Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Woodlawn (2015) Film Review

(Photo courtesy of

My Rating: 
When you combine American Football, a true story and religion, you seem to always get a spectacular film. The film revolves around the story of Tony Nathan, a magnificent high school American Football Player who, along with other African-American students who are attending Woodlawn High School in Birmingham, Alabama as part of a desegregation during 1973 where racism was still very rampant. Given that this film involves a lot of sports scenes, I expected a lot of fast paced action sequences and these scenes were captured perfectly in my opinion, along with the other scenes that make up the entire film, including the blending of what looked to be actual footage from the real story. It was able to convey the drama, inspiration and emotion that the story holds and it reached me. Some scenes even left me teary eyed. The film stars a few familiar faces such as Sean Astin (Samwise Gamgee from The Lord Of The Rings.), Jon Voight (Anaconda, National Treasure, Mission Impossible to name a few, he's also Angelina Jolie's dad.) and Sherri Shepherd (Think Like A Man).

I personally enjoy sports related dramas, things along the lines of Coach Carter, Remember The Titans and Invictus to name a few. I'd say that Woodlawn is one of those movies that will leave you with a good feeling after you've watched it, especially since it's a true story. I'd even consider it a spiritual kind of film, even if you're not the most religious of people. It's a story about persevering against all odds and using the talents you've been given to the best of your ability, using them to make a difference and a positive impact not just on yourself but on everyone you come into contact with. It shows what we as people can achieve if we really choose to work together regardless of differences. It reminds us of the value of teamwork and standing up for what you believe in no matter what. It helped remind me of what can be accomplished if we push forward in spite of obstacles and temporary setbacks.

Whether you're into sports or not, religious or not, athlete or not, I'd really recommend that you watch this film. It's definitely worth your time. :)

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Ingenious (2009) Film Review

(Photo courtesy of

My Rating: 

I was stuck in traffic the other day and decided to put on this film to help pass the time (don't worry, both hands were on the steering wheel and it was only generally stopped traffic.), this film caught my eye was because of the tagline "All it takes is one big idea." which is something that struck because of its relation to the recent book I've read entitled "Think And Grow Rich" by Napoleon Hill. The poster also had a fairly young (or young looking) Jeremy Renner as an added pull for me to watch the film. Jeremy Renner stars along Dallas Roberts (Milton Mamet [He's a scientist] from The Walking Dead.) and Ayelet Zurer (Lara Lor-Van from the 2013 Man Of Steel film.). The film is based on the true story of Mike Cram, an inventor (played by Dallas Roberts) and his friend who's a salesman (Jeremy Renner) who have tried to execute a bunch of ideas until they come to a point where they're really down on their luck, still in search of that one big idea that will turn everything around. The on screen chemistry between the 2 lead actors was very natural, they fit their roles of best buddies quite well which helped make the film very easy to watch. The film had a warm tone to it, perhaps because the film was shot in a desert town/city, Arizona if I'm not mistaken. The film was put together very well, no wild camera angles or sequences, just simple and straightforward storytelling.

This film is one of those inspirational films, after watching, it leaves you with the feeling like you need to go and create something, make something that's yours. With that feeling like you gotta rack your brain for that one idea that could change everything. I know how that feels, because that's something I've been doing for years now. Trying things, taking small steps in executing my own ideas or innovating on current ideas. It's frustrating at times but this film helped serve as a reminder to keep pressing on. To keep on trying, because amidst all the difficulties and the challenges you'll face, the next great idea is just beyond the horizon. Your big break is right there if you can just have the strength and the courage to push forward. This film takes you on a roller coaster ride into the life of an inventor, basically into the life of anyone who has ever had an idea and pursued it and did whatever it took, until the very end, no matter if that end was success or a learning experience. This film is an expanded portrayal of the saying "necessity is the mother of invention.", you'll see what I mean once you get a chance to watch it.

I highly recommend this film, I have a strong feeling that it will be something you'll enjoy. Who knows, this might give you that extra inspirational push you've been looking for to pursue that idea you've had in your head for the longest time or even spark the creation of a new one. :)

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Small Time (2014) Film Review

Let me start off by clearing the air, I'm no expert film critic, just a man who enjoys watching films and writing. :)

(Photo courtesy of
My Rating: 
I just finished watching this film and to be honest, the poster and the title wasn't really too catchy for me, but I gave it a chance because Dean Norris (Better known as DEA Agent Hank Schrader for you Breaking Bad fans out there.) was cast as one of the lead actors in the film, alongside Christopher Meloni (Det. Elliot Stabler from the TV Series, Law and Order) and Devon Bostick (Rodrick Heffley from Diary Of A Wimpy Kid). Special mention to Amaury Nolasco (Orange Julius from 2 Fast 2 Furious), Xander Berkley (Henry Hurt from Apollo 13) and Bridget Moynahan (Helen from John Wick). The story basically revolves around a divorced co-owner of a used car lot whose son decides to skip College to come work for him on the car lot as a salesman despite the adamant resistance of his mother. The film is set in a time when smartphones didn't exist and having a cordless phone with the pull out antenna was considered a luxury, when . As expected, Dean Norris played his role quite exceptionally alongside his other co-stars, there was good chemistry between the the two lead salesmen especially in the scenes where they work in tandem to close a sale, I would have probably bought a used car from them. Personally, the camera angles employed were fairly simple but were maximized to good effect and weren't overly done. The film had a very natural feel to it in terms of lighting and warmth. Overall, I think it was very well made. The film is about 1 hour and 30 minutes long which is perfect for me given the flow of the story, it wasn't too short so it didn't feel rushed and it wasn't too long for the depth of story where it just becomes dragging.

I could personally relate to this film being in the field of sales as well (I'm a Financial Adviser for a Life Insurance company, part of our role is to sell our products.) so I was able to put myself in their shoes somehow, especially during the scenes that wherein the actors were making sales or attempting to make sales. Of course, the style of sales employed in the film is different from the life insurance industry (tangible product vs intangible product), it's still something that is relatable, specifically the scenes wherein the salesmen were rejected and the elated feeling they had when they made a sale. I especially like this scene wherein Freddy (Devon Bostick) and his father Al (Christopher Meloni) were at home and Freddy was telling his dad how amazed he was by how well they (Al and Ash [Dean Norris]) spoke and made sales, he referred to them as "geniuses" and Al simply told him "Trust me, we're not. We're hungry. We close deals or we don't eat." which is similar to something a good friend of mine told me when he was starting out in the Life Insurance industry and he's now gone on to be one of the very best Financial Advisers in the field today. Another part of the film that I liked was again, another conversation between father and son, they were talking about life and how it can be complicated, it's something that made me smile and feel understood, hearing the lines "Sometimes it's really shitty. Sometimes it's miraculous". This movie is by no means a father and son tearjerker film but it is a feel good movie that's rolled into a partially serious and partially witty and humorous package that will leave you with some lessons about life and a few quotable quotes.

Whether you're a salesman or just a man (or woman) looking for an enjoyable film, I'd recommend the film, Small Time.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Project Kazumi Part 3

(Those fender mirrors have got to be replaced! It's on the list!)
Over the course of the week after I've dropped off Kazumi at Sushi Factory, I've gotten some updates from Jeiven. He was able to get his hands on some rear springs and coilover sleeves to replace the front suspension, this should bring the car back to a normal, driveable and uncontrollable bounce free state which is a huge relief and not to mention makes it safer to drive. I was also informed that the suspension bushings were shot so they needed to be replaced along with the tie rods. One front shock absorber has been found (It's really quite difficult to find them according to Jeiven.) and its partner is being chased in order to replace the worn out ones that were previously in place. Today (May 10), I decided to pay Kazumi a visit, see how everything was going and to take a look at the new parts. After snapping a few photos of the parts for documentation, Jeiven and I proceeded to have a long conversation spanning various topics, but there was one topic that we touched on that led me to redo certain parts of my modification plan that I mentioned in Part 1. We talked about the engine, I told him that I planned to put a 1UZ-FE engine in it and he immediately said "No, that's too much. If you go that route, everything we've just done will go to waste." and he was right. We touched on the weight of the engine, the power it generated and everything that was needed to support that weight and power, this would skyrocket my costs by a huge huge margin. So we talked about options like a 4A-GE Blacktop (20-valve), that seems a pretty sweet option. I also had thoughts about the 4A-GZE and 4E-FTE floating in my head but the Blacktop seems to be the best option. It changes up a lot of what I've laid out in Part 1 but hey, nothing is set in stone when it comes to these things but the general direction has been established which is important for any build. I'm currently in the process of reworking my Restoration and Modification Plan based on the feedback and inputs I've received today, it's really good to be able to get insights from others who share the same passion, it keeps you learning and grounded. I've also been working on some mock up designs for a custom gauge cluster and a custom gated shift boot. Stay tuned for further updates!

(Front Coilover Sleeves)

(Shock Absorber number 1)

(Old springs [Front], new springs [Behind])

(Gated Shift Boot designs)
(Gauge Cluster design.)

Project Kazumi Part 2

(Kazumi getting ready to roll out.)
The day has finally arrived (May 3), Kazumi is set to head out for her first shop job. I called in a few of my buddies (same ones I went with to get the Corona.) to come along for the journey, grabbed my toolkits and hopped into my daily driver and headed off to the warehouse where I left the Corona. First order of business, get the car running. I haven't started and warmed up the car for about a month so I was pretty sure it would have a hard time starting right off the bat. So I decided to give the carb a little clean with some carb cleaner, hooked the battery up to some jumper cables and started the car. It fired up but died shortly after, so I had to adjust the tension on the throttle cable and fired it up again and held the throttle down to a low RPM just to get the engine warmed up, after that, she ran and idled alright. The next step was to get the car off the jack stand because the left rear tire was flat, I bought a can of Mag1 Tire Inflator and Sealant and did as it instructed, got the car off the jack stand and we were off. For awhile now, I've been inquiring with various shops and asking about things I needed and wanted done, some said they could do it, some said they couldn't. The ones that said they could do it were located very far from me and not easily accessible. Except for one shop which I've mentioned in Part 1 of this series. The shop called Sushi Factory. I've heard a lot of great feedback and I've seen a lot of their impressive work. So that's where we were headed, location set on the GPS of the lead car where 2 of my friends were in and then it was me and my other friend in the Corona. Halfway through the scorching drive (It was a little past 12 noon and the Corona doesn't have any air conditioning.) my friend and I heard a loud pop. At first we thought it was just backfire until the following sound we heard was flapping, the left rear tire blew up. Literally.

(Exploded Tire.)
Luckily for us, we were near the shop already when the tire blew out. So we parked the car in a slot then headed into the shop. To give you an idea about the shop, it's a Car Wash/Car Restoration Garage, so naturally, there were some cars in the back which we made a beeline for. I finally got to see the famed Natsuki (a 1971 Toyota Celica ST) (Her photos are here: in the metal and wow is she gorgeous! I also got to see Makino the Mini Cooper (Photos here: there. If you noticed, there are no photos of the cars because I felt like I was too sucked in by the whole atmosphere that I completely forgot to take photos, total brain cramp. Haha. We got to meet the owner, Jeiven Perez. He gave off really good vibes as soon as we shook hands. He gave us a quick tour of his shop and talked a little bit about Natsuki and Makino then we got down to the business end of the trip there which was to address the suspension issue and the rim fitment issue as well as assess the rest of the car and that was that, I left Kazumi in the capable, talented and passionate hands of Jeiven and his crew. Now, it truly begins. I'm pretty stoked and at the same time pretty scared about this! Stay tuned for updates!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Project Kazumi Part 1

It is said that humans are insatiable by nature, whether it is for knowledge, truth, power, possessions, love, hunger and whatever else. History has proven this to us time and again. But before I stray too far off topic, what I am deeming insatiable to me right now (apart from other things.) is my passion for cars and pretty much anything to do with them. Which leads me to another subtopic that will serve as a short introduction into my main topic, bear with me. On May 1, 2013, I bought myself my first car, a 2013 Mitsubishi Lancer EX GLX (1.6L),
it was a big moment for me having accomplished something like that early in my life (I was 25 at the time.), I got all excited about what I wanted to do to it, what modifications I wanted to put in and all that. I got as far as installing a rubber lip to protect the front fender (after unfortunately scraping part of it on a steep incline due to miscalculation.) and installing a front upper strut bar. But being a passionate enthusiast, I wanted more, therein lay the conflict. I wanted to maintain the warranty of the car but at the same time, I wanted to modify the car to my liking. At one point, I decided to say "Screw the warranty. I'm going to do what I want!" and I was able to save up enough money to buy a new set of wheels, I inquired and was told that what I wanted was available but for some reason, the voice inside my head reminded me that I wasn't going to just stop at wheels. So I cancelled my order and searched online to see if I could find a project car without having to dip into my savings and investments, just for the heck of it, I didn't think I was going to find anything. But lo and behold, I found a bunch of cars that costed the same or less than the money I had set aside for new wheels. I did my research, made a number of phone calls, asked a number of people and then finally decided on one. A 1980 Toyota Corona Liftback. I called the owner, set a date (January 19, 2014) to view the car, found a mechanic that could come and view the car with me, invited a few buddies to come along and that was that. Test drove and inspected the car, negotiations were made, papers were signed and that was it, I had a project car. And this is where it all begins.

To be honest, the Corona a.k.a. "Kazumi" was in fairly decent overall shape when I got it. The 3T, 1.8L engine ran well except for a minor hiccup (We hit a dip and the throttle cable came loose causing the engine to die and not start up again.) which led to adjusting the idling and shortening the slack on the throttle cable. Now to get to the "fairly decent" parts a.k.a "Aspects In Need Of Improvement" of the car, first up is the suspension. The previous owner took the cheap and lazy way to lowering the car, he cut coils off the damn springs. Now riding, let alone driving the car (there is hardly any ground clearance, I can barely stick my whole foot under the car!) is like being one of those bobble head toys on a dashboard, in short it's a really rough ride. That’s pretty much the biggest issue with the car. The body is solid except for some rust issues and aesthetic issues. The interior needs to be reupholstered, the dashboard and other interior trims need to be fixed or replaced as well. The entire gauge cluster (except some indicators) is not functioning but it might be an electronics issue, the horn doesn't work either. There’s also a manual steering to power steering conversion that needs to be done as well. That’s pretty much it In terms of issues but I know, more are bound to pop up at one time or another, but I’ll cross those bridges when I get them.


(Kazumi's current 3T Heart.)

I know it might be too early in the project but I do have a vision and a set of goals that I want to achieve in this RestoMod. Of course, I understand that if you break down those word RestoMod, the word Resto(ration) comes before Mod(ification) and rightly so but I believe that vision and direction is important when doing something like this, this will also serve as a reminder of the path I’m supposed to be on should I begin to deviate.
So here’s what I have planned:

The Exterior:
First off, I’m going to have to repaint the whole car, it’s currently flat brown of sorts, I plan to bring it back to blue (which was the color it was registered in.) but a flat shade of midnight blue. I also plan to put some fender flares on all four sides to give the car wider and aggressive look or perhaps have the fenders rolled to keep it clean looking. I intend to keep the fender mirrors to retain the classic look. For the wheels, I will most likely be going with gold BBS RS’ with a polished silver lip; they just seem to suit the car when I picture it in my head. But this is still a very changeable 

The Interior:
For the interior, I’m planning to with a pair of bucket seats up front and then probably reupholstering the rear seats in some leather.  I also need to get the rear seatbelts to become functional. But the front buckets will most likely be using harnesses. For the dashboard, I plan on putting together a custom gauge cluster instead of restoring and maintaining the old one. I also plan on having a custom fabricated gated shifter just to give it that touch of class with a mix of function. I’m still debating if I’m going to put a stereo back into the car or not, I’ll also most likely have to have a custom console made for the air conditioning controls. For the steering wheel, I’m looking to go with something from Nardi, haven’t decided which one yet. I’ll also be incorporating central locking and power windows for that functional modern touch. That’s all I have in mind for now when it comes to the interior.

I initially tried to look for replacement suspension parts but for a car this old, it’s pretty difficult. I reached out to a shop (Sushi Factory: that can do a custom suspension job (Among other amazing things they can do!) on it so there’s that. Though I’m willing to explore the possibilities of going with a full coilover setup for the front and rear though it might involve some metal fabrication work.

The Engine and Transmission:
Now for the fun and probably the most costly and challenging part, the engine. I am planning to go with a 1UZ-FE (Either from a Toyota or a Lexus, doesn't matter to me as long as the price is right. Haha!) engine and I plan to use a W58 five-speed transmission which seems to be the best transmission of choice when it comes to the 1UZ-FE based on what I’ve read and the people I’ve spoken to. Though I did have a passing thought of trying to get a sequential gearbox in there somehow, unless the price kills me first of course. I also plan to run it with individual throttle bodies with velocity stacks for each throttle body. I haven’t really put thought into the exhaust system yet though.

(Spark Plug #4.)
Now onto the present time, I mentioned earlier that the issue with the engine was the throttle cable but after getting the car to a warehouse (my best friend was kind enough to offer it to store Kazumi. They house, service and repair their delivery trucks there meaning it’s pretty much like a workshop, thankfully!) I decided to give the spark plugs a check and it turns out the real issue didn't lie solely with the throttle cable. Plug number 4 was pretty much blown
(Out with the old, in with the new.)
and the spark plug wires were also pretty shot. So I got my hands on a brand new set of spark plugs (4-pieces Bosch IR Fusion Iridium Spark Plugs to be exact.) and a set of NGK high tension wires plus an ignition coil wire. Swapped the old ones out and put the new ones in, cranked the engine and nothing, cranked it again then smoke started to emanate from the battery terminals, I took a closer look and the insulation was in pretty bad shape, so one of the warehouse mechanics and I took the terminals off and adjusted the clamps that house the wiring to make them tighter, reclamped the wires and re-insulated it by wrapping it with electrical tape. The car needed a little jump start but after, she ran so much smoother and without any more idling issues. The next step would be to clean the carb to make it even smoother. So that’s one issue down but onto another one, apart from the present issues I've mentioned and listed. I bought a set of 16x8 (front) and 16x9 (rear) BBS RS’ (Gold center, silver polished lip.)
(BBS RS + Attached Human.)
with a PCD of 114.3mm, I was really excited to try them on but unfortunately, they don’t fit. For some reason, the bolt spacing on the rear of the Corona measures 127mm which is really strange because prior research and inquiries say that the PCD of the Corona is 114mm, diagonally though, the bolt spacing matches up at 88.9mm for both the BBS’ and the Corona. So it’s both frustrating and confusing. Now I’m in search of wheel adapters that will help get the wheels to fit properly. I suppose it really does happen when doing projects, solve one problem only to discover a new one. 

Stay tuned for my next article on this awesome journey that I'm on!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Financial Wellness, A Personal Opinion

What is Financial Wellness? This may be subject to different interpretations depending on the person you ask, I generally see it as a state of wealth that is achieved by an individual. It is to have an understanding of your current financial situation and handling it in such a way that you are prepared for any financial changes, good or bad. But before I go any further, there 3 aspects of Financial Wellness that must be grasped:
1 .      Financial Wellness can be created.
2 .      Financial Wellness can be maintained and conserved.
3 .      Financial Wellness can be lost.

The quickest way to assess your financial situation is by asking the following questions: “Where is my money coming from?”, “Where is my money going?” And the most important question, “Am I comfortable with this situation I am currently in?” If you answered yes to the last question, I congratulate you because you have attained a state of financial wellness and you need not read any further. But I know that most of us, myself included will answer “No.” to the last question and this because you are not happy with your answers to the first 2 questions.

Let me cite some general answers to the first 2 questions:
“Where is my money coming from?”
1 .      Active Income: Comes from a job (full-time, part-time, freelance, self-employed etc.)
2 .      Passive Income, this is a great source and I’ll just the most common because there are a number. Comes from Investments (Interest earnings, dividends, capital appreciation).
3 .      Semi-Passive/Semi-Active Income: Comes from Home-Based Business, Personally Owned Businesses and the like.
“Where is my money going?” Listed from most common to least common in my opinion:
1 .      Necessary Expenses (Food, Utilities, Shelter, Sustaining Children, Medicine, Transportation, anything related to sustaining your health and the health of those you are responsible for.)
2 .      Business Expenses (Overhead, Payroll, Equipment, etc.)
3 .      Debts
4 .      Hobbies
5 .      Unnecessary Expenses (I’ll leave this for you to label on your own because what it is unnecessary to me may not be the same for you.)

If you have the specific answers (I highly doubt you wouldn’t have them since this is money we’re talking about.) then it’s easy to formulate a solution to turn your answer to question 3 from a “No.” into a “Yes.”, I’m not saying this will happen overnight but if you play your cards right and make sound choices, then it should happen. It really varies from person to person and can change depending on life circumstances and over time. For some it may be easy, for others more difficult, but it is possible, for everyone.
 Personally, when I started working, I didn’t really have a fixed strategy, all I knew was to set aside a set amount from my salary and put it into my BPI SDA account (Special Deposit Account), it’s an account that I’ve been putting money into since I was in College, that would represent my Life Savings. Then I got myself a Credit Card aka “The Loaded Gun”, I got it pretty late in my life because I never saw the necessity or convenience it provided until I found myself in one situation, I was about to run out of gas and pulled over at a gas station and I had my car filled up only to realize that I had no cash (I know, I should have checked first.), long story short, I had to leave my Driver’s License and my car (I brought the keys with me.) with the Gas boy and walk pretty far to an ATM to withdraw and pay for my gas. After that, I decided that I needed a Credit Card for times like that. I also found the convenience of being able to defer payments into 6, 12, or even 24 months (depending on the bank) giving me breathing room when it comes to making big purchases. And I also found that having a Credit Card, when used properly and strategically, if you take advantage of the float period (the period between the date of purchase to the actual date of repayment). A quick example: You bought a PS3 game today using your credit card, you’re not actually paying today for the game, you pay for it on the due date that is stated on your Credit Card account, which is usually 20-30 days after your cutoff date. My due date falls a week after my payday so it’s easy to budget when it comes to paying. But when it comes to Credit Cards, you only need to remember 2 things, keep your spending in check (don’t spend more than what you can afford to pay for.) and pay on time and in full because it’s not only going to save you interest charges, but it will also build you good credit. My way of keeping things under control is using a Spending Tracker App where I input all my credit card related expenses. After having my credit card, I decided to employ a different strategy or formula, it’s a little more advanced and it’s worked well for me and I’ve been using it for the past 2 years of employment.

Here is the formula/strategy: Salary = Debts -> Expenses -> Savings and/or Investments -> Leftover for personal consumption.
I personally use this formula with the “and” instead of the “or” in the Savings/Investments area because I achieve more by doing both instead of just one or the other. For the benefit of knowledge transfer, savings and investments are not the same thing; the simplest way I can define both are as follows:
Saving – It is the act of setting money aside in a safe place with the intention of using the money in the future or putting in a place that is very low risk and has the chance to earn some interest while keeping a medium to high degree of liquidity. (Ex: Savings Account, ATM Account, under the mattress, etc.)
Investing – This involves the commitment of money into an investment vehicle which can possibly produce a financial gain at a higher degree of risk and a low to medium degree of liquidity. (Ex: Stocks, Bonds, Mutual Funds, Variable Life Insurance, Real Estate, Business, etc.)
The two main differences of saving and investing is the degree of risk and the degree of liquidity. When it comes to saving, the degree of risk is generally very low, meaning your capital will almost always stay intact and it has a high degree of liquidity meaning the money is very easily accessible when needed, a very good example of this is an ATM Account, the money is there and you can withdraw it without any problems or issues. And when it comes to investing, the degree of risk is higher, meaning there is a chance that your capital may be decreased (or increased as the saying goes, the higher the risk, the higher the reward.) and it’s not as liquid as savings, meaning you cannot access your money immediately whenever you choose to do so. A good example of this is investing in the Stock Market, the market fluctuates on a daily basis and the chances of you losing money and earning money (depending on the moves you make.) are very likely to happen in the same day, however, if you wanted to liquidate your stocks by selling them, you wouldn’t get the money on the same day, you’d have to wait before you get your hands on it.

Now going back to the formula, I understand that we aren’t living in a perfect world where everything is balanced so I will cite a few examples of common situations where the formula I mentioned earlier may be very difficult or even impossible to achieve and some proposed solutions that can turn that difficulty or impossibility into something comfortable and possible.
For the situations, I will be using a base amount of P20,000 for the salary part of the formula.

Situation 1: Credit Card Debt = P8,000, Necessary Expenses = P3,500, Unnecessary Expenses = P3,500
P20,000 - (P8,000 + P3,500 + P3,500) = P5,000 left even before saving and investments come into the picture. This position is a very difficult one to be in, assuming you are only living off of that P20,000 paycheck, you might end up going hungry until the next paycheck. Not only that, but you have not been able to set aside anything to save and invest yet because your survival is more of a priority given what is left over from paying for your debts and expenses. This situation could also lead into something that will be worse in the long run, skipping debt payments and expenses which both have their negative repercussions (ex: Compounding Interest Charges for missed or partial Credit Card payments) that will affect people over the long term. Now looking at the variables in the situation, there are two elements that can be worked with that will directly affect the final result of the equation in a positive way. The two elements are Credit Card Debt and Unnecessary Expenses. Let me first tackle the Credit Card Debt element, the first and most obvious solution would be to lower the amount of things you charge to your credit card, I know this might sound blunt and straightforward but there is no other way to put it, things that you can pay off in cash and immediately, you’re better off doing that, I usually use my credit card for big purchases that can be deferred or for loading gas and a few online purchases. Secondly, before making any purchase with your credit card, you should first take note of how much you already have charged on the card so you know what you can and can’t spend, be sure you log everything you charge on the card as soon as you swipe it so you can easily keep track of it either through a mobile phone application (Spending app is what I use as mentioned above.) or go old school and write it down, nothing too complicated, just what you spent on and how much it costs. Now moving onto the second element, the unnecessary expenses, this is a very simple solution but not as easy to execute. You simply ask yourself, do I really need this? Is there a cheaper alternative? Then a thousand reasons of justification come flooding telling you “Yes, I need this”. But if you really want to reduce this element, sacrifices must be made. I’m not saying complete deprivation, I’m talking about reduction. Let’s look at a Starbucks Daily Habit as an example. Do you really need (I repeat, NEED.) to buy coffee from Starbucks every single day? Perhaps you could make it an M-W-F habit? Or if you really need a daily caffeine boost, I’m sure a coffee sachet or an energy drink could do just as well as a cup of Starbucks without being nearly as expensive. This is just one of the many examples that can be used to discuss the “Unnecessary Expenses” variable above. But by being able to reduce and lower the two variables above, I can assure you that the end result will positively change in a significant way. It may be difficult in the beginning but it will definitely be worth it.

Situation 2: Credit Card Debt = P2,500, Necessary Expenses = P3,500, Unnecessary Expenses = P2,000
P20,000 - (P2,500 + P3,500 + P2,000) - P2,000 (Set aside for Savings) = P10,000 left. This situation is slightly better than the previous one, there is more left over now because the Credit Card Debt and the Unnecessary Expenses have been kept under control. Now with this situation, we can start talking about saving or investing, hence the additional subtraction of P2,000. Take note, I said or here despite mentioning above that what is ideal is to do both, but given the situation only one of the two options should be made so that you are not left in an uncomfortable spot until your next paycheck. What I would suggest is that building up your savings (if you haven’t already.) should be put into priority here so that the risk is kept relatively low and that your capital will remain intact. For the formula used above, I chose P2,000 as the value to be set aside for saving, this value may seem small, but assuming that you maintain the same formula above every month, it will compound into something big despite the interest earnings being low. Also, with the amount chosen to set aside for savings, you are left with P8,000 which should be enough to get you through until your next paycheck since all debts and necessary expenses have been already paid for.

Situation 3: Credit Card Debt = P1,000, Necessary Expenses = 3,500, Unnecessary Expenses = P1,000
P20,000 - (P1,000 + P3,500 + P1,000) - P4,500 (Savings and Investment) = P10,000 left. This situation is now the most ideal situation to be in because you’ve covered all debts and expenses have been covered and a significant amount has been set aside for saving and investment. Now as for the saving and investment instruments to be chosen, it’s entirely up to you, up to your appetite for risk, your goals and your time frame to achieve these goals.

The things I’ve written are not an absolute rule to follow nor will they work for everyone, it’s a personal opinion that has worked for me and I put it out there in the hopes that it will help educate people.