Three small things that I do to save money...
- Bring my own water bottle everywhere. No need to buy overpriced drinks when I'm thirsty. Ow, and do you know that restaurants usually take 100% percent margin on food, but 300% or more margin on drinks?
- Always bring some snacks in my purse, a sweet one and a salty one - like chocolate chips and salty peanuts, just for variety. Bye-bye, overpriced vending machines!
- Bring home hotel toiletries from all my travels - business or personal alike, and really put them to use instead of just letting them piling up. I use the body lotion tubes for my hands at the office and on the go, because they're so small and convenient just to put on my work desk and in my makeup bag. I have various brands from Evelyn and Crabtree, L'occitane, or just cheap unbranded generic hotel lotion. Also, I haven't bought toothbrushes for ages, since I still have about half a dozen extras from various hotels. Friends have been teasing me about this, but I don't care. Note: I only bring home what I need and leave what I don't need, like nail files and shoeshine.
Three big things that I do to save money...
- Have a budget and stick to it. A friend once asked me if I used complicated system, and the answer is no. I have it on Excel in my laptop in 12 simple columns that tracks all our family spending.
- Ask, and you shall receive. I always ask for discounts, extras, upgrades, customized products or any additional benefits. I have saved a big chunk of money when I bought either big or small ticket items: property, hotel room, insurance, electronics, etc. If I can give more, I'll ask more. For example, I ask for an even further reduction for big ticket item - AFTER bargaining for price - whenever I pay cash. The worst result is they'll say no, and you'll end up just the same before asking. So, nothing to lose, really.
- Invest the spare cash, so neither I or my husband won't be tempted to spend it. We only keep three to six months of living expenses plus some emergency funds in our saving, and invest the rest. We invest in precious metal, property, unit link insurance and mutual funds. We are rather conservative and do believe in "not to put all your eggs in one basket" rule. We don't invest in individual stocks, since neither of us have enough expertise nor time to really excell in the art - or luck - of the stock market. And no, a new car or a new electronic gadget is not an investment, or even a saving. *I can hear my husband says "Ouch!"*
Three guilty pleasures of mine...
- YouTube beauty videos. My husband and also my Mom hates it when I play the same videos over and over on my laptop. But that's how I can turn off my brain for a little while after a hard day at work to relax and unwind! I also play beauty videos when I'm primping and preparing myself before work every morning. It sets up the mood for my mornings, since I am not a morning person. It does wonders to motivate me to make special attempts to make myself as presentable looking as possible every single morning. I'm sure my husband appreciates the result, as well. See Hubby, that's another reason why you have to put up with my beauty video watching activities! A girl needs constant motivation to dress up! ^__^
- Reality shows. They are stupid and artificial, but again, I enjoy them. Well, except when they have become TOO stupid and TOO artificial and teaching you how to yell at your Mom and divorcing your husband after just 70-something days, like Keeping Up With The Whoever. Those make me want to lose my breakfast.
- Local celebrity gossip papers. A female colleague has a subscription and she always lets me borrow the papers after she finished reading it. The funny thing is, I don't watch local TV, so I have no idea who those local celebrities on the papers are, and what they do, and I still love reading about them during my lunch hours!
Three things I do to channel my thoughts and emotions...
- Writing. I write in a journal, I write poetry, and I write this blog!
- Calling my Mom.
- Having a long conversation with God, or praying then reading the Bible afterwards to find His answers to my restlessness.
Three small things that I love about my husband...
- His tall, muscular body. ^_^
- His chubby cheek. I like chubby men, that's why I always give him a mouthful whenever he goes on a diet. He's a healthy eater, but he gains weight easily, unlike me.
- His clean smell after taking a shower.
Three big things that I love about my husband...
All the things he does consistently to show his love. As LOVE in verb, not just sweet words.
Like his jumpstarting my day, everyday, consistently, rain or shine or cloudy, with a glass of fruit and veggie juice, made every evening before bed time by him, with love. He knows I don't eat fruit and veggies, so his willingness to make me healthy juice every evening is so thoughtful and sweet.
His saying "I love you" and "You're beautiful" many times everyday. It always makes me feel warm inside and put a smile on my face, that he thinks I'm beautiful. He even says it first thing in the morning when I just wake up and look like a mess. I mostly feel good about myself, but having a significant other telling me those wonderful things, regularly, everyday, it's like a doze of tonic to my start of the day, every single day.
His always trying to improve himself.
Sure, we are all human with many flaws. There are many times I want to strangle him and kick him senseless because he can be super annoying. But he's always trying to make himself better and make our life better either in baby steps or giant steps. And despite everything, he is a man who has all intention to work hard and always attempt to provide a better life for our little family.
Sure, sometimes he moves ahead 10 steps, then goes back down 15 steps, then he unfairly lashed out on me, but then he moves ahead again 16 steps, so at the end he keeps making progress after all.
Honestly, it's so tempting to be bitter and judgemental and keeping score every time we have a fight. But in many ways, every difficulty we have faced in our marriage is also God's way to refine me and make me a better wife for him. A loving and repectful wife, who supports him instead of kicking him when he's down.
A note about this, the Bible itself is full with stories of great men and women who, over and over again, made poor judgements and decisions. Wives, if you hold yourself bitter against your husbands when he's wrong, think about this. You are a human. You have done wrongs and you will, again. Don't you want your husband to stay with you and love you and support you despite all that? Don't you want him to give you yet another chance to prove that despite your mistakes, you can still be trusted?
I do. And that leads me to another thing I love about him.
He loves me for who I am, with all my positive and negative qualities.
Even when I'm being a difficult woman. When I'm not being the good wife that God wants me to be. When I'm being indifferent. When I make stupid mistakes. And as much as he has difficulty to understand (and remember) my great need of solitude, he always tries to give me my much needed space and me time. He accepts my flaws - which encourages me to better myself, and is proud of my achievements - which encourages me to fly even higher. Some men in my previous relationships - strangely enough - could accept my flaws, but tried to drag me down when they thought I had higher achievements than them, either in terms of financial, career, academic achievements, or even popularity among friends!
Three things I don't need in quantities, but I collect them anyway...
- Lip gloss and eye shadow palletes. Especially pink glosses and colorful shadows. Though I really use them and love to experiment with them, I have more than I need. Luckily they're cheap. *self justification*
- Hello Kitty sparkling jewelries and accessories. I have several, very much alike looking, rhinestone Hello Kitty jewelries. People might say I'm years too old for Hello Kitty, but they make me happy. So what.
- Beauty supply and toiletries. I have a drawer full of them: body lotion, soap, toothpaste, face cream, powder, puff, razor, . I don't know why. It just soothes me to see all of those supplies, all my own, sitting so neat and pretty in my drawer. I know, I'm weird. My Mom has a similar tendency, but with pretty fabric collection. She just enjoys opening her cupboard and see all those piles of beautiful fabrics. Well, at least beauty supplies are ot very expensive AND they are can be used up. *more self justification*
Three things I try not to share with others...
- Negative emotions. I'd rather deal with it alone than lashing out to the people around me. Well, I do crack the whips at my subordinates and vendors at the office, but it's because of their lack of performance at work, not to make myself feel better about myself! I especially make an extra effort to be nice and sweet to my loved ones, no matter how bad I was feeling. I don't want my husband and children always tip toe around me since they don't know when one of Mom's bad mood and tantrums would strike again. I want my family to find me dependable ALL THE TIME, not just when I'm in the mood to be nice and loving.
- Secrets. I am good at keeping secrets, either about myself, my family, or my friend's secrets entrusted to me.
- Chocolate. When it's about chocolates, it's all every man/woman for him/herself. Haha!
Three natural "beauty" products I regularly use...
- Yogurt, honey and egg white facial mask.
- Oatmeal, to wash my face during evening shower.
- Green tea or rice water, to wash my face during morning shower.
These are other ways I have carried this bag...