Is prepaid shopping the way to go in 2015?

Let’s be honest… the holidays might be over and you might have sworn to stop damaging your budget even more but the yearend sales, then come February it’s Valentines, and Summer sales, and it’s never ending. Personally, I’ve just been out of the red (oh good lord why is that shiny plastic looking straight at me) and it has been. one. expensive. year.

Good thing, there are optionz in life! Especially when that shiny little thing that you want costs way less when it’s coming from the halfway across the world. Using your credit card might not be the best friend you might think it is when you think of currency conversion and shit, on top of being in the red.

I thought, for the coming year, I really need to curb my spending habits. Raking up credit is not helping and I will no longer endure a year in debt. Being an adult sucks bigtime because you’re given all these opportunities but you really need to be responsible about ’em. It’s not like you can just save and save and not enjoy though. Like what my mom always tells me, spending within one’s means is a good skill to have.

When I discovered prepaid shopping, it was rather unappealing to me. First, you’re limited to your current funds, and second, transferring funds was a rather inconvenient chore. But with the goal of controlling this bad habit I am hurting to admit, it seems like a feasible plan! With a lot of prepaid credit cards in the market now (with minimal annual fee to boot), it sounded like a plan. But also these optionz are getting too many to bother yourself…

I particularly like Globe Blue and Gcash Amex because…

  1. Both are connected to my Gcash account, and subsequently my Globe postpaid line.
  2. Transferring is easy via the Gcash app, especially if with BPI.
  3. Globe Blue also serves like a preferred clientele card and has dedicated lanes at selected Globe stores.
  4. It’s easy shopping with US-based institutions like Amazon, Netflix, and the Playstation store because Gcash Amex also gives you an address in the US – meaning your card is eligible for use in geo-restricted e-commerce sites.
  5. You can also debit purchases (capped at PhP 500) from iTunes and the App Store (and Google Play!) directly to your postpaid bill.

2015 is fast approaching and you might be wondr’n why this is what I have to blog about. I was doing a lil bit of financial planning, and I thought I’d share what I have in mind. To be fair, I also use other prepaid cards. I have a couple hehe but I haven’t thought about them until now that I’m pretty serious about saving up.

#Bangcock Day 1: NAIA and Suvarnabhumi, Baiyoke, and shopping (also, money matters when traveling)

But first, let me take a selfie

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And -fies of random afams in the airport. Hello, Northern European-looking guy!

20141118_085223IMG_5832IMG_5833I want this pop art-inspired luggage cover!

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NAIA Terminal 2 was still a bit gloomy, yet buzzing with travelers, when we got to the airport. A lot were boarding for different flights so we easily found a spot to lounge. We arrived an hour early and we were enjoying the silence… when the President arrived for a flight… (What were we thinking, it’s the national carrier PAL’s terminal after all.) Lol, no pictures because I was so tired, coming from work and shit.

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The flight to Bangkok was usual – though I can bet a finger that PAL’s food could improve. And I hope there were no crying kids, because god knows I needed sleep that day. Seeing Suvarnabhumi airport again was refreshing though! The space-inspired international hub was in its usual hustle and it was energizing to be back!

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First order of business though when we landed was to get some baht. I used to lug around dollar notes when I’m traveling but due to recommendations from Val and the internet, I had to try withdrawing from the local ATM. I was curious if I can save a few hundred pesos… but turns out it’s just the same. The exchange rate in the Philippines for buying baht was at 1.6, and I think I saved only a couple of ten pesos, since essentially the Bank in Thailand will convert your pesos to dollars then to baht… plus fees from both banks. Basically, I approximately got an exchange rate of 1.45. If you have some tricks up your sleeve with these currency exchange, please hit me up huhuhu.

IMG_5842Hello, photobomber!

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This time around, we opted to stay at Baiyoke Sky Hotel, only Bangkok’s tallest skyscraper at 89 floors. Thanks to Val who treated us the hotel room, being it her birthday treat! The hotel is kinda old though… you can literally smell it. The actual lobby is at the 18th floor and if you go down on lunch time be prepared to the swarm of tourist groups as the tower is also a tourist attraction. So. Many. PEOPLE. FML (for my life, that is.)

IMG_5849IMG_5850Well I have to give it to them for having a fruit stand — INSIDE THE HOTEL LOBBY!

IMG_5851IMG_5852The bar near the smoking area on the 18th floor also has a driving range. If you got golf skills, time to show off!

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The view of the Pratunam skyline from the room pays for what seems to be things that need attention. For one, I think Baiyoke needs to be more conscious about attendant’s behavior — especially those who are in the front desk… Everything’s bearable if their people are smiling.

/endrant

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There’s nothing much to do at the hotel, so off to the nearest mall/market we went! Right outside the hotel is the Pratunam Market and it’s a hella big market – food, clothes, accessories, and all sort of Asian Market fare can be found there. If you walk a little further, it’ll bring you to Platinum Fashion Mall – where you’d find one the best deals on clothes, all the more if you buy in bulk. I guess, businesses here in Manila who source in Bangkok get their stuff here! Plenty of good stuff… and I love their foodcourt – where you need to exchange your money for a card you swipe to buy food. Snazzy!

IMG_5863IMG_5864The first of many Tom Yum Goongs for this trip!

IMG_5866IMG_5867IMG_5869IMG_5870IMG_5871IMG_5872IMG_5874Almost bought this!!!!

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It was just the first day, but coming from work I just felt very tired and I crashed the minute I saw my bed after walking in the humongous Platinum mall. We even rode the tuktuk, who totally scammed us with a 100 baht charge, but kebs we’re too tired to argue.

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The next day we’ve had the party of our lives so stay tuned for more stories!

*With photos from Con and Val

 

Holing up

As you’d know if you’ve been reading up lately – I’ve been trying to get weekends to be really interesting for me. Life has been a bit routinary for me, and I badly want for weekends as terrific as they can. This would usually involve sleep deprivation, a big gash in the pocket, and random bouts of fatigue come the work week. For the past few weekends though, since I came back from a very off-budget trip (with another one boding in a week,) I’d rather myself spend weekends holing up in my apartment. This has given me a time for contemplation – mostly on how the past weekends went and also on life, yolo-ing, and the grand scheme of things. Read more

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