How to Save Money on Your Phone Plan Subscription

Can you save money on your phone bill without totally cutting your plan subscription? I was asking my self the same question while reviewing my payment history with Globe. I can’t believe I’ve been paying P3,000-P4,000 for my phone plan in the past eleven months:

A quick throwback to almost a year ago when I decided to extend my 30-month phone plan subscription with Globe. I was originally subscribed to Plan999, and I upgraded to Plan1799 with an iPhone7 Plus handset (for P800 a month). That turns my total monthly bill to P2,599 for 24 months. Where does the additional P1,500 coming from? Excess usage!

What is the Excess Usage for?

Basically, the Plan1799 includes unlimited call to Globe and TM numbers, unlimited text to all networks, and a 10GB worth of data. I only call Globe and TM numbers, so I know right away that these charges are from my excessive data usage. We are all aware about the data capping that Globe and Smart are imposing. Well, because I do not allow myself to be limited by this data cap, I made the decision to pay the price. How much? P1,500 it is.

So if your plan offers a 10GB data for a month, every KB of data in excess to that is automatically worth P1,500. You’ll be paying for the excess charge anyway, so why not go unli with it? Here’s how my recent data excess charge was computed:

P1,339.29+%VAT equals P1,500 excess usage.

I understand that data is expensive so I feel that the excess charge is reasonable for a 55.6GB volume. This is the reason why I do not want to get cable as I could watch everything online. I am still hesitant to make that move to DSL or Fibr as I am more mobile as I thought; I can’t be without data when I step out of the house.

Now, how can we save on our phone plans???

Ask first if you really need the plan. Maybe consider cutting it after the contract expires, and go for prepaid. Nonetheless, if you feel that you are better off with a plan, decide on which plan is the best for you. Globe and Smart are quite flexible with their offerings, so determine which inclusions you would really want to spend on:

Data

If you have DSL at home, you definitely won’t need a high volume of data. Unless you travel all the time or you cannot live without streaming videos wherever you are, maybe it’s time to get a lower data plan. I would say 3GB is recommended for a month of regular mobile surfing:

Call and Text

Are you actually calling and texting all the time? If yes, the unli-text and call is perfect for you. Otherwise, get rid of it and look for a plan that includes a consumable option. Make sure to stick within that limit to avoid extra charges.

Other Inclusions!

Do you actually want all those inclusions? Perhaps your data allowance is already enough to cover everything, so check your bill for any unused inclusions. Ask your service provider to remove them if there are any.

Free Subscription that Auto-renews

Your plan may include free subscriptions to Spotify, Netflix, etc. They are free for a certain period, normally around 3-6 months and will auto-renew after that. If you do not want to keep the paid subscription for the succeeding months, contact your network and unsubscribe before it starts appearing on your bill.

Paper Bills

Do you really need the paper bill? Banks and other networks accept soft copies and print outs of your bill as a proof of billing. I don’t know which other purpose would you be needing the paper bill for. With Globe, that is P50 a month and they actually encourage their users to go paperless. Subscribe to paperless billing and save that 50 pesos (P600 per year)!

Source: Globe FAQs

Lastly, get a cheaper handset.

I want to keep my number so I am extending my plan with this as the major reason. I realized, I may not be wanting an iPhone again in the near future. I will also be going back to my old Plan999 after my current subscription expires, and will downgrade to a cheaper phone, most probably an Android. The expensive, new phones this year will surely get cheaper next year!

I get a lot of calls from Globe offering me additional lines, and I am always firm at declining them. Which reminds me – do not get an additional line! Unless you need them for business purposes, you do not want to pay for more than one phone bill a month.

How are you saving on your phone bills? Have you experienced switching from postpaid back to prepaid?

4 Reasons Why New Bloggers Should Join a Blog Contest

I remember joining my first blog contest ten years ago. My old page was just over a year old at that time, and Nuffnang Philippines just opened their second blog contest.

The mechanics are simple: write about your first memories of any Sony product and mention one of the new items that they’re launching! I tapped in to my sentimental side, and went nostalgic with my story:

Reading this post today, it’s so tempting to go back and edit. But I decided to leave it this way – raw and unpretentious.

I was selected as one of the 50 finalists and received an invitation to the awarding ceremony. It was to be held at the then newly opened SMX Convention Center. Sadly, I automatically eliminated myself by not showing up.

Almost a decade later, I decided to join another blog contest, this time through this site. I got a P1000 Sodexo gift certificate. Not bad.

So, can new bloggers join and win a blog contest? Yes. Most of these competitions are open to both new and old bloggers. The newer you are, the more that you should consider joining. This site was just four months old when I entered the Sodexo blog contest.

Why should you join a blog contest if you are a new blogger? Let’s see.

It’s fun!

Blogging may get boring after your first few months. A blog contest could keep the excitement going. From putting together your story, to publishing and submitting an interesting article, and then finally waiting for the results, the anticipation keeps you excited! Regardless of the outcome, you will for sure find something out of the experience to blog about next (hint: this blog post is an actual example!).

It’s an opportunity to get creative.

Writing a full article is already difficult. Writing an article and relate it to a topic which may not be very familiar to you is even more challenging. Being able to do so without sounding too promotional, and a**-kissing could land you a spot in the organizer’s short list.

Win or lose, the experience will challenge you to improve on your writing. If you could produce high-quality posts for a competition, you can duplicate that for a regular post.

You’ll be inspired.

Running out of new ideas and topic to talk about is normal. It is one of the realities that hit every blogger all the time. Joining a blog contest will not only push you to write something, but inspire you to create a high-quality post. You want to win as much as you want to publish another article, and you are sure that someone will scrutinize your post, so why not give it your best?

If you have a niche, it becomes more challenging. Go for it! These are just one of the small risks that you need to take in order to learn, and improve your blogging.

You need the exposure!

If you win, your blog will be published by the contest organizer. Not only that you get an instant monetary reward, Google will recognize your site even more. In the long run, the backlinks that your blog get from other websites will be your biggest prize. These links give Google the impression that your page is significant, hence, giving it a higher page rank.

If you have doubts, just keep going. Join not only for the prize and bragging rights, but for the experience and lessons that come with it. These blog contests connect you to other bloggers. You get to learn more about them and how they are doing in their niche, and consequently, on how you could level-up on yours.

I wish you the best of luck on your first blog contest entry! Keep on joining!

How Much are you Paying for your Condo Association Dues?



Our property management just announced that there will be no increase in our condo dues this 2018.

The cost of association dues vary depending on the developer and property itself. Other factors, such as location and type of development, are also being considered.

For some condominiums, the amount is the same for all units, which ranges from P1000-P1500 per month. For others like SMDC, this is computed per square meter:

Residential Units: P79/sqm/month Parking Units: P61/sqm/month

The same is true for Robinsons. A friend who owns a unit in a Robinsons development is paying P74 per square meter a month for condo dues. I believe DMCI also follow this per square meter computation. This means that the bigger your unit, the higher your association dues will be. It sounds unfair, but NOT if you have more than three tenants in those bigger units (as opposed to three or less in the smaller units).

And for some good news, association dues will no longer be taxed under the new TRAIN law. This looks like an additional savings for condo owners?


How much are you paying for your condo association dues?

Money Saving Challenge Report: Month 1




I am happy that I started this challenge for myself. It feels great to have gotten that drive to do it, and having a blog to document my progress makes it even more exciting. I admit that I am not a saver, so being able to come up with ideas on how to save, and having the discipline to follow them is in itself already an achievement.

My first month of trying to religiously follow my own rules has not been very easy, I admit to cheating a few times. Here’s a summary of how my first month of saving money went.

1. Not booking Grab or Uber when going to work.

I’m just glad to have been able to make a jeepney ride for my commute to work a daily routine. Indeed, anything that you regularly do for 21 days straight can become a habit. Well, I’ve been taking a jeepney for almost two months now so my plan actually worked. I am saving not less than Php100 a day, and that’s great.

On a side note, I am totally boycotting Uber until they fix their system. My bad experience with them happened when I started considering cheaper alternatives for my commute. Ironically, it was very timely because now, Uber is no longer an option.

For my safety, I still book a ride from Grab when going home after work, often between 1 and 3 in the morning.

2. Less and less fast-food.

Fast-food is my weakness. It was my main source of “nourishment” for the past 15 years or so, and that makes it very difficult to remove from my system. Needless to say, cutting down my fast-food intake from 2-3 times a day to 2-3 times a week was a great improvement.

Which means, I have to learn to prepare my own food. I can’t cook, so cheap canned goods are my savior. Thankfully, I am not your typical Filipino who can’t survive a day without eating rice. I can live with burgers and fries for a week, but I am substituting that with bread and healthier sandwiches that I buy from a bakery near my place. Soon, I plan to prepare my own sandwich and bring it to work along with my coffee. Speaking of which:

3. I am now brewing my own coffee!

I just bought a coffee maker, and ordered an Atok Arabica ground coffee with that. Moreover, the coffeemaker was purchased using a P1000 Sodexo gift certificate that I got from joining a blog contest in November. Wonderful!

I am a supporter of local produce so I am going for the Arabica coffee from Benguet. I learned about it when I was in Sagada last November. Coincidentally, I saw some Instagram posts about the Beguet coffee, and the hard works that local farmers put into harvesting and processing the beans. That inspired me to patronize their product even more.

Now, along with these money saving habits, I just started saving my 50 peso bills again. Let’s see how much I would save at the end of the year. I’m also thinking about doing my groceries by bulk. I mean because I am your typical lazy guy, I don’t go from aisle to aisle inside the grocery. I buy what I need one at a time, and I don’t mind if that means a daily trip to the grocery store downstairs where I live. How are you saving on groceries?

I realized, I might be able to save if I buy a one week worth of groceries at a time. This is also to make sure that I won’t end up ordering food online when I run out of food supplies. I work until 1 or 2 in the morning so other than the 7/11 in our building, my only option when I’m hungry are 24-hour fast-food deliveries! I would want to avoid that as much as I could.

Lastly, I am taking advantage of the cold January weather and decided to unplug my AC. The electric fan is more than enough. This started in December and my electric bill went from approximately P1600 to P350! Awesome!

3 Things that OFWs Must Know about the OFW ID

1. The iDOLE OFW ID Card is FREE!

According to Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, “This is free for our OFWs. We do not want our OFWs to shoulder the cost because this is a gift from the President to recognize their sacrifices and immense contribution to our economy.”

2. Currently, this is only available for NEW Balik-Manggagawa (worker-on-leave, or vacationing OFWs).

“This is only the first phase of implementation and will cater first to our Balik-Manggagawa until the system is ready for all OFWs. We are doing this to secure the database and for further improvements in the system,” Secretary Bello said.

3. Registration can be done online via idole.dole.gov.ph in 3 easy steps!

This means that moving forward, OFWs will be able to do perform their transactions online! Per DOLE advisory:

“With the use of the ID, OFWs will no longer need to queue in transacting with agencies for their overseas employment as they can now access government services online during the further phases of the iDOLE eServices implementation.

The first phase of the system links DOLE with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), and the Bureau of Immigration (BI).

The iDOLE system will further interlink the databases of DOLE offices and agencies with other government agencies for a more reliable, updated and complete Labor Market Information System (LMIS) for employment facilitation purposes.” – Source: https://www.dole.gov.ph/news/view/3929

Earning $0 from my First Month of Doing Affiliate Marketing

Back in November, I started learning my way around affiliate marketing as a “new blogger”. See, despite my 10-year blogging experience, I never really focused much on blog monetization. I never had the courage to take risks, and I admit, I was too lazy to learn.

In the span of two years, from 2007 to 2009, I use to connect with several bloggers. It was just pure past time, and connecting was a way to attract followers. Although I ventured into paid posts just like most of them, I never really understood how one could make serious money blogging. I eventually stopped when paid posts became scarce.


After a few years, my fellow bloggers who continued monetizing their blogs went on to become sources of viral articles. I would often see their posts being shared on social media. I was amazed and envious at the same time; I wish I didn’t stop learning!

Fast forward to ten years later, here I am starting over again, eager and excited to explore more of what blogging has become. That’s how I came across affiliate marketing.

So how much did I earn after a month of doing affiliate marketing? Zero. Nothing. $0.

Now, you must think I am crazy. Who in their right mind would want to embarrass themselves by publishing about a zero earning? And would anyone be interested to even read an article about not earning a single cent after a month of doing affiliate marketing? I don’t know either. But I did promise to share my experiences, and I think talking about starting from absolutely nothing is not really a bad idea.

So what are the affiliate marketing programs that I signed up to? And what went wrong? Let me discuss.

Amazon – Probably the most popular affiliate program available in the world wide web. While they have a very wide selection of products to promote, I find it difficult to find one that would fit in my blog. I thought gift cards are quite close, so I selected that for my first banner.

Lazada – I think Lazada is popular amongst bloggers in Asia. While Zalora is for fashion and lifestyle bloggers, Lazada is more like Amazon, so it caters to a broader audience. I knew I cannot do Zalora, so I went for Lazada right away. I like the fact that they have regional offerings, so you can select one that targets your reader’s locations.

Agoda – I thought it was appropriate to try Agoda as I am bound to publish travel-related posts at anytime. You get a commission for every booking made from your affiliate link; now I envy travel bloggers!

JVZoo – I honestly do not understand JVZoo. Well, I guess it’s very typical for a newbie to try and explore things and later on asks “what was I thinking”? I am not comfortable at giving out my credit card details upon signing up, so I give this one a pass at the moment. But I’m pretty sure I’ll reconsider in the future.

Bluehost – Since I started buying virtual real estates, I’ve always wanted to try Bluehost. However, GoDaddy has cheaper offers so I would end up ditching Bluehost. Bluehost nonetheless approved my affiliate application and I was very excited to start. A few days later, I received a notice about an issue in the tax form that I submitted. I never bothered checking what was wrong. Also, I realized that Bluehost may not be a perfect fit for my niche so I guess that ends my Bluehost dreams. Ironically, I would see Bluehost ads from Adsense being displayed on my pages so I guess that is it.




GoDaddy – The only one that rejected me. It’s sad because I am a GoDaddy customer. I bought this domain from GoDaddy and subscribed to their hosting plan too. Oh, well.

ConvertKit – Okay. This is most popular amongst bloggers that I follow. The problem is, I still don’t understand how it works so I haven’t started using it yet. It just looks complicated to me and until I get to fully articulate what ConvertKit is all about, I don’t want to be publishing anything about it. I know it may be simple for others, but as goes my tagline – “layman’s term” is what I am promoting. I want to be able to talk about it in my own simple words. Just like JVZoo, I am not closing my doors on ConvertKit yet.

So there you go. So far, I am only actively publishing Amazon, Lazada, and Agoda at the moment which means I will need to have wide readership before I could actually earn something. But I am optimistic that I’ll be able to reach my first payout with them one day, and when that time comes, I will definitely be talking about it.

This is my humble affiliate marketing journey. While I am a bit disappointed, I don’t consider my first month a failure. As what they say, it is just the beginning. I am still learning, and I know there’s a lot more to come.

Cheers!!!

What is the POEA Online Pre-Employment Orientation Seminar (PEOS)

What is the POEA Online Pre-Employment Orientation Seminar (PEOS), and why do you need to take it?

The PEOS is informal online seminar that you need to take when applying for a job overseas; you can access this at http://peos.poea.gov.ph/.

This is required by the POEA, and in case you are applying through an agency, the agency will be asking you to submit the printed copy of your PEOS completion certificate. This certificate will be provided at the end of the online seminar.

The PEOS consists of a series of videos showing all the information that you will need to know when applying for a job abroad. At the end of each video, you will be asked to answer a short “quiz” to test your knowledge and to ensure that you understood what was discussed in the videos.

Screenshot from http://peos.poea.gov.ph/

 

Why do you need to take the seminar?

It’s a quick and convenient way to learn and understand the ins and outs of becoming an OFW.

It will provide you information about the legal ways of obtaining a job abroad, tips on how to spot and avoid illegal recruiters, and the physical, emotional, and psychological preparations that one should do before leaving his or her family in the Philippines to work overseas.

A short, quick lesson about cultural awareness is also included.

I took it myself, and although I was confident that I am knowledgeable about what is legal and not, and despite my broad awareness of the cultural differences amongst regions around the world, I still incurred one incorrect answer.

It was a fun and easy online seminar, just like watching 5-10 minute Youtube videos. You can do it anywhere, and all you need is an internet connection and a computer.


Ideally, the PEOS should be taken before an aspiring OFW start his or her application. It will actually also help you decide whether you are “ready” to work abroad or not. Nonetheless, you can still do it at any time during your application process. My brother, for example, took this online seminar while waiting for his OEC to be released.

What are the Advantages of a Prepaid Credit Card?

Prepaid cards are good alternatives to credit cards.

I use to work as a customer service representative, and we would sometimes advise a customer to use a prepaid credit card for payments, in lieu of a credit card. I didn’t really know what a prepaid credit card is back then as Philippine banks are not yet offering them.


A few years later, I found myself lining up in BPI to apply for a prepaid credit card. It was useful and I had it for six years. I did not renew it this year because I got another one from UnionBank, plus a secured credit card from Security Bank.

What are the advantages of a prepaid credit card?

– If you are into online shopping, but do not want to use a credit card, a prepaid credit card could be of help.

– Your credit limit is dependent on how much you want to “load” into the card so you have full control of your spending. Say you want to book a hotel at Php2500, you may only reload that amount, process your booking, and you’re done.

– No monthly bills. Since this is prepaid, you will not receive bills at the end of the month!

– No maintaining balance required. And for some banks like UnionBank, your prepaid account can also function as a savings account.

– Reloading is easy. Most banks allow you to reload via online transfer or thru an ATM.

Are there any disadvantages? Personally, the annual fee which cannot be waived is quite a turn off. Other credit card perks, such as installments, are of course not possible with a prepaid card. Also, you cannot withdraw your money (or your load) via ATM.

What are the differences of a prepaid credit card and a debit card? I could only think of one – unlike a prepaid credit card or regular credit card, you cannot use a debit card for online payments (not counting bills payment).

Making online payments are unavoidable these days, and if you do not have a credit card or if you want to play it safe, prepaid cards are the way to go. I think most banks offer them now, but I noticed that only BPI and UnionBank are actively promoting their prepaid cards.

Are you a prepaid credit card user too?

What is the “balance from previous billing” in your Meralco Bill?



I moved-in to my new place in April, and from May to December, my electric bill always comes with an amount under theBalance from Previous Billing box. This is despite the fact that I have been paying the total amount due in FULL since my first billing. The “balance” has always been less than 10 pesos so it never really bothered me. But since we are now on the topic of saving money, I finally decided to contact Meralco.

How do you contact Meralco? For a lazy guy like me, I chose the easiest way. Twitter:

Per Meralco’s advice, these are withholding taxes from the previous tenant. There was never a previous tenant in my unit, so I guess those are taxes earned from when SMDC installed electrical lines?

This also still doesn’t explain why these “balances” continued to appear in my bills until December despite having been paying everything in full and on time since May. This message thread will surely continue in January if I see yet another “balance”.

To be fair with their social media representative/s, they are very polite and accommodating. I’ve had previous inquiries with them so we were already following each other (you will need to follow each other’s account in order to send private messages on Twitter).

I’ll definitely keep an eye on the “balance from previous billing” box in my next bill. Next update: January 2018.

January 2018 Update: Consistent to what I’ve been receiving in the past 7 months, another P7.76 was added to my December 2018 bill. After several DM exchanges with MERALCO, it looks like there had been an error at their end. They promised to deduct this from my next billing:February 2018 Update: The amount under “balance from previous billing” has eventually been removed from my latest bill.