I semi-regularly read Money Diaries on Refinery 29 to help me get into a more frugal mindset. I don’t know why I never thought of googling for Philippine-based entries. Around 2 weeks ago, I stumbled upon Kat’s blog and her Money Diaries series which inspired this post.

Until now, I’m still hesitant to publish this. I feel like I’m revealing too much and opening myself to judgment, but, fuck it. I hope this will help me become more mindful of my spending.

I don’t plan on posting Money Diaries every week for the rest of the year–maybe only until I develop healthy spending habits like they’re second nature to me.

APRIL 21, 2018 (SAT)

I usually spend my Saturdays sleeping to make up for the past workweek’s poor sleeping habits.

I stayed home but spent Php 1,050 on groceries (via Honest Bee).

Total: Php 1,050.00


APRIL 22, 2018 (SUN)

My husband and I usually go on a date on Sundays. We watched A Quiet Place (Php 220) and ate Curry Pork Tonkatsu at Coco Ichibanya (Php 600).

We also went grocery shopping (again?!) and spent Php 1,550.60. I started bringing packed lunch to work and I’m afraid of getting hungry, ok? But seriously, I might have bought too much food. I’m relatively new to cooking and I’m still getting familiar with ingredient quantities and serving sizes. Anybody else finding it hard to cook for two?

We capped the night off with coffee (Php 120). Transportation home costed Php 83.

Note: My husband and I split everything 50-50 (give or take). We split the mortgage. I pay for food and he pays for the utilities (including internet and association dues). Date-related expenses are most of the time split as well.

Total: Php 2,573.60

APRIL 23, 2018 (MON)

I have a standard 8-hour job and an unhealthy coffee habit. I spent Php 140 on gourmet coffee today, but I don’t feel guilty about it when it’s a coffee date with my husband. We have different work schedules so we usually meet before I go home so we could spend time or a meal together (his lunch, my dinner).

I forgot to buy paper towels yesterday so that’s another Php 40 added to grocery expense this week. I also went to Watsons to buy clear nail polish (Php 39) that I will use to paint over the faux gold earrings I bought last month.

Transportation cost to and from work amounted to Php 191.

Total: Php 410.00

APRIL 24, 2018 (TUE)

Today was rather uneventful. I can’t really talk much about work because I’m working with confidential information.

My first coffee is at Dunkin Donuts (Php 45) and the second was with my husband at McDonalds (Php 29). It’s more often that we spend our coffee dates at McDonalds unless he wants to eat cake or waffle.

Transportation cost to and from work amounted to Php 167.

Total: Php 241.00

APRIL 25, 2018 (WED)

I challenged myself to 30 Days of Real Food last week which means I can’t eat baked goods! I bought Gatorade Active (Php 30) which is also technically not allowed but is the lesser evil because it barely has any carbs/sugar. Due to health reasons, I need to limit the latter.

Transportation cost to and from work amounted to Php 160.

APRIL 26, 2018 (THU)

I wasn’t able to pack enough food for lunch today so I bought almonds (Php 74), fried chicken (Php 115) and, of course, coffee (Php 45).

I had Gatorade Active again today, grrrrr (Php 30).

Transportation cost to and from work amounted to Php 172.

I’m constantly letting go of stuff by selling or giving them away. Someone bought my backup of The Ordinary 1% Retinol (Php 410) from Shopee!!! Woohoo!

Total: Php 26.00

APRIL 27, 2018 (FRI)

Today is the spendiest day of the workweek. I went on two coffee dates (Php 235, why do people prefer gourmet coffee? 😭 Can we just have it on special occassions? I’m frugaling here!) I guess it’s ok (not really). My rule with gourmet coffee is that I should only have it with company, in the context of spending time with a friend or family member.

I brought packed lunch today but I craved for something, a taste I don’t even know specifically (is that even possible?). I bought Almonds and Gatorade Active (Php 86).

Expense tracking is hard y’all.

Transportation cost to and from work amounted to Php 195.

Total: Php 516.00

Total for the week is a dismaying Php 5,066.60 (I spent Php 723.80/day!). Next week, I have to reduce my budget for groceries and start brewing my own coffee. It’s always a choice between convenience and making smart life choices–I feel like I need to bring the whole kitchen every day. Goal next week is to spend only Php 600/day, but I’ll aim for Php 500.

I started 30 Days of Real Food yesterday.  My diet for most of the 1st quarter was unhealthy. In my 2018 Focus Points post, I said:

  • I’ll start strength-training and building some muscle
  • I’ll get my waist-to-height ratio to 47% by the first quarter of the month; and
  • I’ll achieve a fasting blood glucose of < 80 mg/dl waking up

None of that happened.  I’m disappointed in myself, but I’m trying to get over it by focusing on what I can do instead.

30 Days Real Food Scatterbraintures C


I’m following the rules from the Whole 30 website (click the link to find the specifics for each item below). I don’t think I’ll follow their list to the letter. My notes are italicized:

Do not consume added sugar, real or artificial.
— This is ok, artificial sugar triggers my IBS.

Do not consume alcohol, in any form, not even for cooking.
I just bought Bignay Wine from my workmate. I’ll give the bottle to my dad 😭.

Do not eat grains.
I will eat rice occasionally. 3 meals/week max? We’ll see. It will depend on my morning glucose meter results.

Do not eat legumes.
I will still eat these occasionally. Green beans = ♥️.

Do not eat dairy.
For everything except butter, I will comply. I can’t digest too much dairy anyway.

Do not consume carrageenan, MSG, or sulfites.
I should spend time googling what carrageenan and sulfites are, but I’ll try my best to check for them in food labels. MSG is controversial. Some say it’s fine but since I’m avoiding processed foods which usually include MSG, I should be ok.

Do not consume baked goods, junk foods, or treats with “approved” ingredients.
Wish me luck. 😟

Vinegar, salt, and canned tuna are my exceptions. I also want to cook meals with tomato sauce. I’ll just avoid those with high-fructose corn syrup and (added) sugar listed on the label.

30 Days Real Food Scatterbraintures B

More Rules / Guidelines

I will do a liberal low-carb diet (max of 100g/day) because I’m trying to fix my insulin resistance. This means I need to avoid high-sugar fruits too (e.g. starchy fruits like apples, bananas, melons etc).

I decided not to do any strenuous exercise as I try to reset my eating habits because I DON’T WANT TO DIE. I’ll continue doing light exercises (mostly just walking 😂) as I did the past 3 months. Maybe I’ll eventually add something like 10 squats a day, but basically I don’t want to introduce so many big changes to my body. Baby steps. I advocate not pushing one’s self too much, hehehe.

I will not be counting calories. I will go for intuitive eating instead. However, I have a tendency to binge eat like a goldfish even when I’m not hungry, so I’ll really try to pay attention to my hunger and satiety cues.

I might post daily accountability stories on Instagram but I don’t know if I can follow-through til the end.

* * *

Hopefully, I’ll report favorable results in 30 days. I don’t have a target weight or waistline, but I’m curious to find out what will happen. Starting measurements:

  • True Waist (taken from narrowest part of the waist) – 29.5 inches
  • Weight (taken first thing in the morning) – 125.6 lbs
  • Blood Glucose (taken before my first meal of the day) – 75 mg/dl yay!!! (last month I’m either very low or very high)

Part of my 2018 focus points is to be extra frugal. I have been successful on the makeup-and-skincare front. I was supposed to do a no-buy but we all know that’s impossible.

2018 started with a strong urge to buy NARS Powermatte Liquid Lipstick. I was going to treat it as my last hurrah before I formally start my Low-Buy, but when I checked the testers at the store, the product in each had separated. Shaking the tube would probably be enough to fix the problem but I decided it’s not worth it. Good save, I guess.

Limited Destashing

In 2017, I let go of a lot of stuff and scaled down my makeup and skincare collection to about 50%. However, that led to feeling entitled to shop. This year, I decided not to be as aggressive with destashing. I became more mindful and critical of my purchases when I set my mind to thinking that whatever I buy, I should be able to keep until its dying breath.

I still let go of stuff when I feel miserable trying to use them up. I also sold a lot of backup skincare products I know I won’t finish before they expire.

Skin Genie Lip Tint

Makeup Purchases

In January, I bought 3 lip tints after seeing myself in the mirror looking pale at the gym. I atoned for that by letting go of 8 lip products. I am proud to say I’ve been makeup purchase-free since February. HUGE ACHIEVEMENT. Total spent – Less than Php 500 (USD 10)

Skincare Purchases 1st Qtr 2018

Skincare Purchases

I spent most of the 1st quarter battling skin asthma. I’m allergic to egg, chicken and seafood but I can’t keep myself from eating them. I bought Dove Dermaseries for Itchy Skin and Aveeno Oatmeal Body Wash. I also bought several soap bars for sensitive skin.

After I finished a sample of Biore Watery Essence SFP50+++, I bought COSRX Aloe Soothing Sun Cream SPF50+++. I also let go of Sunplay Sport UV Sunscreen SPF120++++ with Wet Skin Technology. I decided I’m done with everyday sunscreens that make my skin feel tight and dry.

Skincare Purchases 1st Qtr 2018

I also bought Whamisa Original Toner (not in the photo) after emptying Klairs Supple Preparation Toner, but after finishing up about a fourth of the former, I let it go. My face always turns red and I get some inflammation that goes away overnight. I didn’t break out from it but I don’t really know what damage (if any) it’s doing given the skin reaction. Better safe than sorry.

Other purchases are:

  • Retin A 0.05% Tretinoin to replace Retacnyl 0.05% Tretinoin (expired)
  • Purito Vitamin C Serum (with Niacinamide) to replace The Ordinary 30% Vitamin C in Silicone
  • Olay Age Protect 18g
  • CosRx Aloe Vera Oil-Free Moisture Cream (I bought this and Olay because I don’t have a moisturizer that doesn’t have any acids in it. I wasn’t supposed to get two moisturizers, Olay Age Protect was an all-time favorite but I forgot it has salicylic acid).

The proceeds of selling my skincare backups covered a significant amount of my skincare purchases. Total spent (estimate) – Php 4900 (USD 98)


In February I started logging new acquisitions, purges, and empties. It’s good to see the exact amount I spent and the net decrease in my makeup and skincare collection. I wish I had done this when the year started.

Plans for April + Rest of The Year

On top of what I normally set aside in my savings account, I’ll continue saving the same amount of money I spend for non-necessities. This self-imposed rule kept me from buying makeup the past 2 months. Example: I wanted to buy Hourglass Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation Stick which costs Php 2,850. Unless I have another Php 2,850 to put in the bank, I’m not allowed to buy it.

I’m also imposing a 1-in-2-out rule for makeup and skincare categories I have too much of (eg lipsticks and foundations). I know–ruthless.

I plan on doing this update monthly instead. I needed to do a lot of recollection for this post! HAHA.

The Maybelline Super Stay Matte Ink line is a game-changer. They are the most long-lasting AND comfortable matte liquid lipsticks I’ve tried.

A friend sent me two shades as a gift. One of them is Escapist (45), a blackened bluish red. I love the color against my light-medium olive skin with strong yellow undertones. Note: All of the photos shown below were taken at the end of a workday comprising of one meal, 2 coffee drinks, and several trips to the water station.

Maybelline Super Stay Matte Ink in 45 Escapist

The lipstick feels very tacky upon initial application. It is opaque and there’s no need to apply more than a layer. I scrape off as much as I can from the applicator before I put on the lipstick to make sure it dries down. The tackiness lessens and I don’t notice it throughout the day. That said, I don’t have the habit of smacking my lips.

There’s a learning curve to applying this lipstick but it didn’t take a while before I got the hang of it. The consistency is similar to viscous caramel syrup.

My only gripe is the finish. I don’t know about the other shades, but the two I got (Escapist and Voyager) have considerable shine typical of satin lipsticks. If you’re expecting a flat finish, you might be disappointed.

Putting anything under or over the lipstick significantly affects longevity. I used it as base for a standard wax-based bullet lipstick and it ended up flaking in an unflattering way. I don’t experience the latter when I use the lipstick on its own.

The lipstick is hard to remove if you don’t have a bi-phase makeup remover. You have to bring the latter if you need to reapply. With the shades I own, the lipstick doesn’t look great layered over once it cracks. It needs to be fully removed before you can touch up.

All shades released in the Philippines are cooler-toned. My no-buy is in a lot of danger once the warmer shades are launched. Already I have my eye on Fighter and Amazonian.

Semi-regularly, I go through my vanity to look for stuff to give away so they don’t go expired with me. Unfortunately, I found 4 products that went bad.

It could be hard to believe but I loved all of them. This is the reality of buying more than you need; You could end up with many things going bad if you’re not on top of shelf lives and expiration dates.

The Face Shop Miracle Finish Long-lasting CC Cushion | V205 Dark Beige

This is one of the face bases that got me a lot of compliments. It’s skin-like, semi-dewy, diffuses pores, and doesn’t look like it’s sitting on top of my skin. I was so happy when The Face Shop released darker shades that are yellow enough for me.

When I noticed that I was down to my last few uses, I picked up other bases to ‘save’ this cushion until a refill of my shade becomes available, but I recently found out that the brand doesn’t carry refills of the darker shades. All they had were the lightest shades. Are there really that many more pale relative to brown people in the Philippines? My skin tone isn’t even that deep (MAC C30-depth).

I don’t feel inclined to repurchase another compact. Aside from the refill issue, I believe cushions go bad faster because the product is exposed and you have to double-dip every time.

Inglot YSM Cream Foundation

Before trying out Shiseido Synchro Skin Foundation, this was my favorite matte foundation. It doesn’t look like it, but I got past half-way through the tube.

It gives a soft-focus matte finish (i.e., skin-like + pore-blurring). Inglot YSM is like a blur cream and foundation hybrid. It feels mousse-y and sets the bar for me in terms of lightweight-ness. Coverage is low-medium, buildable to a medium. I don’t understand how it doesn’t look cakey or feel heavy even when I layer too much.

My oils start to show by the 4th hour but it doesn’t look bad in person. I look dewy rather than greasy when my oils break through. Note that I have high tolerance for shine. I’m not really buying matte foundations for them to stay matte all day. I’m more into looking fresh and healthy.

I’m shade 49 when I’m NC30 and shade 50 when I’m nearer NC35. Php 1,195 for a 30ml tube.

Etude House AC Clinic Intense Pink Powder Spot

This is one of my favorite spot treatment products. I first featured this two years ago and my thoughts on it remain the same. It can significantly reduce inflammation overnight and while it can dry out a pimple, it doesn’t irritate the skin to cause dark marks. I guess it’s a good thing I didn’t get to finish it. The past two years, I didn’t experience a bad breakout.

Aromatica Tea Tree 53 Blemish Spot (Treatment)

I usually use this under a hydrocolloid pimple patch. It has tea tree extract and salicylic acid. It helps calm down inflamed pimples. I think I should no longer consider myself to be as acne-prone as I was in 2008 to 2011. I overestimated my need for acne spot treatment products. I still have 2 unopened pouches of CosRx pimple patch and a 30ml bottle of The Ordinary Salicylic Acid.

Skincare gods, please grant me the wisdom to know when it’s time to give my backups away so they don’t go bad with me again 😬