Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Current State of My Affairs

I started this blog thinking that it will feature only my financial progress (or decline). Little did I know that it would also become my diary and travel blog --without pictures it looks very boring so I'll post everything later. Anyway, to start off with the financial aspect, let me give an update:

Investments and Receivables:
Metrobank Easy Tuition Savings Plan: PhP100,000 (by February 2017 -- no witholding tax)
Prudentialife Education Refund: PhP39,000 (by October 2009)
Personal Loans: 300usd (by July 2008)

Debts and Payables:
Citibank Savings Loan: PhP13,602 (PhP2267 monthly until October 2008)
Metrobank Easy Tuition Savings Plan: PhP49,980 (33++ every 3 months until November 2011)
Personal Debt (eek! I hate this, gotta sell my videocamera soon): PhP2+++

100,000 VND (about PhP260) and some change in Philippine Peso.

Darn! My savings looked way lot better back in the Philippines. But hey, I can't be discouraged. I gotta continue with the financial plans I started to have back home. I arrived with a few hundred dollars at this country and I intend to leave with a more than that in my pocket (literally because I don't use a wallet). However, first things first.

Viet Nam doesn't really have much public transportation, locals rely on bicycles and motorbikes to get around. Buses are rare and have few local routes. Children are trained at an early age to ride bikes and it is a common sight to see a toddler loosely holding a parent's shirt while riding a motorbike. I had no knowledge of this when I set out for Viet Nam. I have heard that there are a lot of motorbikes on the streets but the concept of a lack of public transportation was far from my mind. Motorbike taxis cost about 2usd and regular taxi cabs cost about 4usd for 6 kilometers. Unfortunately for us, my cousin, his girlfriend, and I, are not allowed to ride a motorbike as per an agreement with my other cousin's ex-girlfriend. That was our downfall. Furthermore, the Vietnamese practice siesta --- like the Europeans. Filipinos are familiar with the concept, but it is virtually unheard of in our native country for shopowners, schools, and even some companies to have a brief shutdown for this reason. Because of that, the school were I work closes for 5 hours and resumes at 430pm. Therefore, we take a taxi 4 times a day for 6 days a week. For an average work month with 26 work days, we spend a minimum of 325usd per month excluding weekly trips to the market and other shops. By the way, the house rent costs 200usd and my salary is 500usd. My cousin's girlfriend also works but between the two of us, we can barely make ends meet. Anyway, to make the very long story short:
1. We're moving to a new apartment ASAP (May 20 at the earliest) : We need to pay 8,400,000 vnd (about PhP21,895.8761) by May 5 and pay Ms. Khanh $100 by June 5. That's 3 months rent plus 1 month deposit
2. We're left with no choice but to rent a motorbike for a month, that will cost about 600,000vnd (about PhP1,500) which is way cheaper than the cab fare

In a couple of days we've made some big decisions that will really have a big impact on our stay in this country. Time will tell if we've made good ones. The new apartment includes a contract for one year and will tie us to this province until the 20th of May next year. In addition to that, I have to learn how to ride a motorbike in case of emergencies (i.e. my cousin falling asleep and failing to pick us up).

There's more than a week to go before payday but we're on the verge of bankruptcy. Luckily, friends are around to feed us and we'll be able to get through next week.

I'll give an update in a few days once we've refigured out how to stretch our money for next month. By June, I'll have a better savings plan and I'll be able to send money home to reduce my debts and help my parents out.

*About work:
1. Beginning May I'll be with the Natural English School as a part time teacher only and will be making $12 per class (1.5 hours)
2. 3 times a week, Thea (my cousin's girlfriend and I) tutor a friend's daughter and make $6 each per session
3. I'll be in training for a teaching position at another EFL school - will update salary once I finish the teaching demo

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