How I broke Free from Credit Card Debt

In a few week’s time, it will be my fourth year here in Dubai. Four years of working in a foreign country and enduring the scorching summers and pleasant winters in the Middle East.

Out of those four years, I spent half being neck deep in debt. Credit Card debt. Just like many other OFW’s who came here, I too fell into the debt trap not long after I started working and getting my salary. After filling out my bank forms, I was also given a credit card application form which I was more than happy to sign. They gave me a good credit limit. I thought to myself back then, I can handle this. I will not use this for anything other than emergencies. I didn’t know any better.

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A Beginner’s Guide to Minimalism

Contrary to popular belief, minimalism is not about owning X number of items only, or not owning this and that, and living poorly. There are no set of rules or restrictions on what you can or cannot own, or a maximum number of shirts allowed in your closet. It does not work like that.

Minimalism is a tool to rid yourself of life’s excess in favor of focusing on what’s important—so you can find happiness, fulfillment, and freedom. – Joshua Field Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus of The Minimalists.

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Ghost Month’s here…Should you be scared?

Every year, the arrival of the Ghost Month spooks a lot of people, specially traders and investors in the PSEI. It’s not the seasoned traders that get spooked, even the newcomers and would be investors get scared too with all the stories going around about Ghost Month. But what exactly is the Ghost Month and why are investors and traders so spooked about it?

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Dubai Eats: Chinese Food Indulgence on a Budget

I’m so sick of eating at fancy, over-priced Asian restaurants. For a bowl of noodles, and 4 pieces of dim sum, I would have to fork out up to AED 100 just to satisfy my craving.

There were times when I craved for Hot & Sour soup, but the thought of spending AED 30 for a temporary high is overwhelming as that is almost Php 500 for a bowl, which is enough to feed an entire family back home.

After living in Dubai for more than 3 years, the long search for affordable authentic Chinese food in Dubai is finally over! Thanks to the recommendation of my Chinese friend who has a discerning palate like mine.

Noodle Bowl is located at Dune Center, Al Diyafah, Dubai.

The menu is huge from soups to braised dumplings to noodles, not to mention the rice dishes, stir fried dishes, and traditional congee. There’s a number of vegetable, egg, chicken, beef dishes which made it so difficult for me to choose. The long list of steamed & deep fried dim sums, and cheung feung (or cheung fan) is so appetizing. Ordering was a struggle!

Out of curiosity, I tried Salted Egg Chicken (AED 39) because anything with salted egg is very popular now in Singapore and Malaysia. The quantity is more than enough for one. It was very good.20180803_173103

Cheung Fan is a must. We had Steamed Prawn Cheng Fan (AED 23). Honestly they hit a home run with its flavour.20180803_173015.jpg

Another dish I liked was the Salt & Pepper Squid (AED 39). It is so simple yet  so good. I will come back for this.20180803_173105_001

Their Hot & Sour soup was satisfying and cost only (AED 15), good for one. I wish it had a stronger sour flavour though. The Spicy Wanton in Soy Sauce (AED 20) was also good but not as spicy as I hoped it would be.20180803_173219

The ambiance is not anything special but the portion of some dishes are quite big and definitely good for sharing, and the authenticity and quality are exceptional.

It was our first time here and we enjoyed the food that I totally ignored the fact that the customer service was below average. That or maybe I was just on a good mood.

Overall, I would definitely recommend this to everyone who likes Chinese and Malaysian cuisine without breaking the bank. Next time I go I will have their Beef Ho-Fen and Ha Kau Prawn Dumpling.

Would you like to recommend other inexpensive Chinese or Japanese restaurants for us to visit? Please feel free to comment! We would love to hear from you.

15 Kuripot Things to do in Bangkok

Last year, the budget airline Cebu Pacific Air messed up (long story) my booking on my trip to South Korea. To make up for the stress and sleepless nights, they offered a free short-haul trip to any destination of my choice, valid for 1 year. I had no plans of traveling to Bangkok this year but nobody wants to waste a free ticket!

I have always wanted to see the temples in Thailand so might as well book it for the summer. I called the airline and confirmed a 5-day trip to Thailand in between my annual vacation in the Philippines. The fare is free but I had to shoulder terminal fee and taxes, which was Php1,620.
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My Ukay-Ukay Haul

I was in Ilocos Norte in time for Father’s Day and the family had a simple get-together over a DIY shabu-shabu for lunch. It fell on a Sunday so, naturally, we were slacking after the meal. The 3 ladies in the family planned to go Ukay-Ukay shopping because, why not?

The kuripot in me just had to give in; after all, clothes shopping in Dubai don’t come cheap. Also, I kind of missed the thrill of rummaging through racks of clothes in random colours and styles.

“One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”

But before going crazy, I asked myself these questions:
1. What type of work clothes do I need?
2. How many Thursday (aka dress down clothes) do I need?
3. How much money am I willing to spend?

I mentioned in my previous blog that I only have 2 pairs of work pants. They came in generic colours black and blue. I thought if I can fit into (after the lechon feast we had in Cebu a few days back) something cheap, I will definitely buy work pants… again in black and/or blue.

I also wanted to have new work tops that can also be worn as casual tops. A button down shirt would suffice, I thought. Or maybe something white that I can use with pants or skirt.

For Thursday clothes, I wanted something that I can use during the summer. A light dress or tunic that can be worn with flats would be good, or maybe jeans as I have not worn jeans for years because it is difficult to find a pair that fits!

I decided to have a budget of Php 2,000 max for shopping. Nothing more than that!

I kept in mind only the things I was willing to spend on, as I knew it would be difficult to make wise decisions when I am faced a hundred different choices!

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So there we were in Jekol’s Ukay-Ukay, in a sea of used clothes in a small room with no proper ventilation, no fitting room, and with only one mirror located at the far end. I felt excited.

The humidity and mess add to the charm.

Shopping here takes a lot of patience!

Dresses cost Php 280 each, while tops cost Php 200. Work pants Php 280, while jeans were a whopping (as per Ukay-Ukay standards) Php 380, except for Levi’s which were for Php 500!

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Shorts and skirts were between 200-280, depending on material and length. There were so many choices!

If you’re not willing to spend hours, you will lose the chance to get good quality – almost brand new – items. You have to examine the material & make, and imagine yourself wearing it as you may need to find something to pair it with. This is the reason I go for generic colours – I am too lazy to mix & match!

The place was packed as, apparently, they displayed new stocks today. My lucky day, I guess.

I tried on the clothes on top of my clothes to see if they fit well. Also, I made sure the buttons are complete, and checked for holes & stains.

Some clothes looked really pretty & stylish but looked old & worn out. I spotted a number of branded clothes too but they did not fit me well, so I skipped.

I got myself Zara & G2000 work pants, 2 casual/work tops, 2 jeggings (one is Uniqlo) and 1 H&M tunic. I paid 1,900 for all 7 pieces.

My patience were put to good use today and i’m so proud of myself! Quality versus quantity, always.

Fancy thrift shopping too? Any recommendation where I can go next? Tell me about your favourite Ukay-Ukay find!