Tuesday, August 21, 2018

The Frugal Celebrity: Give up the glam, buy a house in the US Edition

GMA artist Kris Bernal and her sister in her ~$600k California home. 

Working in the media and entertainment industry exposed me to how it was pretty much a boom and bust situation. When it's good, it's really good. You get projects left and right and one after the other, then it's forty years wandering the desert and the seven plagues the next. Since it's the first industry I worked in, I learned early how to budget my money, how to make it last until the next payday which may be a month, or two, or six months away. Who knows. 

That's why when it comes up in the news, I always have a soft spot for people who can forgo the trappings of celebrity--buying all the designer goodies, #travelgoals, the big muscle cars--and scrape and save for a future when the spotlight is no longer trained on them. One of the first entries on my blog when I returned to blogging was about Scottie Thompson, who saved up his basketball money to put up his own business

Recently, there's Kris Bernal, a GMA artist who saved by not hiring a glam team and driving herself to work and then using that savings to buy a house in West Covina, California. Primarily, she got the house because she has a sister working there as a nurse who then fell ill and Kris Bernal thought it would be nice if her sister didn't have to think of making rent on top of health concerns. 

Bernal often taped three times a week, especially if working on a soap opera, and having a glam team--stylist, make up artist, hair stylist--and a driver to bring her to work and back home, are considered necessities. But what gave her pause was how much having this team would cost her in the long run. "Pag inipon mo kasi yun, its very expensive, e." She pegged the driver's salary in a month at PHP10,000, that adds up to PHP600,000 for five years. Add to that the salary of a stylist and a hair and makeup artist. So that makes the celebrity life really expensive indeed. 

She put her money in a time deposit so that she wouldn't be tempted to spend it. (Of course, I think that time deposits don't really do much, but hey, if it worked for her, you do you, ate.) She built her savings for a decade. Recently, she also opened a Korean BBQ restaurant. "Hindi siya ano, na bigla na lang dumami ang pera ko. Hindi nila alam na sobrang tipid ko, as in ang dami kong tinipid at tiniis para lang mabili ko itong bahay, mapatayo ko itong House of Gogi, yung ganun." 

She bought the house in April 2018, and according to Zillow, modern-minimalist home has a lot size of 3,750 square feet and a floor area of 2,022 square feet. Pep.ph, which ran the article, found out that "four-bedroom homes in West Covina are priced from $500,000 to $600,000." So Ms. Bernal's five bedroom home with a loft cost her around $603,000 or PHP32,121,207. If she saved for it for a decade, she was putting aside ~Php3M/year. She's right to be proud of her purchase. Really frugal indeed. 
That's around PHP26M to PHP31M.But based on our research, the house was

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