During lull periods, I answer paid online surveys.

When I say lull periods, I mean:

  • while I was waiting in line at the terminal and during the travel especially when it’s traffic,
  • when I arrived earlier to work and leave really late without rendering OT work,
  • after watching K-drama on my laptop and before going to sleep, and
  • before and after doing household chores.

Basically, those times when I really do nothing but mull over things. I am just making good use of my time since a survey takes up to 20 minutes most of the time. It’s possible because you may answer an online survey using mobile devices. The majority of the survey sites are available on Android and iOS.

Compensation varies from platform to platform, usually from 5 to 7,000 points. You cannot expect to earn a full month’s salary for answering online surveys, but what you’ll earn is enough to buy a shirt or cell phone accessory. A plus!

Why answering surveys?

Local companies are tapping the services of research firms to pool average consumers as research panels.

1) It feels good to contribute

Answering an online survey for money is all about voicing out your opinion. The majority of the surveys I answered are about trying new concepts from well-known FMCG brands in the Philippines. It makes me happy just to speak your mind about these new concepts.

2) It is a community

You’d be surprised to learn how many Filipinos are into online surveys. And yes, I mean a lot of us. I initially thought that this money making opportunity is only available to US and UK citizens because when I tried joining some sites ten years ago, most of the sites only accept US consumers. Or, if they do allow non-US citizens, the surveys are very, very limited.

3) It is a good way to kill time

Would you rather play a game on your laptop or phone that cannot earn you anything but swollen eyes and thumb? Hehe. Really, if you want to earn extra income, you should answer surveys. Highly recommended for students and stay-at-home moms and dads.

4) It requires no investment

Before, there are freemium and paid survey platforms wherein you need to pay a minimal amount to receive more survey invites. These platforms are totally unheard of (or is it just me?). And now, all you need is a smartphone since the sites and apps work on both Android and iOS phones.

5) It is a source of extra income

Earning extra money is the main reason why I joined the sites. ‘Nuff said!

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I am a member to three survey platforms namely Toluna, Global Test Market and The Panel Station.

Toluna

answer online surveys to make money toluna

Toluna is by far the best online survey platform for me. It’s also the most interactive. For example, members may receive points when you create content, typically polls and quizzes. That’s one way of escalating your points, aside from answering surveys themselves. There are also monthly sweepstakes and Gifties or gifts that can become real.

I already received three payments from this one thru PayPal. Yes, you will need a PayPal account.

Other ways to redeem rewards:

Mobile top-up, galleon.ph e-voucher  and Sodexo premium pass

Payment proof

Global Test Market

answer online survey to make money global test market

Global Test Market is one of the oldest operating online surveys, as it claims. [Although, I think it recently opened in the Philippines.] The site is a survey-only site. Even its profile surveys can accumulate you points redeemable once you reach the threshold. One good thing about this site is you can choose to donate your earnings to UNICEF.

I received a payment from this site twice.

Other ways to redeem rewards:

Amazon.com  and Microsoft

Payment proof

The Panel Station

answer online survey to make money the panel station

The Panel Station is a survey site in Filipino. You also earn points by completing profile surveys then, the consumer surveys. Of all the three, this site offers the least number of points per survey. And, the availability of the surveys is sporadic.

I never received a payment from The Panel Station since I have yet to reach the threshold to qualify for a PayPal withdrawal. Almost there; just one more survey. *wink*

Other ways to redeem rewards:

Flipkart.com, Amazon.com, Lazada, Souq.com, Rakuten, Coles, RedCross, etc.

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Caveats here, so please read.

When joining a survey site, you need to provide personal and demographic information through online survey forms. The number and frequency of survey you will receive will depend on how complete your profile was.

  • TIP: Read the privacy policy of the site before joining the survey to ensure that it will not share your information with third-party sources.

When attempting a survey, you will encounter pre-qualifying questions to determine if the survey is for you or not. You will be opted out of the survey at times.

  • TIP: Answer the questions honestly. There is always a survey with the right fit.

When answering a survey, you may experience being halted while mid-survey. It means two things: 1) you are answering the survey too quick and 2) you failed to give a correct answer to test questions found in the survey itself.

  • TIP: Read and understand all the questions thoroughly so you can give the best answer.

When redeeming points, you may have to wait to up to four weeks to have the amount credited to your account. But it’s better than nothing at all, right?

  • TIP: Be patient and spend your earnings wisely.

It goes to show that these platforms have pros and cons. Nonetheless, you can still earn a good amount of money while killing time.

[Note: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, and I will be compensated when you click or join the site using that link.]

Inspiration is a fickle thing.

Admittedly, I feel so demotivated at times. Every mom feels that way one time or another, and for so many reasons.

To make you feel marvelous about yourself and life in general, I am sharing with you three of my most favorite videos. These vids never fail to kick some inspiration back into my life whenever I’m running out of it.

Please don’t watch this vid on YouTube or the surprise will be preempted. Just watch it below.

The video made me realize how important my role is. I cried the first time I watched this video, and I still do whenever I look at it.

The challenge of raising kids that are the champions of their own life is hard enough. The video is one good way to teach diligence to our children, that all your hard work will pay off in the end.

Love comes in the most unexpected places, in all forms, shapes and sizes. We need to recognize that fact.

I hope you enjoyed the videos!

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Do you have any inspirational videos to share? Please leave the link in the comment section below. TIA I will watch it/them. Promise!

When I shop online, I always sort the items based on prices, low to high, and just choose the clothes that fit my budget. If there’s a free shipping option, I check the box too so the results will display the low-priced items first that can be shipped free of charge anywhere in the world. #shoppinghack

According to Pete Dunn, a multi-awarded financial planner, we should only be spending 5% of the take-home pay on clothing. That means, the more you earn, the higher the amount you can allot for shopping for your kids’ clothes.

How much have you spent the last time you shop? If you are spending more than that percentage, then these practical dress-for-less tips are for you, moms.

1) Shop with cash.

Avoid using your credit cards in buying clothes and shoes for your kids. If you really want that cute-looking boots for your tot then, you have to save money for it. Better yet, don’t bring your cards with you when shopping.

Don’t get me wrong. Credit cards are good only when you know how to use them. For instance, some credit cards offer specialist rewards (cashback cards) if you pay for certain brands of goods and services. Be careful though because the interest rates applied to reward cards are higher than the average.

2) Buy from discount stores.

Thrift stores often have their lines of stylish bargains. While these stores offer deep discounts, be careful not to load up your shopping cart though because this will only defeat the purpose.

Go to your friendly ukay-ukays that sell kids’ apparel and shoes. Facebook also hosts a lot of pages that sell mall pull-outs and branded overruns where you can buy from at marked down prices.

3) Find great deals online.

Fashion e-stores are aplenty. Sign up for newsletters to receive coupons and avail discounts. Signing up also keeps shoppers like you abreast of the latest deals including inventory and clearance sales.

Some baby clothes shopping websites you can check are Kids Company, Shopaholic for Kids and Honeycomb Children’s Clothing. If you have a brand in mind, google first to know if it has an online store and do your shopping there.

4) Shop out of season.

Don’t look for new arrivals. Instead, find inventory sales. It is like buying in advance and maximizing every peso in the process.

If possible, buy swimwear from September to December instead of February to May when the prices skyrocket. This is one shopping hack that saves me lots of money. Just make sure that the clothes will still fit after three or so months.

5) Avoid fashion trends.

Budget-conscious moms should stay away from trends. Instead, buy quality pieces that help build your kid’s wardrobe.

Choices are important and so is comfort.

6) Buy the basics first.

When purchasing the basics, go for generic brands. [Divisoria, anyone?] Buy their tees and bottoms at the cheapest store but, of course, without sacrificing the quality of the clothes.

For girls, the essentials are dresses, collared tops, knitted cardigans, mary janes and hair bows. For boys, these include knitted sweaters, shorts, collared tops and buckled shoes.

7) Make a baby clothes shopping list.

List all the items that you need to buy. Try to look for the best rates before buying an item.

If possible, bring your kids when shopping clothes for them unless you are 100% confident of your sizing skills.

8) Think in palettes.

As you build the tot’s wardrobe, you should only be buying a clothing item that matches at least four items they already own. I do this all the time so I can have more options for mixing and matching. 😉

Infuse color trends like socks and hankies as well as accessories particularly for the girls.

9) Check the labels.

New clothes often include care instructions. If it says dry clean only, you will keep paying for it every time your kids use it. Not worth it, so stick to items that are machine-washable.

I cannot emphasize this enough. Don’t skip this step so you can prolong the life of the clothes. Yup, even clothes have a life expectancy. That’s between two and three years with normal wear and tear.

10) Avoid sales.

If it is an inventory or clearance sale then, you may consider it provided that you buy only the kids clothing you need and the kids will actually use. A 40% off is not necessarily a good deal if your daughter can only use it once or twice a year.

Borrow instead if your daughter will only use the clothes just once.

BONUS: Sell clothes.

That your kids no longer wear, that is. Go over their closet at least once a year. If your son hasn’t worn the shirt for more than a year, it is good for selling.

Use the profits in buying wardrobe-worthy clothes and shoes and other everyday wear.

Saving money even when buying clothes is possible. You just have to start somewhere. The tips above are so practical you need not sacrifice looking comfortably fabulous for less.

[The post includes a sponsored link wherein I will be compensated if you signup or buy through that link.]

 

During the summertime, it’s always a toss between Tagaytay City and Baguio City. Each has its own strengths and weaknesses, but for some reasons, Tagaytay City seemed to be the favorite of the Manileños. Tagaytay City is only two hours of drive away from Metro Manila, and the fare is usually less than a hundred pesos (it depends on where you live exactly). These are just two reasons though; the others are listed below.

Things to do in Tagaytay

Fun happening

Did you know that one of the tallest ferris wheels in the Philippines is found in Tagaytay? Indeed, you’ll never run out of fun things to do in the area. In fact, you can hop from Tagaytay Picnic Grove to Sky Ranch Theme Park to People’s Park in the Sky to Paradizoo and so much more. Also, souvenir shops surround the area where you can get local delis and treats to take home to your family and friends. Shopping for pasalubongs (take-home treats) alone is surely an enjoyable activity.

wilson's place bed and breakfast tagaytay
In 2015, me, hubby, Sasha and my parents went to Tagaytay City for a two-day, one-night vacation for less than Php5,000 meals included. It’s a treat from my company. We stayed at Wilson’s Place, a bed and breakfast in Maglabe Drive. The owners are also the creative people behind Balai Indang and Yoki’s Farm. The place is really Instagram-worthy!

Natural high

Aside from Picnic Grove, which has its own eco-trail, there are other nature-oriented places to visit in Tagaytay. You can literally get high with cable rides and zip lines to witness the lush greeneries on hills and mountains other than overlooking Taal Volcano, of course. You may also visit Nurture Spa Village for a more relaxing getaway and Gratchi’s Getaway Farm Resort where you can interact with the animals although it is advisable to stay there longer to make the most of the experience. Also, don’t miss the Filipino-Japanese Friendship Garden, a small, simple garden where you can relax after a tiring day at the park or zoo.

puzzle mansion tagaytay city
Wilson’s Place is at the center of Puzzle Mansion, Paradizoo and Sky Ranch. Our first stop is Puzzle Mansion, a museum that houses a large collection of jigsaw puzzles. It’s the biggest in the world hence the Guinness logo at its facade. And of course, Sasha chose to have her picture beside the Hello Kitty puzzle.

Spiritual journey

Tagaytay City is a home to the 50-foot image of Our Lady of Manaoag at Tierra de Maria. Tierra de Maria is also called HOME or Haven of Meditation and Enrichment. Tourists can also visit convents, seminaries, chapels and churches such as Pink Sister’s Convent, Divine Word Seminary, Canossa House of Spirituality, Daughters of Charity, Dominican House of Prayer, Our Lady of Lourdes Parish Church, Betania Retreat House, etc. Tagaytay City is actually the go-to place for patrons especially for visita iglesia during the Lenten season.

paradizoo tagaytay city
We went to Paradizoo afterward. I forgot the name of the cow, but it’s a five-legged cow—one of the main attractions at the zoo. We were able to watch the parade of animals, all dressed in quirky yet colorful costumes. I enjoyed the garden too.

Gastronomic experience

Tagaytay is a food haven as well. There’s One Destination, which is a strip of impressive cafés, bars and restaurants such as Yellow Cab, Pancake House, Henlin, etc. Then there are the truly Tagaytay eateries like Alamat, Mushroom Burger, Antonio’s and Loumar’s Café. To combat the chill, you can always go to Mahogany Market to eat their famous bulalo (beef marrow stew). Locally grown fruits and vegetables are also sold here.

True to its promise, Tagaytay City is really a place where you can ‘Dine, Stay, Play and Pray.’ You can do all these while marveling at the exquisiteness of Taal Volcano and enjoying refreshing splashes of air on your skin. There’s nothing completely wrong with Baguio City, but whenever you need to hide off to other places beyond the city limits immediately, Tagaytay City presents itself as the most accessible choice. Why not? Tagaytay has so much to offer and, a day is not enough to explore the place!

Warning: If you are a parent, your mindset about vacationing is about to change.

Some people are hesitant to go on a vacation because of the lack of time, money or both. Understandably, if you have four members in the family, that means longer planning and heftier budget. A vacation costs real money, but it shouldn’t be seen as a luxury splurge that you may feel guilty about after spending.

Don’t think that way because it could mean an investment in your kid’s character and future too. And no, we are not talking about educational trips here because those are required by the schools but real family vacations.

A 2015 study conducted by the Family Holiday Association, a national charity in the UK, claims that family vacations have long-term benefits. Put simply, family vacations may lead to a lifetime of happiness. The facts include:

  • About 49% of the respondents claim that their happiest memory happened during a family vacation
  • About 1/3 vividly remembers family vacations that occurred during their childhood
  • About 1/4 brings up these memories to get through tough times

The act of taking pictures alone is a happy activity for as long as it’s not intrusive. It boosts engagement and enjoyment; it’s immersive hence your kids can be in the moment.

I couldn’t agree more. I always go back to Batangas where we usually spend our annual summer outing. [Not ours really, but my mother’s company.] Every year, I look forward to April or May because it means I can get to linger on the sun and sand with my brothers and sister. Looking back, I was at my happiest back then. And every time we talk about it, we can’t help but giggle. ❤ ❤ ❤

Really, a family vacation is all you need for a change of environment. What a great excuse to plan your family getaway as early as N-O-W! And hey, the Philippines is a tropical country with hundreds to thousands of destinations just waiting to be explored (aside from being the Selfie Capital of the World)!

Importance of family vacations

1) Family vacations provide experience

Toys are good. But I guess you’ve also experienced buying an expensive toy for your kid only to find out that she is already bored playing with it after just a week.

Use the money as a travel fund instead. Although all of you would be at the place for a few days, the memories created will have a lasting impact on your children. They will value the experience because it’s a time well-spent with you, the parents, and other loved ones, the siblings.

Again, giving them toys to play with is okay. However, toys, as well as gadgets and screens, are divisive; they can put distance between you and your kids. On the other hand, traveling is an opportunity to bond, bringing all the family members closer together.

2) Family vacations benefit brain development

Playing the same games over and over at home may not necessarily lead to advancements in brain development unlike traveling to new places. Whether you explore a heritage town or natural habitat, the child’s inherently inquisitive mind is activated.

According to Dr. Margot Sunderland, a child psychologist, new experiences brought by traveling to unfamiliar places bring maturation in the frontal lobes of the brain. This part is responsible for cognitive functioning as well as social intelligence. Your child will learn to discern certain things and mingle with people at the same time.

You too may learn new things that is otherwise not possible if you confine yourself at home doing chores.

3) Family vacations support emotional well-being

We, parents, take on vacation when we feel overwhelmed by our work. Did you know that what you are feeling at that time is the same exact way your kids feel?

Kids, like their parents, need to de-stress as well. A study showed that 79% of children aged between 8 and 14 years old experience stress on a daily basis. However, kids feel no anxiety when their parents spend time with them. That’s according to 77% of the kids surveyed by the same study.

Interestingly, any place of interest outside your home is almost always deemed as a less-stressed environment. Interactions and moments that emerge from going to a particular place result to healthy relationships aside from feeling rejuvenated.

The less stressful the environment, the better the quality of the relationships. While at it, after the vacation, people tend to avoid, alter, accept and adapt to things that are stressing them back home much better than before they had the vacation.

4) Family vacations provide an escape

From all the hustle and bustle of the daily life, that is. Parents and kids, especially school-aged kids, are occupied by a lot of things. A time away from home and all those clutter and noise puts the daily routine aside in exchange of new experiences.

It’s a change of pace as well as a different kind of mind space. For at least once a year, there’s a shift in focus among all household members, sharing discoveries to one another. With this, a vacation is a good thing as you momentarily shift away from own schedules and deadlines.

Since it is meant to have fun minus the worries, you and your family can create fond memories that all of you can cherish. Years from now, your kids will relive those memories and will do so with a smile on their faces.

5) Family vacations lead to empowerment

Definitely a win-win situation for you and your kids, departing from the stresses of the daily grind can also make you feel better about your parenting skills. For your children, they will feel more loved and empowered.

When vacationing with kids, play is inevitable. Kids are experts at plays, and allowing them to take the lead can ultimately result in the development of creative thinking skills.

Overall, family vacations are healthy. So don’t hesitate to do them. And don’t proscrastinate. It doesn’t have to be grand. A trip down the corner store as a family will do. It’s a well-earned break from your daily routine. You may be making a sacrifice today, but it will definitely pay huge dividends and great rewards in the future. And while on vacation, make the most out of it.

Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!

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