other featured article: Earn from Personalised Artworks & Crafts.

Offer Services. If you know carpentry and electrical works, then you can offer your services to friends and neighbors. Any specific skill you possess can be used in some freelancing jobs online.

Sell Unwanted Items. Items that are of no use to you could be valuable to others. You can earn for its salvage value. Begin a garage sale in your front yard or online.

Utilize Idle Resources. If you have a spare room, you can accept some boarders. You may convert the front part of your house into a commercial space. If you have any idle land, then you may start investing in farming: Backyard Goat Farming and Starting a Coconut Farm Business?

Other Important Tips

Loans / Credit Card Debts. Get in touch with your banks/lending agencies for re-structuring options. Some banks in the UAE have introduced free-of-charge repayment holidays for up to three months; interest-free and processing fee-free credit card installment plans of up to six months. Or you can speak to the person whom you owed to give you more time to pay.

Invest in Yourself. Learn a new trade or skill. After this pandemic, the competition in the job market can be tough. The more skills you have, the more chances of landing in a better job. Take online classes to prepare for the job requirements in the new normal. There are many free online courses. Some premium courses may collect a minimal fee. Free online courses are available in TESDA.

Prepare for a Plan B. Let’s hope for the best but prepare for the worst. Stockpile cash. Now is not the time to invest in an off-plan property or start day-trading stocks. Plan financially for losing your job, so you are prepared if the worst happens. But if a job loss or collapse of your small business befell upon you, then you should be implementing the Plan B now.

Start Your Own Business. Harness your full potential. So many successful businesses start during tough times. In every threat, there is an opportunity. Somehow, somewhere there is a problem that requires a solution, a need that has to be satisfied. With a gifted entrepreneurial eye, you can create a business from that need. I have another article that outlines 40 Business Opportunities Arising from COVID-19. Check that out, and maybe you will get the best fit for you.

Ask for Help. If, after exhausting all your resources and efforts, you’re still struggling financially, there is no harm to ask for help from relatives and friends. You can borrow money and pay or work for it later. If you are a carpenter, then you can fix some broken furniture as a form of payment.

Give Help. The only way that we are all going to get through this is if we think as “WE” not “ME. Let us help others in our little ways. If you are financially able, provide, or lend money to a relative or friend in need. Money is not the only way to help others. Give non-monetary support, advice, and expert opinion.

Pray. Prayer is the best weapon everyone possesses. Ask for grace, help, guidance and strength from Him.

Disclaimer

EarnPeso holds no control over your financial fate. It is here as a guide. Exercise prudence in every investment or business you undertake, and success will follow.

I hope this article provides you essential information to improve your finances. Check Finance Tips for more insightful essays.

Do you have any questions? I would love to hear from you. Please leave a message in the comment box below or follow and message me on Facebook.

Reference:
1. Experts share their tips to financially cope during Covid-19

Is Travel Insurance Important?

I have traveled to 26 countries for the past 11 years, and thanks to God, I never fall ill on my travels except for a minor gastrointestinal disorder when I was in London (lols).

Falling sick on a foreign land can be very draining physically, emotionally, and financially. This can disrupt your holiday and could lead to more expenses in extending your hotel stay, rebooking your flight, and those yummy foods. Not to mention the hospital and medicine bills.

Not wishing for this to happen, the good thing is my company’s medical insurance has international coverage. Any hospitalization expenses will be reimbursed.

What is a Travel Insurance?

It is a type of insurance covering medical expenses, costs related to trip cancellations or delays, accidents, and other losses incurred while traveling. This is commonly used when traveling internationally but can also be used domestically.

When my elderly parents visited Dubai in September 2019, I made sure to buy travel insurance. That was their second time to have visited Dubai. They had no insurance the first time they came, and even when we traveled to Hong Kong in 2010.

What made me buy insurance was an incident that happened to my colleague, where her dad fell ill while vacationing in Dubai. He had to be transported back to Manila on a stretcher.

A stretcher case onboard a flight needs a special arrangement with an airline. It comes with a hefty price tag as it requires at least six seats on the plane, plus the seats of the attending nurse and the family of the patient. We are talking 700,000 to a million pesos for a stretcher passenger for a flight from Dubai to Manila.

How much is Travel Insurance?

The cost depends on your destination country and the duration of your stay. For my parents, I paid only P2308 per person for a 30-day plan. I took it from www.standard-insurance.com and paid with a credit card online. It was the cheapest insurance available online with medical treatment insurance of up to half a million pesos. It will also compensate for other travel-related events such as loss of travel documents, flight delays/cancellations, loss of baggage, and even has life insurance coverage, too.

My Mom’s Travel Insurance Certificate

Thanks to God, my parents’ holiday in Dubai went well. They had enjoyed a lot their month-long vacation. The policy I bought has given them peace of mind and just focused on enjoying their trip.

Disclaimer

EarnPeso holds no control over your financial fate. It is here as a guide. Exercise prudence in every investment or business you undertake, and success will follow.

I hope this article encourages you to start your own business/investment. Click the links for Business Ideas and Investment Options for more insightful essays.

Do you have any questions? I would love to hear from you. Please leave a message in the comment box below or follow and message me on Facebook.

Getting a Coupon Taxi in NAIA?

I have been an OFW for a decade now, and NAIA (Ninoy Aquino International Airport) has been my gateway for both domestic and international travel. Having been into all its terminals, I saw public transports’ dire conditions at the country’s main airport.

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If you want to get a safe ride at a reasonable price, then you have to hail Grab or the airport Coupon Taxi. I have a separate article, “How to Get a Ride with Grab in NAIA?”

With the frequent and recurring issue about passengers being overcharged by airport taxis, the Coupon Taxi is the best option for a safe airport transfer. NAIA itself commissions this transport; hence we can rely on its credibility. The best thing is that they have fixed rates on all the destinations they serve.

Booking

After claiming your bags and clearing customs, you go to the arrival hall exit gates and outside the terminal, look for the “Coupon Taxi” booth or counter. These are white-coloured cars with blue square tag. You’ll get swarmed with people offering a ride but ignore them and make sure that you deal only with the person at the desk with clear signage saying “Coupon Taxi.”

Fixed Rates

They have a list of destinations with corresponding fares. The government approves this fare; hence it’s reasonable for such a service. Once your destination is identified from the list, you will be issued with a dispatch slip or coupon with the amount to be paid mentioned. You can pay the driver upon arriving at your destination. Note that you have to pay the toll fees when expressways are used.

Destinations

The service is available for a drop off to any point in Luzon. If your destination is only in Metro or Mega Manila, I would advise taking Grab instead of getting a better rate.

I hope this article provides you essential information to improve your finances by saving more money. Check Finance Tips for more insightful essays.

Do you have any questions? I would love to hear from you. Please leave a message in the comment box below or follow and message me on Facebook.

Resolve Your Financial Problems Through Minimalism

You might be one of the many people who struggle financially. Your salary is insufficient to fund your monthly expenses. More so, your credit card invoices and debts are strangling you so intensely.

While there are many ways to increase your income, these might be unmanageable to do, if not more tiring, as these steal your valued time to relax and relish life.

Our usual fix is to work overtime, sell goods, perform services, or do part-time jobs to bring in an extra income. Many of these activities are so excruciating. With a full-time job of 8 to 12 hours, utilizing your spare time to earn more would be endless torture.

Yes, you would earn more, but the question is, “Are you happy?” Those activities deprive you of resting, relaxing, and savoring life. No wonder people today are so stressed and are just living a paycheck after the other.

In theory, there are two ways to increase your money: maximize your earning and/or minimize your expense.

If you make 1000 a month and your disbursement is 1100, then you are in a deficit by 100.

There are two options to solve this problem:

  1. Perform a part-time job to earn an extra 100; or
  2. Trim your expenses by 100.

Here is where minimalism comes in. Financial minimalism is done by cutting down unnecessary expenses. You are utilizing your money to buy only the needs and not the wants.

Needs are those you CAN’T live without, such as basic food, clothing, and shelter. Wants, on the other hand, are things a person CAN live without, such as toys, a mansion, car, air conditioning, smartphone, etc.

In 2014, I paid AED2900 monthly to rent a room. Today I’m paying only a rent of AED1900. With no increase in my income, I managed to save AED1000 a month.

I could have remained in the same AED2900 room but without savings. Instead, I had lessened my rental expense and built a substantial stock market investment portfolio using those AED1000 savings.

There are many things you possess that are not really of use or maybe of less importance to you. That blender, vacuum cleaner, toaster, expensive painting, or chinawares you have not used for almost a year now has to go. You can trade it for a profit or donate.

Before you acquire something, ask yourself first, “ Can I survive without this?” Remember to buy only your needs.

Many of us are living a lavish lifestyle but are buried in debt. Sell that car you have and close your liabilities once and for all.

Stop frequenting to expensive restaurants or cafes to flaunt your captured Instagramable photos.

Minimize that out of the country trips if those are not needed to survive life.

Give up buying your child a toy if he already has over ten toys. Instead, spend more time with him and establish meaningful interactions and experiences.

For OFWs, lessen the instances of sending Balikbayan boxes instead treat your kin with a simple gathering where you can improve more on interpersonal relationships and create meaningful conversations.

Material things can bring temporary happiness. Once the shoes that you gave become ripped off and disposed of, that person won’t remember you. Only the happy memories and fun experiences happened on a simple gathering like a night swimming, videoke party, sports match, or short trips will be relived forever.

By slowly removing unnecessary elements, you can to save money and concentrate your time and effort on more essential things such as family, business, and your dreams & aspirations.

We are living in a consumerist generation where we are encouraged to work hard, spend, go into debt, and work harder to get many of the best the world can offer—thus ended on living a pitiful life.

By being a minimalist, we instead focus on our personal development, family, spirituality, living sustainably, and contributing to the common good of society. This promotes a significantly higher level of life satisfaction and more experiences of pleasant emotion.

Disclaimer

EarnPeso holds no control over your financial fate. It is here as a guide. Exercise prudence in every investment or business you undertake, and success will follow.

I hope this article provides you essential information to improve your finances. Check Finance Tips for more insightful essays.

Do you have any questions? I would love to hear from you. Please leave a message in the comment box below or follow and message me on Facebook.

Reference:

  1. What’s behind the rise of minimalist living?

How to Get a Ride with Grab in NAIA

(Updated: 25.May.20)

A few years ago, NAIA (Ninoy Aquino International Airport) had been named by a travel website as the worst airport in the world. One of the reasons is the transport system (airport taxi) in which taxi drivers are overcharging their passengers. I have been an OFW for a decade now, and I have first-hand experiences with horrors at NAIA terminals. Grab’s introduction to the transport arena made my travel more secure and more accessible.

Let me share with you this fantastic transport option. Here are the details to book Grab.


Location

Grab operates in all 4 NAIA terminals. All of these are located outside the terminal building. Just look for that green Grab booth.

Terminal 1: Main arrival curbside
Terminal 2: Inner arrival curbside between bays 7 & 8
Terminal 3: Secondary curbside between bays 5 & 6
Terminal 4: Curbside

Booking

The attendant at Grab booth will ask your destination and will book the car for you. The good thing with Grab is you can book directly in their booth (no need for a smartphone/tablet with internet access). Make sure to provide your mobile number so you can track your transaction that day. Be extra careful and make sure to deal only with the person at the counter. Some people are posing to be from Grab. You would regret later if you mistakenly deal with posers.

Payment

The booking attendant will tell you the total fare. You will pay cash to the driver once you arrived at your destination. Pay whatever is the fare displayed on the driver’s Grab app. You can tip the driver, too. You will shoulder toll fees if using expressways.

Feedback

Grab has given me a very convenient and safe airport transport. Transport services at NAIA are notorious for overcharging customers. Grab offers a much cheaper fare compare to Airport taxis.

Destinations Outside Grab Service Coverage

Grab services at any destination in Metro Manila and to selected areas of its surrounding provinces. I have been booking Grab for a drop off in Bacoor Cavite, but the last time I tried to book for Montalban Rizal drop, I was advised it was out of coverage.

For other destinations in Luzon, you can use the Coupon Taxi. Before Grab, this has been my ever reliable transport buddy from the airport to home. The fare is fixed, and it’s one of the safest as they are commissioned by NAIA itself. I have a separate article, “How to Get a Coupon Taxi in NAIA.”

Disclaimer

EarnPeso holds no control over your financial fate. It is here as a guide. Exercise prudence in every investment or business you undertake, and success will follow.

I hope this article provides you essential information to improve your finances thru this money-saving tip. Check Finance Tips for more insightful essays.

Do you have any questions? I would love to hear from you. Please leave a message in the comment box below or follow and message me on Facebook.

Get a Free Worldwide Airport Lounge Access

(Updated 26.May.20)

Travelling could be very exciting, but for frequent flyers, it could be a pain at times. That is why airport lounges were introduced to ease the inconvenience caused to the passengers.

My Emirates Islamic debit & Citibank credit cards

An airport lounge offers a comfortable place for passengers to rest while waiting to board their flights. It provides a quiet place to relax and offers food, beverage, shower facility, wifi access, and entertainment such as TV, newspapers & magazines.

Pacific Club, an airport lounge in NAIA (Manila)

Usually, you have to travel Business or First class to obtain free access to the lounge or pay an amount of money depending on the airport. You can also be a premium member of an airline’s frequent flyer program that requires you to travel thousands of miles.

But do you know that you need not pay a hefty amount nor purchase a First or Business class ticket to enjoy this luxury? I’ve been traveling since I joined an airline in 2008 until today. But not only until 2013 that I started having access to an airport lounge.

My first lounge access was only applicable to the Marhaba Lounges at Dubai airports. I got this access through my finance loan account with a UAE bank (Emirates Islamic). A Titanium card was to me with access to Marhaba Lounges.

In December 2016, Citibank upgraded my 8-year-old credit card account to a Citi World Mastercard. One of the many benefits is access to over 1000 airport lounges worldwide through Lounge Key.

Marhaba Lounge counter at Dubai International Airport Terminal 3

You heard it right! It’s worldwide, and it’s free! I was delighted when I heard the news.

Wherever you are in the world, you can check with any of your local banks to get more information if they have the same offer. Conditions may apply.

If you are in Dubai, you can use any debit or credit card with Mastercard logo to access Marhaba Lounge at Dubai International Airport (DXB). If you are in UAE, check these links (Citibank and Emirates Islamic) to get more details on how to get this type of card.

Just a reminder, if you have a credit card, please be cautious about its usage. May have been buried in debt due to misuse. Check my other article 3 Tips to Successfully Manage your Credit Card for some helpful tips.

I hope this article provides you essential information to improve your finances by saving more money. Check Finance Tips for more insightful essays.

Do you have any questions? I would love to hear from you. Please leave a message in the comment box below or follow and message me on Facebook.

3 Tips to Successfully Manage your Credit Card

I got my very first credit card when I started working in Dubai way back in 2008. I got my very first credit card when I started working in Dubai way back in 2008. I had no idea about the blessings & curse of having one. A year after, when some of my colleagues got into legal troubles because of unpaid credit card dues, I felt thankful to a friend name Cherry who taught me how to manage my credit card effectively.

Here are the tips:

1. Spend within your means.

The credit card is not another source of income. It is a temporary source of cash. In the end, you will still pay for the amount you have used. So when you use your card, think first how you will pay for it. Some people are impulsive buyers. If they have credit cards on hand, they will end up buying stuff off the budget. It would be better not to take your credit card with you all the time.

2. Pay on time the full amount due.

Pay on or before the due date and pay not just the minimum amount but the full amount owing. If you do not pay the total amount, the bank will charge you with late payment fee & interest. Make sure you use the card only up to a level where you can pay on time.

3. For big purchases, apply for installments.

Some banks are offering zero interest on installment payments. But if they charge interest, it would still be lower than the late payment fee and interest charged when you miss payments. When I bought my mom a 45-inch TV using my Citibank credit card, I applied for a three-month easy payment plan.

I have been following the above tips since eight years ago. Never did I missed a payment, so I’ve never been penalized by the bank. I always avail of installment payment whenever I have massive purchases. And I have no problems with credit cards. It has given me free lounge access worldwide, and I earn frequent flyer miles from it.

I know people in Dubai who have been jailed because of credit card misuse. Likewise, I see a lot who have reaped benefits from credit cards. In conclusion, a credit card is a beneficial tool. There is no doubt about it. But you need to control its use, or else it will be a source of your life’s misery.

As I mentioned above, there are blessings that come along with the credit As I mentioned above, some blessings come with the credit card aside from being a temporary source of cash. There are many other benefits that you may enjoy, such as airport lounge access, buy 1 get 1 in Vox Cinemas, airport meet and assist service, and many others depending on the card. Please take the time to read my other article, Get a Free Worldwide Airport Lounge Access.

Disclaimer

EarnPeso holds no control over your financial fate. It is here as a guide. Exercise prudence in every investment or business you undertake, and success will follow.

I hope this article provides you essential information to improve your finances. Check Finance Tips for more insightful essays.

Do you have any questions? I would love to hear from you. Please leave a message in the comment box below or follow and message me on Facebook.

How to Get a Huge Discount on Airline Tickets?

(Updated 26.May.20)

Air travel has become the most convenient way of transport. But it is also the most expensive. However, would you believe that you can get as high as 90% discount on air tickets? Yes, you heard it right. You will pay only 10% of the fare plus the taxes. This is not the seasonal promotion of airlines. This ticket can be used anytime, subject to availability.

I have been in the airline industry for over a decade now. I worked for two airlines and two travel agencies. In the airline industry, there is a so-called ID (industry discount) Ticket. Here are the ways to obtain this discount.

Be an Airline Employee

Being an airline employee, you are given an unlimited 90% off on a subject to load tickets. This is the reason why you will see airline employees traveling every now & then. This is excluding some annual free tickets.

Be a Family of an Airline Employee

You are lucky enough if one of your immediate family members got a job as an airline. It means you will get an unlimited ticket for a 50-90% discount.

 Silly as it may sounds, you can get this benefit by marrying an airline employee. Your family will benefit, too. And by the way, I’m still single (kidding).

Befriend an Airline Employee

In many airlines, its employees can provide a limited number of discounted tickets to anyone not defined as a family member. Some airlines can give a 50% – 90% discount.

Be a Travel Agent

If airline employees have ID tickets, the travel agency employees have AD (agent discount) Tickets. This a discounted ticket given by the airlines to its valued travel agents. You need to be an employee of a travel agency to obtain this discount. When I was in Prudentialife Travel, I remember my manager issued an AD ticket with Philippine Airlines for my colleague.

So hurry up. Be one of the above, and let us all discover the world.

I hope this article provides you essential information to improve your finances by saving more money. Check Finance Tips for more insightful essays.

Do you have any questions? I would love to hear from you. Please leave a message in the comment box below or follow and message me on Facebook.

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