GINspiration — Life Lessons

Talks about Mommy Ginger’s life lessons for Baby Zeeka.

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!

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!

7 Journaling Benefits for Guilt-free Super Moms

I’ve always believed that journaling benefits us more than it’s being given credit for. 

As a super busy multi-hyphenated millennial woman and mother, my days can get overwhelming easily. 

Journaling has always been something I prioritize. It helps me keep sane especially during full days. 

So today I’ll share with you some tips on how I do journaling and how it has benefited me over the years. 

What does journaling do to the brain?

I run so many things at once. While I enjoy the challenge, there are times when I too get overwhelmed. 

Journaling has helped me keep my cool and focus on what needs to be done. It also keeps me from taking in too much. 

Daily journaling has tons of benefits for the brain and your well-being. 

Researcher and Psychologist James Pennebaker say journaling daily can strengthen the immune system. 

Journaling is said to increase the body’s production of T-lymphocytes. It is also said to relieve symptoms of stress-related ailments like asthma and rheumatoid arthritis. 

It also increases your brain activity. 

Writing in a journal activates both the left and right brain. It removes mental blocks and allows you to increase your intuition, creativity, and resilience. 

What are the benefits of journaling?

Studies have shown that writing down your thoughts can help you process it better. It’s also a great way to relieve stress and promote relaxation. 

Writing every day is like unloading your troubles into paper without the judgment. 

This is important since most of us have been cooped up for almost half a year. Journaling can manage anxiety levels and cope with depression. 

In my experience, I treat journaling as a form of meditation. It has become a healing method where I can keep track of my thoughts and feelings. 

Meditative journaling is good for the soul, especially for women like me who juggle work, business, personal growth, and a family all at once. 

So here are seven benefits of meditative journaling to multi-hyphenated moms like me. 

Mindful writing helps learn and start new things 

Believe it or not, I enjoy learning and starting new things. I love reading books and listening to business podcasts and talks. 

Some love to go get massages, others like to eat out. While I enjoy all of these things, I find learning new things more relaxing. 

And yes, even my husband teases me about it. My stress reliever is still related to work! 

Journaling keeps track of the new things I learn. Keeping a journal lets me track the goals I set and the progress I make. 

Writing helps me process discoveries about the tasks and myself. 

And that’s what’s exciting to me. I like testing my limits. And I also like the challenge of rediscovering who I become when I try something new. 

Meditative journaling helps me become more in tune with my feelings 

As a working mom, it can be easy to forget my thoughts and feelings. 

I try my best not to be anxious, but some days get to you. 

Journaling lets me address those feelings through expressive writing. The more I talk about why I’m feeling anxious, the better I feel about it. 

It also helps me process my thoughts without fear of judgment. The freedom I feel when I write about my feelings is comforting. 

Mindful journaling helps me remember important things 

Mommy brain is real, I tell you! 

I try my best to keep track of all the things I need to do. But sometimes, you can’t help but forget a few things here and there. 

Journaling helps keep my memory sharp. This is one of the best benefits I get from keeping a journal every day. 

Writing things down keeps me grounded and reminds me of the special things that happened in the day. 

It’s also nice to keep a record of my wins, no matter how small it is. And it also gives me the time to reflect and decide which life lessons are worth keeping. 

Journaling keeps you in the present 

The best way to live your life is to live in the present. 

The past makes you feel guilty and the future makes you worry about what’s to come. 

But when you live in the now, you get the chance to stop and smell the flowers. You get the time to appreciate all that’s happening and savor the moment. 

Keeping a journal is like making sure you give thanks to the time you’re given. And because we only have one life, it helps you feel more grateful for the opportunities. 

Journaling is self-healing and increasing your self-worth

The best benefit of journaling is the time you spend with yourself in reflection. 

Everyone goes through trauma. And it takes a lifetime to heal from old pains and change old habits. 

Journaling can help in rewiring your thoughts and healing your inner child. And when you do, you build your confidence and self-worth. 

Expressive writing is therapeutic.  

Writing about your pain can help release anxiety. Written words have the power to make you aware of the things you deny.

Once you become aware of these things, it becomes easier to understand and then eventually change these behaviors. 

Writing in a journal keeps you aligned with your goals 

People who write their goals down in their journal increases the likelihood of their success. 

Writing your goals vividly have 1.2 to 1.4 times more successful than those who don’t. 

Two things happen when you write your goals in your journal. 

One, it helps you create external storage for your thoughts so you can go back and get them any time. 

Two, you encode it in your system. Encoding is the biological process that happens in your brain when you’re analyzing information. 

Writing improves your brain’s encoding process and it also rewires your brain to recall and remember it. 

Journaling introduces you to a deeper sense of self-care 

If you’ve been following me for a while, you’d know that I’m all about self-care.

And for me, self-care is more than skin-deep. It’s all about keeping a balance between your mind, body, and soul. 

A lot of things go into our stream of consciousness. And negative thoughts can enter into our minds throughout the day. 

When you write in a journal, it’s like deep cleaning your thoughts and removing unnecessary gunk one by one. 

A journal can also keep your sanity during hard times like today. It can help you keep track of emotions and symptoms of anxiety and depression. 

It’s not always easy to get help. But when you write about what’s going on, it lets you see alarming patterns in your behavior. 

The benefits of journaling aren’t only for women. We should also push journaling for men. 

The health benefits are enough reasons for everyone to write in journals. 

The only thing you need to do is start writing. 

How to Write a Journal 

The good thing about journals besides its health benefits? Anyone can get started right away. 

You can write in bullets, doodles, scraps, and cutouts. And there’s no right or wrong way to do it. 

As for me, I’ve been a BDJ girl for as long as I could remember. 

Belle de Jour Power Planners have helped me navigate my life as a multi-hyphenated mom with ease and grace. 

This year’s planner has proven to be one of the most essential. 

Since we’ve been locked up in our homes for so long, it’s easy to feel anxious about uncertainty. And keeping a journal close to me helped me keep my sanity in check. 

That and keeping connected with friends and colleagues online. 

This year has been a challenge of balancing fear and anxiety over the uncertainties of a global pandemic. 

Some are even saying buying a planner has been a waste. 

But despite everything that happened, we cannot deny that it has been a great time to be still and reflect. 

It gave us the time we needed to pause and get to know ourselves, to journey deep into our being where all is well. 

Now, more than ever is the time to reaffirm our beliefs, rebuild our resilience, and journey into the unknown. 

And it helps to know that you got what it takes to survive and thrive despite uncertain times. 

With that said, Viviamo is releasing its 2021 Belle de Jour product line which inspires you to “Grow with the Earth”. 

The 2021 BDJ planner features monthly narratives and worksheets to help you stay focused. It also helps you reconnect with yourself and stay motivated for your 2021 goals. 

The Navi Planner helps you find your true north with inspiration from the world’s most beautiful lighthouses. Like seafarers who spend their darkest nights in the sea, the Navi Planner will help you find the light in the darkest times. 

It’s also a reminder that you’re always where you’re supposed to be. 

The 2021 Everything is Possible are for those who feel stuck in a rut. It will help you experience the much-needed breakthroughs you’ve been yearning for. 

Want to create a positive change within yourself? The FOCUS 2021 journal is the best one for you. 

Each page of the journal is decorated with the icosahedron, a three-dimensional figure that is made of 20 triangle-shaped sides. This structure is believed to represent change and the movement and flow it creates.

The icosahedron is said to help channel your chakra to balance your emotions, to help you generate and heal. 

Not a fan of bigger planners? Viviamo also came up with medium and mini planners you can take with you anywhere. 

And there’s also the Dare to be Grateful cards that can give you instant inspiration whenever you need it. 

Want to get yours? 

Check out their full collection here: https://crazyaboutpaper.com/collections/planners

Conclusion 

There are tons of journaling benefits you can enjoy to take away stress and the so-called mom guilt. 

And Viviamo planners and journals are the easiest way to get started. 

How did journaling help you during the pandemic? Share your takeaways below. 

Nope, I Don’t think I Can. Wait, I Think I (actually) Can!

In the Philippines, as a woman in business, I don’t feel much of the gender bias that we often talk about. In my travels in the past though and through my interaction with women from all over the world (especially during Network Leader calls for Lean In), there is still a lot of judgement and discrimination going around in other parts of the world. As a Filipina, we are actually quite lucky that we are given equal opportunities as men in the Philippines when it comes to business. In our country, there are actually more women (based in data from DTI) who are opening businesses.

Well, I can’t say the same is true with the other aspects such as politics, etc. We still need to see more improvement in that area. We don’t have much female leaders (based on the 2020 PSA Fact Sheet on Men and Women).

But even if we are “all good” in the aspect of business, this does not mean that we don’t need support and we don’t need to talk about it. We still do.

This is the reason why Frances and I started a Lean In Network in the Philippines. It’s called Lean In PH (https://leanin.org/circles-network/lean-in-ph). Just to backtrack a little, Lean In is an organization started by Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook. She started this organization to encourage women all over the globe to start “circles”.

What are circles? Circles are get togethers or calls online where women can talk “life REALNESS” with other women who will lend a listening ear and who will support you. Lean In Circle sessions are safe spaces. Anything you say inside the circle is kept within the circle. We value trust.

In the Philippines, we ran two Circle Sessions so far since we started two months ago. For those who’d like to join us for a Circle Session, we’d love to meet you. You can sign up here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/113194888960

For ladies who have your own groups and communities, we are looking for circle leaders, too. If you want to start your own circle, feel free to reach out to Frances and yours truly via the Lean In PH group on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/leaninph

Now, how do I feel about women in business? In my vlog and as COO of Taxumo, I’ve talked to a lot of women CEOs, women Sole Proprietorships, women founders, etc. and I am always amazed when I see what they have accomplished. And I see a lot of aspiring women entrepreneurs who I really have great potential and ideas.

Just this morning, I talked to a single Filipina mom who is based in Australia. She raised 4 kids on her own and owns this amazing virtual assistance / outsourcing company. After the call, I was so astounded and kept repeating to my husband how I was so inspired and amazed by her.

Just like what I mentioned in this video…

When I wanted to start my business, the question that I had in my mind was “Could I do it?” And this was something that really stopped me from starting right away. I imagine that some women may feel the same way, too.

And looking back, what I realized is that what helped me decide was my support system. EJ (my husband) was very supportive. He encouraged me to just try it out… and I did.

So to you reading this, you can do it! Even if I don’t know you or even if you’re miles away, I truly believe that you have what it takes. You are reading this for a reason. I really do believe in you!

Mental Health Insights and my Thoughts about It

It’s so great to see that talking about Mental Health is not taboo anymore. I love how people are now very open to discuss things like this. Not only that. They also consider taking care of mental health to be a main concern. I watched the Globe and Inquirer #StartANewDay: Mental Health Insights for Millennials and Gen Z live session and I learned so much and felt so much.

Mental Health and the Entrepreneur

In the world of entrepreneurship and the startup industry, this has become an issue that is also widely talked about and addressed by webinars from different incubators, accelerators and startup groups.

“According to a study by Michael Freemanentrepreneurs are 50 percent more likely to report having a mental health condition, with some specific conditions being incredibly prevalent amongst founders” Tech Crunch mentions in an article. (https://techcrunch.com/2018/12/30/investors-and-entrepreneurs-need-to-address-the-mental-health-crisis-in-startup-culture/)

I’ve been thinking about this topic the whole day today. I’m sure that a lot of the founders and entrepreneurs that I have come across occasionally in my blog, in the programs that we have joined and groups that we are part of silently suffer.

Dra. Gia Sison in the live session event mentioned that people need extra support nowadays because more people are feeling depressed and anxious. Understandably so, this is because of the uncertainties we face, daily isolation, increase of domestic abuse, exposure to negative news and negative coping mechanisms.

What can we do about it?

I also loved what Roy Dahildahil said about what we can do about Mental Health. Roy is the co-founder of #MentalHealthPH, a social media advocacy group that aims to promote and protect mental health in the Philippines. He gave us the 3S’s Framework: Self, Society and System and the 3Os Framework: Online, Onground and Onward.

With this, I thought of ways I can help the community in my own little way.

Spread positivity

I think in my own little way, with this blog and my channel, I’ll commit to releasing more inspiring and positive content. I recently interviewed Trixie Esguerra and we talked about injecting positivity into your life. I hope that you can watch it and gather nuggets of wisdom and tips from her that you can actually do.

Check up on Family and Friends

From listening to the talk, I realized that I had time to check up on friends and family. See how they are doing? A chat message of a simple “hi” and “how are you?” will go a long way.

Listen and Be Observant

Some people just need someone to talk to. I love the Globe Bridging Communities has this Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/HopeBankPH/ In Hope Bank PH, anyone can share anything they’d like. We are free to express ourselves.

Be observant of your friends posts and listen to their stories. Just being there goes a long way.

I hope that we continue to openly talk about this issue. Share with me other things that we can all do to address this.

I know that with little steps like this, we can all #StartaNewDay.