How I Dropped my Credit Card Debt to ZERO

Recently, I shared how I dropped my credit card debt of Php 700,000 to Zero.

If you haven’t seen the video, here is the video and the transcript. Hope you get something from this and learn from my experience.

How I dropped my credit card debt to Zero

[GINGER]: Hey everyone! I’m Ginger and I’m EJ and we’re here to bring another finance video from Team Arbo (say together). Haha! I think we should always do this intro! Haha! Anyways, we’re content creators and startup business owners who love sharing our experiences on personal finance, investing, business and parenthood. If you like our videos, please subscribe, share this video, click on the notification bell and leave a comment so that we can get to know each one of our, our dear viewers.

[EJ]: Today, we’ll be talking about how Ginger’s credit card bill increased so much and how she dropped her Php 700,000 credit card debt to zero in one year.

[GINGER]: To tell you honestly, I’m a bit embarrassed to share this with you, because I know exactly what I did wrong. And let’s just say, they’re not very good reasons. But I’ll still share what happened so that you can learn from my mistakes. And after each mistake, we’ll also talk about what we did to avoid making those mistakes again.

The first mistake that I made was to mix business expenses with my personal expenses. I knew that these business expenses can be reimbursed by the company anyway, so I just used my card for a lot of them. But, it took me a while to find the time to ask for reimbursement (with the tons of things that I do every day), so instead of being paid right away, my credit card bill, with both personal expenses and business expenses, kept on incurring interest.

[EJ]: To fix that, we made sure that all expenses were charged to the company credit card. If you have a business, you can ask your bank for the requirements to open a company credit card. This will make it easier for everyone in the business since this will also lessen reimbursements, which is usually a manual process. So aside from being easy, your finance team will also be happy!

[GINGER]: The next mistake was ordering too much take out and delivery. Personally, I usually order food either because I feel lazy and I don’t want to prepare anything OR I feel that good food is a reward for a hard day’s work. Now, there is nothing wrong with enjoying what you earn, and we believe that food is not the worst way to splurge, BUT, I think I overdid that — and soooo, I always went beyond budget. We would reach Php 30 to 40 thousand pesos for groceries and food delivery, and we just had 3 adults and 1 child that time in this house.

[EJ]: The way we fixed this was to set a groceries & takeout budget for the family. We set our food and grocery budget to Php 20,000 and we consistently monitor our spending every week. The good thing about this is that this is a pretty easy to control expense. If I feel like ordering something, just look at our budget and if we have some left, we order, otherwise, no choice, we cook. 🙂

[GINGER]: The next mistake was not knowing where I stood in terms of my debt right away. I just kept on delaying checking my bills. Honestly, there’s a lot of anxiety involved in doing this especially if you suspect that you spent a bit too much. In the long run though, by avoiding that quick pain I was setting myself up for a bigger shock later. 

[EJ]: In this case, we really just had to bite the bullet. First, we did an audit of Ginger’s credit card bills. We listed down all her credit cards and the interest rate for each – not all credit cards are the same, they had different interest rates. We also looked for loans and searched for ones that offered lower rates than what Ginger had with her credit card. We worked on transferring the balance of Ginger’s high interest credit cards to the lowest interest loan that we found. So instead of paying 24% per year on the credit card debt, we were paying around 18% per year on the loan. Granted, the personal loan wasn’t able to cover all of the debt, so some of it remained on the credit card. For that remaining amount, we looked at her other credit cards – we transferred the remaining amount to the lowest interest credit card.

[GINGER]: By the way, remember to double check if the rate being offered is per annum (that means per year) or per month. 2% per month might sound lower than 13% per year, but if you convert them both to per year – 2% per month is 24% per year!

[EJ]: So with that in place, our next step was to keep up with the payments. There are two ways to pay off debt: the Debt Snowball Method and the Debt Avalanche Method. In both methods, the basic rule is that you must pay the minimum amount due of all your loans & cards – this will make sure you don’t incur any additional penalties and expense. Where they differ is where you put any extra money you have.

With the Debt Snowball Method, you use your extra money to pay the card with the lowest outstanding balance. The idea here is that you set mini-wins for yourself along the way and you get a psychological boost when you see your cards start getting to zero.

With the Debt Avalanche Method, you use your extra money to pay the card with the highest interest rate. This makes sure that you’re cutting the total interest payments you’re paying because you’re getting rid of the high interest rate cards first.

Ginger used the Debt Avalanche Method. 

[GINGER]: Speaking of extra money, the last thing that I did was that I looked for extra income to pay off my debt. Now THAT was really hard. I already had a busy day with my startup and a lot of work in my events management company BUT aside from that, I would still create content for brands and advertisers. We also got into KonMari and discovered that we had so much stuff in brand new condition but were not being used – I sold those on Carousell. Between my influencing gigs and my occasional selling, I had extra money that I used to pay off my debt using the Debt Avalanche Method.

[EJ]: And that’s basically everything we did to pay off Ginger’s credit card debt. Now, It doesn’t mean that we hate credit cards. In fact, you can still use credit cards to your advantage when you know how to use them correctly. We’ll talk about how to use credit cards properly in one of our future videos.

[GINGER]: We hope that you learned a lot today, and we hope that you can finally pay off that credit card debt! If you like this video, please hit that like button, share this video, comment below and hit that notification bell.

[EJ]: This is Team Arbo, hope you have a nice day. See you in our next video!

Sleeping with a Baby: Using Kozy Blankie Crib Nest

On Using Kozy Blankie Crib Nest

So there are a lot of stuff that we bought for Yani that I want to share with you. Being pregnant and having a baby again is so exciting! There are a lot of new and cool tools and products that help you in taking care of the baby and in making sure that they are safe and comfortable. One of the things that I’m constantly frightened of is SIDS or sudden infant death syndrome. I usually wake up at 2 am and can’t sleep until around 4 am, because I find myself watching Yani breathe. People say that it’s dangerous for parents to sleep beside their baby. In our case though, Yani sleeps beside me and EJ.

She sleeps beside me since I still breastfeed her, and it’s more convenient to be in a side lying position when breastfeeding at night. I’ve noticed that her sleep is not interrupted as much, and she’s not as irritable. She falls asleep easily.

But to avoid SIDS or sudden infant death syndrome, we use this crib nest from Kozy Blankie.

This baby crib nest keeps Yani safe from suffocation from the pillows that we have or even from the blankets that we use. This nest is also super comfortable.

It comes in different designs. To be honest, all of the designs are so cute!

To check out these products, you can check out Kozy Blankie’s IG account: https://www.instagram.com/kozyblankie/

They sell their products in Lazada: https://www.lazada.com.ph/shop/kozy-blankie/

Check out the other products that they have, too! They have other products like fitted sheets, comforter sets and pillows and bolsters, waterproof bed mats, stroller pads, etc.

4 Types of Headphones and Earphones and How to Know Which One Is Right for You

If you like listening to music while working, exercising, or traveling, then you know the importance of having the right audio accessories. Nothing ruins the experience more than a pair of headphones or earphones that produce low-quality sounds.

Fortunately, you can buy headphones online so you can replace your inferior ones with a better pair. Before you make a purchase, however, make sure that you’re getting the type of headphones (or earphones, as the case may be) that suits your listening habits and preferences.

Below, we discuss the four most common types of headphones and earphones to help you choose:

Over-Ear Headphones

If you want the best sound quality, you should definitely get over-ear headphones. Their large size can make them look and feel bulky, but it also allows them to house larger drivers. This, in turn, allows headphones to produce a wider range of sound frequencies—from those smooth, high notes to those deep, thumping bass beats.

Another reason that over-hear headphones produce such great audio output is that the ear cups cover your entire ear. This feature helps isolate sound, creating that “surround” experience. In addition, by covering your entire ear, the cups or pads of your headphones can help increase comfort.

The downside of headphones is that they aren’t as portable. As such, they’re better used at home or at work. This is not to say that you can’t use headphones when traveling, but it can be a little inconvenient to carry them around.

Wearing headphones for hours can also cause a bit of added pressure on your head and make your ears feel warm. If you can, find a pair of headphones with a padded headband; for the ear cups, memory foam is often ideal for added breathability.

On-Ear Headphones

Unlike over-ear headphones, on-ear headphones don’t have ear cups. Rather, they have ear pads that sit on top of your ears. Thus, they don’t offer the same surround-sound experience. This doesn’t mean that over-ear headphones can’t deliver quality audio. The key is to find a model with a large enough driver so you can listen to your favorite songs without losing fidelity.

On the other hand, on-ear headphones are more portable than their over-ear counterparts; they’re also much lighter. Some on-ear headphones even boast foldable styles and come with free carrying cases. As such, they’re better travel companions.

Just manage your expectations regarding ambient sounds, since the partial ear coverage can let some noise get through. For foldable models, be careful when opening and closing them so the arms of the headband don’t snap.

Earbuds

If you’ve bought any kind of mobile phone online or in-store recently, you probably received a free pair of earbuds that you may have mistakenly called earphones. The difference between the two kinds of audio accessories is that earbuds are designed to rest on the concha, the opening in your ear that leads to the ear canal. As such, depending on the default size of the earbuds, you might not get a good fit.

Like on-ear headphones, earbuds also let in ambient noise. This can either be a good or bad thing, depending on the situation. For example, if you’re jogging outside or crossing the road, being able to hear other sounds like car horns is definitely good. However, if you’re trying to listen to your favorite songs while on public transport, the lack of noise cancellation can be a downside.

On the other hand, most earbuds come with a built-in microphone. Thus, they’re perfect for answering calls hands-free. They can also be useful in basic video chats such as when you’re calling loved ones or having an online meeting. What’s more, earbuds are quite cheap. If they get damaged or broken, you easily find replacements without breaking the bank.

Earphones

Last but not least, earphones are audio output accessories that come with multiple rubber or silicone tips that extend into your ear canal. This means you can choose the correct size to ensure that they’re snug and won’t fall off easily. If you like listening to music while exercising, then earphones are your best bet.

Another advantage of earphones over earbuds is that earphones can isolate sounds. Thus, you don’t have to worry too much about ambient noise. Many earphones also come with noise cancellation technology. This helps filter the sounds better, giving you clearer audio even at lower volumes.

Just like over-ear headphones, however, wearing earphones for long periods can cause a bit of discomfort. This can be alleviated by getting the right size of ear tips, although finding the exact size that fits in your ear canal can be challenging.

As you can see, the “right” headphone or earphone is quite subjective. In fact, depending on what kind of listening experience you’re looking for, you might end up getting multiple products! However, if you only have a budget for one, then decide on what you’re going to use most often and then invest in that type of headphone or earphone.

Investing in Cryptocurrencies

We just released a video about investing in a volatile crypto market. We shared our experiences and how we personally started and how are we investing in cryptocurrencies.

Here is the transcript:

[GINGER] Hey everyone! We have another interesting episode here at GTV for you. I’m Ginger Arboleda and I’m EJ and we’re content creators and startup business owners who love sharing our experiences on personal finance, investing, business and parenthood.

[EJ] Investing in Cryptocurrencies has become more popular, but before getting into it, financial vloggers often warn you that the crypto market is very volatile and only invest what you can afford to lose. So, let us warn you, if you plan on investing in Crypto, especially if you’re new to the game, only invest what you can afford to lose.

[GINGER] Right now, our crypto and NFT portfolio comprise 6.30% of our total portfolio and, for us, that’s relatively fast considering we just got into it early 2021. We’re pretty new investors in this space, so at first we were really shocked at how high and then low the market could get. It was really stressful for us, seeing the number spike and dip the next day. But a year investing in crypto has taught us a lot, and we’d like to share what we have realized.

[EJ] First, you should look at that instrument over the long term and see if it increased in value over the years. If it does, then that’s a good sign that you’ll probably earn LONG TERM on the investment. Let’s take Bitcoin. Bitcoin was at around 1 dollar in 2011, now in 2022 it’s at 41 thousand dollars. Obviously it rose over that long term so, for us, that’s a sign that over the long term, we MAY earn on bitcoin. Now, Bitcoin is THE cryptocurrency, everything else is called an altcoin or alternative coin and people invest in those in the hopes that they find one that’s worth a dollar now but will be worth 41 thousand later – those are much riskier investments and the method we’re talking about may not work the best for those. Of course, it’s up to you and your risk appetite if you still wanna invest in that.

[GINGER] Now how do you invest? We advise that you use dollar cost averaging when investing in cryptocurrencies. Dollar-cost averaging (DCA) or Peso Cost Averaging, in our case, is an investment strategy where you invest a specific amount into that investment vehicle in regular intervals. By doing this, you reduce the impact of the volatility on the overall purchase. You won’t get the highest return BUT you also won’t be a victim of the lowest loss. That’s because during the bear or down seasons, you’re able to buy more with the money you invest. During the bull or up seasons, you’re able to buy less BUT the value of your overall portfolio is higher.

[EJ] As an example, let’s use a shorter time frame. Let’s say on January 1, you bought 100 dollars worth of token X at 10 dollars per token – that means you bought 10 tokens. Then on February 1, the prices dropped to just $5 per token – you still buy 100 dollars so you buy 20 tokens. Then on March 3, the prices increased to 20 dollars per share – you still buy 100 dollars so now you have 5 tokens. Over that period, you have 35 tokens for 300 dollars.

In Investing in Cryptocurrencies, we use Binance.
[GINGER] Now imagine if you spent all that 300 dollars in only one buy and not in regular intervals. If you spent 300 dollars on January, when tokens were at 10 dollars per token, you would have had 30 tokens for 300 dollars. With Dollar Cost Averaging you have 35 tokens so dollar cost averaging wins. If you spent 300 dollars on February, when tokens were at 5 dollars per token, you would have had 60 tokens. In this case, investing all 300 dollars would’ve been better. Now, let’s say you spent 300 dollars on March, you would’ve had 15 tokens only. So in that case, dollar cost averaging wins because you have 35 tokens. So yes, you don’t get the highest return BUT you are also not a victim of the lowest loss as well. If you are a person who’s really good at technical analysis and really knows the instrument, you can probably find a time like that February. But if you’re like us and this is not your full time job, you remove a lot of the risk by doing Dollar Cost Averaging.

[EJ] Next, do your own research and read about the token that you’re investing in. Invest in tokens whose intent and purpose resonates with you. The cryptocurrencies will often have a website where they post their whitepaper. Read this and see if you believe in what they stand for and what their plans are. An example of this is we invested heavily on an NFT game called Axie Infinity. We did this, because (one) as gamers, we enjoy playing games, (two) we’ve seen that their team has so far consistently delivered on their promises and (three) regardless if their tokens, SLPs or AXS’ or RON’s prices go up or down, we’d probably still play the game. This tells us that they’re plan is not to turn a quick buck but they’re also looking at it long term, like we do.

[GINGER] Next, DIVERSIFY. Diversification is basically spreading or splitting your investments across different vehicles so that your exposure to any one type of asset is limited. This will help reduce the volatility of your portfolio over time. If most of your money is in crypto, consider also investing in non-Crypto assets. If you’re 100% Crypto, then at least invest in different coins and tokens. Personally, we have different investments spread across VULs, mutual funds, index funds, stocks, and crypto.

[EJ] One important thing to always remember is to have a plan and stick to it regardless of whether the market goes up or down. FOMO is real and when you watch all the crypto bloggers saying buy this coin and that token and that NFT, it’s easy to get swept by the hype and put in 100% of your budget on what they say. This is all speculation though and no amount of well done editing can make up for a loss that you’ll just have to bite.  For crypto, our plan is to invest 90% of our crypto investment budget on the coins and tokens that we believe in, and 10% on new projects that we want to speculate in. So far it has worked for us, there have been some bad calls but since we just invested 10%, they haven’t been that painful.

[GINGER] In a nutshell, how to survive a volatile crypto market is to have a plan, stick to the plan and don’t get too emotional, continue to research and study, diversify and, if you’re like us and this is not a full time thing for you, think more long term.

If you like this video, please hit that like button, share, subscribe and click on that notification bell for more videos like these. 

P.S. The main platform that we use for investing in cryptocurrencies is Binance. If you want to try out Binance, sign up here. To read more about Binance, check out this post.

Best Graco Stroller for your Baby

Graco Stroller

If you’re looking for a Graco stroller, then you’ve probably got a lot of questions. Graco strollers are available in a wide range of styles and sizes, and you’ll want to know how to choose the best one for your child. Fortunately, there are a few basic factors you can use to make your selection easier. Let’s explore some of these factors to find your best Graco stroller.

Types of Graco Strollers and How to Choose the Best One

Graco strollers come in many forms and functions, and you may find this best one based on these tips and suggestions:

  • A single-seat model is a good option if you only need a seat for one child.
  • Another kind is the Graco double stroller, which is perfect for twins and multiples. 
  • A high-end, double-seat jogger is a popular option for parents looking for a stroller. Its versatile design also makes it a great option for parents who want to jog or exercise with their child.
  • A three-wheeled umbrella stroller is a great lightweight option for busy parents who want to take their baby everywhere.  

In order to find your perfect Graco stroller, you need to look for the following factors:

  • What’s your lifestyle? If you love hiking and jogging, go for a jogger stroller
  • If you have twins, you will need a Graco double stroller in your gap baby registry
  • If you often travel with your baby, go for lightweight models
  • If you will use the car seat for a younger child, check out Graco’s travel systems and full-sized options

Some of The Graco Stroller Models

If you’re buying a Graco stroller, you’ll want to consider the following choices: 

Graco Modes Duo Double Stroller

You may find that you prefer a compact duo stroller, but if you’re looking for more space and convenience, the Graco Modes Duo is an excellent option. If you need a double stroller, consider the Graco Modes Duo Double Stroller, which is ideal for families with twins. The Graco Modes Duo can accommodate two car seats and can be used for a variety of different types of activities. It has 27 ways to ride.

Graco FastAction Fold Jogger Travel System

The Graco FastAction Fold Jogger Travel System is another popular option. This is a travel system consisting of a stroller and car seat, and you can bring your child out for while jogging or running. Large air-filled tires and storage area easily make this jogging stroller a parent’s favorite Graco stroller.

Graco NimbleLite Stroller

If you’re looking for a lightweight stroller, look for a model that will be easy to fold and carry. There are many types to choose from, and some of the best ones are easy to transport, lightweight, and easy to use. The Graco NimbleLite Stroller is a lightweight stroller that is good for travel, and has many benefits, including a reclining seat and a large sun canopy. You can also find other features, aside from the features for traveling, that will your family’s needs.

Graco Jetsetter Stroller 

The Graco Jetsetter Stroller is a lightweight, affordable option with a petite seat for your child. This is a lightweight three-wheeled stroller that is another best Graco stroller good for travel. The compact slim design surprisingly allows you to connect a car seat to carry a newborn around. The only catch is the small wheels aren’t versatile enough to move on difficult terrains.

Choosing the best kind largely depends on your lifestyle apart from the usual factors like stroller quality and accompanying accessories. Graco is one of the trusted stroller brands in the market, so once you have determined the type that fits you and your baby, go ahead and pick your favorite Graco stroller!