Review: Book&Bean Cafe in Ace Yas Island

 

Beans Cafe ACE Yas Island

My hubby enjoys looking around (and sometimes shopping) at ACE Yas Island. I have no complaints except that I easily get bored.

So what I do, I hang out in the Book&Bean Cafe while he takes his time looking around. I have been in this cafe for couple of times on weekends and usually I found it busy. It is a small coffee shop and at the same time a secondhand bookstore.

I usually have iced coffee when visiting this place. The one I ordered last time was too sweet for my taste.

The Book&Bean Cafe has a small collection of used books. I am fond of reading personal finance books but I could not find anything related to that during my last visit. I ended up buying biographies and inspirational books instead.

They also have a promotion - get a 50% refund of the book if returned in good condition. Personally this is not a bad idea at all. I shifted accommodation several times Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Honestly, hoarding things are not very ideal because you oftentimes end up giving it away, selling it or sending it back home when there’s a need to relocate again.

Anyway, Book&Bean Cafe offers wifi also to their customers. You have to ask for the password from the cashier.

I would say that it is a good place to hang out especially if you are waiting (like me) for someone to finish their shopping at ACE.

The only downside is their location.

 

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Part 2 : How to sponsor a Filipino nanny or household worker in UAE?

I mentioned in my previous post that my husband’s employment visa is issued in Dubai. It means that processing any visas under his sponsorship has to be done in Dubai though the requirements and procedures are similar in Abu Dhabi.

It is important to note that the agency here in Abu Dhabi could not start any work until they receive the original employment entry permit.

Requirements for Housemaid/Nanny’s Employment Entry Permit in UAE

  • Sponsor’s Ministry of Labour contract – This is not the employment contract or offer that you initially signed with your company. This is the contract issued by the Ministry of Labour. It is in English and Arabic. If you don’t have it, you can ask your HR Department. It should be the original document.
  • Sponsor’s salary certificate. This letter should be in Arabic.
  • Sponsor’s Emirates ID copy
  • Sponsor’s passport and visa page copy
  • Passport and visa page (if available) copy of the sponsor’s family – For our case, we provided my passport and visa page copy even though I am not under my husband’s sponsorship. We also provided my son’s passport and visa entry permit.
  • Tenancy contract – It is also known as the accommodation contract and it should be under the name of the sponsor.
  • Tawtheeq – This can be obtained from your landlord. It is a document certifying that your flat or accommodation is registered in the Municipality. Be careful though because not all buildings have Tawtheeq. When we were searching for flat, this was the first question we asked.
  • Water and electricity bill or receipt – Again this should be under the name of the sponsor.
  • Housemaid’s passport copy and passport size photos
  • Housemaid’s passport copy, complete address & contact number in the Philippines
  • Affidavit of no blood relation – This document is for nanny or housemaid who has the same nationality with their sponsor. You can get this from the Philippines Embassy/Consulate and it takes approximately one week for processing.

Cost of processing the employment entry permit

Unfortunately I don’t have the cost breakfast because we requested the assistance of one PRO to process the entry permits of our son and nanny. It does not really cost much at this stage. Perhaps it is more or less AED 1000 excluding the deposit of AED 2,000.

Important note: Once your nanny or housemaid arrives in UAE, her residence visa has to be processed within 60 days from the date of entry.

Here are the guidelines for your housemaid’s / nanny’s residence visa stamping in UAE

  • Housemaid’s medical examination result
  • Emirates ID application
  • Health insurance (Abu Dhabi)
  • Housemaid’s contract – This is done in the typing centre.
  • Passport size photo of the housemaid
  • Housemaid’s original passport and visa
  • Sponsor’s passport and visa copy
  • Sponsor’s Ministry of Labour contract
  • Sponsor’s salary certificate
  • Sponsor’s tenancy contract
  • Sponsor’s Emirates ID copy

Cost for the residence visa stamping

Again I don’t have the detailed cost breakdown of this. However, the cost is between AED 1,500 – AED 2,000 which includes the medical examination, health insurance, residence visa stamping and Emirates ID.

The big chunk of the cost is the yearly residence visa fee and this applies only for expatriate sponsors. It is approximately AED 5,000 – AED 6,000 per year. It means that when you renew your housemaid’s visa for another year, you have to pay again this yearly residence visa fee.

I hope this information helps.

Click to read the ‘Part 1: How to hire Filipino nanny or housemaid directly from Philippines?’

Part 1: How to hire Filipino nanny or housemaid directly from Philippines?

My hubby and I are both working on average of 9-10 hours a day, five days a week. When we decided to take our son to live with us here in Abu Dhabi, we knew without a doubt that we needed to hire a Filipino nanny or housemaid directly from Philippines.

There are nannies available here too for local hire however I opted to employ somebody we knew or referred by our family and friends. I have my own reasons and I will write about it soon.

Anyway back to our subject, it is a lengthy process because there are so many formalities to do back home especially if it is first time for your chosen nanny or housemaid to work abroad.

When we started to process our nanny’s documents and visa, we were warned in advance that it would be costly. They advised us to take the nanny on tourist visa. Once she is in the country, then we can proceed with the visa processing. This option is way much cheaper but we don’t want to take the risk.

We heard stories of Filipinos on tourist visa who were rejected by Philippine Immigration. So we decided to take the proper but expensive route of hiring a nanny.

First thing to remember – Filipino nannies and housemaids can only be hired directly through agency to agency. It means that you have to channel through an agency based in UAE and this agency will coordinate with the agency in Philippines.

Though my husband’s visa is issued in Dubai, we officially reside in Abu Dhabi. So we contacted an Abu Dhabi based agency namely ‘Al Qabas Employment’, who coordinated with ‘Wilson International Manpower Services, Inc’ agency in Philippines.

I also cross-checked this agency (Wilson International Manpower Services) if it is registered with Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA). At that time of checking, it was listed and they have valid license.

You can click here to check the status of the recruitment agency in Philippines. There are many bogus recruitment agencies back home. So be very extra careful.

The agency here in Abu Dhabi cannot start any work until they have the employment visa of the nanny or housemaid.

After submitting the original employment visa or the employment entry permit of my nanny, we paid half of the agency fee. They handled all the required attestation of the nanny’s documents in the Philippine Embassy. Then the agency in the Philippines will do all the necessary documentations, training and seminars needed for our nanny to leave the country.

The process takes time. It took approximately 5-6 weeks before our nanny could finally board the plane to Abu Dhabi.

Here are the requirements of the agency.

  • Sponsor’s passport copy
  • Sponsor’s Emirates I.D. copy (front & back)
  • Sponsor’s Salary Certificate copy
  • Housemaid’s passport copy, complete address & contact number in the Philippines
  • Sponsor’s Tenancy contract

Housemaid’s minimum salary must be AED 1,500.00 per month as required by the Philippine Government.

How much is the agency cost?

The amount I paid to ‘Al Qabas Employment’ is AED 5,000.00 excluding the airfare from Manila to UAE. This is the payment breakdown they provided to me.

  • Agency service fee                      AED 2500
  • Life insurance                                AED   500

Housemaid’s expenses in Philippines

  • Medical Fee                                 AED   250
  • Training fee                                 AED   250
  • Processing fee                            AED 1,500

When our nanny arrives in UAE, there are more additional costs.

Check my next post – Part 2: How to sponsor a nanny or household worker in UAE? 

Starting all over again our Emergency Funds (EF)

EF

(photo credit: http://www.fidelity.com)

I knew the importance of emergency funds. I learned this from the start of my foray to this world of personal finance. EF is vital for achieving our financial goals yet I didn’t take this seriously. I have been disciplined to regularly contribute to my investments but not really to my EF.

So this year, I am starting all over again. I am determined to prioritize our EF otherwise I am building our future finances in a very weak foundation. I am afraid that one day I will regret for procrastinating my EF goal and the impact of it will be catastrophic.

I have an ambitious plan – to save a 12 months worth of living expenses which includes everything like mortgage back home and the cost of living here in Abu Dhabi. I know that it is not easy but I have to start somewhere and somehow.

First goal is to achieve the EF equivalent to 4 months of our living expenses. Last February 15, I opened an account in National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD) which I will use mainly for saving my EF.

As of this time of writing, I achieved already 11.25% of my first goal. My journey has just started and it is still a long way to go but I am excited. .

Having an EF equates to peace of mind specially for us who have dependents. Also, we all know that there’s no such thing as job security here.

I used to save our EF in a bank account back home but now it is not a very smart option because my family is here. Therefore, the volume of my EF should be here in UAE.

What about you? Have you achieved your desired emergency fund?

Guest Post: Needs vs. Wants – 5 Steps to Start Saving More of Your Income

Is your income never enough for your needs? Do you feel that there’s not enough money to go around in your household and that saving has become close to impossible? You need to able to clearly distinguish between wants and needs to be able to exercise better control over your income and to budget your money successfully.

People classify wants and needs differently as we live different lifestyles. But there are some general rules that you should always remember:

What are Your Wants?
Wants
are those things that you can live without. More often than not, they are expensive, but they could also be cheap delights, which, if you buy too much of, can really hurt your finances (although you may not realize it). Things classified under wants give you instant gratification. If you always give in to your wants, you’re more likely to end up with an empty wallet. Other examples of common wants are:

  • Luxury cars
  • The latest gadgets
  • Designer clothes, bags, and shoes
  • Shopping and eating out

What are Your Needs?
On the other hand, your needs make up for non-negotiable expenses. You need to really prioritize them or else, you would be deprived of things you need to survive. For instance, people need food, clothing, and shelter. Workers need to spend on transportation and work-related expenses, else, they won’t be able to function to their full capacity—which would affect their income. These are the most basic needs.

There are also some needs that a lot of people don’t consider as such; and in the long run, pay dearly for it. The following are examples of some needs that a lot of people take for granted:

  • Emergency fund
  • Education fund
  • Retirement fund

Spending too much on the things you want is what stops you from saving. Worse, it could even lead to debt on credit cards. Focusing more on the things we need, on the other hand, could help us have a financially stable future. Balancing your wants and needs need not be a great juggling act. Here are five easy money saving tips that can help you manage your wants and your needs better:

1. Decide. Make a concrete decision within yourself that you would channel more attention to things you really need, over your wants. It’s never easy but start small. Every step you take brings you closer to your goal. You just need to remember to never give up.

2. Redefine happiness. Don’t be dependent on material things when it comes to your happiness. Value people around you, like your family, much more than things that could be bought with money. Teach your children to do the same. If you prioritize the needs of your loved ones, that is surely going to be more fulfilling than any material thing.

3. Do the math. Calculate your cash flow and try following the 50/30/20 rule to budgeting. Simplified, the idea is to spend 50% or half of your income on your needs, 30% should go to your wants, and the remaining 20% should be strictly put for savings and debt reduction. Cut the 20% first, put it in the bank or use it to invest in stocks or mutual funds, or pay your debts. Then, divide the rest on your needs and wants. Note how the wants category is being given a specified allocation. This way, you wouldn’t feel deprived and find saving much more rewarding.

4. Say NO. Now that you have a certain amount allocated for everything, you need to control your urges and what triggers it. If you’re used to give in to your wants, find ways to distract yourself. Or at least postpone any impulsive purchases.

5. Maximize your time. Don’t be impatient. Don’t hate yourself it takes so much time for you to save money. Just make budgeting and saving a habit until it becomes almost like a second nature—that you don’t even think about it anymore. You’ll just be surprised one day how much you’ve managed to save up and invest.

No matter how much income you receive in a month or a year, it will never be enough if you spend uncontrollably and don’t prioritize saving. If you’re aware of how you’re spending, you’ll find that budgeting, and balancing between your wants and needs, much easier.

 

Author’s Bio

Ryan Del Villar is a writer and online marketing specialist at Money Max, Philippines’ leading online comparison portal and Philippine market news provider. You can check the website here. Ryan is also a freelance writer at Helm Word, an Online Reputation Management company. He worked as an online video editor before he started his writing career.

Will You Marry Someone with Large Debts?

Wedding-rings-on-money

Photo Credit: http://loans.org

Did you find already your perfect partner? Are you decided to spend the rest of your life with him for better and for worst, for richer and for poorer? Are you really sure about that? What happens if you learn that your prince charming is actually living in large debts. Will you still marry him? Are you willing to be dragged in the same situation? Is it really worth the trouble?

People actually have different perspective when it comes to this scenario. For those who experienced the hardship of paying off the bills and the stress of trying to make ends meet, they will more likely not to pursue this wedding dream. They are afraid to be trapped again in the same situation.

Again, reactions will vary from one person to the other. There are many factors that will influence their decision. However before jumping into conclusion, here are few things that you can consider and hopefully will help you to make up your mind.

Be honest. For sure you will have many questions in your mind after learning that your partner has spiraling debts. Will it affect your future as a couple? Is he financially irresponsible? Does he possess bad spending habits? Until when he will be paying his debts? How can you start your savings and investments?

Stop guessing. Instead be honest with your concerns and talk these matters out to him directly. Perhaps he is already working on some payment plans that you are not aware of.

Assess the financial attitude. If the person is trapped in debts, it does not necessarily mean that he is financial irresponsible, right? Check the reasons behind. Maybe it was for the medical bills of his daughter or  a starting capital for a business that just didn’t workout well. But, the root cause can also be an exorbitant kind of lifestyle.

Assess his attitude towards finances. Is he frugal now? Does he think and justify first before making any big purchases? Does he buy things out of whim?

People make mistakes in life. Some learn the lessons and change while others remain the same. So before judging them for their debts, it is fair to know the reasons behind it. If he learns his lessons from the situation, then perhaps it is worth to give him a chance.

Sharing the same frame of mind. As a couple, it is difficult to plan ahead if you do not share the same perspective. You are fine with renting a small apartment until you have enough savings to purchase your own house. If your husband does not agree to this arrangement and he wants to avail housing loan for a grand house, then this really poses a problem.

It is best to be with someone who shares the same dispositions. It makes planning and achieving your financial goals a lot easier.

Offer a leeway. Give your fiancé a time to sort out his financial mess. Say, propose for two years for him to pay off his loans before tying the knot. It is always best to start your married life free from shackles of debts.

If your partner agrees to this arrangement, just make sure also that you are giving your 101% support. Don’t  ask for expensive gifts when you know that he is trying to live below his means for the purpose of paying off his bills soon.

Now, will you still marry your partner who is burdened with spiraling debts? No one really can decide on that but you. Think and decide wisely.

January is over!

Time flies.

January had been a very hectic month for me. I spent longer hours in the office and I worked most of the weekends. For the first time I heard my hubby saying that I didn’t have time anymore for our family.

And it was true.

I sometimes found myself contemplating – going through some emotional issues. I waited for 2 years to be with my son. It took us two years to finally get him and now that he is with us, I have no time and energy to spend quality time with him.

This reality really hurts me.

I started to consider other options in terms of earning an income. I am not keen at all on the idea of one-income household.

Anyway, I will not make any drastic decision soon but it is about time to reconsider some options.

Wishing you and your family a great February ahead of you!