Whatuuup?! Learning about Game Streaming

Learn more about game streaming
Mommy Ginger learns about Game Streaming

I found a new hobby! Once in a blue moon (or more often than that actually), I discover hobby, then I get really INTO IT. When I say I get into it, I become obsessed with it on a different level. LOL! Yes, I am that kind of person. Scary right?

I was just kidding. The word that I wanted to use was that I grow to love some things and I become passionate about it. A few of months back, I stumbled upon game streaming. Let me share with you first how we (hubby and I) got into this.

Separation of Work and Play

Like other people during quarantine, we shifted to a work from home arrangement for all our employees. As EJ and I work in the same company, live in the same house, and so happened to have a child together (again… kidding! Obviously we are married 😄), we found it initially difficult to draw the line between work and personal / family life. So we did what any geeky couple would do, we experimented.

We needed to find a way to turn off “work mode” when it was time for family and we needed to shift back when it was time for work. So we started with designating spaces in the home for work and spaces for family.

Game streaming room
Office Space at home
Our Daughter’s Study area and dining table

It helped a little but that didn’t stop little ol’ me from still talking about work in areas of the house where we shouldn’t. So that made me realize that I needed something that pre-occupies my brain, because I am that type of person who suddenly gets ideas on how to improve processes for work while in the middle of watching Crash Landing on You, It’s Okay Not to Be Okay or SNL. I needed to find a hobby that needed brain power.

This is the reason why I probably loved playing boardgames with friends on Friday nights prior to pandemic. I had to strategize. I admit… I’m pretty competitive. Gosh, I miss those days when we can just sit for hours while playing.

How I stumbled upon Game Streaming

But I digress. So going back, I tried playing Animal Crossing on Zeeka’s Nintendo Switch. And, I loved it! I would play it everyday. I would join groups and to this day, I am a member of several communities and Discord groups. EJ and I met great people there and they became friends — whom we never met in person and only interacted with online (yes, that is possible… haha! I say this to people who are skeptical about meeting friends online.)

We were so into it that we also created a Mystery Game on Animal Crossing called the Arbolandia Mystery Series:

Case 1: Arson in Arbolandia

Trrrutttt…. (my attempt to make a fast forward sound) fast forward to months after. I started Animal Crossing Island tour videos on YouTue. I started watching streamers and saw different games. Then stumbled upon a game called Phasmophobia (Shoutout to my friend Kat… follow her here: https://www.facebook.com/mayorakatstream) that got me interested. I told EJ about the game and we played it. We also tried to stream it! haha!

For those who don’t know, Phasmophobia is a deduction game where you find what type of ghost you are dealing with and try to achieve certain objectives. Players are professional ghost hunters looking for contracts. You can play solo (solo runs) or you can look for teammates (again friends or people who you have never met).

Check out our first attempt to figure out how this game works:

EJ and I loved it and we started streaming regularly. We go live and stream on weekdays at 7:30PM (GMT +8) and longer times on weekends (usually after 12:00 noon (GMT +8).

We just love it. I had to say that again. We’ve met amazing people and streamers like Von https://www.facebook.com/Dsector123, Psyver, Shredz https://www.facebook.com/ShredzPH, Epic Delta (https://www.facebook.com/EPIC.DELTA.EP) and other gamers from the Philippines, MandyMermaid from Glasgow, Spinal (https://www.facebook.com/gaming/spinalgaming138/), SoreFeet (https://www.facebook.com/SoreFeetLive/videos/225912582461858), Bytes (https://www.facebook.com/BytesGigGaming) and other people!

What I plan to do!

So, you will be seeing a lot of gameplay videos from me. If you haven’t followed my steam yet, please click on FOLLOW on this page https://www.facebook.com/teamarbo/ (switching from Mommy Ginger) I am also on Twitch (I just started so please do send some love my following me: https://www.twitch.tv/teamarbogaming and on Youtube.com.

I plan to keep on streaming, and it’s for us. It keeps us sane during these times. It’s ironic that a horror game can give us that.

I also plan to study how game streaming works in terms of monetizing the channel. That’s interesting for me. I also plan to build my own PC this year! I’ll see if I can do it by myself.

So stay tuned for more learnings on this blog. I will definitely share what I discover and uncover when it comes to monetizing this.

If you are earning from game streaming, feel free to drop tips below! 🙂 And to those who want to learn how to earn from playing games, stay tuned for more content.

Have a great day and see you in one of our sessions!

What I Learned about Finances, Tax Planning and Myself

All about tracking, tax planning, effort and perseverance!

I am so motivated to fix my finances this 2021. I’ve learned so much from diligently tracking both my personal and business income and expenses. So for today, I’d love to share with you what I have learned and hopefully, these learnings can help you, too.

You can’t do away with LEARNING Finance Topics if you want to be Financially Independent

I have friends who turn a blind eye and a deaf ear when you start talking about finances, investment, taxes, accounting, etc. To be honest with you, years ago, I was like that, too. And when I was young, I abhorred Math. I never really understood why we were studying it.

I started enjoying finances when I worked for a bank, and I love it even more now that I’m running a startup. I started seeing why we need to learn how to compute (even just for the basic stuff) and why we need to “read and understand” numbers. The thing about these topics is that you can’t really do away with these if you plan to be financially independent later on.

Last 2020, I tried to learn as much as I can about all of these, and I got to learn more on how “money” can work for you. One of the things that I learned is that you need to look at each Peso or Dollar as something or someone who works for you. Is their task to pay a bill or pay for a particular expense, or is their task to grow themselves?

For most of us, it may take a while before you can send some of your funds to grow themselves. Most of your money will really be spent on paying bills, etc. but take your time and enjoy the process. That’s another thing that I learned.

Know what your Constraints are

I learned to make more informed decisions last year, and this stemmed from the fact that I learned to know and realize what my constraints are. I know myself really well and one of my personal challenges is saying NO to things that don’t really matter. The PROs of this weakness is that there are a lot of opportunities that come to me and I get to widen my circle, but the CONs are I have less time for myself and less time for the things that really should matter.

So last year, I made a conscious decision to prioritize. The pandemic really slowed down Manila Workshops’ business, but what I realized is that handling Manila Workshops, Taxumo and Blogging / Vlogging really is a lot to handle. Although the purpose of Manila Workshops is great, I realized that I can also fulfill that purpose when I do the other things on my plate (like grow our startup and enjoy vlogging and blogging).

As for blogging, vlogging and streaming, I plan to work on understanding and learning more this year. People also think that Blogging and Vlogging is easy. You just create content and people will come. Well, that’s not the case really. You need to treat it like a business, so you will need a little bit of capital and lots of effort and learning. Nowadays, the learning curve for being a content creator is steep IF you really want to earn from it. It’s easy to learn tools that simplify content creation, but there are a lot of things to learn if you plan to earn from it.

This year, I am also officially announcing that I will keep the Manila Workshops brand, but we will be keeping it as a community instead. I won’t be monetizing it again yet. I’ll still look at a more scalable business model. Oh, that’s another thing, too. Growing Taxumo has made me realize a lot of things about how I handled Manila Workshops, which was actually pretty cool. I think I have grown more when it came to handling a business.

Learn how to Track literally EVERYTHING and do Tax Planning

People, I have realized that the first step to financial success is really knowing where you stand. You need to know your numbers — your personal income and expenses, your household income and expenses and your business revenue and expenses. Making decisions base on gut feeling (at least for me) isn’t the way to go.

Hard decisions are “hard” to make (like getting married, shifting careers, starting a business, etc.) because you obviously haven’t been to the FUTURE. Any path you take will be hard, unless you intentionally decide to take a one year break from making any life decisions, and just “Eat. Pray. Love.” your way through life that one year. In any case, you need money to sustain you that whole year.

So if you want to get on track to fixing your finances, start the habit of tracking it. You will realize that this simple habit will help you discover things that you haven’t discovered before about yourself, your spending, your behaviours, etc.

This is how I track my personal finances

For business, it’s really the same thing. I remember having this conversation with Nicole Alba, a young finance vlogger, and I mentioned that in order for people to run sustainable businesses and freelancing careers, they also need to know how to handle their personal finances.

For my business, I use Taxumo to track both my revenue and expenses.

It super easy and not at all complicated to learn how to use the system. Taxumo has FREE onboarding sessions here just in case you want to learn how to use it: http://txmo.co/onboarding.

What I have learned also by consistently tracking my business revenue and expenses, I can do tax planning. I can easily identify how much I should set aside for taxes early on. I have all of my information in Taxumo, so it makes it easier for me to know the amount of taxes that I need to pay. I also get a feel of what I have spent on significantly on the previous month.

As a self-employed individual, tax planning for me begins with just tracking really. How can you plan if you have no idea on where your funds are going or how much are you earning.

As for the tax rate that you can choose at the start of every year, before your first filing for the year, Taxumo has this notification bell that recommends what tax rate is best for you based on your cashflow entries.

Tax planning recommendation tool in Taxumo!
Machine learning tax planning tool of Taxumo
Sample of what is seen in the recommendations tab

You can check this out after inputting cash flow entries.

I have so many things going on in my life right now, but what I can say really is that I know where I am heading this 2021. It’s clear to me where I want to go and I am happy with the things that are happening to me and my loved ones.

I wish you all the same feeling. I wish that you find enough motivation and will power. I wish you find clarity. I hope that the path to being financially free will be clearer and I hope that you find your life’s purpose.

Cheers to a great 2021!

Permit to Use Loose-Leaf using Taxumo

I really have bad hand writing, so I am not sure why the Bureau of Internal Revenue or the BIR wants to see that. All of us, business owners, freelancers, and professionals, need to maintain books of accounts with the BIR. I’m glad though that I have constantly updated (and on a monthly basis) my books of accounts, because I have Permit to Use Loose Leaf, and I use mu Taxumo reports for this.

Yes, I am OC that way. Everything needs to be in order.

All About Books of Accounts

Some of us, like professionals, are given two books to maintain, while VAT entities, like my own sole proprietorship business are required to maintain 6 books. Some Sole proprietorship businesses maintain 4 books. The BIR Revenue District office stamps these books for us once we register our businesses and professions and have secured a Certificate of Registration. We can just buy columnar books in a the bookstore (4 pieces x 8 to 12 columnar books) if we are a non-vat entity… which is really most of us. For those VAT entities, you will add two books: the Subsidiary Sales journal and the Subsidiary Purchase journal. Check out this photo:

To report our entries / submit our books of accounts, these are the two options that I have done and tried:

a. Manual Books of Accounts: Basically, we write entries on our stamped books of accounts.

b. Permit to Use (PTU) Loose – Leaf books of accounts: The BIR allows you to print pages of entries / reports that can be used to submit or report to the BIR.

For B, you need to apply for this.

For this particular blog post, I will share with you how to apply for Permit-To-Use Loose-Leaf Books of Accounts

My Books of Accounts: I have Permit-to-Use (PTU) Loose Leaf Books of Accounts

My business is a Sole Proprietorship (as mentioned) and I personally use Taxumo to keep track of my cash flow and to file and pay taxes. To understand how to use Taxumo, you just need to book a FREE onboarding call here: http://txmo.com/onboarding. You don’t need to have any accounting background to use Taxumo. You just need to know how to use a computer or a mobile phone. You also need to have internet connection.

Okay, so to activate a Taxumo account, you need to subscribe to a plan. You can check out the plans here: https://www.taxumo.com/taxumo-pricing/ If you don’t know the plan that suits you, the sign up process (which if FREE) will help suggest the plan that you should activate.

Again, signing up is FREE.

For the Books of Accounts Reports of Taxumo

When you have 1. ACTIVATED a PLAN and have 2. added your Revenue and Expenses in your Taxumo CASHFLOW Tab, you can now generate reports from the BOOKS tab of Taxumo. These reports are already in the format that BIR requires you to follow. To generate the report, simply choose the type of book you need to submit. Enter the date range. Click on Generate.

Books Tab of Taxumo

It will show you a report that is already in “columns” so you can just easily copy it row per row and column by column on your books of accounts. You can click on EXPORT too and save the file in your computer.

But if my handwriting is bad? What should I do?

Using the reports generated by your Taxumo account, you can apply for Permit to Use ore PTU Loose-Leaf books of accounts. This will allow you to just print the reports and then book bind them at the end of the year and have these books stamped at your BIR Revenue District Office.

How to do you apply for PTU Loose-Leaf Books of Accounts

Loose Leaf Accreditation Process:Step 1: Prepare the following requirements

  • Photo of your COR
  • Filled out Letter of Intent
  • Filled out Form 1900
  • 1-month sample report of each of your books (4 books total for Non-VAT / 6 books for VAT)

Step 2: Visit your RDO and submit all of your requirements.

Step 3: (Based on what I have experienced and seen) Wait for 6 weeks or more (honestly though, last year this even took a longer time to be approved as this depends on the availability of the BIR RDO officer who approves it) for the approval and release of the Permit-To-Use (PTU) Loose Leaf from the BIR.

Once approved, you’re done!

Some of the things that you need to note:

  • As long as you don’t have your Permit-To-Use (PTU) Loose Leaf from the BIR, you will need to write on your books first.
  • If you have PTU Loose Leaf Books of Accounts already, every January 1 of every year, export and print all the pages of your books. Make sure that it is readable. Have each book of account hard-bounded (as seen in the picture above).
  • Have your books stamped at your RDO before the 15th of January every year.

That’s it! If you have questions, feel free to comment on the comment section below. Happy #Adulting!

One Word for 2021: RESET

One word for 2021

What’s your one word for 2021? I’ve been choosing one word for the past several years. For 2020, I chose the word COMMIT. I think I did a good job of sticking to my commitments. I successfully committed to creating more Youtube videos. For 2020, I have created and published more than 70 videos with the intent of helping people learn something new everyday.

As for my health and physical fitness, for most of the year, I have stuck to “mostly” a plant based diet. I occasionally ate fish towards the end of the year and let go a little bit this December and ate meat. But as for exercise, I have continuously moved and exercised even while at home.

For my one word for 2021, I intentionally chose RESET. I chose this word because I want to learn and do a lot of new things this year. I learned a lot of things last year, and I enjoyed it. From 2013 to early 2020, I focused on helping other people learn. Since I needed to make learning events for my business, learning became too mechanical. And maybe, joy was even stripped off a little bit from it (for me). This 2020 though, I had so much fun again focusing on my own personal growth and learning.

For Manila Workshops, I decided to stop creating learning public learning events already. I think I will stick with it being a community where people can share their events and learn from one another. 2021 will be a year of new learnings for a lot of people, and I’m hopeful and positive that this will be a good year for all of us.

To start the year right, I started planning for the year. Some of you may say that it may be useless to do this since a lot of our plans really didn’t pan out last 2020, but personally, planning and goal setting gives me a sense of control (over at least some stuff that I can control).

I asked a lot of people to answer a survey recently and I love all the plans that they shared. In the survey, I found out that most of the people (got around 28 people o respond) who answered the survey had these things are their priorities: 1) Go for additional sources of income or grow income; 2) Better themselves (become healthier or learn a new skill) and 3) Want to travel or relocate.

If you are curious to what my plans are, well, they’re really simple goals. They are very aligned with my one word for 2021.

Extra Sources of Income while Having Fun and Learning

This busy bee here, apart from handling Taxumo, plans to just focus on content creation as an extra source of income. In 2020, I think I have done a good job of creating fun, engaging, and educational content for my viewers. I continuously want to improve, so please do let me know if there are topics you want to discuss. Feel free to engage with me on IG, Youtube, Twitter, TikTok and Twitch.

I also discovered how fun it is to stream games. A balance of work and play is really necessary! So you will definitely see a lot of Mommy Ginger in the world of streaming this 2021. Please do follow me on TWITCH: https://www.twitch.tv/gingerarboleda

Increase Savings and Investment Rate

An additional financial goal that I have is to increase my savings rate. Here is a short clip on what savings rate is.

To help others find accountability partners for their savings and investment goals, #TeamArbo has started a 52 week Saving Challenge on Mommy Ginger’s Facebook page. It’s not too late to join! When you follow the Facebook Page, every week (Fridays), it will notify you to add to your savings. Once done, just comment “DONE” on the post reminder. Check out the mechanics here: https://fb.watch/2MOo6KLMYe/

Declutter

Another thing that I plan to do this year is to fix and declutter our home. We have limited space so we really need to think long and hard before adding additional stuff. I really want to take a step closer towards becoming a minimalist this year. I just think that there are a lot of “wasted” things around us — things that we don’t really appreciate as much that can be the source of delight for other people. Let’s see if this year can take me a step closer into becoming a minimalist.

Learning

As for learning, these are the topics that I want to learn more of this year: streaming, optimizing time, content creation, setting up / building my own pc and more of the usual things I love learning about (marketing, branding, investing and productivity).

I turned on my Skillshare account again for the entire year. Skillshare is a platform where you can learn about these topics that I mentioned above. A lot of the people I look up to are on Skillshare. If you haven’t signed up to Skillshare yet, you can do so by visiting this link: skillshare-ambassador.pxf.io/ginger This link gives you 14 days FREE trial so you can sign up now.

That’s it! Most of my goals are really simple since this year will be about resetting and learning new things.

What about you? What is your one word for 2021? What are your own goals? Hope you can share it with us!

End of Year Business Checklist (for Sole Proprietorships)

Sharing this article with Sole Proprietorships and Freelancers / Professionals.

It’s almost December 31 and we’re still as busy as ever. I’m personally busy also as I need to “close” some things for my Sole Proprietorship business. As you know, I am a co-founder of Taxumo, but I have my own personal business which is registered as a Sole Proprietorship. We often hear the term “closing” from business people when it’s December, but we don’t know exactly what they mean. This is especially true if you are new in running a business or not in business at all but exploring this world (might be a plan for next year).

So I decided to write this as a guide for all Sole Proprietorships and Professionals/Freelancers, because we normally need to do the same things anyway when it comes to compliance.

The things that I will share in this article are the things that I personally do.

Collect all Pending Receivables

Receivables are funds that you need to collect from clients. So in my case, I monitor all of my collections in Trello. My handler, Niña and I then go through it and we try to contact the clients that we have to ask if they can pay before the year ends.

The reason why I do this is because I need to issue official receipts and collect 2307 (Creditable Tax Withheld) forms from these clients so that I can include it for this year.

Track and Compute the Taxes that you need to pay for January

People usually forget that you need to pay for their Percentage or VAT taxes as Sole Proprietorships in January, need to Renew their Mayor’s or Business Permits and even pay the Annual Registration Fee for the tax ministry (BIR or Bureau of Internal Revenue). Since they forget it, they usually end up not having money to pay these taxes or to even renew their businesses.

I use Taxumo so I know exactly how much I should set aside for my taxes for January and even for April’s Annual Income Tax Return (Annual ITR) tax deadline as early as now. This is how I efficiently plan my finances. It’s actually good that I collect in December, because I don’t have a problem anymore when it comes to funding these. I can sleep soundly at night.

What I do is I actually set aside these funds and place it in my ING account so it earns higher interest rate. I don’t touch it, too. 4% is huge so “yey” for me!

As for Business Permit Renewal for Sole Proprietorships, I secured the services of Taxumo for this. They have limited slots though since the government process in the LGUs is still very much MANUAL. To be honest, I’m not sure if they have slots to help you process your Mayor’s Permit / Business Renewal in your LGUs. Tauxmo Can cater to Metro Manila, Rizal, Cavite, Laguna, Tarlac, Pangasinan and Baguio clients. If you are interested to check if they have a slot, email customercare(at)taxumo(dot)com.

By the way, for Freelancers and Professionals, check your occupational tax receipts and professional tax receipts. Some of the LGUs require that you renew that on a yearly basis. You may need to go to your barangay to renew those. Some also require an NBI permit and a health certificate so that you can renew it (just a heads up!).

But, here is a checklist that you can use of what you need to compile. I’m proud to say that I’ve completed all of these things. I “printed” (shucks! super wasteful process 🙁 haay!) all of my tax filings and BIR confirmations that the Municipal Hall needs. They will need to know your gross sales for the year.

As for this, if you know someone from your Municipal Halls or work for Municipal halls, please let me know. For full disclosure, we at Taxumo have ways to help them really simplify all of these.

So going back, yes, you have to print all of these. Check out my complete files!

Sole proprietships Business Permit Renewal Documents

I’m so proud… I’m going to tear up. For some reason, I love that sense of accomplishment after completing this checklist. I feel like an adult! haha! Wait, I am one! haha!

It took me just a couple of hour printing since all of my filings (files and documents) are in Taxumo. I didn’t need to scramble through all of my files. I printed the form, BIR confirmation and the Payment record. I then signed all of the forms and used binder clips to distinguish the Income tax forms with SAWT attachments and confirmation, versus my VAT forms (I am VAT so for Non-VAT entities, you’ll have Percentage tax forms) versus the Annual Renewal fee or the 0605 form that I paid via Taxumo last January.

Update your Books

Sole Proprietorships books of accounts

So I finished updating all of my books, too. For those who are wondering, YES, I write them all by myself. Taxumo allows you to generate and print a report that’s formatted already so you just need to copy it per column. Check out the picture above. The papers on the right side are the reports from Taxumo and one of my books is the one on the left. These books of accounts reports come with any of the subscription plans of Taxumo.

So there, that’s what I do at the end of the year. I got my stuff all in order, and I feel that I can enjoy celebrations now!

How about you? What’s your “end-of-year” business process? Shout out to all Sole Proprietorships and Professionals! Share it with us. Let’s help one another.

Here are other articles that you might want to check out: