6 Best Money Management Apps You Should Have on Your Phone

How many times have you heard of the terms “budgeting,” “money management,” or “saving?” Even here in Balikbayad, we always stress the importance of these terms because we want to see every OFW succeed even after your contract.

To help you with that dream, we listed money management apps you might find useful to help you achieve financial freedom.

Your Bank’s App

Banks like BDO, BPI, and Metrobank have their own app that allows you to access your account anytime, anywhere. Make sure you download your bank’s app because aside from being free, you can easily check how much you have and if there were withdrawals made.

You can check this POST to learn about banks with online banking facilities.

Ipon: 52 Weeks Challenge

52 weeks challenge is popular every start of the year. It gives you an idea of how much you can have at the end of the year when you set aside a specific amount every week. In case you are having a hard time sticking to your saving commitment, then this app could help.

Available to Android users, this app helps you set your financial goal and make sure you stick to a schedule. It also helps you keep track of how much you have, shows you a progress record, and sends you reminders in case it’s time to set aside the amount you promised to save. Don’t worry. This one is free as well.

You Need a Budget

From the name itself, you can easily tell that this app is designed for people who, well, need a budget. Apparently, budgeting is not that easy. This is why this app promises to make budgeting easier for you by providing features such as Goal Tracking, Debt Paydown, and Bank Syncing among others.

You Need a Budget is also free and available for both Android and iOS users.

Splitwise

Are you sharing a house with fellow Filipinos? This can be a good way to augment rental expenses, but how sure are you that everyone is paying their dues?

The good news is Splitwise can help you with that. Available for both iOS and Android users, this app track a particular expense shared by multiple individuals to ensure that everyone pays equally and on time. You can even keep track of those who owe you money and you can also note how much you owe someone.

Home Budget

Every OFW spouse must have this app. Home Budget is designed to track bills, expenses, account balances, and everything else related to home budgeting. There are also graphs and charts to show you whether or not your spouse is exceeding the monthly budget you set.

Similar to other apps, Home Budget is also free and available to iOS and Android users.

Daily Expenses

Let’s face it: keeping track of your daily expenses is challenging. Nonetheless, you have to do it because you need to see where your money goes and make necessary adjustments in your budget for bigger savings. The good news is this app can help to help you become smarter with your money.

The key here is to update the app as soon as you spend, otherwise, it won’t be much useful to you. Unfortunately, Daily Expenses app is only available to Android users.

What are you waiting for? Start downloading these apps as your first step towards financial freedom.

5 Small Businesses You Can Try this 2018

How many times have you heard of the term “financial freedom?” Surely, several times, Here at Balikbayad, we always emphasize the importance of attaining this because we want every OFW to live comfortably even after life overseas.

There are many ways on how you can achieve that. Investing your money in UITF, mutual fund, or stocks is a good option. In case you want something that is more sustainable, you might consider opening your own business.

Check out these business ideas you can try this year, both in and out of the Philippines:

1. Online selling of RTW clothes

Everybody needs clothes because everybody needs clothes to wear. Why not capitalize on that by selling clothes that you can find in the country where you’re working? You can stick to basics – shirts, shorts, skirts, or dress in basic colors. Ask your customers for suggestions and look for them. Who knows, this could lead to something bigger.

Tip: Consider selling clothes and shoes for kids. Mothers are more willing to spend on their children than themselves.

2. Discounted authentic perfumes

Unfortunately, perfumes can be expensive in the Philippines. Malls are taking advantage of the people’s need to smell good, so they charge a higher amount since people will always buy. This can be a good business to start with by offering perfumes that are more affordable.

It would be great if you can find a supplier in the country where you’re working. Otherwise, you can buy perfumes in stores and sell it online for a slightly higher fee (but make sure it is still cheaper than the ones sold in malls).

3. Food catering 

Do you love to cook? Have you perfected several dishes that people can’t stop raving about? If yes, then use your skill and turn it into cash by starting your own food catering business.

You can start by sponsoring food during your get-togethers with the Filipino communities or parties. Leave your contact details so that people can reach out to you. Post your food offerings If you find food catering a bit overwhelming, you can try packed lunches first and sell it to your colleagues. This can be a good start to grow your catering business.

4. Handicrafts

There is something about homemade products that makes it appealing for customers. The idea of turning “junk” into something useful or products crafted by hand will always have a special place in people’s hearts. If you have that skill of making something out of scrap, then go ahead and give handicrafts business a try.

Keep in mind that when you start this business, the burden, time, and effort will fall on you. Maximize your downtime and post your finished works on social media. If the company allows it, consider selling your items to your co-workers. Make sure you leave your contact number so people will know who to call when they want to buy more.

5. Food cart

Let’s face it: starting your own business from scratch can be overwhelming and stressful. If you don’t know where and how to start or still figuring out what type of business you should try, then consider franchising a food cart.

Here’s the thing: people will eat – all the time. Maximize on that by selling food and/or refreshments. Known brands like Potato Corner offer franchise to start-up entrepreneurs like you at an affordable price. Still, the key here is to find a location with high foot traffic so people can see you easily. The best part is your family can manage it even if you are abroad.

READ: What you Need to Know about Franchising

What business would you like to try this 2018? If you need additional working capital, Balikbayad is here to help. Submit your online loan application now and we’ll be happy to assist you with your cashflow needs.

OFW’s Guide to Getting Your First Credit Card

Credit card can be essential these days. Instead of bringing cash, you can pay for your purchases using a credit card (and promise to pay them in full!). Apparently, not everyone can be given a credit card. Credit card companies are closely looking at your background and credit score to make sure that they will get paid no matter what happens. Some companies have even stricter requirements.

Still, this doesn’t mean you won’t be given a credit card. All you need to do is to ensure these three things to boost your chances of approval:

Have a stable source of income. 

This is a must. For credit card companies, it’s not enough that you have a job. What they need is a credit card holder whose income is both stable and steady.

How can you show that?

Your Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) is enough proof since most overseas work requires two years. Present your employment contract as well since it will show how much you will earn every month. Presenting your remittances can also help you get a credit card approval.

If you have other sources of income such as business or earnings from your investment, then go ahead and present it. Credit card companies will appreciate that.

Open a deposit account.

 

It’s not just enough that you opened a deposit account. Credit card companies need to see that there is regular deposit going on in your account and preferably, with minimum withdrawal.

What you can do is to have a deposit account dedicated for remittances and another account, which could serve as your Emergency Fund. Present your Emergency Fund account since this is always increasing and with little withdrawal happening. Consequently, go beyond the maintaining balance through regular deposit. It is a sign of being financially responsible, which is a big plus. If you can, don’t go below P20,000. Don’t worry. You can do it.

Go for secured credit card. 

You have the option to prove yourself to credit card companies through your income and deposits. If you want the easier way, you can always go for a secured credit card. Mind you, this requires more money because a credit card company will require you to open an account (savings, checking, or time deposit account) and pledged deposit. This pledged deposit will serve as a guarantee for the credit card. The credit line will also depend on your deposits.

Whether you go for secured credit card or just the regular one, you will still be required to comply with the following:

  • Between 21 and 65 years of age
  • Billing statement reflecting your Philippine address
  • Overseas Employment Certificate
  • Certificate or Contract of Employment
  • Work permit or work visa

Tips in finding the right credit card:

  • Go for the bank where you course through your remittances. This will make it easier for you to get approved.
  • Look for a credit card that you can use overseas.
  • Compare annual fees. This could eat up your savings since some credit card companies charge higher annual fees. If you can go for free annual fee, then go for it.
  • Ask for and compare credit card interest rates. There are instances when you won’t be able to pay in full (although this is not advisable!), and high interest rates can be heavy on your budget.
  • Learn about the credit card’s special features such as reward points or rebate.

Despite the convenience and features, handling a credit card requires discipline and responsibility. Take it easy on credit card usage. If you use it, make sure you can pay in full. Remember that a credit card is not an extension of your salary. If you can’t afford to pay the item in cash, then it is best to leave your plastic card behind.

Financial Milestones OFWs Must Attain Before Retirement

OFW life is never easy. Despite earning more (and in dollars too!) and having an opportunity to live and work abroad, you will long for your family and always willing to take the first flight back to the Philippines. At the end of the day, you still want to go back to the country and be with your family.

Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. You might not even consider retirement and willing to work for as long as you can.

Here’s the thing: you can’t work forever. At a certain point in your life, you need to slow down and relax. Before that day comes, make sure you are able to attain these financial milestones:

Milestone No. 1: An emergency fund that could sustain you in times of need. 

Emergency situations – flood, fire, medical surgery, or typhoon – are everywhere and most of the time, these situations will surprise you. Even if you have pension to sustain you, it won’t hurt if you have a fund that could help you last for up to six months. This all-cash fund must also be easily accessible to you, so you don’t have to worry about anything in case of unfortunate events.

READ: Tips on How to Put Up Your Emergency Fund

Milestone No. 2: Living a debt-free life. 

Who wants to live in debt? No one, right? Apparently, debt is like a ghost that will continuously haunt you even in your sleep.

When you retire, you should be able to pay all of your financial obligations or at least set aside a specific fund for that. Keep in mind that an indication of happy retirement is being free from financial obligations. Pay as much as you can while you still can. Avoid borrowing money for the wrong reasons and when you are already close to 60 years old. Consider consolidating your debts so you’ll only worry about one once you are nearing retirement. This way, you can truly enjoy life by the time you cross 60.

Milestone No. 3: A house you can call your own.

A house is a culmination of all your sacrifices and hard work. In fact, it is one of the many reasons why you decided to seek greener pastures and work overseas because you want to make that dream home happen.

Still, a house should be an asset and not a liability by the time you retire. If you decided to buy a house with the help of housing loan, you should be able to pay the loan in full by the time you retire. Make sure that the payment method corresponds to your retirement age so that you don’t have to worry about amortization when you are in your 60s.

Milestone No. 4: A passive yet stable income. 

Many people who retire experience drastic changes in their lifestyle because they don’t have steady income that could sustain them. Don’t let it happen to you. You can still live a comfortable life even if you are 65.

How will you do this? Through investments.

When is the best time to start this? Now.

If you want to retire comfortably, you need to start investing your money in facilities that will provide you a source of cash. You can try mutual funds or UITF for starters since there are fund managers who handle your account. If you are willing to take a risk, investing in stocks is another option. If you are really willing to take a bigger risk for higher return, consider opening your own business.

What are you waiting for? Start working on these goals before it’s too late.

Interested in Franchising? Read this First Before You Invest in One

Let’s say you have a one million in your bank account. How do you plan to use it?

Shopping for your family might be the first thing on your mind, but have you ever considered investing it? Stocks or UITF is a good option, but what about having a business that your family can manage even if you are away? While this is a good idea, starting something from scratch can be overwhelming.

This is where franchising comes into play. Before you say yes to the idea, read this post first to help you decide if this is the right one for you.

What is franchising? 

Franchising is where an individual (like you) or small companies practice and use other people’s perfected business concept. In a franchising relationship, the franchisor or owner of the business concept gives the franchisee the right to use the brand, distribute and sell his products, and implement business techniques in exchange for a franchise fee.

The franchise fee is usually good for one to three years and can be renewed thereafter after payment of renewal fee.

Why franchise?

  • Higher success rate – This is because a franchise is already a proven business model at minimal risk.
  • Recognized brand – The target market is already identified and the brand is recognized by the public.
  • Support is provided – Franchisors have perfected not just the business concept but also techniques and practices that will make the business model effective and profitable. Most franchisors also offer strategies and advice, which they can pass on to their franchisees. Training is also included to help you prepare on how to handle a business.
  • Advertising is included – When you franchise, you also get to purchase, or at least have the right to use the franchisor’s advertising capabilities in order to market the brand. This is essential because most start-up entrepreneurs have no enough money to afford extensive advertising techniques.

In other words, you get to save time and your own money building a business since all you need to do is to follow the already proven business concept. There are no more trial and error, thereby reducing the risk and failure in handling a business.

Any risks or downsides of franchising? 

  • No full control – You need to follow the business model and cannot divert from this anytime you want to. You also cannot easily introduce “gimmicks” to induce more customers, unless your franchisor allows you.
  • Costs to maintain franchise privileges – Apart from the franchise fee that you have to pay, there are franchisors who require payment of additional fees such as royalty fees or a certain percentage from your monthly sales. There are also franchisors who require payment of advertising costs.
  • Success is not guaranteed  – Yes, there is a proven business model, but once it is handed to you, it doesn’t mean you’re all set. The likelihood of success still remains in your own hands and in the amount of time and effort you put into it. Commitment is important, so you have to be prepared.

Despite the benefits of franchising, you still need to be ready since success is not automatic. You have to be prepared because a business is still a business.

Tips on How to Franchise:

1. Choose a franchise. Similar to starting your own business, find something that you are passionate about and suits you best. Identify the kind of product or service you want to offer, check your possible competition, and find out the franchisors offering such product or service you are eyeing for.

2. Go for a brand. Name recall is important in business. This will make it easier for you to market the franchise without paying for expensive advertising costs. Still, more is not always better since you might have a hard time penetrating the market.

3. Legitimacy is important. It is imperative that the franchise is registered with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). There are also legitimate franchise groups around, so check if your chosen franchisor is a member of one.

4. Look into the business model. This is important. You are buying the rights to use an established business model. Therefore, ask about support, research and development, and training schedules, and whether these are included in the business model.

Now that you finally decided to franchise, make sure you provide the following documents upon application:

  • Franchising application form
  • Letter of Intent to franchise
  • Site location proposal
  • Business documents like Business Name Registration (from DTI), barangay clearance, and business or Mayor’s permit
  • Payment for Franchise fee, which varies per franchisor

With this information in mind, are you ready to get into franchising? Give it a try. Don’t worry. Balikbayad is here to help.