Declined Credit Card: What’s Next?

Credit card is one of the most convenient things ever invented that made mankind’s life easier. Think about this: you don’t have to worry about bringing cash with you since you can shop using credit card. Paying for online purchases are also easier and convenient.

Here’s the thing: not everyone are given the opportunity to own a credit card. Even if you can prove your capacity to pay as evidenced by your overseas job, some credit card companies won’t readily issue a credit card for you. As a result, your application is declined.

You might have questions as to why, how, and what you can do to prevent this from happening. You might even wonder what you can do to improve your chances of getting that much needed approval.

In case of declined credit card application, here’s what you can do:

Check The Status Of Your Credit Card Application

Depending on the bank, application process takes between one and three weeks. In fact, some may take longer than usual. The waiting game can be stressful as well because of the uncertainties.

That being said, don’t hesitate to check the status of your credit card application. Calling the appropriate department could help, although a lot of banks are resorting to online inquiry. Check the bank’s policy regarding status update by visiting their respective websites.

Know Thy Reasons

Most credit card companies won’t tell you outright the reasons why your application was declined. Nonetheless, it’s okay if you ask possible reasons so you can make necessary adjustments next time.

Some of the most common reasons why an application is rejected are:

  • Incomplete or incorrect information provided in the application form
  • Low income, which means you might have a hard time paying off come due date
  • Bad credit score, which is also the most common reason why a lot of people get declined
  • Too much debt, such as personal loans or car loan
  • Unpaid credit card bills, which is a red flag for all credit card companies
  • Unstable job history

If you are guilty of any of these reasons, then there is a possibility that your credit card application will be rejected.

What should you do? The next sections will tell you what.

Don’t Re-Apply – Yet

You might be excited to apply for another credit card. DON’T – and here’s why.

First, it’s a bad sign. For credit card companies, the urgency and frequency of applying for a credit card sends a message that you are in need of money.

Second, it has a negative effect on your credit score. Every time you apply for a credit card, the credit card company will look into your credit history, which means all approved and declined credit card applications will reflect. The more they see rejection, the higher the chances of getting your application declined.

What should you do? Wait it out for three to six months before you apply again. During that time, make sure you do what it takes to improve your credit score, which will be discussed next.

Boost Your Credit Score

Credit score is an important factor when it comes to loan application. The higher the score is, the better chances of getting approved.

Since you got declined, take this as an opportunity to improve your score. Make sure you pay all of your bills on time. If you have outstanding credit card bills, then make an effort to settle them or at least lower the balance.

Avoid applying for loans, too, such as personal loan. This could hurt you credit standing because again, it signifies that you are in need of cash.

It will also help to increase your savings account. Having a bank account is a sign of being financially responsible, which is a big plus for credit card companies.

Look For Alternatives

Having a credit card is useful but if your application was declined several times, then you might want to consider other credit alternatives.

You can try getting a secured credit card. Instead of submitting tons of documents to prove your capacity to pay, you have to open a separate savings account or a time deposit, which will serve as your security or guarantee. The downside is that if you miss a payment, the bank can deduct the amount from that account, which also means you need to make sure that it has sufficient funds.

You can also consider getting a prepaid credit card. This is your typical credit card but with spending limit. Once your balance reached zero, you can no longer use it unless you top it up. This is an effective way to help you budget, especially if you still can’t go overseas for work.

Getting declined is fine. Use it as an opportunity to improve your credit standing so that when the time comes, you can apply for bigger loans like housing or business loan and get approved.

Hard Truth: Prices Are Rising – But We Can Still Do Something About It

Have you noticed the changes in the prices of pork for the past few months? Did you see any increase in price of your favorite goods?

Challenging times like this, consumers are carefully looking at prices to make sure they will get more value for what they paid for. But because of the increase in oil prices overseas as well as challenges in the supply chain of commodities due to pandemic, retailers are forced to increase their prices to make ends meet. Even supply of pork is affected because of African swine flu outbreak.

Unfortunately, the changes in prices caused by external factors are passed on to consumers like us.

Worse, even the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas are acknowledging this increase and even warned Filipinos to brace for impact. At this point, there’s nothing we can do, at least to prevent the increase in prices.

Still, we can do something to prepare for this trend as the world tries to recover from this pandemic even if you are no longer working overseas – for now.

What can we do? These tips could help:

You Can Never Go Wrong With Budgeting

How many times have you read this tip? Although we sound like a broken record, budgeting your money is essential because it ensures that everything is allotted and accounted for. You will be able to keep track of your spending and easily make adjustments in order to maximize your savings.

At the same time, this will avoid overspending because you were able to plan where your money goes.

Consider Having More Than One Source Of Income

You’ve experienced this while working overseas. Most OFWs have more than one job or a small business on the side so you can send more to your family back home. Although the income here may not be as big as what you’re earning abroad, having multiple sources of income could help you cover the necessary expenses everyday.

What kind of job? The options are endless. Freelancing is one option, especially if you are good at a particular skill. You can also start your own online business and maximize social media to market your products.

The bottom line is don’t settle to just one income stream. You’ll never know when you will need cash, so it’s better to be prepared.

Make Your Money Grow

Although savings are fine, you won’t be able to reap bigger benefits when you leave your money in your savings account. Interest rate is lower compared to other investment products like stocks or mutual funds.

Therefore, consider investing your money in other income streams. You can start with Time Deposit in case you’re still unsure of where to put your money. If you’re willing to take a risk, then try mutual fund or UITF. The beauty of this type of investment is that there is a Fund Manager who will take care of your investment.

If taking a risk won’t be an issue, then investing in stocks is worth trying. This will yield higher returns especially if you think long term. However, investing in stocks can be tricky, so make sure you educate yourself as much as you can so you can enjoy the benefits.

Be A Wise Spender

This is a must. At this point, you need to be careful when it comes to spending. You need to make sure that your money is spent wisely and you only prioritize what are necessary.

That being said, here are some reminders on how you can be a wise spender:

  • Make it a habit to compare prices. Some sellers sell their products cheaper than the others, which means bigger savings as well.
  • Always look for alternatives. Sometimes, it’s not always about the brand since there are products that are also quality but not necessarily expensive.
  • Buy items when they are out-of-season. Most of the time, items will be cheaper compared to buying them when they’re in demand. Perfect example: face mask and face shield.

Stay Healthy At All Times

Now is the time when we cannot get sick. First, it’s difficult to schedule a check-up, considering the Covid scare. Second, getting sick is expensive. Third, do you really want to get sick at this point?

Therefore, always keep yourself and your family healthy. Get enough sleep, eat healthy, and exercise regularly. This will benefit you and your family in the long run.

Saving Is A Family Thing

Prioritizing the family’s financial standing is not only your and your spouse’s responsibility. It should be a collective effort within the family.

When it comes to saving, make sure to keep your family involved. Every member must be able to contribute to family savings. Educate your children about the importance of saving and sticking to needs first over wants. Train them to budget. When everyone is involved, you’ll be able to reach your financial goals easily.

It’s a difficult time but every sacrifice is worth it.

Creative Ways To Save Money This 2021

2020 has been a year of learnings and realizations for many of us, especially in terms of money. At this point, we now realized the importance of saving, having an Emergency Fund, investing money, and even looking for a side job to help make ends meet.

But let’s face it: no matter how much you try to adjust, earning seems extra challenging and bills never stop from coming. This is why you constantly have to look for ways to boost your savings for the rainy days.

What do you do?

Instead of “forcing” it, there are creative ways that will help you save money without realizing it. This includes:

Try Money Challenges – And Stick To It!

You read about the 52-week money challenge, No Spend Weekends challenge, envelope challenge, and the list goes on. Regardless of what you chose, the point of these challenges is to help you save as much as you can throughout the year.

Find a money challenge that suits you and your family well, and make sure to stick to it. You will be surprised to find out how much money you saved come December 31.

Make Saving A Game

Who doesn’t love games? The idea of winning something can be thrilling so instead of feeling forced to set aside a portion of your earnings for savings, why not turn it into a game?

Give each member their own jars where they can put loose coins, cash gift from relatives, or money earned from their side job. By the end of the year, whoever gets the highest savings amount will get a prize like money doubled.

The point is make it a competition, but in a healthy way. Kids like the idea that someone can be a winner, which could encourage them more to be more mindful with their spending.

Save The Coins

Who likes coins? Although there is a value in it, coins can be too heavy on the pocket.

Stash them in a jar and every time you get coins, put them in there. You wouldn’t notice how much it’s worth until you decide to open it. Whatever is saved, you can use it to pay for bills, loan, or even save them in the bank. Again, you’ll never know what will happen, so it’s better to be safe.

Choose A Less Accessible Bank

Sometimes, it’s tempting to withdraw money because the bank is just few meters away. There are also tons of ATMs around, which means you can get money easily. Although accessibility is a good thing, sometimes, it’s a curse especially if you always feel the urge to withdraw.

That being said, consider going for banks that are stable yet have fewer locations. Instead of opening an account in a bank that is five minutes away, choose a bank that is stable but less accessible to you. When you add inconvenience in the equation, there is a tendency that you’ll feel lazy to withdraw money.

Look For Money Hiding Spots

Have you ever experienced hiding, say P1,000 bill, under your clothes and then find out about it a month or two later?

You can do that only this time, make a list of where you will hide your money. This way, you won’t forget where you hid it and be able to use it in case of emergency.

Stay In During The Weekends

Weekends are normally family time, which means there is an excuse to spend. But if you are serious about saving, then don’t equate weekends with spending.

There are fun ways you can do as a family without spending too much. You can enjoy a walk outside, work out as a family, repaint or redecorate the house, start your own vegetable garden, make your own meals and then have a movie night, and the list goes on. The point is be creative and imaginative without spending too much.

Got creative ideas on how you can save money? Let us know in the comments below!

The Ultimate Money-Saving Tips For 2021

If there’s one thing many people will agree on, then it should be nothing is more important than having savings. 2020 taught us the value of saving and living simply, we plan to continue that this 2021. A lot of businesses closed or scaled down their operations, which led to loss of jobs. Many OFWs were also sent home and despite the financial assistance, P10,000 is simply not enough to survive.

This is why this year, saving is and will be a priority. Here’s the ultimate list on how to save money this year – and beyond:

  1. Health is wealth. At a time like this, nothing beats being healthy and making sure that you are Covid-free. We cannot afford to get sick at a time like this because aside from possibly infecting the people around you, it entails costs, too. Therefore, eat healthy, exercise regularly, and sleep well.
  2. Budget is life. Setting limits and allocating a specific amount for each expense not only prevent overspending but also ensure that money is well-spent. Just make sure you’ll stick to it to maximize its benefits.
  3. Track your spending. You need to know where your hard-earned money is going. Therefore, make a list of every expense, regardless of the amount. This will give you an overview on where you can cut back in order to save more.
  4. Emergency fund is a must. The importance of emergency fund was highly emphasized last 2020. This type of fund is intended to, well, help you during emergencies, which means it should give you at least three months-worth of cash on hand. Take it one P100 bill every week because you’ll never know when you’ll need it.
  5. Know thy prices. One of the beauties of online platforms is that goods are more accessible. However, this could mean more sellers are selling the same items. Before you commit, make sure you check the prices to make sure that you get the most competitive price.
  6. Think before you click. Or add to cart. Online shopping is tempting and sellers will constantly come up with ways to entice people to buy. Before you add to cart, think hard first. Do you really need it? Is it useful? Is it worth the price? Can it wait? If two or three days passed and you still want it, then maybe it is worth it. Don’t let your shopping impulse control you.
  7. Home-cooked meals over takeouts. Restaurant food is tempting, especially during lazy days. Unfortunately, getting too much takeouts can strain your budget. Nothing beats home-cooked meals because aside from generous serving, they are way cheaper, too.
  8. Save electricity. Whether it’s turning off the lights or unplugging unused appliances, these little acts could make a difference in your electricity bill.
  9. Get rid of unnecessary subscriptions. Anyone in the family probably signed up with monthly subscription services. You might not be using your cable TV that much. Regardless, discontinuing subscriptions services could help you save more, which you can use to build your Emergency Fund.
  10. Say goodbye to vices. Similar to pricey subscription services, vices such as smoking or alcohol equates to costs. Quit these vices because you’ll not only save more financially but also, you’ll save your health.
  11. Don’t follow trends. You’ve seen a lot of trends online like fusion of food or even plants. As tempting as it looks, don’t easily give in. Following trends means paying for something, which also means you have to allocate a certain portion of your budget for that item. Unless you are passionate about it, say plants, don’t join the bandwagon.
  12. Sales are okay. Whether it’s 11.11 or 12.12, sales are fine AS LONG AS you stick to a budget and you only buy what is essential. Online sales are not an excuse to splurge. Stick to the basics because you’ll never know when you will need cash.
  13. Pay bills on time. This is a must. Although utility companies give grace period, it’s still not an excuse not to settle those bills. Aside from possible disconnection, you will be required to pay for penalty fees and reconnection fee in case you want to still avail of their service.
  14. Pay loans on time, too. Apart from the bills, it is recommended that you pay off any existing loans. You’ll be able to save more because you don’t have to worry about interest fee anymore.
  15. Stick to a grocery list. This is also important. The supermarket can be a tempting place because of tons of food. Make sure you’ll buy only and only what you need. Avoid overspending and always stick to your list.
  16. Take it easy on loans. Loans can be a good way to augment your financial needs. Unfortunately, this could be a cause of downfall, too, especially if you’re not too careful. Therefore, apply for a loan only when necessary. Make sure to “shop” for lenders and check which among them will give you a reasonable rate and loan terms.
  17. Delay what you can. Do you really need a new smartphone? Is there a need to buy new shoes and clothes? Do you really have to get your hands on the latest Play Station? The point is if you can delay your wants, then much better.
  18. Learn to say NO. Most people think that being an OFW means you have a “deep cash well” since you earn in dollars. You’ll have relatives or friends coming over and asking if they can borrow money. Learn on how to say no politely. You’ll never know when you will need your funds, so it’s better to be prepared.
  19. Saving is a family thing. Parents are not the only ones who should adjust and make saving a habit. Every member of the family must take part in it. As parents, now is the best time to educate your kids on the importance of saving and living simply. Make this as a family effort and you will reap the rewards in no time.

Are you ready to follow this list? 2021 is a good start to start with good saving habits.

6 Financial Decisions You Need To Avoid In The New Normal

Since the start of the lockdown in March, one cannot help but feel anxious about what will happen in the future. All of a sudden, you can’t do the things you normally do – go on a vacation, have a quick trip to the mall or grocery, going out with your family, attending parties with friends, and the list goes on. There are uncertainties in terms of job security or continuing your kids’ education.

This is why at this point, you need to be more careful and wise when it comes to how you will spend your money. Handling your finances could make or break your financial stability, which means you need to think twice – or thrice! – when it comes to these financial decisions:

Starting A Business

Starting your own business is fine. But if you will start a business that could possibly deplete your cash on hand, then you need to think twice if this is a best decision.

It is best to start small first and see where it goes. Using your Emergency Fund to fund your business is not the wisest decision at this point because you need to be prepared for eventualities.

Also, don’t give up on finding a new job in case you are one of the thousands who were sent back home because of the pandemic. While having a side business is okay, looking for a stable employment could help you weather the rainy days.

Hoarding Essentials

Compared to March and April 2020, going to the grocery now is easier because you don’t have wake up early and wait to go through horrendous lines.

That being said, there is no need to hoard. You don’t have to worry about the supply of goods because you will never run out. Stick to your budget because you will still need your cash to pay for other things, say utility bills.

Impulse Purchase

E-commerce platforms like Lazada and Shopee have been hosting monthly sales to entice people to buy. While there are tons of good deals up for grabs, this doesn’t mean it’s your license to buy whatever you want.

Sure, you deserve good things, too, but at this point, it is best to stick to essentials. Focus on the items that you will need at home and look for deals related to that. This way, you can enjoy more savings , which you can use to other equally important expenses.

Riding The Bandwagon

If you noticed in social media, #plantita and #plantito are everywhere. You will also see new food offerings that will definitely make you drool. There are also viral recipes or hobbies that entice you to do at home.

Before you join, check on your wallet first. Doing what others are doing just because is not advisable. Taking out a loan just to fund that new hobby is also not recommended.

Unless you are passionate about what is uso, use your time and money wisely. Go for something that will benefit you and your family more.

Taking Out Loans

Loans can be helpful. It gives you a breathing room to spend money, assuming that you will use it for a good cause. But if you will apply for a loan just to finance non-essentials or purchases that can wait, then you might want to think twice.

Applying for a loan means you need to pay interest on top of the principal. You need to take note of the due date, too, otherwise, you will be forced to pay penalty fee.

Therefore, think twice before you apply. Otherwise, you might end up in a pile of debt if you keep taking out loans just for the sake of borrowing.

Withdrawing Investments

Investments are meant to last long. In fact, you will enjoy the earnings more if you leave your money.

It’s a different case if you’ll withdraw your investment. Aside from the early termination fee, you might compromise the possible earnings and growth of your money. Unless you really need it, say payment for medical bills or tuition fee of your kids, keep your money first.

These are uncertain and challenging times but it is not an excuse to make impulsive decisions that could compromise your financial standing. Limit your spending to essentials, set up a budget, get rid of unnecessaries, and look for additional ways to earn money.

Hang in there and soon, we will be back to what we used to be.

PERA Investment: Pros, Cons, And Going Digital

One of the inevitable truths we need to face is that we will get older. As each year comes by, you will notice changes in your movement, memory, and skills. This is why it is important to prepare for your later years, also known as retirement.

Have you started with your Retirement Fund? If not, then it’s not too late. There are several options that allow you to grow your money such as long-term Time Deposit, mutual fund, UITF, or even stocks.

If you prefer something safer with minimal risks, then consider PERA Investment.

What is PERA Investment?

Similar to US’ Individual Retirement Account, PERA’s aim is simple: to provide a voluntary retirement program for Filipinos.

PERA is a long-term and tax-free retirement program to encourage Filipinos to start saving for retirement. Your contribution of up to P200,000 every year will be invested in the following:

  • Unit Investment Trust Fund
  • Mutual Fund
  • Stocks from PSE-listed companies
  • Government securities
  • Insurance pension products
  • Annuity contracts
  • Other investment products authorized for PERA purposes

Keep in mind that PERA will not replace SSS pension, rather will supplement the money you can get come retirement age.

How Much Can You Earn?

Earnings vary depending on where the money was invested. Since PERA contributions are invested in various investment channels, the returns are different.

For instance, UITF and mutual fund will give a higher return compared to time deposit. However, this is a safer option compared to stocks. When money is invested in stocks, the return is higher than UITF and mutual fund, although the risk involved is higher.

In other words, the higher the risk, the higher the return.

Why Should You Open A PERA Account?

  • Income Tax Credit – Account holder is entitled to five percent Tax Credit of total PERA contributions.
  • Tax-Free Investment Income – This means the investment is exempted from capital gains tax, final withholding tax, and regular income tax.
  • Estate Tax Exemption – Upon death and when assets will be transferred to the heirs, an estate tax of six percent of net estate, which means all liabilities were deducted, will be imposed. PERA Investment is exempted from that and in fact, the money will be transferred directly to the heirs.
  • Control PERA Investment Products – When you invest in PERA, you have the control on where you want to put your money, depending on your risk profile. There are variety of choices to choose from so make sure you check and study what product is more suitable for you.

When Can You Withdraw Your PERA Investment?

To withdraw, you need to remember the 55 and 5 Rule. This means you will be allowed to get your investment by the time you reach 55 years of age AND you contributed for the last 5 years.

You can either get it in lump sum or choose monthly pension for a certain period or within your lifetime.

Still, there is an exception. In case the investor or account holder is sick for more than 30 days, becomes permanently disabled, or has passed away, the investment can be withdrawn.

What Are The Drawbacks Of PERA Investment?

There are several. Just like any other investment options, PERA comes with risks, too. This form of investment is not exempted from price fluctuation, crash in the stock market, or lowered interest rates. This is why it is important to check every investment option first before you decide where to invest.

Another risk would be penalty for early withdrawals. Although there are early exemptions like serious illness, permanent disability, or death, you have to wait until you satisfy the 55 and 5 rule to enjoy your benefits.

What happens if you withdraw earlier? Then you won’t be able to enjoy the benefits, specifically the tax benefits.

Lastly would be the costs. Every time you make a contribution, you will pay one percent administrator’s fee plus trust and custodian fees of 0.5 percent to 1.5 percent.

To reduce the instances of paying these fees, it is best to contribute in lump sum instead of doing this every month.

PERA Goes Digital

BDO, BPI, Landbank, and Metrobank are the only banks authorized to offer PERA. This means you need to go directly to the bank to be able to apply.

Thankfully, Digital PERA was launched by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas last September 2020 to entice more Filipinos to apply and prepare for their retirement.

Here’s how you can apply:

  1. Create an account though Seedbox Philippines. You can access the website here.
  2. Complete your profile by filling out all necessary information.
  3. Prepare required documents including government-issued ID and TIN.
  4. Answer the Risk Profiler. This is an assessment to determine what kind of investor are you. You will be categorized accordingly – Conservative, Moderate, and Aggressive.
  5. After determining your risk profile, choose the PERA Fund that you want to avail of. Several PERA products will be shown to you based on your risk profile.
  6. Start funding your PERA account. You can do this through various payment channels through BDO, BPI, or Metrobank.

Here comes the best part: you can start for as low as P1,000.

What are you waiting for? Give PERA a chance and start investing for your future. You’ll never know what will happen so it’s best to be prepared.

What Happens To Debt After Principal Borrower’s Death?

Death is inevitable. This means no matter what happens, regardless of the cause, we will all die eventually. This is why before that day comes, one must be able to prepare for it to avoid conflict among family members.

One of the most common questions asked is what will happen to debts in case the principal borrower dies. Upon death, does this mean the debt will be inherited by his or her heirs? Are the heirs obligated to pay off the principal’s loan?

Here’s what we know:

Debts Will Stay – Until Paid

According to Article 774 of the Civil Code of the Philippines,

“Succession is a mode of acquisition by virtue of which the property, rights, and obligations to the extent of the value of the inheritance, of a person are transmitted through his death to another or others either by his will or by operation of law.”

Consequently, Article 776 of the same law states that,

“the inheritance includes all the property rights and obligations of a person which are not extinguished by his death.”

What does this mean?

Death does not extinguish any debts or loan obligations. Unfortunately, it will remain until it is paid by the estate. Because of the rules on succession, both assets and liabilities will be passed on accordingly.

What happens to debts?

Don’t worry. When the principal borrower died, individuals or entities like banks and lending companies will NOT go after the heirs. This means the lender cannot harass any member of the family to pay off the loan obligation. The lender cannot also file a case against any family members to pay the debts.

Instead, any outstanding debt will be put against the estate, which includes assets the principal borrower owns and rightfully his up to the time of death. The lender must file a claim against the borrower’s estate that s/he owes them x amount in order to get paid.

According to Philippine laws, debts must be paid first before any assets can be distributed to the heirs. Don’t worry about the family home because the law, particularly the Family Code, Rules of Court, and Commonwealth Act No. 141 protects it against any claims as a result of unpaid debt.

What about debts with a co-maker or guarantor?

First, let’s define a co-maker. According to the BSP, co-maker is a person that promises to pay the principal borrower’s loan in case the latter is unable to do so. The amount depends on what is written in the loan contract.

There are possible scenarios:

  • If the loan contract explicitly states that the principal and co-maker are “jointly and solidarily liable” to the loan, then that means the co-maker is liable for the entire debt and the lender can go after him or her.
  • If there is a specific amount or percentage written in the loan contract, say the co-maker is liable only for 20 percent of the amount, then the co-maker can only be asked to pay up to 20 percent and the rest will be charged to the estate of the principal borrower.
  • If there is no specific provision in the loan contract, then the co-maker is only liable for half of the outstanding debt.

Regardless of the scenarios, the unpaid debts will be assumed by the co-maker, depending on what is written in the contract.

The rules are different for guarantors. Guarantor is defined as a person or organization that guarantees the loan using his or her own financial status. The guarantor’s assets will serve as a collateral and in case of death, s/he will pay off the loan first on behalf of the deceased borrower.

Thereafter, the guarantor can run after the principal borrower’s estate and demand reimbursement. S/he must make a claim as well to be able to collect from the estate.

What can you do as a principal borrower?

Surely, you don’t want to burden anyone with debt. Even if unpaid loans will not be directly charged to your living family members, it could still cause stress and anxiety on them. You don’t want them to go through court proceedings, right?

Here are tips to remember before you apply for a loan:

  • Borrow with a purpose. Don’t just borrow money for the sake of borrowing or buying material things.
  • Set aside monthly payments for the loan. This way, whatever happens, there is a dedicated fund that will pay off the debt.
  • Make timely payments. You won’t be able to incur additional expenses, too.
  • Prioritize loan payment, especially if you have additional funds.

At the end of the day, you don’t want to burden your family. Spend your money wisely and borrow responsibly.

7 Online Business Ideas You Can Try While Waiting For Deployment

It’s not easy to stay in the country, especially when you know that there are bigger and better opportunities overseas. You have mouths to feed and you need to ensure that your family will have a better future; hence you seek greener pastures.

Because of the pandemic, you have no choice but to either go back home or wait for the lifting of travel restrictions so you can apply overseas again. Unfortunately, bills won’t stop coming and your kids need gadgets as they go to their online classes. Your emergency fund is slowly depleting because of the never-ending expenses.

At this point, you decided to venture into online business to earn extra. Even with limited funds, you can still do these business ideas, some perfect for the coming Christmas:

Covid-19 Essential Items

Because of the pandemic, there is a sudden demand for face masks and face shield. Alcohol and other disinfectants are also among the most sought after products. These are now considered as essential items and whatever happens, people will buy these products because they are needed.

Find a supplier with a friendly, reasonable rate and then sell the items online. Your prices must also be within the SRP otherwise, people won’t buy from you. Consider selling items in bundle, say face mask plus face shield, or give free delivery to attract customers. Once you build your customer base, you can start adding other products.

Homecooked Meals

This is among the popular businesses today. Despite the presence of many food sellers, selling homecooked can still be a good business for the simplest reason: who doesn’t eat?

If you have a dish that you can be proud of, then go ahead and offer it. The good thing about this business is that you don’t need to shell out a huge amount of capital. Simply buy the ingredients and containers and you can start selling your famous dishes.

Baked Sweets And Goodies

If cooking is not your thing, then try baking instead. A lot of people can’t say no to a box of chocolate chip cookies or brownies. Everyone needs a bag of pandesal, too.

You can follow the mainstream but if you want to stand out, then try coming up with new food combinations. This will make it easier for you to break into the market.

Make Your Own Beverages

Have you noticed the sudden rise in coffee sellers? You probably saw on Facebook a lot of people selling handcrafted beverages, too. There are even some who focus on cocktails, which can also be a potential for business.

Coffee, milk tea, fruit juices, or even as simple as samalamig, selling drinks can be a good business because who doesn’t need it, right?

Sell Your Preloved Items

For sure, you got tons of items bought when you were still working overseas. You might have unused clothes, shoes, or even items like watch and perfume lying around the house. Why not sell these items and make money out of it.

You can also sell preloved items. Just make sure these items are in very good condition so you can make a good deal out of it.

Become A Reseller

Being a reseller is one of the easiest things you can do if you want to venture into online selling. There are many things you can sell such as food, skincare products, clothes, books, and the list is endless. The good thing about this business is that you don’t have to make a particular product. In case stocks are running out, you simply have to order again from your supplier.

Still, don’t take lightly. Even if it’s not yours, per se, you are responsible for the brand/s you are carrying.

Courier Service

Companies like Grab and Lalamove are on the rise these days because many people are resorting to online shopping. If you have a motorcycle, then maximize it and offer courier services.

Some startup companies prefer in-house delivery service so if you’re up for it, then offer your services. Or advertise this service on your social media accounts. Just make sure to follow health protocols so you won’t get Covid-19.

Earning additional income these days will help a lot in augmenting financial difficulties. Keep in mind that online selling will not be easy. You need to set yourself apart from the other sellers to make your business stand out.

There is no perfect formula but it helps if you will offer unique products, sell items with reasonable prices, immediately respond to customers, and be respectful. Who knows, it might be a stepping stone to something bigger.

Study Now, Pay Later: Where To Get A Student Loan

Covid-19 affected many things, including one’s financial state. Since you’re back in the Philippines, you might find it challenging to look for other sources of income. Unfortunately, lack of funds isn’t limited to lack of cash for groceries or payment of bills. This could also adversely affect your kids’ tuition fee.

Because of the pandemic and the sudden shift to online classes, you have no choice but to also spend on laptop or tablet, upgrade your Internet connection, and dedicate a space for your kids’ learning, which also means additional expenses.

The thing is at the end of the day, education is important. In case you are short in funds, student loan is something you can consider.

Here are some educational assistance programs you can look into to finance your child’s education:

CHED’s Unified Student Financial Assistance System For Tertiary Education

Also known as UniFAST, the CHED Student Loan Program is open to all Filipinos who are undergraduate, graduate, medicine, and law students enrolled in public or private schools or universities. You can also borrow up to P60,000 per academic year, payable for one year.

Interest rate is zero percent IF the loan is paid before the semester ends. Otherwise, six percent interest will be imposed.

As of this writing, CHED Student Loan Program offers the lowest student loan in the country. To apply, make sure you submit the following documents:

  • Three copies of accomplished Application Form. You can access it here.
  • Photocopy of the applicant’s Certificate of School Registration
  • Photocopy of applicant’s school ID
  • Income Tax Return, payslip, Certificate of Employment, audited financial statements, or other proof of income of the applicant or applicant’s parents
  • Co-maker’s ITR, other proof of income, and government-issued ID
  • Two 1×1 photo of both the applicant and co-maker

Once you have all the documents prepared, submit the requirements to the office in charge of student loan applications in your child’s school. Thereafter, the school will forward the application to CHED.

If approved, then you will also be asked to open an account with the Development Bank of the Philippines since this is where the proceeds will be credited.

You can also learn more about the program here.

SSS Educational Assistance Loan Program

Known as EDUC-ASSIST, this student loan program is open to all SSS members below 60 years old, with monthly income of P25,000 or below, and with at least 36 posted SSS contributions, with six of which must be posted within the last 12 months.

You can borrow up to P20,000 per semester and payable up to five years for four- or five-year course OR up to P10,000 per semester and payable up to three years for two-year or vocational courses.

Interest is six percent per year. Take note that there is also a maintenance charge of two percent and penalty of one percent per month in case of late payment.

Below are the requirements:

  • Accomplished application form. You can access it here.
  • Valid ID
  • Assessment or Billing Statement from the applicant’s school
  • Proof of relationship to the applicant such as birth or baptismal certificate
  • Proof of monthly income such as latest payslip, Certificate of Employment, ITR, or notarized Affidavit of Source and Amount of Monthly Income
  • In case you cannot provide proof, you can issue a notarized Affidavit of No Income

You can submit the requirements to SSS branch near you. Make sure to present the original and photocopies of the mentioned documents. If approved, then you can claim the check from the Administrative Section of the SSS branch where you applied.

Unfortunately, this educational assistance program is only limited to one beneficiary. Also, online application is not yet available, which means you have to personally submit the application.

PAG-IBIG Multi-Purpose Loan

The agency’s Multi-Purpose Loan can be used for variety of needs, including payment for tuition fee and other school expenses. So if you are an active PAG-IBIG member with at least 24 months contribution, then you can apply for a multi-purpose loan to cover school expenses of your kids.

You can borrow up to 80 percent of PAG-IBIG regular savings with 10.5 percent interest per year. The loan is payable for up to 24 months with two-month grace period.

You can learn more about PAG-IBIG’s Multi-Purpose Loan here.

LandBank I-Study Program

If you need bigger amount for your children’s education, then Landbank can help. Through the I-Study Program, parents who are struggling in sending their children due to the pandemic can still do so to ensure education.

The bank’s I-Study Program allows you to borrow up to P300,000 with five percent per year interest. You can pay the loan in one year in case of short-term loan but for longer term loan, the amount plus interest is payable up to three years with one year grace period for the principal.

Other charges include loan processing fee, Documentary Stamp Tax of P1.50 for every P200, and penalty charges in case of late payment.

The good thing about this educational loan is that it covers all levels and not restricted to kids who are in college. In case you’re interested, you must prepare the following documents:

  • Accomplished loan application form
  • Valid ID of the borrower
  • Proof of income such as Certificate of Employment, pay slip for the last three months, and ITR
  • Proof of billing address from at least two utility companies
  • Enrollment or registration form from the school of the beneficiary
  • Form 138 or Certified True Copy for the previous semester or quarter
  • Certificate of Good Moral Character from the school
  • Schedule of payment of school fees and other expenses related to enrollment for each semester or the entire year

To apply, simply visit any Landbank branch near you. Make sure to bring all documents for verification. If approved, then you will be required to open a deposit account from Landbank for disbursement of funds. You can also check this link for more details.

There are still several banks and private institutions that offer student loans but so far, the ones enumerated here have the most affordable rates. Check them out and see which one suits best for your child’s needs. Don’t hesitate to ask for sample computations. More importantly, prepare all documents and make sure that you have a copy of the originals.

Although it may not seem a lot, the amount you can get can be helpful in getting your kids back to school.

14 Simple But Creative Ways To Save Cash During Pandemic

The Covid-19 pandemic taught us many things – the importance of having an Emergency Fund or savings, learning how to value non-material things, how to be resilient, and the list goes on. Aside from these, the pandemic taught us how to adjust our lifestyle to be able to save more, especially now that there is a halt in overseas work.

The truth is there are tons of ways on how we can save cash during challenging times like this. In case you are looking for ideas on how to do it, then let this list guide you.

Creative And Effective Ways To Save Cash

  1. Set a budget – for everything. This is a must. Pandemic or not, having a budget is important because it helps you keep track of how much money goes in and out every month. This will also give you an idea on what expenses you can get rid of for extra cash.
  2. Grow your own food. Having your own fruits and vegetables backyard will help you in saving money instead of buying them from the market or grocery. Herbs are popular nowadays, but you can also plant calamansi, pechay, ampalaya, and other veggies in your own home.
  3. Unplug. Did you know that standby appliances could still consume electricity by as much as 10 percent? This could be added to your total electric consumption, which also means higher bill. Therefore, unplug unused appliances since it also promotes electrical safety and prevents the possibility of fire.
  4. Go for energy-efficient appliances. Even if they are in use, consumption cost will be lower, which means you get to save from electricity, too.
  5. Be mindful of your water consumption. Turn of faucet when not in use, use a glass when brushing teeth, use a pail when washing your car or watering the plants, and check for any leaks. Simple steps could go a long way when you save water. This will help reduce your water bill as well.
  6. Reduce alcohol intake. Yes, we all need to unwind but drinking alcohol could eat up a chunk from the income. Limit, if not get rid of it to be able to save more.
  7. Take advantage of sales and deals. 10.10, 11.11 – these are dates many are looking forward to because of sale and great deals online. If you NEED to buy something, then take advantage of these sales and promos so you could save more. P20 savings or free shipping fee are still savings.
  8. Let the light in. Opening your windows and letting the sun in is a good way to keep your home well-lighted. Take advantage of it since it saves electricity, too.
  9. Easy on takeouts. Cooking can be a tedious task but think about this: you get to save more. As much as possible, reduce your food deliveries.
  10. Always stick to essentials when doing the grocery. It’s tempting to buy the food you see in the supermarket, but do you really need it? As much as possible, stick to essentials. This is where you will appreciate growing your own food because you can skip certain items since you have them on your backyard. This means more savings, too.
  11. Cancel subscriptions you don’t need. Who doesn’t want entertainment? After all, we all need something to distract us from the negativity in the outside world. Still, if this form of entertainment is charging you with an amount that doesn’t suit your daily needs, then it might be best to cancel that subscription. There are many ways to keep yourself busy without breaking the wallet. But if you really need that streaming, then at least consider sharing. This way, you only get to pay half of the price.
  12. Make your own coffee. Who needs P180-worth of coffee anyway?
  13. Keep your bills. Doesn’t it feel good when you see P500 in the drawer that you accidentally forgot? If you have extra bills, then consider “hiding” them. This could come in handy during emergency.
  14. Don’t forget the coins. Surely, you have lots of coins lying around the house. Put them in a coin bank and use it. You might be surprised to find out that the coins lying around is worth a lot.

These are just simple adjustments but could benefit you in the long run. At this point, we need to think of ways to maximize and stretch the money we have, and these tips could help us become more mindful and careful with our spending. This could lead to bigger savings, too.