10 Frugal Hacks for OFWs when Living Overseas

Let’s face it: being an OFW is hard. What makes your situation harder is the fact that you have to support your family and their (never-ending) needs, and make sure that their future is secure. This is why you are willing to take three to four jobs just to make ends meet.

You can still make it happen. It’s a matter of proper budgeting, making sure you stick to that budget, and some frugal hacks you need to know by heart.

1. Share a Space – This won’t be applicable if your employer provided accommodation. Otherwise, you need to find a space you can temporarily call your own. Apparently, renting can be expensive, so make sure you look for roommates, preferably trustworthy ones, that could help you split the bills. This includes utilities like water and electricity as well.

2. Keep a Penny Jar – Got loose change? Surely, you don’t want to bring coins everywhere you go, so put it in a penny jar. You might be surprised to find out how much money you’ll have, which you can use to buy goods.

3. Say NO to Extended Family – Yes, this is hard, but constantly giving in to your extended family’s money requests will bring you nowhere, at least financially speaking. While you appreciate the help they’ve given in taking care of your family, this doesn’t mean you’ll say yes to all their demands. Check out this post to find out how to say NO to your extended family.

4. Walk – Going from point A to point B doesn’t always mean riding the bus or train. If you can just walk or your destination is few kilometers away, then go ahead and walk. It’s a good way to relax and clear your head, plus it’s an excellent exercise too.

5. Cook, Not Eat Out – Yes, we understand that after a tiring day, you just want to eat without exerting too much effort. Buying food saves you time, which you can devote to sleep, but this would mean spending money too. The key here is to prepare your food during off days, cook in bulk, and then freeze. Thaw only when you’re ready to eat.

6. Bring Your Own Baon – You’re lucky if your employer provides free meal, usually free lunch. If not, then don’t use it as an excuse to eat out. Plan your meals ahead, go to the market to buy ingredients, and cook meals in bulk. Set aside a portion for your lunch and dinner to save you time.

7. Plan Shopping – Don’t get too excited on sales. As much as you want to fill that balikbayan box with goodies for your family, putting that pressure on will make you spend more. Know when is the sale season, make a list of the things you will buy, and stick to a budget.

8. Never Make Purchases when Hungry – Believe it or not, you will end up buying more than what you actually need. Plus, your decision-making is impaired, which means you might be spending more – a scenario that you must avoid.

9. Use Cash – This will make it easier for you to track how much money you spent and left. You can easily make adjustments in your spending because you can physically see how much money have. More importantly, at least you don’t have to worry about bills come end of the month.

10. Invest – One of the common mistakes committed by OFWs is saving and saving, and not investing. Saving is good, but your money will only grow this much. If you want to make your hard-earned money work for you, then you need to look into other options such as investment. There are many investment options available that will help you grow your money. You can check this post for further details.

Remember, if there’s a will, then there’s a way. Stop making excuses on why you are not able to save. At the end of the day, it’s about discipline and commitment. You can do it.

OFW Guide to Living and Working in South Korea

Koreanovelo and K-pop music are taking the world by storm. This is why it’s not surprising to see many Filipinos wanting to go to South Korea to experience the culture, see the places where Koreanovela you fell in love with were shot, taste the food, and hope to bump into one of popular K-Pop artists. More than that, there are many Filipinos who are aiming to work there.

If you are one of them, then here are the things you need to know about this proud country:

General Facts

  • South Korea is located in the Korean Peninsula with China, Japan, and Russia surrounding its borders.
  • The capital of South Korea is Seoul.
  • The country is a democratic republic with power centralized in a president.
  • Main language is Korean, but the people are slowly learning the English language. They also have their own alphabet known as Hangeul.
  • South Korea has among the strongest economies in the world. Over the years, the country is among the leading shipbuilders and among the top manufacturers of electronics, automobiles, and semiconductors.
  • Its currency is Korean Won.


Majority of the population has no religious belief. Nonetheless, there are still Koreans who practice Christianity, so practicing your faith and fulfilling your Sunday obligation won’t be a problem. Some also practice Protestanism, Catholicism, and Buddhism.

Weather / Climate

Korea has four seasons – winter, spring, summer, and fall. Make sure you pack your clothes appropriately for the weather, with January being the coldest month. Despite the typhoons visiting the Pacific region, only few, usually two to three, are actually making a landfall in Korea.


Going from point A to point B won’t be an issue because transportation system in South Korea is excellent and efficient. You will find lots of buses, trains, or taxis, but Korea’s subway rail system is among the best in the world. Ferry services are also available, so make sure you take time to give it a try for experience.

Culture / Way of Life 

Did you know that almost all places in South Korea is wired? They have the best and fastest Internet service in the world as well. This means connecting with your family won’t be an issue because you can talk to them anytime, anywhere.

When it comes to food, you will find lots of kimchi and bulgogi, but they have a lot to offer as well. Korean food consists mainly of rice, noodles, vegetables, tofu, meat, and fish, so getting hungry are less likely. You can try street food as well, which you will surely love.

Working in Korea

There are tons of job opportunities in Korea. You can also find work in one of the many top companies in the world like Samsung, LG, Hyundai, and ExxonMobil among others. English teachers are among the highest paid foreign workers, regardless of work experience, so you might want to give this career path a try.

Don’t get too excited yet. South Koreans are welcoming to foreigners but when it comes to foreign workers, they tend to be strict.

Since August 2005, foreign workers are mandated to take the Employment Permit System – Test of Proficiency in Korean (EPS-TOPIK) before recruiting. When you pass, you will be offered an Employment Contract, which will be coursed through an accredited agency in the Philippines.

Appropriate visa is likewise required to be able to work in Korea legally. Non-professional employment (E-9) visa is usually given to foreign workers, which is good for three years. Otherwise, there are corresponding working visa for each specific profession (E1 to E7).

Since Korean is the primary language, employers expect that you know few words and phrases. You might be required to take Korean Language Proficiency Test to check and assess your practical communication skills. This is not required by all employers, but it is best to learn Korean before you apply for job. TESDA offers free language courses with priority given to OFWs, so make sure to take advantage of it.

Work Culture 

Working long hours in Korea is normal. Despite the mandated 40-hour work week, majority of the people render 52 working hours per week or 40 normal working hours and 12 hours overtime. This means you need to be prepared to put in longer working hours if you plan to work in this country.

Don’t worry. Public holidays are 10 to 16 times per year, which means you get some rest. Recognition is important for many Korean companies, so you will find regular staff awards night as part of the annual agenda.

When it comes to working relationship, trust is crucial among Koreans, which is something they truly value. This explains why majority of Korean companies are into company events and staff lunches or dinners to develop that relationship. Nonetheless, avoid getting too personal especially on your bosses since this is considered disrespectful for them.

Given this information, are you willing to give South Korea a try? Go ahead.