Sunday, May 15, 2011

Building My Own Emergency Fund

At last!!!

Money money money money! Moooooney!

Okay, here's the thing. For the past five months, I've been saving my 5 and 10-peso coins by keeping them in this cylindrical coin bank thingy (I don't know what it's called in English, but in Tagalog it's alkansya). I even have my paper money exchanged for coins sometimes just to fill it up quickly. Well, that didn't work since it still took me five months, but hey, it got filled up anyway. Look!

God knows how many times I got tempted to open it

Actually, it got so heavy that it already passed as a dumbbell for me. I used it to "lift weights" in the morning. LOL! Anyway, all that hard work pushing myself to commit to this personal project has definitely paid off. And now, I'm P2,500 richer! Can you believe it? I can't! I mean, those who know me well are aware that I find it hard to finish things that I start, so this is quite an achievement for me.

A nearby convenience store was more than happy to exchange all my coins with paper money. Did I use the cash right away and bought something from the store to reward myself? Hell no! Haha, I surprised myself yet again. So, what am I planning to do with the money? I'm keeping it as a start-up for my emergency fund.

Where the hell did I get the idea of putting up one? It's these blogs about saving money and budgeting that I've been reading lately at work. They've influenced me and made me see why everyone should have a fund for emergency cases. And I mean that -- everyone should.

I realized that the term "job security" doesn't make sense anymore these days. Also, age doesn't guarantee you good health. So I thought that I have to have some back-up in case of a mishap that would require me to shell out money. Some think it's just paranoia, but I think it's being smart.

How much am I planning to save? Experts say that a good emergency fund consists of three to six months worth of your expenses. In that case, I still have a looooong way to go. I'm using my salary as a basis, so I'm not gonna stop until my fund amounts to a month's pay. Well, that's my goal for now, for the second leg of this project. Once I achieve that, I'm going to set the bar higher and higher

Financial security is extremely important to me
The thing is, I really hate financial insecurity. It makes me uncomfortable when I'm cognizant that I've used up all my money and I don't have any spare at all. It eats me up like the way conscience haunts you when you did something terrible. But I don't have to worry about that anymore, do I? Woohoo! P2,500 is not that much, but it's still money. Heck, some people can't even save a thousand bucks, let alone twice of that.

As I bid goodbye to bankruptcy, I welcome a whole new challenge. This time, I have to work twice as hard. I have to maintain my habit of saving coins, and at the same time, prevent myself from spending my savings. Who knows, I might even take it up a notch and save more than just coins. Whew, wish me luck on that!

And to end this post, let me tell you this. I know that many of you feel the same way about financial security. So I insist, start planning your own emergency fund now! There are many ways to do that. You can engage in something similar to what I do, or open a savings account, or whatever. But I suggest that you start small. Making big leaps can make you lose interest right away, so do baby steps first. Remember: little things matter!

Happy saving, everyone. :)

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Review: Nokia E63

This is it. The change to night shift will finally happen in a couple of days. No more delays and turning back. Starting Monday, I'm gonna be working from 8PM to 5AM. And possibly until 8AM because the OT saga is still going on. So, how am I feeling about this? I'm a little scared, yet excited too. This is something new, and I can't wait to know how it will work out for me and my teammates. Bring it on, night shift! :)

ANYWAY, this is really not about that. This post is a quick review of my recently acquired phone Nokia E63.

Yes, I got the black one. I wanted the red one actually, but the phone store didn't have any stock of it, so I settled for what was left. By the way, I've read that there's a limited edition white E63, but NO THANKS. It looks like a bar of soap.

So how am I gonna do this review? By aspects and bullets, of course. I'm gonna examine the phone's design, functions, and price. Also, there will be comparisons to my usage of my former phone Samsung C3303K Champ, so if you wanna understand those parts, better read my review for that one.

  • I wanted a new phone because I got sick of Samsung Champ's touch screen. So I got QWERTY, and I got it real good. However, since my thumbs are abnormally big, typing is still a hit and miss for me. Well, if I really wanted big keys, I should've opted for this phone:
  • I love holding my E63. It fits my hand perfectly, it's not too thick nor too thin, the weight is not a burden at all, and the soft finish of the paint is delightful to touch. Look Ma, no fingerprints!
  • As opposed to the blue and red choices, black makes it look more like a business phone. And I should start using it like one.
  • The home screen is such a convenience for me. I can put up to 6 frequently used applications there so I don't have to open the menu one by one. Also, there are programs that can be controlled from the home screen once I've activated it, like the Music player, Wi-Fi scanner, and E-mail notification.
  • Nokia E63 relies heavily on the Internet. I need to connect first in order to use the interesting functions of the phone, such as Maps, Podcasting, and Internet Radio. Good thing I'm on postpaid, so I have instant access to mobile Internet whenever there's no wi-fi signal around.
  • This is NOT a pretentious business phone; it really was made for the working class. But since my job doesn't let me work outside the office, I don't use the E-mail, Quickoffice, Zip, and Printers applications yet. I wanted to use the Adobe PDF reader though for my Harry Potter e-books, but the pre-installed version doesn't fit the file to the screen, so it's a pain to read.
  • Thank goodness for the 3.5 mm audio plug! The quality of the sound the included headset produces is off-the-charts BAD, so I'm gonna have to buy a new set soon. Once I have that, plus my spacious micro SD card, I can finally convert my business phone to an iPod whenever I'm on the road and bored.
  • It's excellent for social networking. Just connect to free wi-fi, download the right apps (mine are Snaptu, Google, Foursquare, Facebook Chat, and loads of games), and you're in for several hours of fun. Web browsing is alright, but it's much better if you visit a site with a version for mobile web.
  • The camera is okay. The 2 MP camera doesn't perform well when there's no sufficient light, so I often have to rely on the flash (which, by the way, also functions as a flashlight). Here's a sample photo:
My messy bed captured with indoor light

  • I got it for P7,500. I think it's the second cheapest QWERTY model of Nokia (next to C3), and it happened to be a business phone. Nonetheless, I think it's fairly affordable. This phone is super packed with features that it overwhelmed me when I first got it. What more if I get to use the business applications, right?
  • However, the package disappoints. You only get the phone, a charger, a freakin' substandard headset, and the manual. NO DATA CABLE. Fortunately, the one that I use for my Samsung Champ works perfectly on the phone, so it wasn't a problem for me.

    Overall, I give Nokia E63 four out of five stars. There may be times when the phone reboots itself, but it's not that big of a deal for me since I think the phone deserves to do that once in a while. It's often the result of my impatience, anyway. LOL!

    Well, I really hope that I get the chance to use the business applications someday. It's the core of the phone, so my satisfaction will only be consummated by then. For now, I'm gonna enjoy Nokia E63 as a music player and a social networking platform.

    Note: Bedroom photo is mine.
    Update: Recently, I experienced a problem with this phone. Read about it here.
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