My Money: RTB24, Tuition, and Meds

Monday

I came across this article in Yahoo, which is one of the articles in a features series at BBC.com. Upon reading these articles, I decided to create one for myself. Let’s say I was “inspired” to do such. After all, I used to love to write to myself (having a journal). But my career in B2B publishing has been writing words so much that I no longer find the mental capacity to write further after an exhausting day at work.

But often times, I find myself thinking about writing again… perhaps about our life—how our family came from having a less-than-break-even life to having enough to be able to help others out—or helping others be smarter about their money. It’s been a very long journey full of bumps and forks in the road for us, and we haven’t even reached the middle of our destination yet. Far from it. I am sure I will get to tell our story eventually—when segues permit it—but for now, let’s just stick to the theme of the above article, which is about noting down your expenses every day for a week.

Simple, but interesting. And I think this will open up other opportunities for self-learning for me (that is, after reading a few other articles like this at BBC.com). Here goes.

Monday, I woke up at around 7:45 to be ready for the day’s work. But it’s been a tiring sleep. I think I woke up at least thrice during the night to help my Mom relieve herself. She suffered a mild stroke around two months ago due to low blood pressure (hypotension)—according to her neuro doctor. Such low blood pressure, I believe, is caused by a smorgasbord of maintenance medicine for her blood and heart. (Her doctor’s reply when asked why she should take this or that is, ‘to avoid the possibility of’ this and that.)

And that is on top of the other medication she takes: thyroid hormones (she had her goiter and thyroid removed because the former evolved into thyroid cancer); medicine for uric acid as well as her kidneys; and one medicine that is a protein substitute (She was advised not to take meat—chicken, pork, beef, etc. She just takes fish.). All in all, she takes around 20 to 22 tablets every day, worth almost P20,000 per month. Add to it her regular rehab therapy (every Saturday, starting July 11: P700 first session, P630 the next three sessions so far); laboratory every two months, around P5,000 per session. Last week, she had flu and pneumonia shots worth P4,500. And then don’t forget, there are still the doctors’ consultation fees.



But, for the sake of starting this series, I will overlook those past expenses (but I will definitely try to remember everything we’ve spent on this, even as averages, so that I will have a list) and just focus on moving forward.

Anyway, so, I roused myself up, made coffee (‘kapeng barako’ from Batangas province, courtesy of our friend AlQuin) for my wife and I, and prepped our ‘office’. We’ve been on lockdown for quite some time now. We’ve already emerged into General Community Quarantine (GCQ), but the increasing number of COVID-19-positive persons in Bacoor has prompted the local government to bring us to Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ). We can only go out on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, for two weeks (Aug 5–18).

Since we are homebodies, not going out is not a problem for us (except when we need to buy my Mom’s meds). Also, I’ve been on a work-from-home sort of arrangement since I returned from Singapore five years ago, so I rarely leave home, except during weekends (back when COVID-19’s not in the picture yet).

My online work done, I spent the rest of the day watching a show on Netflix with my kids. I never really get to spend anything today—which is good—but that’s because we’ve already spent a bit for groceries, checkup/rehab, over the weekend. But anyway, as I’ve mentioned, I will start this money journal journey fresh this week.

Total Spend: PhP0.00

I am up with a slightly better sleep. Either my mom did not wake me that much, or I just didn’t hear her so it’s my wife or our helper who woke up to help her relieve herself during the night. The thing is, because of her osteoarthritis, she can’t walk well even with her walker, as her knees buckle every once in a while. The stroke made everything worse. It impacted the left side of her body—her left arm and left leg are both very weak that someone has to be behind her every time she walks. I also have to carry her up and down the house; because of the lockdowns and quarantines, we cannot push through with the extension of our house (wherein we plan to have a room for my mom downstairs).




Anyway, because of the new lockdown for the next two weeks, only one of us can go out to buy stuff (groceries, meds). So it was my wife who went out to buy my mom’s medicines. Totaled P4,555.71 (senior discount already included). She also bought Salonpas, P110.00.

Since we’re pretty much stocked up from the weekend groceries (in our anticipation of ‘panic buying’ because of the lockdown), she didn’t need to buy anything else.

Total Spend: P4,665.71

Since I had a good sleep the other night, it was my turn to look after her… well, actually, be ready when she calls. That’s basically what’s happening—we’re just waiting for her to call any of us when she needs to relieve herself. Which is why you don’t get to sleep, like really sleep, until around 2:30am to 3:00am. That’s sort of the last time she’ll relieve herself during the night (first is around 10pm or 11pm, then around 12:30am, then around 1:30am or 2am, or maybe 230am). Because after that, it will be probably around 5 or 530am, and our helper is waking up then.

Anyway, so it was my turn last night/midnight to wait up. Over the month that she’s been like this, I’ve actually sort of become a light sleeper. Even if she’s in the next room, hearing my name once or twice will rouse me from my slumber. But that is, if I am not that tired from the previous night’s sleep, so to speak. Which is why it’s like a rotational “duty” for us three—my wife and I, and our helper.

Okay, so today we received the assessment for our kids’ tuition fees. We paid P3,475.00 (GR 5) and P3,620.15 (GR9) for the first month, or what they call there, “upon enrolment”. We usually pay in full (we usually save around P700 for each, so P1,400 for both); but this time around, with the pandemic and all, we opted to pay on a monthly instalment basis (not even quarterly or by semester). Classes are scheduled to start on the 24th. Since they will be online, we have to buy them separate laptops last month, worth P31,000.00 each—for a total of P62,000.00—because both of them will have synchronous classes. We also have to buy a new printer (P9,000.00) because our old one cannot cut it anymore. (I am not including these expenses in my “money journal” because my focus is on this month forward.)

Total Spend: P7,095.15

Woke up feeling so-so. I realize it’s been a tiring week. Deadlines at work, on top of the not-so-fitful sleep, and you just can’t get a good enough rest. The funny thing is, we have been like this for more than a month now. Whatever adjustment we have to do, it just feels tiring at the end of the day. Indeed, health is wealth. Note to self: I will start doing some exercises again to be fit, and eat healthy. I am at an unhealthy 75kg now because I feel that I deserve the eating I do because of the stress at work, and then tiring things we have to do for my mom.

Anyway, I paid our mobile phone subscriptions today: P3,891.01 for myself and P822.03 for my wife. I am up for renewal on October—I think I should downgrade. I have a 12GB data plan—which Globe recently upgraded, for free, from 10GB; but because of the pandemic, it is actually just a waste.

At work, I finally managed to send all the required documents by this client, for them to put us up in their system as a supplier/vendor. The funny thing is, I am not even a sales person. But because I had quite a close relationship with this MNC in the past, I volunteered to sell them some advertisement or sponsorship in our website. And they did buy a sponsored feature for two months, worth $6,000.00. I think, the comms rate for us who managed to do this (lower, though, as compared to our sales people whose job it is to sell ads/banners/sponsorships), is like 3%. But the payment terms is 90 days, so I guess it won’t be until it’s been fully paid that I will get to see that comms.

Total Spend: P4,713.04

TGIF! I think the fact that it is already Friday somehow lightened up the start of my day. Yes, I still did stay up late to wait on my mom, and help her and all. But Friday being Friday, everything’s easier I guess. Even the morning company meeting via Zoom isn’t that bad.

Today, I paid P9,000 for my SunLife insurance (Sun MaxiLink Prime). (Disclosure: my wife is a registered/certified insurance advisor—and since she went on to become one, I’ve learned so much about why you need to have some sort of insurance. If you want to know more, let me know.) It’s for five years—I’ve just finished the first year (started paying November 2019)—so, 16 more quarterly payments to go.

Meanwhile, I received an email from First Metro Securities regarding the last day of RTB24 Progreso Bonds. I’ve been meaning to invest in this, but I just got too busy over the past weeks that I’ve forgotten about it. Good thing I was able to transfer some funds—no matter how small—to be able to buy some here. There’s an article here explaining why it’s good to buy bonds—if you have a dispensable cash that you can forget about for five or 10 years.

Anyway, so I invested P10,000 here. I wish I could have invested more, but considering the expense I’ve had just this week alone, I ran out of easily transferrable budget to invest more in the RTB24.

Actually, I’ve been meaning to invest in retail treasury bonds by the PH government. One time, a year or two ago, there was this RTB offering, through Security Bank (I have an account at SECB). But the documents to fill up are just so much that, in the end, I just closed the page and never bothered with it again.

When I saw last month that you can pay easily through your account at FirstMetroSec, then I’ve decided to invest me some. I just forgot. Anyway, late is better than never.

Total Spend: P19,000

Slept at around 230am, and then woke up at 9am to the calls of my mom, who wanted to relieve herself. After that, I had a late breakfast, and then started figuring out how I can transfer PHStocks to a new hosting.

It turned out my hosting package from GoDaddy is already obsolete (I bought it last 2011). Because of that, the PHP version is only up to 5.6; whereas the newer hosting package now supports up to 7.2 or 7.4 or 7.6—my IT knowledge is honestly very, very limited, that I wonder how I was able to maintain this newsblog for such a long time, even though I have gained no returns from it. Technically, it is not a news site; I was gearing towards a more personal-finance-type of site; but I just no longer have the capacity to write such articles because of my work—so part of the contents of PHStocks is stocks news. I don’t know—after nine years, I still am trying to figure out what to do here. In the meantime, my followers on Twitter is just growing. It’s just around 11k as of the moment—but the thing is, I never expected it to be growing this much anyway.

Oh well, since I do need to acquire new hosting, and then migrate all of PHStocks current content and configuration to that new hosting, I guess, somewhere between today and next week, I need to really think hard about what to do with PHStocks, and why I continue to do it anyway.

Total Spend: 0.00

Woke up early to my mom saying she has to answer the call of nature. So ran over to her room, carried her to the toilet, and waited for her to finish her thing. And yes, I do get to clean her up, and then our helper give her a bath.

It’s been raining on and off; and what better thing to do on a cold, rainy day but to have a cup of coffee (used to be chocolate) and read a novel or watch a movie (or, because we do have Netflix now, a TV series). I opted to finish the second season of The Umbrella Academy. There are actually a few of Reginald Hargreeves’ lines that struck a chord in me. Kind of like practical advices. Will just have to see if it’s available online.

That series done, I then prepared some of the stuff I need to do for the coming week, since I have tons of deadline to meet. After that, I ended the day watching Ocean’s 8 with my wife and my mom, who’s been having a hard time sleeping tonight.

Total Spend: 0.00

TOTAL SPEND THIS WEEK: P35,473.90

How Do I Feel About This Week?

I did spend quite a bit this week—and that’s without leaving my house huh! But anyway, most of them are bills, medicines, and investments: my kids’ education, the RTB24, and, with an added security for my family, my insurance (which is a VUL product, so there’s a bit of investment as well).



I wish I could have put in a bit more towards the RTB24. I think it’s a little bit better as compared to banks’ less than 2% annual interest rates. I mean, I do have stock investments, as well as I have some money parked in mutual funds. I just happened to forget about RTB24 and its deadline. The thing is, bank transfers still take some time, so I wasn’t able to put in enough funds in my FirstMetroSec account to be able to buy more. Anyway, lesson learned.

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