Saturday, April 30, 2011

Wallet Quotient

I'm an impulse buyer sometimes. If I see the "sale", "discount", "buy 1 get 1" signs my feet would have a mind of its own and will walk to that store. The online shopping era made it worst.

Budgetting for  our wedding is yet another challenge for me. I need to discipline myself with my own iron hands, lol. I have to rewire my brain to keep me from splurging. This is what this post would be about. How I rewired my brain.

I'm sure you've heard of  IQ (Intelligence Quotient) and EQ (Emotional Quotient). We'll have a new
acronym, WQ.


Before I proceed, I want you to forget about wedding expenses for a while. Imagine you can use your wedding money on anything. On any BIG purchase (that's not wedding-related). What would that BIG purchase be? What is that one thing that you really really want. That you've been dreaming of getting. Think about it for a few minutes or for an hour or days if you need to then come back and finish reading this.

To "somehow" (i'm still an occasional impulse buyer, i'm not perfect, lol) achieve a high WQ I have learned/tried 2 techniques. Matter over Money and Life Energy. Nah, don't be intimidated by the terminologies. I just named it as such to sound cool, haha (except for Life Energy, that's not mine). Just try and read it and you might find this helpful not just during your wedding preparation but handling your finances in general.

Matter over Money.

So have you thought of your BIG purchase? That one thing you really want to have? Remeber that because that would be your "Matter".

I love to travel so mine, let' say,  would be a 12-day Mediterranean Cruise. It's really not that but i'll keep the real one a secret so as not to jinx it, lol, but I really want to see Santorini too so let's use the Mediterranean Cruise just for argument's sake. So anyway, it would cost me $2,329 from Carnival Cruise ( Or if we convert it to Philippine peso (let's pretend the exchange rate is 44 to a $1) that would be Php102,476.

Let's say I really want to have that 100,000 wedding gown from a famous couturier. The sketch of my dress looks really awesome that I can just imagine myself wearing it and all my friends and relatives and exes jaws would drop mesmerized by how stunning and gorgeous I am in that gown. Ahh, I'll feel like  Kate Middleton 100x over!

Ok, time to wake up.

So the dress is 100,000. My dream vacation is 102,476. I'll just have to add 2,476 and that dream vacation would be mine! Hmm...  So, should I choose the 100,000 wedding gown that I would just wear for a day or should I spend the money on my dream vacation which I would enjoy for 12 days? How important is it for me to have all my exes jaw to drop? How important is it for me to be admired, oohed and aahed at? How important is it for me to make people jealous of my dress?

That's the reason why I decided to just get a cheap but presentable wedding gown. I have already mentioned this on my previous blog, but yes, I always view money in terms of the places I could visit, the new countries I could travel with that X amount of money. I call this my Matter over Money.

I'm sure you're familiar with Mind over Matter. Where you control the Matter with your Mind. So it kinda is the same deal but with Matter over Money you control the Money with your Matter. In my case, my "Matter" is my Meditteranean Cruise and I control my expenses (Money) by setting my goal ("matter") which is to have my Meditteranean Cruise.

So everytime we're about to splurge on something. Or something that we think is just a "Vanity purchase" (the "i'll-be-the-envy-of-everyone" kinda purchase)  or an "Ego Purchase" (the i-wont-be-caught-dead-wearing-a-divisoria-gown-eww mentality), we think about our "Matter" and we try to weigh which one is really more important to us. I also apply Matter over Money on my regular shopping habits. I'm a girly-girl. I'm a shopaholic. So this also helps me control my love for shopping , lol.

Now, there's another approach.

Life Energy.

I have read this thing about "Life Energy" from someone else's post, it's from a book Your Money or Your Life. I haven't read that book, I just read about it from another person's post (here)  but basically it's calculating the number of hours you have to work to be able to afford a certain item.

For example. I want to get the 150,000 videographer. Let's say I'm a Call Center Agent and I earn 20,000/month after taxes and then I have to take into consideration other expenses. Food, gas, utilitiy bills, money to give my parents, rent. So let's say after all those what's really left is really just Php5,000/month or  Php227/day or Php28/hour. To get my 150,000 videographer that is equivalent to working for 5,357 hours (that's 150,000 divided by 28 per hour).  You have wasted 5,357 hours for a 150,000 videography. That's a lot of hours.

Let's have another example. Let's say you're a highly paid programmer and you earn 80,000/month after taxes. Then after expenses (food, gas, utilitiy bills, money to give my parents, rent) let's say what's left in your wallet is around 30,000/month which is +- ,360/day or  +-170/hr. To pay off the 150,000 videographer you have to invest 882 work hours, that's 882 hours of "Life Energy". Still a lot of hours if you ask me.

I'm not trying to yell at you that getting an A-list supplier is wrong. After all that's your money. That's your "Life Energy" you're using not mine. I am just trying to share how I try to look at things in a different perspective. See if it's really that important to you and it's really worth to sacrifice that many hours. See if you'd really sacrifice those hours rather than spend those hours on stuff that you really enjoy like traveling, or playing golf.


Personally, Matter over Money works for me better or in layman's term "priority", as my h2b calls it (but i like calling it with a fancy name so i'll stick to Matter over Money, haha).

Ok,so let's pretend you've realized that "hey, I need to work on my WQ". That you want to concentrate on your "Matter" to control your "Money" and that you really want to spend your "Life Energy" on stuff that you like doing. So how do you choose your wedding suppliers then?

When we chose our Photographers and Videographers I have an excel sheet. I listed all the suppliers that I want with the corresponding price and what it includes. I ended up with A-B-C. A as being the A-list suppliers. The first thing we scraped out are those in my As. Then we looked at Bs and Cs. We don't like the Cs because it's like comparing Prada (the As) to Cinderella (Bs) to Baclaran (Cs). We want it cheaper but we don't want to sacrifice the quality. So we chose the Bs plus add-ons. Yes, we semi-splurge. And we're very happy with the suppliers we chose.

Also see: On Wedding Budget

image credit:

Friday, April 29, 2011

On Wedding Budgets

When you say "we're on a budget" the first thing that comes to our mind is "oh, they don't have money". That's wrong, it doesn't necessarily always mean cheap wedding or very limited finances. Sometimes it just means both of you are very practical people. Sometimes it just means you are free to shop for anything you want but in your agreed price range.

We're working on a "price range" and these are some of the things I have learned that I want to share my fellow soon-to-wed couples. By the way, I used "price-range" instead of "budget" because price range sounds more friendly and workable unlike with the word "budget" that sounds really limiting. Plus we always say something like "we're looking for a dress for x amount to y amount range". So I really think price range is the more appropriate word. Anyway, I digress.

1. Set a Price Range and Stick to It!
Let me tell you this. Before you start anything and I mean right before you sit infront of your computer and google wedding suppliers you need to set a budget or a price range and then stick to it! There are lots of things happening all at the same time during wedding preparation that if you didn't set a budget firmly in place you're wedding expenses will just balloon uncontrollably.

Somewhere on the web I saw this percentage thingie. What percentage of the wedding budget goes to food, what percentage goes to flowers, etcetera, etcetera. While that can also be helpful, we didn't follow that. There isn't any wedding rule about what-percentage-goes-to-what. This would really be up to the couple. So you really need to sit down. List down all the things you need for the wedding and prioritize which is important and which ones are nice-to-haves and adjust your budget accordingly.
In our case, we have our list of "To Splurge" and "Negotiables"  and "Nice-to-haves".

Here's our list.

To Splurge:

1. Venue - we want an elegant unique venue
2. Food - because it's our way of sharing our blessings and our reward to people we invited who took time, cancelled other appointments and what-nots to attend our wedding. Plus this is what usually what the guests remembers and not your 200,000 dress or that you have the famous videographer.
3. Photography - because we're both photography-hobbyist and we want our photos to be perfect. But there's a catch here (see Wallet Quotient blog). Oh, and we must have a back up photographer.
4. Video - because this, together with the photos are the only things that will last, unlike flowers or the food , etc. But, like Photograpy there's a catch here too (see Wallet Quotient blog).
5. HMUA  - i'm not splurging for my gown but this i have to... i want the best one out there so it would be less photoshopping for my photographers, lol
6. Honeymoon - need I say more? LOL


1. Gown - I'm seriously considering a Divisoria gown. I don't want to buy something that I'll just wear once and would just gather dust on my closet and will just be an extra closet space. I'd rather use the money for something else.
2. Flowers
3. Cake
4. Favors
5. Invitations
6. Entourage dresses - we're thinking of requesting our entourage to pay for their gowns or we can just provide them with fabric and have them look for cheaper couturier or we could just shoulder half of the price.
7. String Quartet
8. Ambient/mood lights


1. Sky Lanterns - my h2b is insisting on this because he claims they don't have this in the U.S.
2. Travel-themed cake

2. Sit down and decide on a theme      
p.s. and Stick to It!

What? Theme? C'mon girl, we're just a very simple couple we don't need a theme.

Relax. You don't need to think of a fancy theme like, Titanic theme or Movies theme or whatever it is that's in-style now. What I meant by theme is how do you want your wedding to look, to feel. What impression do you want to leave your guests after they walk away after the end of the wedding day. If you want a simple wedding, how simple is simple. Based on the price range you both have agreed on keribels ba (is it doable) to have that theme?   I had to sit down with my fiance and when we agreed on the theme it was easier for me to filter my suppliers.

Oh, and why did I mention "stick to it"? Because it would be less headaches if you stick to your theme. Changing themes every 2 days will make you rethink your budget, rethink or worst change or cancel suppliers which can be really costly specially if you have made your deposits already.  I had  a few bouts of fickle-mindness about themes and it drove me nuts. So I decided to just stick with what my fiance and I have agreed on and I never look back. I try not to get jealous over other couple's wedding theme and I just convince myself  that our theme is better because my fiance and i put so much thought into it and it represents US.

Who cares if the other couple you know has a Circus theme, it does sounds pretty cool but that's not you, that's not both of you. Concentrate on the originality of the idea you and your fiance had so meticulously brainstormed and formulated. Fine, a hundred other couples had already done your theme but it would still be different because both of you are adding your own touch to it and most of all it would still be unique because both of you will be the main character of that theme.

3. Do not rush into anything

 "I need to book that make-up artist fast or she might not be available for my wedding and that would be a disaster!".

Sounds familiar? How about this:

"Ma'am we have a 10% promo going on right now and in two days we'll roll back to our regular
price. You better act quickly. When's your wedding? Ah. We only have 2 slots left for that month

C'mon, admit it. We tend to panic sometimes. I guess that's normal. That's our survival instinct kicking in. But here's the deal, if the suppliers are rushing you into making a decision then don't do business with them. Rushing people into buying or booking is the all famous marketing strategy. Don't fall for it. Make sure you have atleast slept on it before deciding on anything. You have to take your time to compare suppliers, read reviews and ask what they can offer that others can't. Ask for freebies. Negotiate. If you rush into booking them you'll kick yourself in the butt (or whichever part of your body that your foot can reach) if two days later a better deal comes along but it would be too late since you paid for the deposit already.

But! There's a tiny disclaimer.

While I did say not to rush this doesn't mean you'll take your sweet time dilly-dallying. Specially, most specially, if you're wedding falls in the peak season. In the Philippines that means December and January. Or if you're date is unique, like, 10-10-10 or 12-12-12. There are some suppliers that you need to book first and well in advance (ie: venue, church) because you don't want to lose them if you wait too long.

Are you scratching your head now and screaming "so what is it really missy? you're contradicting yourself and you're confusing me". It's this.There has to be some balance, don't be an impulsive buyer but at the same time do not procrastinate.

My next blog would be  Wallet Quotient . It's about how I rewired my brain to control splurging.
Here's a teaser:

Wallet Quotient.

I'm sure you've heard of  IQ (Intelligence Quotient) and EQ (Emotianal Quotient). Here we'll talk about WQ.


How not to splurge. How to wisely choose suppliers. How to differentiate want and need.

But f
irst forget about wedding expenses for a while. Imagine you can use your wedding money on anything. On any BIG purchase. What would that BIG purchase be? <to be continued>

Also see: on being a Budgetzilla

photo credits:  and

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

on being a budgetzilla

once in a while i'll be on budgetzilla mode (no, it's not a typo)..... i would tell my h2b how with that xx,xxx amount of money we could do another european tour, not just once nor twice but 5 times!  how with that same amount we can already remodel his kitchen & bathroom..... or go for more trips (i always see money in terms of places i could visit)..... i just can't justify spending too much money for a one-day event...... at one point i even suggested we just go to vegas for our civil wedding, lol.... but that would be unfair to his family since not all of them can come to the philippines for our church wedding so we have to have a proper wedding here in the U.S. too, albeit, a very very simple one (i'm thinking buffet restos at cape may, nj).....

while my h2b would salute me for having a perspective on things and that i look at the practical side of things he also told me this:

"you're already 34..... you've waited long enough.... you deserve your dream wedding"
(this is why i love him so.... he understands women stuff, lol)

he also comforts me by telling me we have enough time to save and that we are both lucky to have a very good job...... he would also sometimes  tease me how he's the one who gets excited about wedding "shopping" and requests for unimportant stuff (like the sky lanterns, fancy wedding favors & place card holders, just to name a few) when i should be the one going overboard, lol.......

anyway, so the h2b gave me a blessing not to worry too much about the wedding budget but we still have a budget...... uh, kinda...... we don't really have a fixed amount but we do know where to splurge and where not to..... i wasn't born from a rich family and i know the value of how to spend your hard-earned money wisely..... plus we'll be splitting the cost so the lower the wedding expenses is the lower i'll have to contribute, haha.

on my next blog i would be posting about how we do our wedding vendors shopping and some wedding budget tips.....

photo credits:

Monday, April 18, 2011

Fondant vs Boiling Icing

Can't decide which one to get? Here are some things I learned  both from fellow w@wie and researching online.

- made of powdered sugar, gelatine, shortening, glucose and glycerine
- firmer in texture
- In terms of decoration, fondant will give you that smooth texture
- the trend nowadays
- too sweet
- have to be stored on room temp or it would "perspire" if stored in fridge
- more elegant and complicated designs
- the bread inside is hard to support the icing.
- more expensive
-  more heat tolerant than the other icings
-  it can create a very smooth, elegant finish.
-  sugar dough
- chewy but not sticky and has a sweet marshmellow flavor

Boiled Icing:

- made of eggwhites and sugar
- texture is very soft and fluffy
- classic and more tasty
- prone to melt if temperature is warm
- cheaper
- Marshmallow-like flavor
- 100% fat free because made from cooked egg whites.. 

image credits:

Thursday, April 14, 2011

another caricature

i think i'm starting to overdo this business of ordering caricatures, tee hee, vanity alert, haha.

we don't have a proposal photo so i thought a caricature would be cute... so i asked jo again if he can make us another caricature that i could use for our proposal story page...

after 2 weeks we received the final caricature and both h2b and i liked it but h2b is worried that flaunting that caricature might make people think we're bragging (it has an eiffel tower and some can read our
Who is TwoSqrtOfThree for the reasons *blush) .... he's right.... so i'll be using that image only on our official wedsite (, maybe? lol

that image on the left is part of that proposal caricature minus the h2b and the eiffel tower with fireworks background...i have the java logo because i'm a java programmer while my h2b has some other programming language on his sleeve too..... we both have the "phillies" logo because we're both from philadelphia and we both love the phillies.....