Dads Don't Just Wear Ties

Dads play a vital role for child development. Find out how so you'll get to love your Dad even more!

Earth Needs Moms

We love our moms but let us find out what they can really do for us and why Earth needs moms.

Friday, August 11, 2017

6 Ways to Improve Your Health

Nothing is more important than your health, which is why it should never be taken for granted. However, many people often allow their well-being to fall by the wayside due to busy lifestyles, long healthcare queues, and expensive medical bills. If any or all is true, read the six ways to improve your personal healthcare.


1. Take Care of Yourself

The first thing you must do is start taking care of your body. This means enjoying a nutritious diet, regular exercise and experiencing between seven to eight of hours of sleep each night. If you care for your body, your body will care for you.

2. Don’t Ignore a Health Problem

Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to a health issue. Never ignore a medical complaint because of expensive medical fees, no matter how small it may seem. Always consult a doctor to discuss a potential health issue. The chances are the problem may not be as bad as you think. However, the sooner you visit a doctor, the earlier you may receive a diagnosis for a serious medical condition – which could help you make a swift recovery, or it may improve your quality of life.

3. Consider a House Call Physician

A house call physician could be with you at any time of the day, including on weekends when doctors’ surgeries are closed. Not only that, but a house call doctor can prevent the spreading of infectious disease, and you can experience a more private healthcare experience. Don’t wait for a medical diagnosis or treatment and Google 24 hour urgent care near me today.

4. Drink More Water

Drinking more water will help to prevent dehydration, which can lead to fatigue and headaches. Boosting your water intake will, therefore, allow you to reduce any troublesome aches, pains, headaches and medical symptoms. Aim to drink up to 8 glasses per day to create a healthy body.

5. Take a Walk

The heart is a muscle that requires movement to function, which is why you should enjoy a brisk walk each day. Try to spend more time walking in the great outdoors, as trees and plants can turn your body’s carbon dioxide into rich oxygen. This can help to kill harmful bacteria and viruses, while improving your breathing and preventing cancer.

6. Regular Medical Examinations

Regular medical examinations with a qualified doctor can detect any irregularities in your health, which can help you to prevent or treat minor or major medical conditions. Book a health exam to check your blood pressure, cholesterol levels and to raise any health concerns. Also, ensure you consume or apply any medical prescriptions recommended by your doctor if required.

It is important to play an active role in your health, as your health will play an active role in your future. Ensure you drink more water, exercise regularly, walk daily and book regular medical examinations to continually improve your health.

Do you have any informative advice for improving a person’s health? Share your tips in the comment section below. We would love to hear from you.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

My USA Road Trip Personalized Gift Set Giveaway

USA Road Trip Book Set Giveaway

Welcome to the My USA Road Trip Personalized Storybook Gift Set Giveaway!

Sponsored By: I See Me!
1 Lucky Winner will receive My USA Road Trip Personalized Storybook and colorful Scratch-Off Map

I See Me Personalized USA Road Trip Dedication

You can personalize this storybook from I See Me! with your child's name, gender, and state of residence.You can even add a photo of your child’s face and select their hair color and skin tone to be incorporated throughout the illustrations. To make this book even more special, you can include a dedication that will be printed on the first page.

Your child will be taken on an exciting adventure through all 50 states. Along their trip, they will learn state names and key monuments. Your child will make some stops throughout the journey to fuel up, surf the waves, and more. They’ll even pass through their home state where they’ll learn about the state bird, flower, and flag. The scratch-off map is perfect to track your real-life travels or follow along with the matching book.


I See Me Personalized USA Road Trip Home State

Read more about this amazing book HERE
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Giveaway Dates: 08/08/2017 11:59PM CST until 08/21/2017 11:59PM CST
This giveaway is in no way endorsed, affiliated, or associated with Facebook, Twitter or any other Social Media Networking Site. This Giveaway is valid in the United States Only and Entrants must be 18+ years of age to enter. This giveaway event will end at 11:59 PM (EST) 8/21/17. The winner will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be drawn. The sponsor is responsible for shipping of the above prize(s). No blog associated with this contest is responsible for prize fulfillment. If you take an entry you must stay following for the entire contest or you will be disqualified.

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Friday, July 28, 2017

Is Buying Organic Produce Worth It?

Today, there is an ever-growing demand for organic produce as people become more health - and environmentally - conscious. However, no matter how good your intentions are, there’s no denying that buying organic produce often comes at a premium. Organic vegetables and dairy products can often cost more than 30-60% the price of standard conventional alternatives, leaving many people wondering whether investing in organic foodstuffs is actually worth paying the extra for. Here are just some of the main reasons why paying more for organic food can be worth it.


1. Health:

Although there is still the issue of some organic labels in grocery stores being flawed, buying 100% organic food is definitely worth it for your health. Shopping at a farmer’s market, for example, where you know that the produce has come straight from local sources, can be a great way to make sure that you are avoiding chemicals in your food and eating as fresh as possible.

With more than six hundred different active chemicals registered for agricultural use in the U.S. alone, conventional vegetables and other food produce are full of them, with the average application being around 16 pounds worth of chemical pesticides per person each year. Buying organic vegetables is the best way to keep your consumption of these chemicals to a minimum, which can dramatically improve your health in several ways.

2. Environment:

Along with being better for your personal health and well-being, another top reason why more and more people are choosing to go organic with their foods is to help look after the environment. Since we are in an age where there is more strain on the planet’s natural resources than ever before, an increasing number of people are doing as much as they can to conserve resources and try to minimize the stress that the planet is under, for example by recycling or using natural sources of energy, such as solar power.

Buying organic foods will also help to reduce the amount of mass production, leading to less machinery use and a decrease in the amount of pollution. If you have the time and the outdoor space, growing your own organic vegetables is even better for the environment!

3. Help Local Farmers:

When it comes to the farming industry, there are many people who are still making a living from the land. However, while mass production farms tend to do well, smaller, independent and local farms are often the ones who suffer. If you purchase your vegetables and food products from the grocery store, then you’ll be putting money into the pockets of big business, something that many people today are becoming increasingly uncomfortable with.

One of the best things about organic produce is that it is often readily available at local farmer’s markets, or directly from small local farms. Rather than going to the grocery store, spending some of your money locally will strengthen these businesses and boost the economy in your area.

Why do you buy organic produce? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

5 Free and Easy Ways to Take Control of Your Finances


When it comes to keeping track of your finances, some of us struggle more than others. It only takes not entering one or two checks you’ve written and before you know it, your account is overdrawn and you have a mess to sort out. If you are like so many of us just trying to balance a budget and get by raising a family, you don’t have the funds to hire a personal accountant and you almost surely don’t have much set aside for that proverbial ‘rainy day fund.’

Whether you are a single parent raising kids, a senior retiree or a young person just getting started on life’s long and winding journey, these five free and easy ways to take control of your finances should help you stay on top of your budget

Ways to Take Control of Your Finances

1) Free Credit Reporting Resources

One of the things you will almost assuredly want to do is get a copy of your most current credit score. Not only is this important should you ever need credit of any kind, but it is also a good gauge on how well you have been able to manage your money. Unfortunately, most people who struggle financially don’t seem to be able to keep a decent credit score, so when you see it start rising, you know you are on the right track.

Check out sites like Credit Karma and others like it that will let you keep a weekly eye on your score and will email you when there are any changes, good or bad. Sometimes simply disputing a charge which shouldn’t be there will bring your score up noticeably. Keeping track of your credit score is also a good way to ensure you are staying on top of your financial situation. You can’t fix what you don’t know is broken!

2) Free Online Financial Calculators

There are a number of financial calculators which you can use online. Most are websites like the one that hosts the 1040 estimator. While most people can benefit from estimating their income tax throughout the year, a 1040 estimator is great for those people who paid a high year end’s tax bill or those who work and receive earned income for dependents. If you find that you receive an inordinately large refund at the end of the year, but are not entitled to earn income credit, you might have allowances and deductions you could take throughout the year.

This would make your paycheck higher, but you wouldn’t get a large refund next April. Sometimes one small adjustment to your filing status can make all the difference in the world, so do take care of your IRS taxes if you need that extra money throughout the year. Even $40 or $50 can give you enough extra cash each pay period to help you make it through from paycheck to paycheck!

3) Free Credit Counseling Services

It is difficult to recommend which ‘free’ credit counseling service you should try, but the one thing you may want to know about this kind of nonprofit is that counseling should be free. A credit counseling agency should only charge if you are using other services of theirs. For example, if you contract them to get in touch with your creditors to make payment arrangements, that is a paid service. On the other hand, they should not charge you for meeting with you and giving you suggestions on how to keep your finances in check.

They might suggest a better budget, fewer expenditures or even setting a certain amount aside each pay period, but unless they actually provide a service, the counseling session should be free of charge. Many people have recovered from huge amounts of debt by taking the advice of free credit counseling.


financial tips

4) Free Online Budgeting Tools

Much like the 1040 tax estimator mentioned above, there are calculators and online budgeting tools that will help you make, and hopefully stick to, a budget. You will find that most, if not all, of these tools will have a category on savings. It is important that you try your hardest to include savings in your budget because you never know when the unexpected ‘catastrophe’ can strike, necessitating money you haven’t budgeted for.

In fact, use this saving as your rainy day fund. If some expense suddenly arises, one you would never in a million years have accounted for, you have money set aside to pay that bill. It could be a doctor bill not covered by insurance, it could be a pipe that burst under your sink, or a furnace that went out in the middle of winter. If you expect and save for the unexpected, it is much easier to keep your finances in check.

5) Advice on Preparing for Other Unexpected Expenses

And finally, when speaking of the unexpected, this is where so many people go wrong. Since they hadn’t saved for that rainy day event, they put that expense on a credit card which can be a huge mistake. Not only are they spending money they don’t have, they are going to pay interest on top of that money. This is a very big mistake, indeed.

If you do have credit debt, look for an initially free consolidation card or loan at a lower rate of interest. Put as much of that bad debt on your new low, or no interest, account, and you can reduce your monthly bills by that much money. These are often interest-free for a period of a few months up to a year, so pay them off while you can! While not being exactly ‘free’ in the literal sense of the word, you get free from high-interest rates, which you can then set aside for your rainy day fund.

From Advice to Tools – Keep It Free

With so many resources online, there is no need to pay high fees to keep your finances in order. Use calculators and budgeting tools wherever possible. Look for free counseling services and then take the time to read, read some more and read some more again!
There is a wealth of information online that can help you get out of debt if you choose to look for it. The one thing to keep in mind is simply this. Keep tools and advice free so that you can add to your soon-to-be-growing bank account. Millions of others have done it and you can too.

Lookna – A New Way To Reach Potential Customers

Have you been scammed by fraudulent advertisers? Cannot compete with giant advertisers who have huge budgets allocated for their advertisements? We can help. Here at Lookna, we provide fair ads to searches making your ads visible to targeted audiences without paying a fortune. However, once the advertiser provided the necessary documents, Lookna shall take all reasonable steps to complete verification of the details provided by Advertiser within 2 working days.

Lookna

Lookna only allows verified business owners to have a listing and advertise their businesses. It also prohibits the advertisement of the following items and services: Casino & gambling, illegal drug and narcotics, adult items & services, guns, weapons and ammunition. We also have restrictions on some items and services you may advertise. Lookna reserves the right to decline or disapprove listings and ads that violate its policies, terms and conditions.

As a verified advertiser, you need to create listing/s that will provide your business name, nature of business, address, phone number and business website.

Creating a listing in Lookna is a piece of cake. However, here are some best practices that you can use as a guide to make sure that you get the most out of it. It is important to choose the category that best fits your business. Searchers would surely want to know all of the possible information that they can get from your listing, and if you are the right person they are looking for, they will contact you for your services.

Furthermore, making sure that they know if you are available or not will make their experience a better one. Make sure to drag the map marker to correctly pin your location, thus allowing possible clients to know where your physical location is. This can be an advantage as clients can drop by your store or business location to do business with you personally. Make your dashboard clear from clutter by making sure that you only create listings for your business once.

Always manage your Lookna Advertiser’s Account by checking the following: your User Profile, this contains the information you have entered into Lookna, like your Personal Information, Account Information and the verification documents you have submitted. Your Dashboard, it displays the listings you have created. Your Messages, conversations with services provider/s you have contacted. And lastly Billing Account, this is where the payment methods, preferences, billing history and subscriptions are.

A Searcher account is used by anyone who is looking for a specific service or product offered by the advertisers. It is created thru search page. Once the searcher starts communicating with the advertisers, the phone number he used will be saved in the database and will be used as his auto-created login info.

Here are the guides on how to Search on Lookna.

(1)Go to the Home or Search page.

(2) Type the services or product that you are looking for.

( 3) Select the business you want to get in touch with. (We recommend that you choose the nearest service provider.)The ads that you will see from the Search Result page will let you know which company offers the services you have searched for.



Motorishy Backseat Car Organizer Giveaway!

Be one of the 10 lucky winners of the Motorishy Backseat Car Organizer Giveaway! Check out how you can join the giveaway below.


Sponsored By: Motorishy


Hosted By: Love, Mrs. Mommy


Co-Hosted By: InezbyDesign

**10 Winner Giveaway** 

Each winner will receive a Backseat Car Organizer ($34.87 RV)
A total giveaway value of $384.70!!


Open To US and must be 18+ to enter
Giveaway Dates ~ 7/18 12:01 AM EST through 8/8 11:59PM EST

Disclosure: Love, Mrs. Mommy and all participating bloggers are not held responsible for sponsors who do not fulfill their prize obligations. This giveaway is in no way endorsed or sponsored by Facebook or any other social media site. The winners will be randomly drawn by Giveaway Tools and will be notified by email. Winners have 48 hours to reply before a replacement winner will be drawn. If you would like to participate in an event like this please contact LoveMrsMommy (at) gmail (dot) com.

Friday, July 14, 2017

The Best Night Time Outdoor Games For Children That Will Entertain In The School Holidays

When I was a kid, I enjoy playing outdoors even during night time. It is just nice to run around without the sun above. It is even more fun to play outside when the moon is up! Why don't you let your kids experience this too? Here are some night time outdoor games that your kids will enjoy as suggested by our guest contributor, Kristin Brooks.

night time outdoor games

During school holidays or extended school breaks, it’s inevitable that parents will hear the dreaded “I’m bored” coming from the mouths of their kids. During the days, there are plenty of opportunities for your kids to stay entertaining or preoccupied. But, what about the nights? In fact, when the weather is warm and the kids are outdoors, how are you going to keep them entertained at night?

If you are unable to answer these questions, don’t worry because we have you covered. Check out our list of these fun outdoor games and keep your kids entertained during the night time:

1. Shapes in the Sky

If you're looking for a game that is meant more as a wind-down activity, star-gazing is a wonderful option. You and the kids can lie on blankets in the yard, look at the stars, and point out various shapes that you find. If you’ve got older kids who are showing an interest in science and astronomy you can print out a map of the stars and constellations and try to find as many as possible in the sky.

2. Flashlight Tag

If you're looking for a quick and easy game for the kids that doesn't require any set-up or planning, flashlight tag is the way to go. In this game, you can give each child a flashlight and then they can run around "tagging" each other by shining their beam on one another. Think of it as laser tag with flashlights if you will.

Of course, make sure you play this in an area that is level and safe to run around in. You don’t want obstacles in the way or anything that they can hurt themselves on as they run around in the dark.

3. Glow in the Dark Scavenger Hunt

If you've got a bit more time on your hands then you can set up a glow in the dark scavenger hunt. You can use a variety of items that light up, or use those plastic Easter eggs and pop a battery-operated light in them. Give kids a basket and send them on their way. You can even provide them with a list of objects that they need to find in order to make it a true scavenger hunt.

4. Shadow Puppets

There's a good chance that everyone at some point in life has played the game of shadow puppets. All you need for this game is a flashlight and a flat surface, like the wall of your house. Each person can take a turn creating puppets and letting the others guess what their creations are. Be prepared for a lot of giggles and fun with this game.

night time outdoor games for kids

5. Create Your Own Drive-In

There's no reason to pack up the whole family and head to the drive-in because you can make it a movie night right in your own backyard. For this activity, you'll need a white sheet, a projector, and a portable movie screen. This activity works with kids of all ages, just pick a movie that appeals to their age group. You'll want to be prepared to host extra guests though, as an outdoor movie tends to draw a crowd. With that in mind, purchase some extra snacks and drinks.

6. Capture the Flag

This particular game is best played in a large open space such as a soccer or football field. You'll need two flags and enough participants to be divided into two teams. Each team will try to capture the other's flag. The first team to capture the flag is the winner. Since you will be playing at night, you may want to use a glow stick instead of a flag. This will make it much easier to spot.

7. Hide and Seek

Here, we have the classic game of hide and seek which can be played anywhere, anytime, and by any number of participants. There is no fancy equipment or set-up required and these games are usually pretty quick to play. Again, this is a game that can appeal to a wide range of age groups.

outdoor games

Enjoy the Great Outdoors Especially in the Evening

Just because evening is fast approaching doesn’t mean you can’t get outside with the kids and enjoy a variety of fun and entertaining games. These are the exact kinds of games that make school breaks so special and memorable, (aside from those best swing sets that kids enjoy most at the park).

Author:

Kristin Brooks

Kristin is a loving mother and child advocate. She writes for Kiddyplayground.com and loves to take her kids to the park for them to enjoy the best swings sets during her spare time. She also loves reading and cooking, and one day hopes to write a children's book.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

How to Enjoy a Getaway Vacation Without Your Kids

You need time away from your kids.. You need the time away to remember that you are someone else other than “Mommy” or “Daddy”. You need it to remember you as a person, you as a wife or husband, you as a friend. There are other relationships in your life that need to be looked after and nurtured. The first and foremost of those relationships is with yourself. More than just date nights or girl nights away, you need a proper getaway vacation. Starting a yearly retreat early in your kids’ lives will make the distance seem normal and natural for them, and will give you a much-needed break, too.


getaway without kids

1. Remember that they will be okay without you

No matter how guilty you might feel, or how much your kids guilt-trip you, remember, they will be okay. Have your parents or someone that they are comfortable with take care of them for the few days you are away, someone you trust and they trust, and it will all be fine. The end of the world won’t happen because you decide to spend some time with adult-you for once.


2. Be honest with your kids

Don’t treat it like some secret, ugly thing. Be honest with your kids about leaving for a few days, where you will be going, what you will (generally) be doing. When they ask why they can’t come, explain to them that you need alone time to spend with your wife/husband, or with your friends, or by yourself. Relate it back to them. Don’t you need some alone time without me with your friends? Or by yourself?


3. Plan for things for your kids to do while you’re away

You can easily plan for small things that will keep your kid happy and having fun at home. Ask your parents to take them to a park, or to play a game with them one weekend afternoon. Give them money to take your kids out to the movies or to get a treat.



4. Do every adult thing you can’t do at home

Now that they’re all set up at home, it’s time for your vacation. A great option for getaway vacations are luxury resorts that allow you to not only be pampered, but to also experience the wilderness. Go to: https://www.whitebuffaloclub.com to plan your next getaway, and enjoy the wild mountains, the beautiful scenery, and, of course, the luxuries of a spa. Drink, go for long walks your kids couldn’t ensure, party, enjoy time with your friends, or your partner, or whoever you like.


5. Spend time with them once you get back home

This one is important. Bring them something cute back from your trip, so they feel like they were a part of it (even though they weren’t) and, most crucially, spend some quality time with your kids once you get back.

Just because you take a vacation away from your kids doesn’t mean you don’t love them or that you’ll hurt them. You need a vacation from your full-time job as a parent, and you should not feel guilty for it. Family vacations are great, and they’re fun, but there are others in your life you need to spend some quality time with. Don’t forget them!


Everything You Need to Know About Fleas and Ticks This Season

fleas and ticks

There are many dangers to our lovable fur balls, especially in the summer season. Our dogs can overheat and have heat stroke, cut themselves, hurt themselves, and even catch things. Spring and summer months are a prime breeding time for insects and other creatures that typically go dormant in the winter. So, what do you do? Invest in flea and tick prevention methods. There are many different options to choose from.

Before, flea medication was not synonymous with tick medication. The prescribed action to dealing with ticks was to pull them off and dunk them in rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover, as they could survive being drowned in a toilet. Now, however, you can get all-in-one treatments that kill off a wide range of pests like fleas, chewing lice, and ticks, all in one go.

Knowing When Your Dog Has Fleas

If your dog is constantly scratching, it is time to check for fleas. Use a fine-tooth comb to search through your dog’s hair. Search for both fleas and flea feces, which look like small black commas.

Knowing When Your Dog Has Ticks

Ticks can be very small, and very hard to see. They usually can be found by using a comb through your dog’s hair until you encounter a snag. Use medicated treatment to kill not only the adults, but also the larvae and eggs and break the cycle.

dog flea

Monthly Treatments

Monthly treatments are an easy way to prevent flea and ticks from infesting your dog. These products typically prevent fleas and ticks from returning for up to three months, but because re-infestation is always a concern, it is best to apply these products once a month for maximum effectiveness. These kill not just the adults, but the eggs, larvae, and pupae that are living on your dog.

Flea Collars

For longer lasting treatments, you can try a flea collar. These collars now kill both fleas and ticks. They need to be worn for the six months that the medication is effective and are waterproof, meaning they are long lasting! For full protection from fleas and ticks for your dog this season, a collar could be the right way to go.

Knowing what kind of fleas and ticks are in your area is also important. If your dog has been infested, you need to know which diseases could have been spread, so you can keep an eye out for the symptoms in both you and your dog while you are treating your furry friend. Remember to read and follow the instructions for these medications carefully, as misusing the medicine can result in your pet not being as fully covered as they should be. If you do find your pet has a flea or tick infestation, know that your home could be infested, too. Wash or replace the dog beds and carefully vacuum your entire home and wash your beddings.

If you believe an infestation has persisted, seek out help from both your vet and pest control. Fleas and ticks are annoying, but they can also be dangerous!


Five Awesome Reasons to Travel with Your Kids


If you are a parent who loves to travel, then there are many reasons to take your little ones with you. Traveling as a family can be a fun and exciting experience for both adults and children, along with being a hugely educational experience that everyone can learn from. Even though traveling with little ones can often be a stressful experience, it’s definitely worth doing – even if just for the amazing family memories that you will be able to create. We’ve put together some of the best reasons to take your children traveling as often as you can.

travel with kids

Reason #1. Family Bonding:

There’s nothing better than traveling together as a family and doing fun things together when it comes to strengthening your bond! When you’re away from the everyday activities of your home life and are able to go on plenty of adventures together, you’ll return home to find that you’ve all gotten closer together as a family after your much-needed break. Since you’ll be able to spend a lot of quality time together simply relaxing and having fun, you’ll all come back home feeling refreshed and revitalized!

Reason #2. Education:

Traveling with your children isn’t just a lot of good fun, it can also be a very educational experience. Depending on the destinations that you visit, there will be several awesome things that your family can see and do together, such as visiting world-famous attractions, eating and learning about various world cuisines, and even learning more about cultural traditions. As a result, your children will grow up more globally aware and appreciative of cultural differences.

travel tips

Reason #3. Making Memories:

Simply put, one of the best reasons to travel internationally with children is to make awesome memories together. Wherever you travel, you’ll be able to create wonderful memories for your little ones that are going to last them a lifetime. The first ten years of life are the most important for any child, and it’s often during these years where happy memories help to shape them into the adult they will one day become. And of course, don’t forget about the stunning pictures you’ll be able to take!

Reason #4. Ease:

Although going on vacation with children is often seen as stressful by many parents, it can actually be a very easy experience if you make the right choices. For example, if you’re staying in a luxurious villa or townhouse from https://www.tremblantsunstar.com, you’ll have a great time with all the amenities that you and your family need for a great home from home experience. In addition, all-inclusive options can be a wonderful idea for traveling with your little ones, since there’ll be no need to worry about preparing food for the duration of your stay.

family travel tips

Reason #5. Outdoor Fun:

Today, our daily lives are often taken up by technology, and many parents are worried about the amount of time that their children are spending on their smartphones, tablets and computers. Whilst using technology is an important part of learning today, it’s also great for kids to get outside and play. Traveling offers an amazing opportunity for your little ones to get some much-needed outdoor fun and games.

Why do you like to travel with your kids? Let us know in the comments.


Monday, July 3, 2017

Top Reasons Why Filipinos Rely on Pawnshops



In a 2012 report, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) revealed that 72% of Filipinos have availed of pawnshop services in the last 12 months prior the study. More than just to pawn property, people rely on pawnshops to receive remittances and to pay bills. BSP indicated that the result of the survey showed the Filipinos’ extensive use of pawnshops, and their increasingly important role as financial service providers in the Philippines. Several factors contribute to this trend, including the following:

Pawnshops are highly accessible

Pawnshops can be found even in remote areas not reached by traditional banks. And it is not surprising to find a pawnshop in key cities and towns.

The pawnshop industry boasts a network of approximately 17,000 main offices and branches. About 10,000 of these pawnshops engage solely in the business of pawning, while the rest offer auxiliary services including bills payment facilitation, remittance facilitation, and money changing.

The Philippines has about 9,000 bank offices, almost half of the number of pawnshops all over the country. There are more pawnshops because they are much easier to put up — they require less staff, less space, and less capital. BSP requires each pawnshop branch to put up little as Php 100,000 in capital. With much less capital at risk, pawnshops can readily set up a branch even in far-flung areas. Hence, not only do they outnumber banks, they have an even wider reach as well.


Pawnshops are inclusive

Owing to their wider reach, pawnshops have been identified by BSP as key vehicles for “financial inclusion.” The term is used to refer to the act of making a range of financial services accessible even to those in far-flung areas. These financial services include micro insurance, micro loans, money changing, remittance facilitation, and payment facilitation.

BSP’s study revealed that only two out of ten Filipinos have bank accounts. They see the information as indicative of the fact that banking services continue to be concentrated in urban areas and have yet to reach many Filipinos in rural communities.
There is currently a push for financial inclusion for Filipinos, and pawnshops are being eyed as an important instrument for achieving this goal. More than just offering a wide range of auxiliary services, pawnshops are also recognized for their potential to provide mobile banking services for low-income Filipinos. BSP considers pawnshops as a potential vehicle for providing micro credit and selling micro insurance services for a greater number of Filipinos. BSP sees pawnshops as an important driver of the economy.

Pawnshops offer reasonable rates and terms

Pawnshops provide financial services commonly known as microlending, which is a key source of credit in several developing countries, particularly in Asia. The banking system has left a void that pawnshops have managed to fill. Pawnshops provide credit to low income and poor households that have no access to lending services. Pawnshops also further benefit the people by increasing the competition in the credit markets, as they offer alternative sources of credit for those who are frozen out of bank loans. They effectively provide a much-needed financial safety net for low-income households.

Pawnshops are able to offer these financial services to low income and poor households due to a number of factors. First, pawnshops are subjected to less stringent regulations compared to financial institutions. Second, the loans provided by pawnshops are backed by hard assets. This arrangement lowers the risks or transaction costs for the lender, eliminating the need to investigate the borrower’s creditworthiness.
Pawnshops’ loan services have also become more accessible. In the past, pawnshops would accept only high-value and less bulky items like jewelry. But with the increasingly stiffer competition, they have been compelled to broaden the types of items that qualify as collateral. The range of accepted items to pawn continues to widen, extending to mobile phones, computers, and other electronic devices.

Pawnshops offer a wide range of transactions

For many Filipinos, running to a neighborhood pawnshop has been the quickest and most common way to address emergencies or urgent need for cash. As opposed to banks, pawnshops do not require customers to submit as many documentary requirements before releasing the much-needed cash.

More than just playing a vital role in meeting many Filipinos’ short-term financial needs, pawnshops have also become a reliable go-to for other financial transactions such as bills payment, remittances, money transfer, and money changing.

Because of its far-reaching and efficient operations, the pawnshop business has grown to be a highly profitable sector. According to a study by the Philippine Institute for Development, the efficient management of a pawnshop allows it to generate net profits that amount to as much as 25% of its gross operating income.

There are trusted brands in the industry

Despite the essential role pawnshops play as a financial service provider, they still have a reputation of preying on low- and middle-income Filipinos. There is a persistent perception that pawnshops tend to engage in profiteering and take advantage of people in dire need of cash and that many are fly-by-night operators that would disappear with your valuables. While BSP admits that they receive complaints involving pawnshops every now and then, they emphasize that the proportion of questionable pawnshops to the entire number of industry operators is minuscule, or about 5% of the industry’s network.

BSP recognizes the stigma attached to pawnshops, and want to help the industry improve its image. They are intensifying their coordinated work with local government units (LGUs) in monitoring pawnshops. Under a memorandum of agreement (MOA), BSP and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) agree to engage in information sharing to better regulate pawnshops. With the assistance of LGUs, the central bank conducts random visits to pawnshops across the country. During the site visits, they check if a pawnshop complies with regulations and if it is duly registered. The continued improvement of regulations with the goal of preventing fraudulent or erring pawnshops is seen to enhance the image of the industry.

Most of the pawnshops that have been subjected to complaints are found to be unregistered businesses. BSP advises people to first check their official website for the list of registered pawnshops before pawning their valuables. Going for trusted brands like Palawan Pawnshop is still the way to go.

Considering how accessible and convenient pawnshops are, they will remain to be a key financial service provider for many Filipinos, and for good reasons.


Saturday, June 17, 2017

Lightgliders Gaming App Review and Giveaway

If your kids love to play games on their smartphones, tablets or iPad, then this is your chance to win a free membership to an awesome game! Parents are always worried about the kind of games their children download but if you let them try Lightgliders, you will no longer worry.

Lightgliders is designed to encourage biblical faith, promote positive values and establish meaningful conversations among kids, families and faith communities.




The game is for children ages 6-12. But it isn't just a simple game. It is a cross-platform world of games, videos and interactive activities which will teach our kids many valuable ideas.

Children who play Lightgliders will learn wholesome messages while enjoying different quests. There are fun characters that they can use for the game.

At the same time, parents can also stay connected through the parent's blog. In this section, they can see what the children are learing every week. Discussion questions are also being provided which is integrated with the gameplay to begin conversations around things like faith, values and important life lessons.





These days, children are berated with endless digital distractions and because of this, it appears that they do not have time for the important things anymore. With that, the goal of Lightgliders is to help parents reconnect and to raise kids who know that they were uniquely created to shine.

The app will also help the parents integrate Bible-based information and apply them on their daily lives. Some kids think that everything from the Bible is boring. So, if you have a child who thinks this way, you can make him or her realize that the Bible is important and one can learn that in a fun way.



Welcome to the  Lightgliders Gaming App One-year Membership Worldwide Giveaway!

Love this app? If you also beleive that this could be beneficial for the kids, then join our giveaway sponsored by Lightgliders! One lucky winner will get the chance to win a one-year membership for the app. So, what are you waiting for? Join the giveaway below


Open Worldwide
Start Date: June 17        End Date: July 7

Get your own free one-year membership for a whole year of fun and learning! Join the giveaway below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Disclosure: Pink Heart String and all participating bloggers are not held responsible for sponsors who do not fulfill their prize obligations. This giveaway is in no way endorsed or sponsored by Facebook or any other social media site. The winner will be randomly drawn by Rafflecopter and will be notified by email. The winner has 48 hours to reply before a new winner will be drawn. If you would like to participate in an event like this please contact kareenliez (at) gmail (dot) com.

How to Build Your Personal Brand on YouTube

Do you have a YouTube channel where you share videos of your crafts, makeup tutorials, or crazy pet or kid antics? If so, you are not alone. Millions of women (and men!) have popular YouTube channels with thousands of subscribers. It’s a fun pastime and, if you attract a lot of followers, you can even earn an income from advertising revenue.

If all you ever do is post the occasional video for your own amusement, building a brand is unlikely to appeal all that much, but for anyone keen to attract new followers, branding matters.

Branding helps viewers make the link between you and your videos. Think about a few famous brands. The Nike logo is instantly recognizable, as is the Apple logo. The aim of building a brand is to help your videos gain traction in a competitive marketplace. If you get it right, your audience will know it’s you across all social media channels, and not just YouTube.

Brand from Day One

Start as you mean to go on. Choose a channel name that fits your brand. Think about what you are offering viewers and build a profile to suit. For example, if you offer parenting tips with your kids as handy props, tell viewers what to expect in your channel trailer.

Your YouTube channel is your virtual storefront, so it should reflect you and your brand. Graphics on video thumbnails and the main channel need to be consistent. You can create channel art and banners using Adobe Spark tools or add your own graphics and photos.

Channel Trailer

A channel trailer is very important. This is your chance to ‘hook’ viewers and compel them to watch your videos. By offering a ‘sneak preview’, the aim is to capture their attention and encourage them to click on your videos. If they like what they see, they will subscribe.

New viewers won’t know what you do, so tell them. Think of this as a brief sales pitch – you only get one bite at the cherry, so make it count. Include a call to action at the end of your trailer and make it easy for viewers to subscribe. Funky graphics are a useful way to attract attention and encourage the viewer to click on the ‘subscribe now’ button.


Write a Channel Description

Fill out the channel description section and include a tagline. Your channel needs a memorable tagline. It should be short but descriptive, such as ‘Why Gin O’clock is a Mom’s Favorite Time of the Day…’

Watermarks

YouTube lets you embed a watermark across your video content. You choose where and when to add a watermark to your videos. Watermarks let viewers know a video is being streamed from your channel, so create a memorable logo that sends the right message.



Branding tells the viewer exactly what to expect when they find your channel. Be consistent when producing video content and make sure each movie you upload fits your brand. And finally, be sure to upload videos as often as possible, as this will keep subscribers coming back for more.

Friday, June 16, 2017

The Utang Culture: Top 5 Ways for Filipinos to Borrow Money

Who has never heard of the word “utang” in the Philippines? Of course, almost everyone who has lived in the country for at least a year is familiar with it.

Debt is deeply ingrained in the Filipino culture, so much so that nearly half of Pinoy adults (47.1%) have an outstanding loan and 33.8% had owed money in the past, according to the 2015 financial inclusion survey of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP). Only 19.1% or two in 10 adults have never borrowed money.


Why is lending or pautang so popular in the Philippines? Because Filipino families need quick cash. The BSP survey shows that people borrow money for food and other basic necessities, school-related expenses, and emergencies. Pinoys also have a lot of lending services to choose from to meet their short-term financial needs.

Here is an overview of the five common borrowing options in the Philippines, their benefits and drawbacks, and some tips to avoid getting buried in debt.

Pawning or Sangla





Pawning involves handing a valuable item such as jewelry to a pawnshop as collateral for a loan. When you pay off the loan and interest, you’ll get your collateral back. If you don’t, the pawnshop will keep it.

Pros:
● Quick, easy access to cash – Unlike banks, pawnshops don’t conduct credit investigations and require documents from borrowers. Within a few minutes, you can easily pawn your valuable item for cash.
● Legitimate – Pawnshops in the Philippines are regulated by the BSP, which issues strict guidelines to protect Filipino consumers.

Cons: 
Typically, you have only 30 days to pay off your loan. However, you can choose to renew your loan term.

Tips:
● Do your research on pawning services and make sure the one you’ll deal with has a business permit and is supervised by or registered with the BSP.
● Evaluate your ability to pay the loan on time before you pawn an item, especially if it has sentimental value such as a family heirloom or wedding ring.

Borrowing Money from Family and Friends





More than half or 61.9% of Pinoys who are in debt borrow money from their family, relatives and friends, according to the BSP survey. It isn’t surprising at all. Having close family ties is part of Filipino culture, so it’s hard to refuse a relative’s request to borrow money. What makes it even harder is when you owe that person an utang na loob—meaning you have a moral obligation to repay that favor. This practice is also common among friends and colleagues, especially during petsa de peligro.

Pros: 
This is the easiest, fastest way to borrow money without interest and collateral.

Cons:
● Promoting too much dependence – This practice encourages people to depend on their more affluent relatives or friends for financial help instead of helping themselves get out of debt.
● Social and emotional cost – Unpaid debts often lead to conflicts, stress and strained relationships.

Tips:
● If you often borrow money from your loved ones, take a long, hard look at your spending and saving habits and work on improving them.
● If family and friends often turn to you for financial help, learn to say “no.” You’re not actually helping them to become financially independent if you keep on lending money.

Credit Cards




Three million Filipinos own almost seven million credit cards, according to the Credit Card Association of the Philippines. It’s no wonder because these plastic cards are convenient for online shopping and in-person purchases.

Pros:
● Useful in emergencies – Credit cards can cover unexpected expenses such as medical bills.
● Promos and deals – Many credit cards offer rewards programs, cash rebates, consumer protection features, and other perks.
● Good financial management tool – Credit card bills contain details of your every transaction, making it easy to monitor your expenses.

Cons:
● Easy to rack up debts – It can be tempting to spend money that you don’t have. Impulsive spending and late payments can get you into credit card debt.
● Risk of fraud – If you’re not careful enough, hackers may steal your credit card information and use it for large purchases without your knowledge.

Tips:
● Use your credit card only for things you can afford to pay for.
● Always pay the total outstanding balance or at least the minimum amount not later than the due date.
● Don’t go over your credit limit to avoid extra fees.

Bank Loans




Banks typically provide three loan products: personal loans, auto loans and housing loans. Depending on the type of loan, the bank may require a collateral or not, and interest rates are either fixed or variable.

Pros:
● Ability to make large purchases – With a bank loan, you can finance your child’s education or your dream house or car. Banks offer minimum amounts of Php 10,000 million for personal loans, Php 100,000 for auto loans, and Php 400,000 for home loans.
● Flexible and longer repayment terms – You can choose from 12 to 36 months to pay off your loan.

Cons: 
Banks impose strict eligibility and numerous documentary requirements. Processing also takes several days because banks conduct credit checks to assess a borrower’s capability to pay off a loan.

Tips:
● To ensure loan approval, make sure you have good credit standing and pay off your outstanding debt before you apply.
● Never miss a repayment to avoid penalties and hurting your credit score.

5-6 Loans or ATM Loans

Having been around for several decades now, “5-6” is infamous for charging a high interest rate of 20% and being peddled by Indian money lenders on motorbikes. Filipinos in dire financial needs, especially in the rural and urban poor areas, easily fall prey to this lending practice.

Pros: 
5-6 loans provide quick cash for the family’s urgent needs. Usually, no collateral is needed, except for ones that ask for an ATM card.

Cons:
● Risk of getting ripped off – 5-6 lenders have no permit to operate and are not regulated by the government.
● Extremely high interest rate – Because 5-6 lenders collect the loan payments daily, it seems that you’re paying small amounts. But you’re actually paying much more because of the 20% interest.

Tips:
● Avoid them as much as possible. 5-6 loans and other loan sharks that ask for ATM cards as collaterals are considered predatory lending practices. In fact, the government has been warning the public against them.
● Consider other lending services in the Philippines such as those from banks and other reputable financial institutions.

Have you ever owed money? Getting a loan is not inherently bad. It can even be a great way to grow your funds, such as for starting or expanding a business. However, many Filipinos experience money problems when they borrow beyond their limits. The key to avoiding huge debts is to choose a loan and lender wisely and being a responsible borrower.

Image Credit:
Photo courtesy of Lauren C via Flickr
Photo courtesy of iiijaoyingiii via Pixabay
Photo courtesy of JESHOOTS via Pixabay
Photo courtesy of Nick Youngson via Picserver.org
Photo courtesy of William Grootonk via Flickr