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!

How Financial Tools Can Keep You Out of Trouble

Money is a difficult subject to talk about. But with the right financial tools, anyone can learn to manage their expenses and stay away from financial troubles later on.

Those who know me would know that I like automation. And, I also like looking for financial tools that can make my life easier and my business run smoothly.

Today, I’d like to share three financial tools that can help freelancers manage their finances better. I’ve personally used these, and I can attest that they definitely work.

Financial Tool #1 – Wally for Expense Tracking

I’ve been a fan of Wally for almost two years now and I’ve been using it to tracking and managing finances.

What I love about it is that it lets me compare my income versus expenses. It also gives me insights on my spending habits.

One of my guilty pleasures is online shopping. I just can’t help it! I get curious about a lot of stuff, especially when it comes to beauty products and Zeeka’s things. I’m also into checking out local brands. Just check out my Instagram and you’d know what I mean.

And sometimes, I can’t help but be a bit impulsive.

But with Wally, I get to see the expenses I’ve made and categorize them according to their purpose. It lets you create your own budget, add tags and categories, and even the location of your purchase.

It also lets you add reminders for recurring payments, attach images and pictures of receipts, and even keep track of all financial accounts in one place. You also even set goals for savings and investments.

Wally also has a feature where you can track the loans you’ve made and strategize on payments to avoid incurring penalties.

The most awesome thing about the app? It’s absolutely FREE!

You can get yours today by visiting the App Store or Google Play.

Financial Tool #2 – Paypal

I have used PayPal ever since I started writing for a living. And being a recognisable brand all over the world, Paypal made it easier for local and international clients to trust me with their business.

What I love about Paypal is its flexibility. I can send and receive funds from my clients without the fuss. I can also integrate other apps and automate processes like recurring payments with ease.

I have always prioritized automation in running my projects and businesses. As an entrepreneur, it’s important for me to free my time so I could focus on the tasks I need to do. And Paypal has given me the option to do just that.

Paypal has come in handy for online payment options, especially for Manila Workshops and Taxumo.

Those who avail of our workshops find it easier to make seat reservations through our website. It also gives them easier access to ongoing promotions and deals with just a click of a button. Taxumo users also get to enjoy seamless payments when they use their Paypal to pay for our services.

This service from Paypal is an awesome tool you can use for your freelance business. You can use it to get direct payments from anywhere in the world transferred to your local bank account.

You can also add it to your website and other profiles for clients to make payments any time.

Here’s a quick tutorial on how you can also add a Paypal button to your website:

Financial Tool #3 – GCash

I’m such a fan of GCash because it’s so convenient. Ever since I started using it, I didn’t have to carry as much cash anymore.

GCash is perfect for freelancers, especially those who don’t have time for long queues just to pay their bills. With just a tap of a button, you can get your phone bills, credit card bills, and other utilities paid at your convenience.

Here’s a cool feature from GCash. Did you know that you can just scan your electricity bill to pay it on your GCash app?

Yep, I used to type in the reference numbers when I started paying our electricity bill through the app. This process is a bit tedious and is prone to errors, but it definitely beats standing in line at the payment centers or banks.

Thankfully, GCash now added a feature where you can scan the code at the bottom of the bill and saves you from all the effort.

GCash also has other features that freelancers can take advantage of. There’s GCredit, where you can use it as a credit card for online payments. And there’s also GInvest, where you can start investing your hard earned cash and get access to various investment funds.

You can check out my post for more information about GCredit here.

If you’re interested in investing, you can learn more about GInvest here.

Freelancing can be difficult, especially if you’re starting out or if you don’t have a steady stream of clients. That’s why it’s important for every freelancer to learn how to manage their finances well.

Good thing that there are financial tools available today that can help you stay out of debt and financial troubles.

What tools do you use to manage your finances? Share your finance-related tips with us below.

Preparing your Finances for Pregnancy and Your Baby

Mommy Ginger was a guest speaker at the Setting up Mommy’s FB (Finances for Baby) Event at Mothercare Active Fun. I was invited by Insular Life to speak. It was actually my first time to have a talk which was not either about mompreneurship, business or digital marketing. Normally, I would get invited to speak for those topics. I was really excited because I really wanted to talk about this topic.

Setting up Mommy's FB

Setting up Mommy's FB (Finances for Baby)

Left to Right: Ms. Phoebe of Stemcord, Mommy Ginger from MommyGinger.com, Chay from Insular, Mariel from Mothercare and Anna from Insular

I know that one of the things that hinders a couple from having a baby is their finances. They always think that their money is not enough. A lot of my friends, who have stable jobs and great marriages, don’t have a child yet because a lot of them are still ‘saving up’ for a kid. In my blog, I get a lot of messages through my Mommy Ginger Facebook Page on how much do you actually need for the following:

1. Preparing for conception: How much would doctor’s fees, shots and vaccines (HPV, Flu shots, etc.), medicines cost for if you and your husband are still preparing for a child?

2. How much would you need to set aside for shopping for your baby’s things?

3. How much would you need for Ultrasounds, OB check-ups, etc.

4. How much would you need for labor and delivery

5. How much would you need for baptism, the child’s first birthday party, etc.?

6. How much would you need for education?

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Mommy Ginger speaking at the Setting up Mommy’s Finances for Baby

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Chay from Insular Life discussing their product called Gift of Dreams

For those who want a copy of my presentation, all you need to do is like my page on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/mommyginger) and send me a message there with your email address! 🙂 I will definitely get back to you and email you back the copy of the presentation.

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Baby Zeeka was playing while Mommy was Speaking 🙂 hehe!

For those who want to learn more about finances, my friend, Fitz Villafuerte is having a Family Finances workshop on Nov. 9, 2013. I would love to meet all of you there. You can register HERE: http://manilaworkshops.com/2013/10/family-finances-oct-2013.html

The organizers will also give Php 200 off from the rates if you place MOMMYGINGER in the Blogger Referral Code field in the form.

Thank you to all those who attended the talk. I hope that you learned a lot from me. Thank you very much, Insular Life and Mothercare Philippines! ‘Til the next event 🙂