Only a few OFW spend responsibly. They tend to give more to their family to compensate with their absence. They tend to shower their family, especially their kids with new gadgets, shoes, and toys.
Not only that, they also spend their money to help their relatives or “Pamangkin” with their tuition fees and all. They help so much that they end up not saving for their retirement.
I know, that helping others is a good thing but don’t help them to the extend that you are compromising your own future. Yes, we have this thing called “Utang na loob” but not all your scholars have it. Only a few are willing to take care of you when you retire.
Don’t make the same mistakes that your other kababayad did. They are buried in debt and in a bad financial situation. They work hard with little sleep only to save receipts from their padala and debts.
You know what I’m talking about. You read and hear sad news of our OFWs. No! Your human. You also have your limits. Don’t kill yourself with too much work just to save nothing in the end.
How To Handle Finances As An OFW
Having A Goal
Have goals. How long are you going to work abroad? What kind of business do you want to build? How much money do you need to fund your business? Who is the person you can rely and manage your business well?
Having clear goals in mind will guide you in making financial decisions once you move in a new country.
Set your goals on what you want to achieve before leaving the Philippines to give you perspective on where you will be heading in your personal and financial life.
Aspiration in life is as important as your career.
Share Your Goals With Your Family
Letting your family know your goals helps them avoid the misconception about you. Your family might think that your being greedy for you only sent them a little amount of money than they expect not knowing that you are saving enough money to build a house or business that may help you earn extra income to support them.
With God’s help, if the business is booming, you can quit your job abroad and focus on your business here in the Philippines.
Talk to them face-to-face before you leave the country. This will allow them to think about your goals and they may find ways to help you achieve those goals.
Communicate Your Monthly Support
Communicating your monthly support to your family is easier when you already share with them your goals. They will no longer have those misconceptions because you already discussed to them what you want to do with your money. They will have a better understanding instead.
Now that they know your goals, they will not rely too much for your financial support and demand things from you like balik-bayan boxes.
You are managing their expectation beforehand when you communicate to them the support that you can only provide. They will no longer expect you to give extra money. It will definitely avoid any conflict and misunderstanding.
Save for an Emergency Fund
To avoid any financial difficulty from unforeseen expenses, having emergency fund is a must!
This is very important especially if you are an OFW. You are far away from home and you might be living on your own. Worrying and searching for money is the last thing you would want to do in emergency situations.
Know your monthly expenses and multiply it by six months. That is the amount you need to save for your emergency fund.
But bare in mind that expenses such as house furniture, kitchen wares, and similar things are not part of your emergency funds.
Automate Your Savings
If you are the kind of person who is not used to the habit of saving then you need to automate your savings. Do it! You’ll never need to fight a lot of your inertia just to save. You will not see those money and your inner-self will treat it as part of your monthly salary deductions.
You protect your income from going nowhere when you automate your savings.
Avoid Having Debts
Living abroad exposes you to different kinds of temptation that may result in you accumulating debts. Having an emergency fund will prevent you from it.
If you have credit cards, you will be tempted to spend money you do not have with every Black Friday or End-of-Season Sale. Plan your shopping list ahead of time. Stick to your shopping list to prevent you from buying stuffs you do not need.
Pay cash to avoid having debts. When you pay in cash, you will immediately feel the pain of letting go of your hard-earned money that you end up buying little to nothing at all.
Look For Frugal Ways To Spend Free Time
Explore a hobby that will cost you little to nothing. You can visit the park and enjoy the nature, go to the library and read or explore the net. Ask Mr. Google how you can earn money on your free time.
There are websites like Humanatic and Spare5 that allows you to earn money on your free time using your laptop or smartphone.
Have Friends Who Will Encourage You
Have a friend that will remind you of your goals and will help you not to feel homesick.
It’s nice to have some friends that you can rely on especially when you are far away from home.