5 Practical Tips for Apartment Hunting During a Pandemic

Saturday, July 17, 2021

30 comments
Looking for a place to rent when you're coming from a different city thousand miles away can be difficult. Moreover, when you are in a global pandemic, finding the best apartment is downright impossible.

Aside from the fact that you cannot check out the properties physically, you're generally left speculating what neighborhood would be ideal for you and what is the prevailing and reasonable rental rates in the area.

Depending on where you want to start a new life and how much you can afford to shell out for the rent, you can get many options from the internet. All it takes is knowing what to research and how to reach out to. You should have no problem finding that perfect getaway to call home in the new city.






So, how do you decide what the correct choice is? 

Figuring out how to rent an apartment begins with some careful planning. You don't want to be in a neighborhood that doesn't have what you need, or the new place requires long travel.

Don't get carried away with your excitement. Take enough time to evaluate your options. You have to do it right the first time to get the compatible home in no time at all.

Check on these practical tips to help you get started.

1. Know your budget.

How much you want to (and can) spend is one of the essential considerations before even thinking of moving out. The general assumption: 30% of your monthly income (before taxes) should be spent on rent.

Once you know how much to allocate for rent, conduct online research to get a feel of the average rental rates in the neighborhood. Apartments with superior accommodations and amenities have higher prices. If you want to go with this lifestyle, you should be willing to pay a higher price. And that means cutting on other expenses.

Moreover, apartments with unusually low rental compared to other flats are usually too good to be true and considered a red flag.

Either way, you should establish a budget that works for you. A budgeting application like Dollarbird or Mint will help you identify unnecessary expenses so that you can fast-tracked your plan of owning a new house.





2.  Figure out which location is ideal for you.

If your work matters and you always want to come early, you should choose nearby apartment communities. If a long commute doesn't bother you, you will find lower rentals in suburban areas with a reasonable commute.

On the other hand, opting for urban living requires you to compare the cost of commuting and owning and maintaining a car. The process will give you the best option that will help you increase your savings.

Choose neighborhoods you know are safe. Ask locals if you are unfamiliar with the area. The Local Police Department may have information about crime rates and security protocols. Their website is just a click away.

Check out Neighborhood Scout for data about crime rates and commute information in a specific area.



3.  Use the best apartment hunting website.

Online rental websites are relevant more than ever amid the global pandemic. Zumper is the best place to start your apartment hunting journey. You can find their listings to be comprehensive and are arranged according to location. 

Millions of renters use Zumper to find houses, rooms, condos, or apartments for rent. Their inventory is updated in real-time, so you will always see new rentals as soon as they are available.

What is good about Zumper is that rental applications and credit card reports are submitted online. So, less human interaction means less probability of virus infection.

Take note of what you will find online in terms of price, location, amenities, etc. This will make it easier to decide which places you want to consider.


4.  Take a virtual tour.

When you already have several choices, schedule a virtual tour. Landlords and rental companies are excited to find renters. You shouldn't have trouble finding one who will give you a "walk-through" of the unit via video chat.

Let your guide shows the essential parts of the unit – the living room, dining room, bedroom, etc., and the full view of the house from the outside. Ask questions about anything and everything, like where you do your laundry and take out your trash.


5.  Make sure you get the best apartment deal.

Your apartment hunting journey is finally over. But, before submitting that rental application and signing the lease contract, evaluate if you are getting your money's worth from the transaction.

Calculate all your expenses, including the incidental ones such as water, electricity, gas, sewer, garbage, among others. The rental cost should be the average in the area. If your monthly income can sustain all your expenses, follow whatever you decide.


Apartment Hunting in Philly

Are you still unsure which part of the United States you would like to settle? Try apartment hunting in Philadelphia, P.A.

While social distancing restrictions changed the landscape of apartment rental in Philly, just like in many big cities, there are still options for Philly renters.

Millennials as apartment owners are on the rise. With the limited face-to-face interaction, landlords and rental institutions use online means to reach out to probable renters.

In recent months, there has been an increase in demand for apartment rentals due to the influx of people to Philly, who are working remotely, so expect relatively changing rental prices during this period.

Recent data by Zumper shows the average rent for a studio apartment and a 1-bedroom apartment increased by 4% to $1,095 and 4% to $1,350, respectively. The average rent for a 2-bedroom apartment remained flat.

The above figures indicate a demand for single occupant-type accommodation which can be attributed to the migration of Americans to Philly, who are not office-based workers.

Now is the best time to take the plunge. Get your dream apartment in Philly now, when rental rates are still affordable.


Looking for an apartment in this time of the pandemic is stressful. Take the time to put in extra effort during the apartment hunting phase to make sure you get the best fit for your budget, needs, and lifestyle.

Thanks to modern technology, the entire rental process can be accomplished in an hour or less. The online transaction is safe and convenient. 

Brush up on these five practical tips and get ready to move into your new space and explore the neighborhood once the pandemic is over.

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5 Simple Tips on Living a Minimalist Lifestyle in the Philippines

Thursday, July 8, 2021

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Filipino families love to hoard! It’s not even speculation but a fact. Your nanay, tatay, or both surely hoard some stack of things that they don’t use anymore. 

And the worst part is, they don’t throw these things, thinking that they will use them in the future. This makes it very difficult to live a minimalist lifestyle in a typical Filipino home.

It’s difficult to declutter, but it’s not impossible. Here are simple tips on how to live a minimalist lifestyle in the Philippines.



1. Decluttering doesn’t happen overnight

It takes a lot of time to sort out your things. Just because you set your mind to it doesn’t mean it will happen. You have to set realistic goals, objectives, and timelines to make it happen. It’s a long-term project that can take weeks and even months depending on how many things and clutter you have.


2. Adjusting your lifestyle slowly

As much as a minimalist lifestyle is great, it’s not for everyone. It can be a major struggle to adjust to this lifestyle because you downsize everything that you’re used to. To make sure you can adapt to this for good, don’t force yourself into it. Adjust to this lifestyle slowly but surely. Make small changes every day until you can live with this in the long run.

3. You’re bound to make mistakes but keep trying

As with any major change in your life, you’re bound to make mistakes as you transition into living minimalist. However, don’t get discouraged and keep trying. Forgive yourself for not throwing that insignificant shirt that you don’t use anymore but find sentimental value to it. What’s important is to lock your sights on the goal and stick to it no matter what.



4. Resist the temptation, especially on sale items!

We’ve all been there. Especially during the sale season, it can be very tempting to replace old items or add new decors to your house. Whatever happens, resist the temptation to purchase unnecessary items. Perhaps, you may even avoid going to the mall or log in to online shops to guarantee that you don’t spend unwantedly.

5. Move into a new house with just enough space

If you want to fully start anew with your new lifestyle in your new home, move into a house with just enough space for your downsized and decluttered belongings. This way, you don’t have to fill the extra space with unnecessary items and decors that will just result in more clutter. For houses that offer just enough space to live minimalist, choose Bellavita.

BellaVita Sakto Gusto mo, Sakto Sa’yo! For more inquiries about BellaVita homes and locations, visit BellaVita, or send a message through Facebook.

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How to enroll your SSS Disbursement Account in My.SSS Portal

Thursday, July 1, 2021

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Are you planning to file for a SSS Benefit? Or you want to avail of the SSS Salary or Calamity loan?

You must enroll your bank account or e-wallet to My.SSS portal correctly so that the proceeds of your benefits or loans will be credited to your registered account without any problems or delays.

If you are a UMID-ATM cardholder, there is no need for online enrollment. SSS will automatically deposit the funds from your benefits or loan into your UMID-ATM card.





How do you enroll your SSS disbursement account?

The SSS disbursement account enrollment is done in six easy steps:
  1. Open your My.SSS account;
  2. Click the E-Services > Disbursement Account Enrollment Module (DAEM);  

  3. Read the reminders on account enrollment and tick the box to signify that you understood the provisions > Proceed;

  4. Select an enrollment option (either Bank or E-wallet) and fill up the required fields correctly. (Tip: Uploaded supporting documents must contain your account name, account number, and bank name, including e-wallets such as Gcash);

  5. Tick the box to express  your agreement to the Data Collection and Usage clause > Enroll disbursement account; (Tip: Double-checked the encoded information before clicking “Enroll Disbursement Account.” to avoid delays in crediting your benefit or loan proceeds);
  6. Check your email for an acknowledgment letter from SSS and another letter informing you of the approval or disapproval of your enrollment request.


Additional Notes:
  1. The enrolled bank account and mobile number are valid and active to avoid payment delays;
  2. In case of incorrect disbursement account details, re-crediting your benefit or loan proceeds may take up to 30 days upon correction of the account details.
  3. The loan proceeds is only credited to the member’s enrolled PESONet-participating bank account;

Final thought

I encourage members to familiarize themselves with the DAEM and other online services of SSS. This innovative project is better and more accessible for members to get their transactions done, especially when applying for SSS benefits and loans.

After all, that is really what the institution would like to achieve when they shifted to online services through their slogan, ExpreSSS – “mas pinadali,” “mas pinasimple,” and “mas pinabilis” for all stakeholders.

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Social Security System Online Application and Services You Need to Know

Sunday, June 27, 2021

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Modern technology has made our life so much easier. We are now in an era where routines are fast, safe, and convenient.

Through a device and an internet connection, we can shop, pay our bills, and order food online, in the comfort of our homes.

Amidst the health crisis, when our movements are restricted, we turn to the internet for our financial transactions and other tasks.




We are grateful that government agencies like the Social Security System (SSS) continuously upgrade their processes to provide a user-friendly experience to their stakeholders.

You don’t need to risk yourself for a COVID 19 infection, experience the long queue or brave the traffic to apply for an SSS number, or check if you are qualified to get an SSS loan.

By accessing the SSS website, you may finish as many tasks as you want - faster and more convenient, anytime and anywhere.


So, what are the SSS online application and services available online?



Just stay indoor and make use of the online services of SSS. You can do almost all your SSS transactions via the My.SSS portal. Check the list below.

Member’s Info:
  • Member’s Details
  • Update Contact Info
  • Change Password
  • Update Security Questions
  • Employment History
  • Appointment System
  • UMID/SSS ID Details

Inquiry
  • Benefits
  • Contributions
  • Eligibility
  • Loans Info
  • RTC/CPO Reference Number Inquiry
  • Sickness/Maternity  

E-services /Social Security System Online Application
  • Benefit Re-disbursement Module
  • Disbursement Account Enrollment Module
  • Apply for Salary Loan
  • Apply for Calamity Loan
  • Apply for Unemployment Benefit
  • Apply for Pension Loan
  • Adjustment of Maternity Benefit
  • Request for Member Data Change ( Simple Correction)
  • Request Records
  • Submit Maternity Notification
  • Submit Maternity Benefit Application
  • Submit Retirement Application
  • Submit Funeral Claim Application
  • Simulated Retirement Calendar
  • PESO Fund
  • Flexi Fund

Payment Reference Number (PRN)/Contributions
  • PRN Payments
  • Generate PRN

PRN Loans


Final Thoughts

In today’s fast-paced environment, we are constantly challenged to keep improving and adapting to change.

I encourage all SSS stakeholders to visit the Social Security System website and create their My.SSS account so that they may enjoy that unique SSS customer experience.

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How to avoid the 1% Convenience Fee When Cashing in your GCash Wallet at 7-Eleven Store’s CLIQQ Kiosk or Mobile App

Thursday, June 24, 2021

51 comments
The pandemic changes how we do our financial transactions. Online banking and mobile wallets are essentials more than ever, in this time when we need to stay at home to avoid face-to-face interaction.

Because of the online trend, mobile wallets like the Gcash app experience a surge in usage and transactions. 

With the increase in Gcash users, over-the-counter cash-in transactions in the kiosk and other cash-in channels have increased in the same magnitude.



Avoiding charges for Gcash transaction in 7 Eleven Store



Call it a business strategy.  But effective May 17, 2021, Gcash users will have to pay a 1% convenience fee for over-the-counter cash-in made via the 7-Eleven’s CLIQQ kiosk or mobile app nationwide.

The fee is computed based on the total cash-in multiplied by 1% and automatically deducted from the cash-in proceeds of the Gcash account.

Additionally, the existing 2% convenience fee for transactions exceeding P8,000.00 remains in effect.


Convenient and Safe Cash Money Transfer

As an entrepreneur, I paid most of my bills online. GCash makes it convenient and safe for me to settle my outstanding obligations on time.

But there is one limitation. Gcash users are not allowed to put in huge money in the e-wallet. So, a regular Cash-In transaction is the order of the day.



Now, with another burden looming on the horizon, the extra fee would put a dent in our tight budget. The convenience fee may look like a small amount but may become material in the future.

Saving in whatever form and means is essential in this challenging time.


How to get away with the 7-Eleven’s Convenience Fee

I found a way to avoid the convenience fee when using 7-Eleven’s CLIQQ kiosk or mobile app for my cash-in transaction.

Cash-in to your CIMB Gsave account and Withdraw the cash-in amount. The proceeds will automatically credit your Gcash wallet.

Note: The convenience fee of cash-in to your CIMB Bank account is still waived at this time.


GSave Account

The partnership of Gcash and CIMB Bank facilitated the creation of the GSave account, which can be opened and maintained straight from the GCash app.

GSave account holders enjoy higher interest rates as compared to commercial banks. Moreover, GSave clients enjoy no initial deposit, no maintaining balance, no lock-in period, and a convenient fund transfer option to and from their GCash wallet.


GCash Mastercard

Do you want to withdraw funds from your Gcash account for personal use? Or you cannot shop online because it only accepts debit or credit cards as a payment option?

Now, Gcash users with fully verified accounts may avail of a GCash Mastercard, which they can use to withdraw cash from BancNet or Mastercard ATMs nationwide. They can also use the GCash Mastercard for in-store purchases or online shopping.

Your Gcash account is more flexible. You have an e-wallet and a physical card at the same time.

You can get the Gcash Mastercard from any of the following channels:
  1. GCash app
  2. Online GCash Mastercard application
  3. Selected partner convenience stores

How to make a cash-in transaction via 7-Eleven’s CLIQQ app without paying the 1% convenience fee

To avoid the service fee, you need to have a GSave account linked to your Gcash wallet.

  1. Download the CIMB Bank App and create a bank account;
  2. Go to the bank’s home page and click “Link my GSave account”;
  3. Follow the succeeding instructions until your Mobile Personal Identification Number (MPIN) is generated*;
  4. In the bank’s Homepage, tap  “Cash-In” > “Over the Counter Cash-In” > 7-Eleven;

  5. Select your GSave account number and enter the Cash-In Amount;

  6. Tap “Next”; (Note: The app will generate a QR code that summarizes the Cash-In details);
  7. Present the QR Code to the selected 7-Eleven store and pay the Cash-In amount;
  8. Go to your GCash app > Sign-in > Tap "GSave" > “Withdraw”;

  9. Key in the amount that you want to Cash-In to your Gcash account. The proceeds is credited in real-time.

Additional Notes
  1. The MPIN is used to access your CIMB Bank account. Never give out he MPIN to anybody to prevent unauthorized access to your bank account.
  2. The maximum cash-in amount is P10,000 per barcode. You are only allowed  up to five barcodes per day. So, it would help if you planned out your cash-in transactions accordingly.

Final Thoughts

Electronic money transfer channels have been around. It is only now, however, that they have become an integral part of our lives. Companies like GCash allow sending money to anyone and anywhere.

With the increased popularity of the service, most electronic wallet companies impose charges on selected transactions. It is all the more difficult for Filipinos to do what little they have to survive this pandemic.

I have found a way to save a little but believe me, the savings will improve my revenue in the future.

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Win Over 15 Million Worth of Prices at Shopee’s 6.6 and 7.7 Mid-Year Sale TV Special

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

22 comments
Southeast Asia and Taiwan’s leading e-commerce platform, Shopee, will treat its loyal customers to amazing deals, prizes, and a show at the Shopee 6.6 - 7.7 Mid-Year Sale TV Special, Shopee’s biggest TV Show to date.

With a fiesta-themed celebration, Filipinos can watch the TV special live from Araneta Coliseum, by tuning in to GMA-7 and Shopee Live on June 6, 2:00-3:30 PM.


Shopaholics may avail themselves of free shipping, daily ₱1 deals, up to 20% cashback, and other exciting surprises at the mid-year event until June 07.

Highlights of the Mid-Year Sale TV Special

1.  Over 15 million pesos worth of prizes is at stake.
  • 3 winners of Shopee Shake sessions with a cash prize of P300,000 and a Chery Tiggo 2; P500,000 and a Chery Tiggo 2 or a BMW X3; 
  • 1 winner of P1,000,000 jackpot prize for the Shopee Milyonaryo segment;
  • 1 winner of a house and lot sponsored by Frontrow;
  • Over ₱7,000,000 worth of vouchers from Shopee;
2.  Exciting performances from local and international celebrities
  • Treasure, Korea’s hottest rising boy group will perform their hit songs such as “I Love You,” “MMM,” and “My Treasure”;
  • Shopee brand ambassador Willie Revillame will be hosting the show;
  • Several local TV personalities will provide entertainment such as Jennylyn Mercado; Rhian Ramos; Michele Gumabao; Glaiza de Castro; Mikael Daez; Mark Herras; Gloc-9; Sef Cadayona; Skusta Clee; Flow G; Mark Maglasang; and finally John Lloyd Cruz, who is set to make his TV comeback since his hiatus in 2017.
3.  Irresistible Deals from leading brands
  • Exclusive flash deals from the go-to household, food, and tech brands such as Huawei, Reckitt, GSK, Pampers, Domino's, Bonchon, Century, SC Johnson, OPPO, Potato Corner, Globe, Smart, and Moonleaf.

Shopee 6.6-7.7 Mid-Year Sale

From June 06-07, shoppers can enjoy free shipping with no minimum spend, daily ₱1 deals, and 20% cashback on several categories;

Additional perks await Shoppee users when they top up their ShopeePay wallets through their debit cards and other online channels:
  • A chance to win ₱20,000 by topping up a minimum of ₱300 on June 5;
  • Free shipping with no minimum spend and up to 66% coins cashback on June 6;
  • ₱10 worth of data for only ₱1 on June 6;
  • Up to 25% cashback on bills payment;
  • ₱1 Deals from brands such as McDonald’s, Jollibee, Chowking, and more
For more information on the Shopee 6.6-7.7 Mid-Year Sale, please click here.

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Cashless Scan and Pay Method Using ShopeePay

Friday, May 21, 2021

14 comments

We should appreciate the benefits of the cashless payment system now more than ever. It allows us to pay for our purchases by directly debiting our bank accounts or mobile wallets. This new payment scheme is safer and efficient, considering the health risks we are facing now because of the pandemic.


As more Filipinos use digital payment channels, ShopeePay, Shopee's mobile wallet, partners with ten lifestyle brands to provide users contactless in-store payments. Consumers can use the ShopeePay app at National Bookstore, Penshoppe, Sebago, Kipling, Digital Walker, MemoXpress, Puregold, Newstar Shopping Mart, OXGN, and Regatta. 

 

How to Pay using the ShopeePay app

 

Paying thru the ShopeePay app is easy. You don't need to carry cash to buy your favorite pants or shoes. Just follow the following steps to complete your shopping transaction:

 

Here are the two easy ways to Scan and Pay using ShopeePay:

 


A. Partner merchant scans user's QR code:

 

  1. The user opens the Shopee app and taps the "Scan" icon
  2. Click 'Generate QR Code'
  3. Enter ShopeePay PIN
  4. User shows the generated QR cde for the cashier to scan and waits for confirmation of payment 

B. User scans the partner merchant's QR code:  

 

  1. The user opens the Shopee app and taps the "Scan" icon;
  2. Scan the QR code prominently displayed on the shop's tabletop card;
  3. Key in the amount to pay and tap "Confirm."
  4. The user enters a 6-digit ShopeePay PIN and waits for confirmation of payment.

For a more rewarding experience, users who pay with ShopeePay via QR code for in-store purchases will get 20% coins rebate* (up to a maximum of ₱500 coins) until June 20, 2021.

 

Moreover, ShopeePay users can conveniently top up their accounts using their bank cards or other available channels to enjoy in-store payments more. 


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Users can also enjoy the following benefits from May 24 - 27 during Shopee's 6.6 ShopeePay Cashless Festival deals: 

 

  • Free shipping vouchers - (with ₱199 min spend and daily 15% cashback deals)
  • ₱1 deals from your popular brands (such as Jollibee, McDonald's, Chowking, Bonchon, and Domino's 
  • ₱10 data for ₱1 for new digital buyers, and ₱5 load for ₱1 for all users
  • Up to 25% cashback on Bills Payment 

Please click here to know more information about Shopee's Scan and Pay. Check out the details about the 6.6 ShopeePay Cashless Festival thru this linkYou may download the Shopee app via the App Store or Google Play. 


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