5 Money Habits to Embrace Now Even on a Low Budget

OFWs earn in dollars. With the current exchange rate, you are earning more than what you can earn in the Philippines.

Here’s the thing: expenses never end. Even if you are earning in dollars, you end up living paycheck to paycheck because of the many financial responsibilities back home. The challenge now is how to infuse savings and investment when you are working on a low budget.

Don’t worry. Achieving your financial dreams is still possible. What you need to do is to embrace the following money habits:

Spend Within Your Means 

Admit it. You’re always tempted to buy the latest gadget or new shoes for your family back home even if it leaves you with almost nothing. You always feel the urge to give them something because you believe that this is your way of showing how much you love them. Plus, you want people to think that you are ahead in life because you can afford expensive things.

Stop that mentality and always spend within your means. Spending more than what you have is a dangerous habit because you might not notice how much money you are losing – even if the intention of those purchases were good.

Stick to the basics to help you save as much as you can.

Know How Much You Spend

Yes, you are spending within your means, but that doesn’t stop there. You need to know how much money is going out of your pocket and the best way to do that is to track your spending.

Every month, plot a starting balance based on the amount of your salary. Then, deduct every expense, regardless of the amount. At the end of the month, the ending balance should not be negative, otherwise, you are spending more than what you actually have.

Make it a habit to check the list and see what expenses you can get rid of. If you want to prioritize saving and investing money, then make necessary adjustments to your lifestyle – and tracking your spending will help you with that.

Schedule Your Shopping 

It’s understandable that you want to send balikbayan boxes regularly to your family back home. How often should you do it?

As much as possible, limit your padala to maximum of twice a year. Set aside a specific time and BUDGET to do shopping – and it should NOT be every week. Watch out for sales or promos and take advantage of it so you could slowly fill your boxes. Buying items anytime you want won’t help you financially. Plus, there are other ways to show your love for your family without showering them with material things.

Again, if you will do your shopping, then make sure you stick to a budget. This is important, otherwise, you might end up spending all (or a big chunk of it) of your hard-earned money.

Use Your Time to Do Something Productive

Surely, you have off or rest days. Instead of using that day, take advantage of that time to do something productive.

Perhaps, your off days is the perfect time to start your own retail online store, look for job opportunities for extra cash, or replenish your inventory for your business back home. You can also use this opportunity to learn something new or catch up with past lessons you took online.

The bottom line is don’t put that rest day to waste.

Cook Your Own Meals 

It’s tempting to just buy food and make your life easier. If you have a lot of expenses on your plate, then you need to make necessary adjustments starting with food.

Instead of buying food, consider cooking your own meals. Plan your meals at the start of the week. If you don’t mind eating the same viand over and over. cook in bulk to make your life easier.

Any other tips you have in mind? Let us know in the comments section.

No Bank Account? Here’s How You Can (Still) Get a Loan

At some point in your life, you will be tempted to borrow money from someone to cover sudden, emergency needs. Apparently, not everyone is willing to extend a lending hand to you because let’s face it, these people have their own needs as well.

Who do you turn to? Usually, your next best option is to go to banks and apply for a specific loan facility.

Here’s the thing: banks require that potential borrowers should have a bank account. In case you don’t have one (although we assume that you do have an account under your name), then applying for a loan could be challenging.

Why do you need to have a bank account when applying for a loan? 

The answer is simple: it proves that you are financially-responsible. At the same time, crediting the approved amount of money you borrowed is easier because lenders can simply transfer money to your bank account in a more convenient and secured way.

Having a bank account shows that:

  • You are earning money regularly.
  • You are responsible enough to set aside money for savings.
  • You are less of a credit risk because you have money to pay off the money you borrowed.

In other words, having a bank account shows lenders that you have the capacity to repay the loan.

What if you don’t have a bank account? Can you still borrow money from lenders? 

Believe it or not, the answer is yes. There are still lenders who allow people to borrow money even without a bank account. Still, there’s a catch. Borrowing money may not be as convenient as it seems.

For starters, you may be limited to short-term loans and smaller amounts. If you need a bigger amount, then lenders may be hesitant to extend credit because they don’t have much information as to how you handle money.

Another issue would be lenders will require you to submit supporting documents such as proof of income or Certificate of Employment. Others may require you to propose a collateral just to ensure payment in case of default. There are also lenders who will impose higher interest rate, which could be heavy on the pocket.

What can you do? 

The best that you could do is to open a bank account. Banks adjusted the minimum amount of deposit, thereby allowing borrowers to open an account for as little as P100.

If you can’t open a bank account and you really need to borrow money, then below are your options:

Private Lenders

The good news is there are private lenders like Balikbayad who offer loans to those who don’t have bank account. These lenders may provide personal loans up to a maximum amount, online cash loans, salary loans, and payday loans among others.

The good thing about borrowing from private lenders is that loan application is easier and more convenient. In fact, some even allow online application, which means you don’t have to go out of your home and apply for a loan. Collateral is also not required, which means you don’t have to worry about losing your property or any asset.

Still, there are few issues when you apply from a private lender. Since you don’t have a bank account, you must get the cash directly at either private lender’s office or from a remittance company. Also, be prepared to pay for high interest rate since this is an unsecured loan.


If you need quick cash and you have valuable item to spare, then you can try pawnshops.

Pawnshops don’t ask for any bank-related accounts when you apply for pawn loans. You won’t be asked about your income, existence of previous loans, credit history, or your loan purpose. As long as you have any valuable item to pawn, then you are good to go. Plus, pawnshops won’t run after you in case you are unable to pay the loan.

There’s a risk on getting pawn loans: there is a possibility that you can’t get your pawned item back.

Loan Shark

This is risky and not recommended. Loan sharks or 5-6 loans allow you to borrow money anytime with little collateral documents as possible.

Here’s the catch: if private lenders charge higher interest, loan sharks are way more expensive. You might be asked to pay the loan in the shortest time possible, so make sure you have cash on hand.

What is your best option? Private lenders like Balikbayad.