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Wednesday, December 21, 2016
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9 Smart Ways You Can Spend Your 13th Month Pay this Year

Wednesday, December 14, 2016
This blog already moved to If you want the latest tips and stories on budget, savings, investments, productivity and making extra income go HERE instead.

It’s the time of the year again when 13th month is here. You may have a list of ideas on how you’re going to spend it but hinay-hinay lang kapatid. There’s nothing wrong in buying your wants with your extra cash but if you want a change then you might want to think again and become a wise spender. Here are 9 smart ways you can spend your 13th month pay and get the most out of your bonus this year.

Quick Review
  • I did a complete post All About 13th Month last year. Please read here >>>
  • Under Presidential Decree 851 also known as the 13th Month Law additional monetary benefit for employees from their employers must be given to enable a better Christmas and New Year celebration to the labor force.
  • According to all rank and file employees regardless of their designation or employment status who have rendered at least one month during the calendar year are entitled to a 13th month year. The 13th month pay shall be in the amount not less than 1/12 of the total basic salary earned by the employee within the calendar day.
  • In 2015 a higher tax exemption for 13th month pay was pushed. Employees whose 13th Month Pay is below 82,000pesos will not be taxed. However if your 13th Month Pay surpassed the 82,000pesos bench mark you need to pay 30% tax.
  • Basic salary includes the earnings paid by an employer to an employee for services rendered. This does not include allowance, monetary benefits or any amount outside the employee’s regular pay. For example Juan’s basic salary is 21,000pesos with 2,000 transportation and meal allowance. Only the 21,000pesos is considered in the computation of 13th month.
  • Here’s a sample of computation of 13th month pay based on different employee types:
    • If the employee completed one calendar year to the company he/she is entitled for an amount equals to one month of his/her salary.
Monthly Pay: 21,000
13th Month Pay: 21,000
  • If the employee is new to the company he/she is entitled for a 13th month as long as he/she spent a one month service to the company. The computation with be:
        Monthly Pay: 21,000
        Number of Months Served: 6
        6/12months x 21,000      
        13th Month Pay: 10,500
  • If the employee is resigned he/she is entitled for a 13th month pay depending on the number of months he/she served the company.
Monthly Pay: 21,000
Number of Months Served before resignation: 9
9/12months x 21,000
13th Month Pay: 15,750
  • If the employee have multiple employers he/she is entitled for 13th month from of his/her private employees with the same computation if he/she completed the calendar year, a new employee or a resigned employee. In case you are working in the government and works part-time to a private company you will only receive a 13th month pay from your private employer.
  • If you are on Maternity Leave you are entitled for a 13th month pay based on the number of months you rendered before you filed your leave. You will still receive two-month worth of salary.
Now that we have covered almost everything you need to know about 13th Month Pay let’s now reveal the smart use of 13th Month. Know that 13th Month happens only once a year so better to think wisely on how you’ll spend it. Here are my 9 smart ways you can spend your 13th month pay.
1. Buy/Spend for your hobby
We all have that one activity we excel at. Whether it be calligraphy, hosting, singing, dancing or blogging. Your 13th Month will definitely be useful if you invest on new tools or upgrade your existing equipment. Take for example buying a better camera for your blog photography. This will definitely make your blog stand out more. You can also use your 13th month to take online class or seminars that could hone your skills more.  Another tip for bloggers like me is buying your own domain. Being a .com can make your blog more professional and trustworthy. is my choice of domain provider. It’s a portal made for Filipinos and I love that the customer service they provide. Their .com and .net is even on sale for only 299pesos!!!
2. Reward Yourself
You can also use your 13th month to reward yourself with something you have been eying for the longest time. There are a lot of sales happening around the metro and upgrading your wardrobe or shoe collection can be a good option. You can also get a laptop to get started with your freelance work or a better smartphone you’ve always wanted. There’s nothing wrong in rewarding yourself as long as there is right balance between everything.
3. Take a trip out-of-town or abroad
Cross one of your bucket list and go for a weekend getaway local or abroad. Many revealed how travelling can change your perspective in life. From my personal point-of-view the travels I did this year has been life-changing. I met new people and discovered a side of me I never thought exist. You can also devote yourself on a soul-searching trip with your 13th month pay. Try visiting for the best hotel deals you can avail. Or book your next trip now in this form.
4. Start a side business
Now is the best time to make a business idea come to life. You can use your extra cash to open up an online shop, a homemade goods business or a franchise of your favorite snack or treats. Or maybe you can try a buy and sell business that’s easy to operate. It doesn’t have to be big already. Just start with the money you have and make it grow through hard work and determination. Read below related posts:

  1. Must Try Side Business Ideas for Pinay Entrepreneurs
  2. Small Business for 20-something
  3. 5 Business Ideas to Start this -Ber Month
5. Invest for your future
Another smart use of your 13th month pay is through investing. You can open a mutual fund, direct stock, UITF or any other savings account of your choice and become an investor. In my post How Do You Picture Your Retirement Age? I have mentioned how important planning for the future is. The best time to invest and make your money work for you is now. Below are recommended investment vehicle you can open with your 13th month pay:
  • Open a FAMI-SALEF account. This is the first account I have opened ever. It is my first taste on the investment world and what made me into stock investing. I have a post on the step by step process on opening one, a thorough guide on the new investor’s portal and updates on my investment as well.
  • Open other Mutual Fund or UITF account. I have reviewed a number of mutual fund and UITF you can choose from. Most of these accounts require 5,000pesos to 10,000pesos only as initial investment. Make sure to do your own massive research before investing. CLICK HERE to read my first impression posts on some of the best Mutual Funds and UITF accounts in the country today.
  • Open a St. Peter Life Plan. Last August I decided to invest in a life plan too just like my parents and I am glad to report to you that I’m done in my first year of paying. I have a detailed post on why I believe St. Peter Life Plan is an investment you can read here. In case you want to know more about St. Peter Life Plan or interested to invest too then send me a quick message at I will forward to you the process on how to avail one.
6.  Save on your Emergency Fund
An emergency fund acts as money cushion to help in you in case of unwanted/unplanned situation. Whether it be sickness, death in the family, loss of job or other unforeseen events you have an extra money to use. In Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover it is said that emergency fund should be equal to 3-6 months of your expenses.
7. Pay-Off Your Debt
If you suffer from high-interest debts then this can be a good chance for you to finally be debt-free. Go pay debts that have long been giving you stress like credit card or 5/6 and make sure not to engage with debt anymore. You can read below posts on debt-management:

  1. Here's a Strategy to Pay Debt Even with Low Salary
  2. SavingsPinay Debt Series | Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5
8. Get a Life Insurance
If you want your 13th month to be ultimately useful for your benefit then why not talk to a financial adviser today and get yourself a life insurance. In case you already have one then you can use your bonus to increase your premium payment. Why you should get a life insurance? The main reason is because life insurance can replace your income if you die. Your dependents can still enjoy the kind of lifestyle they desire and your children can still fund their education thanks to life insurance. Life insurance is all about living a legacy and I know for a fact that it can be an intimidating financial decision to do. If you need expert financial advice you can contact Ms. Patty from Integra Financials at or quickly give a call at 521-6300 local 4462. Tell her that you want to know more about Life Insurance and how it could benefit you and your family or future family as read in SavingsPinay.
9. Buy gifts for your parents, family and friends
The essence of Christmas is expressing gratitude to the people around you so what a better way to spend you 13th month pay than buying some presents to them. I remember the Christmas in 2013 when I bought a sofa for our living room. I felt so much joy to be able to provide one for my family. Until today we are still using the sofa. My eldest sister on the other hand bought a 21-inch flat screen TV for us which made everyone in the household happy. I suggest going to Lazada since they have a lot of gadgets and items for sale this season. You’ll definitely find one for each of your family member.

Final Notes from SavingsPinay
Personally I plan to divide my 13th month into three major expenses: emergency fund, new investment (direct stock) and rewarding myself. I have been super blessed with event hosting gig for the month of December and I can’t thank God enough for the talent He gave me. So far I can definitely conclude that this year is the best year ever in terms of my financial life. Now I can’t wait for 2017 because I’ll surely double (and even triple) my hard work.
How about you? Did you get your 13th Month Pay already? How did you use it? Or How do you plan to spend your extra money?

This blog already moved to If you want the latest tips and stories on budget, savings, investments, productivity and making extra income go HERE instead.

SavingsPinay November Quick Recap + Extra Income Report

Friday, December 9, 2016
This blog already moved to If you want the latest tips and stories on budget, savings, investments, productivity and making extra income go HERE instead.

It's time to do another SavingsPinay Monthly Quick Recap. Just like the past two months I'll be including an Extra Income Report devoted solely on the side hustles I do. I hope doing this will inspire you to make money on the side too.

November flew by too quickly and I feel embarrassed for publishing only two posts. I was experiencing some kind of blogger's block for the past month and couldn't find the motivation to write or to publish any post. Hopefully the last month of 2016 will be a productive one to yours truly. Anyway let's begin doing a recap shall we?!

6 Top Reasons Why Pinoys Find It Difficult to Save Money from John

Thursday, December 1, 2016
This blog already moved to If you want the latest tips and stories on budget, savings, investments, productivity and making extra income go HERE instead.

Hi everyone! Today we have an amazing article from our SavingsPinay Guest Blogger of the Month

Two weeks ago I received an excellent article from John Sulit that I know most of SavingsPinay readers will enjoy. Now that we are in the last month of the current year it is recommended to take time and reflect on our spending habits once and for all. This article sent by John from iMoney Philippines will help up understand why most, if not all, Pinoys find it difficult to save money. Comment below and share your thoughts if you agree in any of the item John mentioned.

Hope you enjoy the post that John wrote for us!

A lot of Filipinos think that saving is difficult because it requires huge budget cuts. When you say savings, you automatically think of economizing, and not being able to fully enjoy your hard-earned money. However, it’s just a matter of having nerves of steel to save money automatically, and then reaping the rewards in the future. Admittedly, it’s not as easy as it sounds. Especially when you have all these things to factor in.

1. No money to save

As reported by the Philippine Statistics Authority last year, there are approximately 12 million Filipinos living below the poverty line. When you have no money to spend, naturally, you have no money to save. A large percentage of Filipinos are unemployed or living in poverty. Those who are employed and earning money are not earning enough to even have money left to save. 

2. Delaying saving

How many of you tell yourselves to start saving money, but then that day comes and you just shrug it off and postpone it to the next payday? You do this every time there’s an emergency that you need to pay for, or there’s a new product that you absolutely must have. Before you know it, a whole year has already passed by and still zero savings!

3. Bad spending habits

When you have money, you usually spend it extravagantly on yourself and your family. After all, that’s the reward of all your hard work. In just a matter of days, all the money that you have left just goes to pay your bills, with no extra to go to your savings account.
You use whatever cash you have left to pay off existing loans and your growing credit card debt. And then when that’s settled, you feel comfortable enough to start using your EastWest credit card again. You even apply for a new personal loan so that you can purchase those things you were not able to purchase before because you were paying off your debts. 

4. The need to help family and friends

The Filipino is all about the family. You work hard to provide a good home for your loved ones, send your kids to good schools, and make sure they have a pretty comfortable existence. 

But this amount of love and care also extends to your parents, siblings, cousins, nephews, and nieces, and even your goddaughters and godsons. When a family member is struggling financially, you will still take them in your care, even if you can no longer afford it. Because that’s just how Filipinos are; family always comes first.

5. Limited knowledge

When it comes to savings and investments, a lot of Filipinos lack education. Not everyone understands the different methods of money management, or ways you can invest your money, or how the banking sector works. Most Filipinos who don’t speak or understand English also have a hard time understanding bank terms and conditions and other complicated banking services and concepts.

Consequently, you end up just receiving your paychecks without exploring how else you can make your money grow. Oftentimes, you are intimidated by or scared of investments because of your impression that it’s only for wealthy people, or for people who are experienced in finance and money management. You get intimidated by figures too complex to learn and financial jargon too confusing to remember. 

6. Having no financial plan

When there’s no financial plan in place, there is no urgency to save money. You will not be forced to take a portion of your income to build an emergency fund because you don’t have an emergency fund to begin with. Most likely, the only financial plan that you have is to receive your salary every payday, settle your bills, and pay off some of your debts.

Stop scratching your head trying to figure out how your bill accumulated so much, instead start doing something about it with these strategies on how to pay off your credit card debt and get out of that financial slump as soon as you can.

Related Links:

About the Blogger

John is from iMoney Philippinesa financial comparison website that caters primarily to the Philippine market. It lets consumers find and compare various financial and consumer products like credit cards, mortgages, fixed deposit, broadband, and insurance policies. You can also go to their Learning Center for similar helpful finance articles

Final Words from SavingsPinay

Thank you so much John for making this wonderful post. I know you've shared some valuable information to all SavingsPinay readers too. To anyone who'd like to submit a guestpost you just like John you can send me an email at or message me via SavingsPinay Facebook Group.

This blog already moved to If you want the latest tips and stories on budget, savings, investments, productivity and making extra income go HERE instead.

Why I Closed my BPI Save-Up Automatic Savings + Insurance Account and How To Do It

Wednesday, November 23, 2016
This blog already moved to If you want the latest tips and stories on budget, savings, investments, productivity and making extra income go HERE instead.

Two years ago I opened my BPI Direct Save-Up plus Insurance account to kick-start my emergency fund. I have featured it in a first impression review as soon as I received my Info Card in February 2014 and a blog update in October 2014. Just like the others I got really excited with the word "insurance" alongside this particular savings account from BPI. I believe everyone would love to save and to get insured at the same time. But last November 4 I decided to deactivate or cancel my BPI Save-Up plus Insurance account.

Quick Review

The BPI Save-Up Automatic Savings + Insurance is a product of BPI. With this account you can:
  • Save without any initial deposit.
  • Easy enrollment via BPI Express Online. No need to go to nearest BPI branch and present your IDs.
  • Enable automatic deposit to your Save-Up account. Decide how much you want to save per payday or every month and it will be transferred from your savings account to your Save-Up account automatically.
  • Secure your savings without the ability to withdraw on your account. Instead of a Debit or ATM you will be given an Info Card which serves as your proof identification in case you'll be needing the insurance.
  • Earn interest rate of .500% per annum.
  • Monitor your BPI Save-Up Automatic Savings + Insurance online at You will see your account real-time together with the rest of you BPI accounts.
  • Get FREE Life Insurance. As I mentioned in my BPI-Direct Save-Up + Insurance First Impression Review this is the main reason why I enrolled for the account. The insurance makes your savings more than just the usual savings account. The amount of your coverage is equal to as much as 10x your account balance. 
  • Basic Life : 5X the account’s average Month-to-Date Average Daily Balance (MTD-ADB) of the past three calendar months with a maximum amount of P2,000,000 regardless of the number of accounts opened by the insured individual.
Meaning if your account balance is 100,000 for the past three calendar months you will get 500,000 basic life insurance.
Accidental Death: Additional 5X the account’s average Month-to-Date Average Daily Balance (MTD-ADB) of the past three calendar months up to P2,000,000 regardless of the number of accounts opened by the insured individual.
Meaning if your basic life insurance costs 500,000pesos then it will gain additional 5x the accounts MTD-ADB making you have almost 1million worth of insurance for accidental death.
Accidental Dismemberment: 5X the account’s average Month-to-Date Average Daily Balance (MTD-ADB) of the past three calendar months with a maximum amount of P2,000,000 independent of the number of accounts opened by the insured individual.
Meaning if your account balance is 100,000 for the past three calendar months you will get 500,000 basic life insurance.
Now with the above benefits and information you may wonder why I chose to close my BPI Save-Up Automatic Savings + Insurance account. Let me tell you that it wasn't an easy decision to be honest. I consider this account as one of the best ever because your savings comes with an insurance already. No other bank can give such advantage. But with sudden change in my situation, priorities and goals I decided it is time to bid goodbye to the account. 

Bye BPI Save-Up!!! :(
Why I Closed my BPI Save-Up Automatic Savings

Reason #1. Switch of payroll account

When I opened my BPI Save-Up Automatic Savings + Insurance account I was still working as a SEO Content Writer (January 2014). My ex-company use BPI for payroll account so opening the account is very easy as well as managing how much and how frequent I want to save. Now in my current job (got hired February 2014) we use Metrobank for payroll account so if I need to deposit monthly to my BPI in order to fund my BPI Save-Up Automatic Savings + Insurance account. It was too much of a hassle for me to be honest.

Reason #2. Lack of fund to sustain the account

Now because I switched bank account I have no means to sustain my BPI Save-Up account. Also the process it takes to fund the account is very stressful. First I need to withdraw from Metrobank  then deposit to my BPI account.  And let me tell you how the "automation" became a negative on my situation. I chose to be deducted 500pesos every 6th and 21st of the month automatically. This will not change unless you informed BPI. Now my current payroll is every 15th and 30th which is very different from my previous company. The situation became really chaotic because I don't know how to maintain my Save-Up account anymore. READ: All About Metrobank Direct Online Banking
Reason #3. Too much bank accounts

Another reason why I decided to cancel my account is to once and for all get my finances in order. Too much bank accounts is not helping me at all. I have two Metrobank Savings Account, one BPI Savings Account and the Save-Up Automatic + Insurance Account. I realized that I'm fine with just the Metrobank and the BPI Express savings.

Metrobank Debit #1 is my payroll account. I also use this to pay for my FAMI-SALEF account. 

Metrobank Debit #2 is my new emergency fund account. I automatically transfer a portion of my income monthly to this account from my payroll. The amount I have in this account even exceeded what I have in my BPI Save-Up Automatic + Insurance. 

BPI Savings Account is my dedicated bank account for extra income. Any money from event hosting or freelance writing I do is deposited to this account. You can read more information about this in my recent Monthly Quick Recap + Extra Income Report.

I thing these three bank accounts work hand-in-hand to give me a much secured financial situation. Now I don't have to be guilty that I am not saving enough. 

Reason #4. Investing my money is my current priority

Now that I'm done paying first year of my St. Peter Life Plan I am already entitled to a term life insurance as well as accidental death and dismemberment benefit from the company. READ HERE to know more. With this plus my Metrobank Debit #2 for new Emergency Fund and BPI Savings Account for Extra Income I am more than willing to invest on direct stock market next. I am still young and able so growing my money through proper investing is what I am prepared to do.

Pic I took when I received my BPI Save-Up Info Card

How to Close Your BPI Save-Up plus Insurance account?

I was surprised on how fast and easy closing a BPI Save-Up Automatic Savings + Insurance can be. It took me less than five minutes of explanation to a phone banker. Below is the step-by-step process I took plus additional information you need to know.
  1. Call the BPI Hotline 89-100. After the voice message press "0" so you'll be directed to a phone banker.
Note: I called around 5pm on a Friday and I still got to talk to someone on the phone. You can call anytime, any day to get your account closed.
  1. The phone banker will ask your personal information as well as your BPI Save-Up Automatic Savings + Insurance  account number. He/She will also ask you how much your current money on the account is for further verification.
Note: You don't need your Info Card to close your account. You can easily see your BPI Save-Up Automatic Savings + Insurance account number when you access your BPI Express Online account.
  1. Now tell the phone banker that you wish to close your BPI Save-Up Automatic Savings + Insurance account. He/She will then explain to you how the process goes.
    • It will take five working days for your Save-Up account to be closed. In my experience I called on a Friday and my account is already closed the following Monday. Your Save-Up account will disappear in your BPI Express Online dashboard.
    • Before they cancel your account you need to transfer whatever amount you have in your BPI Save-Up Automatic Savings + Insurance to your regular BPI Savings Account. This means you have to zero out your Save-Up account. Note: Whatever money you have in your BPI Save-Up Automatic Savings + Insurance will be automatically transferred to the BPI Savings Account you used in opening your Save-Up account upon cancellation. 
Things That I Learned

On my last update I mentioned how I learned the importance of automatic saving. I still do the automation on my new emergency fund. This is the main learning and habit that opening BPI Direct Save-Up brought in my financial life. I realized that automation is the real king.

Saving for an emergency fund does not rely on the bank account you use. Your commitment is the one that plays a big factor for you to build an emergency fund successfully.

The word "insurance" can be very enticing but in case the account doesn't work for you don't be afraid to close it and move on. The most important thing is that you have financial peace in your life.

Additional Information
  1. Every month your BPI Save-Up Automatic Savings + Insurance is not within the minimum balance you will be deducted an amount of 200pesos. Minimum maintaining balance is 1,000pesos.
  2. You can still apply for a BPI Save-Up Automatic Savings + Insurance even if you closed your first account. I'm not closing my doors to the account at all. Maybe in the future I will open a new one.
  3. You can also do the same step-by-step process in case you wish to change only the amount of automatic savings you input or the frequency of automation. For example upon opening the account you decided to automatically transfer 1,000pesos every 25th of the month. Now you want to you want to increase or to decrease the amount of money you save or the date when your savings is automatically deducted. All you have to do is call the BPI Hotline and talk to the phone banker.
  4. You don't have to go to BPI branch for closing your account and no need to prepare any other document.
Final Words from SavingsPinay

My decision to close my BPI Direct Save-Up may come as a surprise to some of you. I do still consider opening the BPI Direct Save-Up plus Insurance as one of my big financial decision and I'm glad I did it. The account may work wonder for some but at the moment I don't see any reason to continue it. Assess your financial situation right now and if something is not working don't be afraid to resolve it. Let me know your experience with BPI Direct Save-Up plus Insurance account and whether you successfully built an emergency fund with it. :)

Related Articles:

What can you say about my decision to close my BPI Save-Up Automatic Savings + Insurance account? 
Do you think I made the right decision? 
How's your savings so far??

This blog already moved to If you want the latest tips and stories on budget, savings, investments, productivity and making extra income go HERE instead.