As early as now, I’m already thinking about my retirement. I want to live somewhere laidback and quiet in the future—in my own farmhouse. So that’s definitely not in the city. The city is too busy for me; the city’s energy drains me. I don’t think I would enjoy the place when I get older as I’m enjoying it now.

In the Philippines, when we say ‘retirement home,’ we refer to our own house where we would want to spend the rest of our lives. Perhaps with our apos, sons, daughters, other family members, and relatives. Yes, it’s pretty different from the perceptions of non-Filipinos.

apo /n/

a grandchild (plural grandchildren)

So let’s get started with the things I want for my retirement home.

My retirement home checklist

1) Up to three rooms

In context, when their family members leave, old couples are the only ones left at home. Many couples prefer to downsize once their children have their own families.

Likewise, I want my retirement home to have three rooms: one for hubby and me, one for Sasha and Adele, and a guest room. If they don’t want to share the room, one should settle in the guest room. Also, the should be enough for occasional visitors.

2) Fewer steps to no stairs

Stairs aren’t friendly to wheelchairs and canes. They are also a pain for those with weak knees. And I assume that this will be a problem down the road.

My first choice is a home with a single-level living. Moving around the house becomes easy for me when I don’t have to climb many steps.

3) More low-level storage

Old age catches up. Before you know it, you find bending and picking up something from the floor difficult. I’m also aware of this, including the possibility of mindlessly stashing things under the bed because you have nowhere else to put them.

That’s why the height of the counters and shelves is crucial for me. It’s already an issue today because of my heigh—I’m only 5’4′. What more in the future, when I can no longer extend my arms fully when reaching mounted shelves?

4) Wide spaces

Doorways and hallways must be spacious enough to accommodate guided walking. That’s especially true if you are already using a walker or wheelchair.

While there’s an accurate depiction of what wide space means, it should be accessible to make passing easier.

5) Indoor plant area

Some would want a pet or two when they grow older to keep them company. I’d say houseplants for me.

A corner will do. Or, it could be a backless bookcase, wall-mounted shelves, old wooden staircases, or a window ledge. But if I get to choose, I guess there’s nothing with a small nursery or greenhouse.

I want to live in a close-knit community.

As much as possible, my retirement home must be in an area near the people dear to me. I enjoy Sunday lunch and movie nights with family, so I want to live near them. I also want to bask in the friendliness of my neighbors (without invading each other’s space and privacy, of course).

I don’t want to live in a house that is big on maintenance.

I really don’t mind doing weeding here and there. But I would mind repairs. I’m not cut out for handyman jobs. As I age, hubby and I—mostly hubby—no longer have the energy to get those things done. So I’m shooting for a low-maintenance lifestyle when I’m older.

While writing this post, I realized how hopeful I am for the future. Sadly, not all people are lucky enough to spend more years here—what more with their loved ones.

I’m a bit emotional lately because I just learned that one of my friends had died of COVID-19. She died last October 2021, and it’s already April 2022. 😢😢😢

Blessed are those who reached their golden years. (And blessed are those who left us and joined our Creator sooner than we wanted or expected).

Did you know that the term ‘golden years’ was first used in 1959 as part of an advertising pitch for Sun City? Sun City is a retirement community. Thus, the term actually refers to retirement, which is a time for relaxation and leisure.

And some are unfortunate, robbed of what could have been a more meaningful, more blissful life. It could have been is such a lonely phrase too.

So, I am praying—much harder this time—that I live a long life and live somewhere or anywhere so long as I get to be where my loved ones are.

Moving is not a “wing it” situation. Usually, it takes plenty of preparing, saving, and pondering about what you will need for this big event. Below we’ll look at three goals to conquer before your move.

Question #1 – Do I need more room?

There are plenty of reasons to move and needing more space is one of the best reasons. Perhaps your family is growing, and you have realized that having one to two bedrooms just isn’t enough space. Or perhaps you’re just looking for more space because you can!

After you have established if you should rent or buy a house, knowing how many bedrooms and bathrooms you need to properly function in your space is a plus. Bedroom and bathroom count are the number one amenity that purchasers look for in a new space.

Keep in mind, that you may just want an extra bit of room so that you or others in your household can have alone time or space. This is an underrated but highly valued luxury that some of us don’t think enough about. 

Do you want a space where you can work on a passion project? Or perhaps you would like an extra room to store your tools or supplies for whatever you may enjoy doing. Maybe you’re looking to give your pet their own space as well. These are all great examples of needing more room.

If you can find something within your price range that offers you a bit more square footage even as opposed to an additional room, it can be well worth it. Determine your spatial needs before you jump right into the next steps.

Question #2 – Do I know anyone in my new location?

You may only be traveling to another part of your town or city, but maybe you are making a bit of a bigger jump. So many things are running through our minds when we are preparing to move, but do we ever stop to think about actually living there?

How close is the grocery store, a gas station, or the nearest hospital? This is vital information that really should be considered before your official move. Hopefully, you have some acquaintances in the area that you can turn to in need. It can be scary moving far away from those you love and those that support you.

Even if you don’t know anyone there, it might be a good idea to look into ways you can meet new locals. Research online about some of the events in your new town, where people spend time, and maybe if there are any groups you are interested in joining. This is going to make your transition to your new place a bit more comfortable. It’s always beneficial to have someone to talk to, even if it’s getting to know each other at first.

Question #3 – What will my commute look like?

Many folks move to a new area either due to their current job or they are looking for a new job. You’ll need income established before you move; that’s self-explanatory. And with prices of all goods on the rise, you’re driving to work should be considered.

If you’re moving to a pretty populated area, finding public transit is going to be your best bet for a commute. Another great way to get to and from work is by carpooling. Although, at first, you may not know many people to grab rides with. 

It’s really important to take into account how long it will take you to get to and from work and from your new place. It’s advisable to make a trip to your new town at least once before moving there. You can test the public transit or your commute so you can establish properly how to get to and from your workplace.

This can be a common oversight when you move, but it should be considered. You’re not going to be doing yourself any favors if you live on one side of the city but work on the other side. All of these questions can be answered by a short visit to your new town. 

In this time and age, more and more new diseases are discovered, and the global medical community has yet to find a cure for each. Our best protection is to protect ourselves against germs, bacteria, and viruses. Therefore, we have to safeguard our immunity or the ability of our body to fight various infections. One of the best ways to do this is to boost our immune system, mainly by correcting our diet and lifestyle.

How to boost your immune system naturally

1) Eat healthily

Eat a balanced diet to ensure that your body is getting enough nutrients. When you eat healthy fats such as omega-3 and omega-6, the body produces more prostaglandin, a compound that kills germs. Thus,

  • Avoid consuming saturated fats.
  • Eat protein-rich foods such as eggs, vegetables, and dairy since the body needs them to produce white blood cells.
  • Consume appropriate amounts of carbohydrates obtained from rice, corn, and wheat. Excessive carbohydrates in the body lower immune responses due to the reduced quantity of T-lymphocytes.
  • Eat immunity-boosting foods such as almond, kale, yogurt, berries, and mushrooms.
  • Eat antioxidants like zinc, copper, vitamins C and E, selenium, and beta carotene. Beans, nuts, seafood, and red meats contain high zinc levels, while brightly colored fruits and vegetables contain the other vitamins and minerals that our body needs.
  • Citrus fruits, more specifically, help in protecting your immune system.

2) Avoid sugar

Notice that when you indulge in a glass of soda, you feel weak in the following hours, for at least five hours. So, limit your sugar intake. Use natural sweeteners as much as possible, especially those with a low glycemic index. Avoid the artificial ones since they are highly acidic. High levels of blood sugar reduce the ability of the cells to inundate bacteria. This suppresses the immune system in fighting infections. Recently, the consumption of too many sweets has been linked to several ailments such as obesity and diabetes.

3) Limit caffeine

Drinking coffee has its own benefits, mainly because it contains antioxidants. However, too much intake of coffee can lead to higher acid levels in the body, which may weaken the immune system. Acid negatively affects our natural ability to absorb nutrients like potassium, magnesium, and calcium. Acid dehydrates the body. Likewise, for every cup of coffee you consume, make sure that you drink two glasses of water. An equally compelling yet more beneficial alternative is drinking green tea.

4) Reduce alcohol

Alcohol abuse is associated with various immune system deficiencies. The alcoholic beverage you just guzzled down is metabolized within your body, producing harmful chemicals that destroy the white blood cells within 20 minutes of ingesting it. Additionally, drinking alcohol makes it difficult for the body to absorb vitamins and minerals, a process that lowers white blood cells. This means that the harmful effects of alcohol on the body will still be evident even when the alcohol itself is no longer detectable.

5) Eliminate toxin

Eating healthy means getting rid of unnatural substances in our diet. These are primarily found in processed foods that contain all the additives and preservatives that you won’t eat as is. Did you know that more than 3,000 chemicals enter the body, primarily found in packaged foods? In fact, the medical practitioners themselves consider these heavily processed foods as foods that destroy our immune system. Over time and without proper elimination of toxins from our body, it can lead to different illnesses. Substitute processed foods with fermented foods instead because the latter is much healthier.

6) Raise pH

Our body’s pH should stay between 7.35 and 7.45, and anything below or above such range could mean symptoms and diseases. In fact, chronic acidity can lead to osteoporosis, diabetes, cancers, and heart diseases. To neutralize our body’s pH, drink plenty of water. There’s a reason doctors encourage us to drink at least eight glasses of water every day. Stop drinking soda because it contains high sugar levels and is highly acidic; its pH level is 3.

7) Stop smoking

Smoking kills. I can’t emphasize this enough. Are you aware that a stick of cigarette contains more than 4,000 chemicals, forty-three of which are cancer-causing? Additionally, the smoke harms nearly all organs in our body, increasing the likelihood of lung, kidney, and heart diseases. Nicotine, the addictive substance in cigarettes, reaches the brain in about 6 seconds. It binds with hemoglobin instead of oxygen, thus, reducing the blood’s capacity to deliver oxygen to the cells in the body.

Germs, bacteria, and viruses – or the invaders – overwhelm our body’s natural defenses. So even if your health is fine, you cannot deliberately ignore the importance of strengthening your immune system. The goal is to adopt healthier living strategies from your diet to your lifestyle. Thus, stop right now if you are currently smoking; consuming excessive amounts of sugar, caffeine, alcohol, and unnatural substances, and not drinking lots of water. These aren’t doing your immune system any good.

The Filipino cuisine is so diverse. We are proud of our classics and street foods. However, we also have an exhaustive list of exotic Filipino foods.

There are certain exotic foods that I don’t eat but would offer my kids to sample their taste. I don’t expect my daughters to like them. I just want them to appreciate all things Filipino. After all, these food items are a part of our being Filipino.

I don’t want them to grow up afraid to try new things as well. I hope that I’m nurturing the adventurous spirit just right.

Exotic Filipino foods my husband and I let our children eat

Balut (Boiled duck embryo)

Image credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Balut is a protein-rich delicacy sold in the neighborhoods at night, shouting ‘Balut! Balut!’ Some people would buy them as midnight snacks or pulutan. I think balut is the OG Pinoy pulutan, or food that is typically served with an ice-cold beer or other alcoholic drinks.

Balut is by far the most exotic food Filipinos eat. Well, at least for me. I would not say no to eating balut anytime. Papa Jun and I enjoyed eating it together, especially with salt and spicy vinegar. It was also his idea to let Sasha and Adele eat balut. He bought, prepared everything, and provided an impromptu discussion of what balut is. 🤣

To my surprise, Sasha loved the duckling. I don’t—I only eat the yolk part of balut. Adele is so-so; she’s okay with everything. Or must I be shocked—they are both adventurous eaters. That, or we’re raising monsters. 🤣🤣

Helmet (chicken head)

We Filipinos eat pretty every consumable part of the chicken. I believe that helmet or the chicken head is a testament to our ingenuity.

Not to mention how we hate wasting food. So instead of throwing this part away, we skewer, grill, and eat them despite not having much to eat from them.

Adidas (chicken feet)

Image credit: Adobe Stock

I have no idea who first called chicken feet adidas. Yup, after the well-known shoe brand. Clever huh?

I know some people who don’t like the texture of chicken feet—kind of gelatinous. But I love how this lends uniqueness to adidas. Others don’t like how it is a ‘struggle’ to eat them, with all the small bones to get rid of while eating.

Regardless of how it is cooked, chicken feet can be very tasty. Adele loves chicken feet. Two days ago, she requested her lolo to buy chicken feet.

lolo /n/
Grandfater; a polite title or form of address for an elderly man

Adidas is also a popular dish in China and other Asian countries.

Isaw (chicken intestine)

Isaw is a classic. And I think isaw is every Filipino child’s first foray into exotic food because it has a subtle taste, especially when dipped in thick sweet sauce.

Barbecue stands in the Philippines usually have two dips: spiced vinegar and sweet sauce. The latter is for kids and adults who don’t like spicy dips.

Betamax (blood cubes)

I have no idea why this is called betamax. Perhaps because of how it looks. It’s solidified chicken blood, resembling the look of the videotape.

Betamax is so tasty regardless of your preferred sauce. I like vinegar for my betamax. 🤘🤘🤘

Dinuguan (blood stew)

Image credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

I’m not aware that dinuguan is actually an exotic food. Our family eats them on a regular, though we rarely cook them. How? When the day gets too busy to cook anything for lunch or dinner or when we don’t have anything to cook, we would just buy our ulam (viand) from the nearby carinderia.

And dinuguan is a carinderia staple.

Other exotic Filipino dishes that I want them to try

Chicharon bulaklak (Deep-fried pig intestine chitterling)

Image credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

I love chicharon (pork crackling)! I rarely eat chicharon bulaklak, and I don’t crave it as well. But if served, I will definitely have it.

Chicharon bulaklak is best eaten with spicy vinegar.

It is served as an appetizer in some areas. However, it is more known as pulutan.

Camaro (Field or mole cricket)

Camaro or kamaru is popular in Pampanga. Common recipes are adobong camaro, which is cooked in salt, soy sauce, and vinegar, and fried camaro. I’ve tasted it at Everybody’s Café during one of our brand exposures. It has a unique meat-like taste with hints of herb-y and nutty flavors.

Betute tugak (Deep-fried stuffed frog)

Also from Pampanga, betute tugak is a crowd favorite. Indeed, frog tastes like chicken. You can’t tell the difference between the two. However, this one has sauteed ground pork stuffing.

My tatang would take home palakang bukid (rice field frogs) from Obando, Bulacan when I was so young. We would often cook it as tinolang palaka, a Filipino stew with green papaya, dahon ng sili (chili leaves), and fish sauce.

tatang /n/
Father or a father figure

In case you’re wondering, it’s the less popular variation of chicken tinola.

Papaitan (Bitter stew)

Papaitan is made from beef or goat innards. Its bitter taste comes from bile that is carefully extracted from its sac. Papaitan is our Papa Jun’s favorite. I wonder how Sasha and Adele would react once they tasted papaitan.

I guess this shows our family’s adventurous side. It’s not for a culinary thrill, though, but loving your own.

Disclaimer: This blog post contains affiliate links, which means I’ll earn a small amount for conversions made through such links.

When I started this blog, I intended to make it a money-making machine. 😁 That’s an exaggeration, of course! But I would not say no to a paid blogging opportunity, especially if it aligns with what I want to write as a mummy blogger.

And speaking of an opportunity, I discovered Intellifluence through a Facebook page. Another Filipina mummy blogger shared it. I tried it out. In the three months of working on the platform, I already earned $285! For a struggling blogger like me, that’s a lot!

When there’s an opportunity that you know would benefit other bloggers, you share it with them. So, that’s what I’m doing now. This paid blogging opportunity is worth sharing. So please read on.

How to join Intellifluence

Here’s a brief rundown of what you need to do.

1) Create an account using my Intellifluence affiliate link ➤➤➤ https://bit.ly/3BZlFOM. Here’s how the registration page looks.

2) Click the Register As An Influencer button.

3) Fill in your first name, last name, email, password, and confirm the password. Then, tick the box to accept the terms of service and privacy policy. Click Next.

4) Add a profile picture. Upload, adjust, crop, and click Save Crop. Click Next.

5) Answer the question What are you interested in? Place the cursor on the field to trigger the drop-down menu. You can select up to 10 categories. Click Next.

6) Add a public bio. Click Next.

7) Upload up to five additional photos. This is an optional step, and you may go back to this step through the dashboard.

8) Fill in your address and other contact details. Click Next.

9) Connect your social media accounts and blogs. You may connect your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and even Reddit. Basically, everything where your ‘influence’ can be measured and monitored.

Social media influencer marketing is alive and well. So requiring to connect social profiles is not surprising at all.

You will be asked to log in to your account when connecting it with your Intellifluence profile.

For the blog part, you need to put the self-hosted blog URL on the +Blog, while the free hosted blogs must be placed on +Other.

You may complete the social profiles at this step or do it later through your dashboard. However, you need to add at least one account to proceed.

Next, you will be directed to your dashboard, though I’m not really sure. Hehe. Apologies. I was using a dummy account that had no social profile whatsoever. So I had to stop there, in Step 7.

Nonetheless, I suggest you complete your profile first. A profile strength indicator outlines a checklist of what you need to do to achieve a 100% profile strength. Just follow it, and you are good to go.

My Intellifluence profile

Here’s a glimpse of my profile. As you can see, I am currently a High Closer influencer with a Medium Audience. (I don’t call myself an influencer—I cringe at the thought. I am more comfortable with blogger).

Of course, the profile page basically contains your personal and payment info.

There’s the Badges section where the badges you’ve earned are displayed. You’ll get each badge as you interact with the platform and complete transactions, for instance.

I already earned seven badges. 👏👏👏

My earnings summary

Now, let’s proceed to my earnings. Below is the screenshot of the Earnings Summary.

I’ve already completed five transactions, the payment of four of which are already processed, and one is upcoming. It will be processed on December 1, if I’m not mistaken.

Once you complete a transaction, it will appear on your Upcoming payment after 15 days. I already mentioned above that I already earned $285 from August 6 to this writing. Come December 1, and my total earning would be $485.

Also, you have to be eligible for payout, which means you should have $25 on your Payout Balance. Payouts are sent to your PayPal account every Friday, again, provided that you met the threshold.

Expect to earn more if you have a broader reach, especially on Instagram and YouTube, since you will have more opportunities to work with brands.


FAQs about Intellifluence

I know you want to know more about Intellifluence. So here goes.

What is Intellifluence for influencers?

Co-founded by Joe Sinkwitz and Terry Godier, Intellifluence is an influencer marketing platform. It connects brands with influencers so they may collaborate on projects and campaigns with ease.

Intellifluence claims to be the “home of the largest warm influencer network in the world.” To date, it has more than 171,000 registered influencers who partner with over 20,000 brands.

Is Intellifluence.com legit?

Yes, Intellifluence is legit. It pays influencers from $1 to $1,000 for each campaign. Also, the platform features Intellifluence Promise, a guarantee that you’ll be paid once you satisfactorily complete the given task, transaction, or offer.

Here’s my proof of payment.

How to earn from Intellifluence?

To earn from Intellifluence, go to Marketplace. This section displays the opportunities that you qualified for. You may apply for the campaign by sending a proposal or declining the offer.

Recently, Intellifluence introduced My Offers. This is where you create services. The categories are Social Share, Social Engagement, Social Review, Blog Review, and Video Review.

To create an offer, you need to choose from the service type options. Then, fill out the offer details.

Is Intellifluence free?

Yes, it is. Registration is free.

You may create your profile through its website or the Intellifluence app. Download it from the app store.


Other things to know about Intellifluence

You need to explore the platform. When do you so, you’ll encounter these things.

Sallybot

Sallybot is Intelifluence’s support bot. She helps you navigate the platform while also sending timely advice and reminders on deadlines and completion requirements for the most part.

Reach

The availability of opportunities depends on your platforms’ reach. Some offers require 100 to 1,000 reach; others, 10,000 to 100,000.

For bloggers like me, the higher the blog metrics like DA, trust flow, citation flow, etc., the better. Although, my social reach compensates for my lack of reach. You’d want to connect social pages with the highest reach.

It pays to grow your reach to be eligible for more opportunities in the future.

Categories

I cannot emphasize this enough.

With my three months collaborating with brands and digital marketing agencies, I observed that the top three most profitable categories are Marketing, Advertising, and Business.

Unqualified Offers

You may check the unqualified offers section to get a feel of what brands are looking for and what you need to work on to qualify for more offers.

Click the Advanced Filters to check the list of offers.

Don’t forget to create your Intellifluence profile using my link  ➤➤➤ https://bit.ly/3BZlFOM. 👍👍👍

And, if you want to know more about Intellifluence, the comment section is open. Ask away!

“I see dead people.” ~Cole Sear, The Sixth Sense

Can kids really see ghosts?

I confronted this question five years ago when my firstborn, Sasha, was only 3 years old. I observed her playing with someone I couldn’t see. I asked her who she was playing with, and she said, “Kuya.” But we were only four in the house, and we didn’t have a Kuya with us. 👻👻👻

kuya

big or older bother

This matter hits close to home because I saw ghosts too when I was much younger. Yup, my third eye is open before my father closed it, so he said. I guess feelings of dread are just feelings of dread until you can accurately describe what your grandfather has worn while he lay peacefully inside his coffin by looking at him standing on the door. Hair-raising, isn’t it?

Looking at her then, she seemed not afraid at all. Looking back, I think I was more scared than she was. It’s a different realm, so to speak, and no one is prepared to handle such. Not me definitely, despite going through the same experience when I was younger.

How parents deal with their kids’ ghostly encounters

Now that I’m a mother, the question is: how I/we (Papa and I) should deal with it? My husband was very unenthusiastic about it, though he also believes in mythic creatures. 🧚🧚🧚 Oh well…

According to Caron B. Goode, author of Kids Who See Ghosts: How to Guide Them Through Fear, parents respond differently. Some parents experienced abject fear, but some would support their children, listening to their stories yet not acting on them. I also know parents who think of it as an intuitive gift that should be accepted. But, then, some parents would immediately seek doctors and therapists.

Goode also noted that the younger the child, the more delicate the situation will be because “the child’s psyche is open and fragile.” However, the parents are in the position to empower their children in facing their fears. It would help to be more compassionate about the entire situation.

How to deal with kids seeing ghosts

There is no formula here. But as parents, we just have to deal with it, not dismiss it. Remember that how you would react will significantly affect your child’s values and belief system, so tread carefully.

1) Encourage your child to talk more about the experience.

Conversations are powerful. The more your child gets to talk about her ghostly experience, the more comfortable she will be. Also, this is an excellent way to validate the said experience and how they are feeling about it.

Don’t tell your child “ghosts are not real,” “you’re just imagining things,” “you don’t know what you’re talking about,” or things like that. From the eyes of your child, everything is real.

2) Listen to your child attentively.

Talking about what she’s seen is therapeutic enough, knowing that someone is ready to listen to her. While it is true that kids have an imaginative tendency, the devil is in the details. Spooky, right? But you’d know there is nothing inventive with her stories because of the details.

Concrete details than abstract ones are definitely hard to doubt nor refute. So I asked Sasha to describe him. I got horrified because there were mentions of a “white t-shirt” and “bloodied face.”

3) Believe in your child.

Goode also states that it doesn’t matter whether you believe in ghosts or not. What matters in situations like this is that you believe in your child.

She might get scared, but this is entirely normal and understandable. You might get fearsome too. What you can help her with is in processing the fear. Of course, you want her to feel safe, so any assurance coming from you will help.

4) Lower the fear factor.

Freaking out will not help. But when faced with situations like this it’s either you’d want to know more or not hear about it anymore. So I took the first path. I asked her about it—where in the house it would appear, what time of day, is it alone, does it hurt her. Sure enough, I asked a lot of questions about Kuya because I wanted to understand more about it and gauge if she was scared or not.

However, I realized that it would be best to take the child’s lead about what she is willing to share with you. Don’t force your child to talk about it, definitely not in front of other people. You don’t want your child to feel humiliated, intimidated, or overwhelmed. But I did ask Sasha, and I would still ask her from time to time. And her stories are consistent.

Not long after, when Adele was the same age, she would laugh hysterically playing pretend with someone. When I asked her to hand me something, she grabbed what I was asking for, gave it to me, and hurried back outside. “Why the rush?” I asked her. Adele said, “So I can play with Kuya.” Oh no. Here we go with the pep talk again.

I also asked Adele about this Kuya. I regretted asking her, “Where is Kuya now?” because she immediately pointed at the back of the door. 😱😱😱

So think of this as an opportunity to move beyond fear while learning about the world of spirits. This is also a great way to start exploring different realities. Not to mention, child psychologists believe that having an imaginary friend is actually a sign of healthy development.

Over time, I realized why we would always turn to evil spirits or creatures when someone told us they have an imaginary friend. Shouldn’t we consider the good spirits and creatures first, such as guardian angels or… fairy godmothers?

Multo agad? ’Di ba pwedeng guardian angel muna?

Good point, right? Or not? Let me know in the comments below.

If you’re breaking into the market for an incredible home, it’s okay to be excited! There’s a lot of tremendous change that comes with buying your place, but you shouldn’t let that blind you to the important things. When you’re looking at homes, carefully consider each of these details.

Any significant future changes

Where do you see yourself in five years? How about ten? Although these may feel like the questions someone would ask you in a job interview, you have to answer these for yourself when house hunting. Is this first home meant to be your forever home, or are you planning to look at other homes for sale in Toronto in five to ten years? Do you think you’ll have another person living with you? Do you see kids in your future? Consider all of these, and shop accordingly.

How much of a project you can realistically attempt

We all see ourselves as a little more driven than we are. That’s okay and forgivable, yet it’s important to admit that sometimes we don’t measure up. For example, if you’re looking at a home that needs a ton of projects, how many of those projects do you think you’ll complete within a month? How about a year? Although you don’t have to move into a cookie-cutter home, and you can put your personality into place, it’s a good idea to be realistic about what work you can take on.

How far you are from work and family

Most people go to work several times a week, and many more also visit family and friends often. You don’t have to live in the dead center of these locations, but planning around an easy transit time can help your life later on. When you look at a home, think about what your daily transit to work would look like and how often you’d be able to see the ones you love. Is it short enough of a drive that you’re okay with it, or is it more stressful?

Whether the schools are ideal

If you have kids or are considering going back to college, are the local schools the ones you feel good about? Your school area will make an impact on the education of whoever lives in your home, so it’s a good thing to consider if you think it matters.

If the neighborhood is safe and friendly

Talk to neighbors, and become familiar with the neighborhood when you look at homes! If you’re narrowing it down between one or two houses, don’t be afraid to walk through the community for a workout and talk to those you encounter. Be friendly and courteous and see if you align well with this neighborhood. Do those who live there feel nice to you? Check the crime rate in your area, and be sure to look up if it’s a safe place to live or if you’ll be dealing with dangers and hazards that you would be better off avoiding.

When shopping for a new home, it is vital to look into what you’ll need a few years from now. These things are your non-negotiables. However, please keep an open mind about the entire homebuying process because there will be compromises along the way for sure. Most importantly, enjoy the nitty-gritty part of the process. You’ll appreciate all the efforts, even the most mundane tasks of creating lists of non-negotiables and can-live-withouts, once you find your dream home.

And with that, happy shopping!

No one knows precisely when work-from-home (WFH) job opportunities exploded. However, we all know that these opportunities intensified during the coronavirus pandemic and gave people a new chance at earning a decent living while staying at home. At-home jobs are very diverse and categorically easy to do—anyone can do it. Here are some of the most exciting job prospects.

WFH jobs for moms and dads

1) Virtual assistant

Virtual assistants provide all forms of administrative, secretarial, medical, and legal works. Usually, the companies requiring the services of a VA are in the food, retail, and elder care industries. However, some companies that hire VAs are small companies that cannot necessarily justify hiring permanent employees.

Skills required: Word processing, computer, communication, writing, proofreading, organizational, and management

Earning potential: Starts from $15 per hour

2) Translator

Translators don’t translate verbatim, but with both linguistic and cultural differences in mind. Most translators, who translate from one language to another, often work under tight deadlines and with high levels of accuracy. Professional, technical, scientific, educational, and health care services frequently require the help of a translator.

Skills required: Translation, writing, reading, comprehension, computer, typing, and communication

Earning potential: Starts from $20 per hour; some industries pay higher

3) Data encoder

Also called data entry clerks, data encoders enter or update data into a database. Data are customarily typed from paper documents. Accuracy and speed are just some of the measures used in determining the efficiency of a data encoder. Companies dealing with volumes of data such as medical institutions, academic institutions, pharmaceutical companies, and courier companies are the typical clients.

Skills required: Typing, computer, numeracy, administrative, and organizational

Earning potential: Starts from $15 per hour

4) Website tester

From the title itself, website testers inspect a website to determine any bugs, defects, errors, and any usability and interaction issues. Large companies that develop websites require the services of a website tester consistently. Also, there are dedicated websites that list sites that pay people for testing websites on a first-come, first-served basis.

Skills required: Communication, technical, computer, and testing

Earning potential: $10 per test

5) Survey taker

Survey takers answer questions and respond to polls. The website contacts the survey testers regarding a survey relevant to their demographic profile. For example, pay differs on the survey length that is often for FMCGs (fast-moving consumer goods) and automotive companies.

Skills required: Comprehension, typing, and communication

Earning potential: $1 to $15 per survey

I wrote a blog post before on how I earn extra income by answering surveys. 😉

6) Lead generation specialist

Also called a sales executive, a lead generation specialist prospects, qualifies and generates new leads. The specialist commonly conducts a product or service demo. Leads are generated online through social media networks, forums, emails, etc.

Skills required: Computer, typing, communication, follow-up, cold calling, and data management

Earning potential: It depends; some pays a percentage per conversion

7) Social media manager

Social media managers are like virtual assistants, only that the former’s responsibilities are more lenient to doing tasks on the social media platforms. Social media is the newest marketing and customer service channel for brands worldwide. Managing their social profiles means either hiring an in-house manager or outsource to third-party companies or freelancers. Nevertheless, one requirement is a sizable following.

Skills required: Social media, communication, interpersonal, graphics, writing, and customer service

Earning potential: Starts from $10 per hour

Above you will find work-at-home jobs that require no special skills. The works required are straightforward, so it applies to anyone who wants to earn from home. Aside from a computer and a connection and, of course, the suitable skill set, all you will ever need is a can-do attitude. These at-home jobs are ever-booming, so you’d never run out of opportunities.

The coronavirus pandemic has dramatically changed how we usually do things. Case in point: apartment hunting!

On top of finding an apartment that you can afford, you also need to follow health protocols that the authorities and the building management set when inspecting the apartment. It can be challenging to navigate because you need to be extra cautious, more so if this is your first time looking for an apartment and in a city you’ve never lived in before at that!

Don’t fret, though. Below are some of the things to expect when apartment hunting post-COVID.

Things to expect when looking for an apartment

1) Online is a plethora of sources

Like most big-ticket purchases, you can start your apartment search online before you should come and check it out personally. This is a highly recommended approach to apartment hunting nowadays. For instance, if you are apartment hunting in Los Angeles, you may browse available rentals within your preferred neighborhood.

What’s good about these rental websites is they are highly intuitive, requiring a minimal level of experience. In addition, rental websites usually have tools and filters you can use to narrow down your searches. Some websites even allow you to bookmark or save and download the information quickly.

2) A reliable real estate agent is more than necessary

Even when you live in San Francisco Bay Area, you can have someone represent you in person when doing the hunt. The agent can stand in your place while providing relevant information, particularly the required documents such as proofs of identification, income, and insurance; credit report; and recommendation letters. The list can be exhaustive because the apartment building may have additional requirements.

An agent can also give you tips and hacks. For instance, he can tell you you cannot blow up your credit score by piling up on new furniture because it will show up on the report. In some instances, credit reports are checked and rechecked between submitting the letter of intent and moving in.

3) Up to three options are highly recommended

It is expected that people who lost their jobs when the pandemic started would relocate to cities with higher employment rates. For example, in Los Angeles, these places are Ventura, San Bernardino, Riverside, Orange, and Los Angeles counties.

The uptake of apartments in these areas is faster than usual. So it is best to prepare a shortlist of neighborhoods that you want to be a part of. Well, of course, this will depend on whether you already have a job (which is more advisable) or is yet to look for one. While at it, list down your non-negotiables. In this way, your agent will find the apartment that suits your taste.

4) An inspection must never be skipped

Your agent can do a virtual inspection via FaceTime, for instance. Nonetheless, it is essential to check the apartment physically before you move in. You should check the door and window, bathroom, kitchen, bedroom, and living room. Don’t skip the safety checks as well, including the fire safety equipment, smoke detectors, and fire escape plan.

Don’t forget to check the neighborhood as well. As such, consider the commute, determining the travel time from your apartment to the workplace, transit options, and traffic dynamics, especially during rush hours. Your expectations regarding this matter will surely affect your comfort levels in a new city.

All in all, be as informed as possible when apartment hunting. Several resources can help you make the process as smooth sailing as possible. However, don’t forget your due diligence, specifically in areas where your presence is needed.

“Every financial decision should be driven by what you value.” ~David Bach

Truth be told, the coronavirus pandemic has put the world at a standstill. As a result, people are forced to stay at home—some reluctantly transformed their place into a remote office, while others just stayed at home without a job.

Some of us have been diligently saving for the unexpected. But, unfortunately, those emergency funds have already dried up several months into the lockdown without a steady source of income.

A survey conducted by the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE) showed that up to 75% of households have adjusted their finances to accommodate the impact of the pandemic. Some of these are:

  • 7% borrowed from their retirement fund or policy,
  • 11% deferred their bill or debt payment,
  • 11% incurred more credit card debt, and
  • 18% used their emergency savings.

While the future still looks bleak at this point, the financial strain the pandemic caused also brought new realizations. The same surveys revealed the people’s financial learnings such as the need to save or invest (23%), cut back on non-essential expenses (14%), and prepare or start saving for an emergency (11%).

These are good news—a critical path towards solving the looming financial troubles the pandemic created. Nonetheless, these are just three of the ways to minimize the issues you face with your finances.

More tips on how to take control of your finances

Here are more tips for you. I tried to make this list as a no-nonsense, practical guide as possible. But let me tell you this.

Remember that you’ll do all these for savings and debt relief. If you want to save, you pay yourself first. You know how this works: save before you spend, not spend and save what’s left.

Some would say that it is rather difficult to save while paying off some debts. This is also true. So, if it makes sense to your circumstance, pay your debts first.

I know some people who fear the debt collectors, and rightfully so. But they shouldn’t—you shouldn’t. Instead, you should talk to them and work out a reasonable payment plan. Learn more about your rights as a consumer and how to deal with collectors properly because, well, you need to.

Moving forward, take heed of my advice.

1) Cut down on food deliveries

Usage of food delivery apps skyrocketed in 2020 to 111 million from 95 and 88 million in 2019 and 2018, respectively (yes, it must be because of the pandemic). So that’s 16 million additional users. This is understandable because an average American family only cooks nine meals per week. The rest of the meals are to-go food.

According to a study, eating out or ordering food online is 5x more expensive than cooking meals at home. So preparing at least two more meals at home can save up to $936 per year. That much money you can use to settle your bills.

2) Ditch the cable or downgrade the plan

Cable TV packages in the United States start from $50 per month, which means an additional $50 savings if you decide to cut the cord. If this is not possible, you can always choose a cheaper plan than what you have right now.

Another plausible option is to subscribe to a streaming service instead. It’s cheaper even with a downgraded cable plan.

3) Find a side hustle to generate additional income

Moonlighting is commonplace, and people do this all the time to fill the earnings gap. If you suddenly become a single-income (or a zero-income) household, this is all the more important.

Online is a plethora of side hustles or gigs that you may want to consider. If your current skills set does not match and upskilling is not an option for you, then tap on what you already know or have. For example, sell stuff online, create marketing collaterals for fashion brands, or do freelance writing. These are just some of the jobs that trended upward when the pandemic hit.

4) Don’t shop around online and impulse buy

This is by far the biggest budget breaker. We stay at home and scroll our feed and visit websites all the time and usually encounter things we think we need, but we don’t. So what to do?

Practice the personal cooling-off period. A cooling-off period is a consumer right wherein you, as the consumer, may cancel and return the purchased item and obtain a refund. Making it personal means giving yourself time to think if you really need the item or not. Give it three days, and if you forget about it, you probably don’t need it.

5) Don’t charge anything on future income

Don’t burn money that you have yet to earn. This can be very dangerous because that income has yet to materialize. What would happen if it didn’t materialize at all?

If you cannot pay for an important item in cash, don’t buy it. Instead, save up some more before making a purchase. Also, the interest rates could wipe out all the money you’ve saved so far when you choose to swipe your card instead of paying for it in cash.

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