Starbucks 2015 Planner (?)

starbucks 2015 planner promo cardEighteen stickers, nine of which are for Christmas Beverages (e.g. toffee nut latte, peppermint mocha, and christmans cookie latte) and the other nine for any other core beverages (e.g. espresso-based drinks, brewed coffee, frappuchino, teas, and other cream-based drinks) – those are what you need to complete this year’s Starbucks Christmas Tradition promo (in the Philippines) which would eventually lead you to the much-awaited and much-coveted Starbucks 2015 Planner. I’m still contemplating, though, if I should even go for it.

I am a true-blue coffee drinker, so this should actually be no feat. I consume two mugs of brewed coffee a day, and can easily replace that with espresso. I also like Starbucks, but not exclusively – I also like those other coffee shops, but Starbucks is the standard. I swore-off buying my coffee from coffeeshops every day though, since this burns a terrible hole in the wallet (imagine spending approximately 120 pesos for each cup). I brew my own coffee everyday, and am able to have it just the way I want it. I do go and grab my coffee from coffeeshops now and then, on special occasions, when on travel, when I need to work or study at a coffee shop, when waiting for someone or something, or when I am not in the mood to brew my own.

In the past years, I have spent successive days in November and December consuming Starbucks beverages to complete the purchase requirements to get planner. Perhaps, getting a Starbucks planner felt like an achievement, a bragging right. There was even one time some years ago when I was able to redeem three planners, although I did not consume all those drinks (the stickers were from friends during our Christmas season meet-ups). I have one from last year.

Unfortunately, for all those Starbucks Planners I have had in the past few years, I don’t think I was able to use even 20% of each planner. I start writing during the start of the year, but I somehow taper off and stop altogether. I am not the daily journal type of person. Also, I have moved from writing my schedules in a tiny planner to putting everything in my Google Calendar (accessible through my mobile devices and computers!).

To be honest, last Nov 3 when they started the Christmas Tradition promo, I was at the Starbucks in front of our office first thing in the morning to get a Peppermint Mocha drink (which is actually a personal favorite), and get a hold of the promo card and find out what the mechanics are for this year. I just wanted to know, aside from the fact that I was in the mood for some yummy coffee.

But actually, I’m asking myself if I should even go for the coming year’s Starbucks Planner. Should I spend time, money, and effort on something that I know I will barely use again, and which will just eventually gather dust on my shelf? Maybe not. Perhaps I’ll just “passively” participate in the promo, collect stickers for instances when I go for my occasional Starbucks coffee. If I do complete the promo card, I can redeem it and then perhaps give it away? Bid it out? Sell it online? I’ll just figure it out when it comes. Or maybe if I’m not able to complete the promo card before the end of the promo, I can give it away for someone else to complete it. What I know is I won’t be going to Starbucks every day just to complete this card (although this only actually takes about three weeks to complete if one consumes a beverage every day).

How about you? What’s your plan?

A different kind of throwback thursday – A letter to my future husband

Because the past may be about the future that isn’t in the present yet…

September 7, 2011

Dear love of my life,

I am having breakfast and coffee by my own right now, and I just thought of writing you a letter. How very much I wish you were here with me because I know any morning started with you will just be a wonderful day no matter what. I know you can’t be here now. Not yet.

It would’ve been nice to tell you that I had a nice drive to work today, or maybe even how wonderful the ride was with you driving. I would’ve wanted to tell you about my plans for the day. Imagine all the funny, absurd, geeky, serious, and all other things we could talk about. Imagine how we couldn’t run out of things to talk about. I sweep off all the strawberry syrup and whipped cream I could with my waffle slices, and you don’t mind. We finish our waffles and coffee, and you tell me I could beat Starbucks belgian waffles and coffee anytime. I promise you I’ll cook for you tomorrow, and any other day you would crave for them. We know it’s time to part for the meantime, you walk me to my office and kiss me goodbye. I tell you how much I look forward to see you at the end of the day.

It would’ve been wonderful to spend the morning with you, but I understand why you can’t be here now. You probably are somewhere driving to work alone and just having brewed coffee from the office pantry. You don’t know me yet. You still haven’t found me. I don’t know who you are yet. You could be anywhere.

But don’t mind me yet. I am happily having breakfast by my own at a corner starbucks near the office. Happy, because I know how blessed I already am, even on my own. Happy thinking of a wonderful morning in the future spent with you.

I’m done with my waffles already, but will probably walk back to the office with a half-full cup of latte. I look forward to seeing you when the time comes. 🙂

Putting my mouth where my money is

I just got my 13th month today. And it did not stay even 24 hours in my bank account, I already transferred it to a friend’s account whom I owed some money from. When I say “some money” I mean, five digits before the decimal point. That’s actually somewhat a lot.

Perhaps my finances is one of the worst aspects of my life right now, second to my lack of a decent lovelife. And to be honest, I have much more available money back in college than I have now. My friends know that I have always been good with my finances then. I was still getting allowance from my parents (but just enough, not a lot), and I had a lot of time to earn from my little “racket” here and there. And life in my university wasn’t expensive at all. Really cheap food, jeepney rides, and a lot of photocopying were all I was spending on then. I had enough money to spend for things I wanted

But now that I am earning my own dough, I don’t seem to get enough. I spend around P9,000 / month on gasoline alone. Then there are expenses for medicine, toiletries, among others. I also spend a lot on food, both for the daily lunch and the occasional eat-outs. Starbucks is also quite deadly to my pocket, since I have developed a certain fondness for it. I have also spent a lot on some out-of-town and out-of-the-country trips in the past three years. To top it off, I don’t get a big paycheck, since I’m on a “non-profit organization” payroll (but it’s all ok because I love my job).

It’s a real challenge to manage my own finances now that I am earning and spending for most of my own expenses. I’ve made a lot of mistakes and wrong decisions in my finances in the past three years, that brought me to my current dilemma. At one point these past few months, I owed two people a total amount almost equal to two months’ salary. There’s something terribly wrong there, especially I am so used to not owing anything.

One of my biggest mistake was the way I used my credit card. It must be noted that when my very first credit card was issued to me by my bank, it had a credit limit which was twice my monthly salary. That should have been a warning sign for me already. It was just so easy to take that card out of my wallet and swipe away when I see some things that I would like to purchase. Even abroad, I would use my credit card to go shopping. I accumulated a lot of payables because of this. On the brighter side, I always pay my monthly credit card bills in full, so that I won’t incur interest charges. But that always leave me with less cash than I need, and I will start charging things again. It’s an endless cycle.

I’m trying to correct my credit card attitude already. I’m forcing myself to only purchase with cash, unless utterly necessary. I’m pushing myself to charge as little as possible on my account. I still have to get used to using my credit card wisely.

In general, I need to reduce my spending and improve on my buying decisions. On top of that, I’m trying to rethink and re-plan how I manage my finances. I don’t ever want to find myself in such a financial dump again.


This post is not about any form of exercise or physical activity. Let’s just say, take my title literally – it’s about WORKING, and being OUTSIDE doing this.

Have I mentioned that work has been intense these past few weeks, and is set to elevate in difficulty and urgency in the next three months? Well, we have a science centre to finish, and the accomplishment of around 25% of the contents rest on my shoulders. I seem to have been losing weight, they say, and it’s somehow a good side-effect of the stress, at least for the meantime. The tons of work cannot be accomplished in only 40 hours during the work-week, that’s why there’s a need to go the extra mile. It’s a tough job, but someone has got to do it.

However much I’ve tried in the past, I could never really get in the “zone” or in working mode when I’m at home. My desktop PC in the home office will only prod me to play with Sims 3. The living room will always urge me to turn on the TV and watch whatever crap is on. And then there is my bedroom – my radio will probably play non-stop when I’m at home, and my bed is so conducive to slumber. I can’t help it. Regardless of my initial intentions, if I turn on my work laptop at home, I only end up surfing the web.

Yesterday was Saturday with nothing much on my personal errand list. I went about doing these after lunch and settled down in a Starbucks nearby with a grande latte and my trusty Vaio to work on, well, work. It is much cheaper to do than driving all the way to the office in Taguig. Five-hundred pesos in gas and around 1.5 hour lost during the drive versus one hundred fifty pesos for big cup of my favorite coffee and fifty pesos for unlimited internet just less than five kilometers from home – it wasn’t a tough decision.

Four hours in Starbucks and a grande latte. Indeed, I was able to finish one item from my list. Not bad. That’s one less thing to think about when I get back to the office on Monday. Maybe I should do this again in the coming weekends, and maybe even on some weeknights. It should be nice to come home with less work to do and all the remaining time to enjoy my bed.