5 Reasons You Still Can’t Buy Your Dream Home

According to the Philippine Statistics Authority, 22.42 million out of the 24.22 million housing units were occupied by households. NCR and Region IV-A have the highest number of occupied units and majority of the households prefer and live in single house (house and lot) over multi-unit residential buildings.

Apparently, only 55 percent of households own the house they are staying at – and your family belongs to the 45 percent who don’t have their own house. Because of this (and among many other reasons), you decided to go overseas where the pay is better than in the Philippines.

Here’s the thing: you’ve been working so hard and yet you still cannot buy your dream home. What seems to be the problem?

Well, these reasons could be why you still don’t have your own house:

Reason No. 1: No Savings Account

You’re earning close to P100K every month and yet, your housing loan is rejected. There are variety of reasons for that and one is you don’t have sufficient savings account.

Lenders look closely not just on the amount of money you are earning every month but also your banking activity. Lenders need assurance that you are financially responsible – and the best way to show that is by having a savings account where you deposit money regularly.

Build your savings account first and make sure you are diligent in depositing money in that account every month. This signifies financial responsibility, which lenders like.

Reason No. 2: Low Income

Yes, lenders pay close attention to how much you are earning – and it’s for a good reason.

Imagine this: you want to buy a house and lot worth P5 million. You are earning less than P100K every month wherein a big chunk of your money goes to never-ending expenses. As much as lenders want to help, they need to make sure that they will be paid no matter what. They need to see that your income could support your monthly amortization.

How can you solve this? Getting another job could be a good idea, but you need to make sure that your health could handle it. You can also try putting up your small business in the Philippines to help you show lenders that there are other income streams that could pay the monthly dues.

Reason No. 3: Rigorous Screening Process of Lenders

At this point, you know that lenders follow a strict screening process before they can approve every housing loan on their desk. Because of this strict process, you can’t get an approval and your dream home has yet to turn into a reality.

You can’t entirely blame the lenders. For starters, they need assurance. Lending you millions is no laughing matter and they want to make sure that they will be paid. This is why they look into every detail to minimize their risk; otherwise, they’ll go out of business as well.

Reason No. 4: Unrealistic Dream Home

Surely, everyone wants to have a house they can call their own. Does that mean a house in Forbes Park or Ayala Alabang?

One of the reasons why you can’t still buy your dream house is because of unrealistic expectations. We don’t mean to crush your dream to live in an exclusive and guarded neighborhood, but you need to make sure that your pocket and financial standing could support it.

Therefore, look for a house that is within your budget. Take note of the maintenance expenses such as repair and association dues since these won’t come cheap as well.

Reason No. 5: Lack of Commitment

You want to have your own place but are you doing something to make that happen? Your dream home won’t become a reality if you constantly send balikbayan boxes back home and give in to the demands of your extended relatives.

You need to be committed to your goal. Consequently, your entire family should be onboard this goal. Everyone’s cooperation is a must and if everyone is not committed to that dream home, then you might spend a decade or more overseas and go home to a rented property.

How to Handle Your Money Better this 2019

Almost three months have gone by. How are things in the financial side doing?

One of the biggest struggles among OFWs is handling their money. Despite the tons of articles and tips we shared in the Balikbayad blog, you seem can’t to figure out why you always end up with zero by the end of the month. You decided to take additional jobs to make ends meet but the money you earn doesn’t seem to be enough. You promised to spend less and pay off debts as much as you can, and yet, you can’t afford to save.

The sad part is your family’s needs are never ending. Every month, you are bombarded with messages, reminding you to send money to pay for a long list of expenses.

Don’t worry. You can still make the necessary changes to make sure that you could commit and achieve your 2019 resolutions. Here are things that you can do to still be better at money before the year ends:

Money Handling Tip No. 1: Don’t be afraid to talk about money.

Fact: not everyone are comfortable talking about money. It could be due to variety of reasons. Perhaps, you don’t want people to know that you have debts under your name or you’re embarrassed to open up and ask help.

If you want to handle your money better, then you need to start being honest about money and not be afraid to talk about it, whether it is good or bad. More importantly, don’t be afraid to ask help when needed.

Since you are willing to talk about money, make sure you discuss whatever money issues with your spouse. This is important because any money concerns is not solely on your shoulders. It is a family and collective effort.

Money Handling Tip No. 2: Check your loans regularly.

Here’s something you should know about loans: they change constantly. You may agree with certain terms since those were the prevailing regulations at the time of your loan application.

Still, times change. Make sure to update your loans regularly, especially interest rates. Banks need to earn from these loans, but make sure the terms are also favorable to you.

Money Handling Tip No. 3: Take it easy on your investment.

Here at Balikbayad, we constantly remind OFWs to be smart with their money. This means aside from saving techniques, we also encourage you to invest. After all, placing your money in various investment options like bonds and stocks could make your money grow faster.

Still, take it easy and take it one at a time. Invest in something you’re comfortable with and not because you were forced to do so. Constantly update yourself with what’s happening in the Philippines so you will know which investment option is worth trying. More importantly, don’t be afraid to ask investment experts. This way, they can help you make a wiser decision.

Money Handling Tip No. 4: Earn what you’re worth.

Being an OFW means your salary is based on what was agreed upon and stated in the contract. If you notice that your workload is getting heavier and you are handling more responsibilities than what was agreed upon, then don’t hesitate to ask for a raise. You need to earn what you’re worth and don’t allow yourself to be underpaid.

The same goes with getting side jobs. You want to earn additional income, so make sure you get paid fairly and reasonably. It’s okay to demand for a higher pay, especially when you can back it up with necessary training and work experience.

Money Handling Tip No. 5: Commitment is key.

You will never run out of articles telling you to do this and that to achieve financial freedom. At the end of the day, commitment matters.

If you are serious about being more responsible with your money, then you need to be committed in doing it. If you commit yourself to save more, then make sure you save more. If you commit yourself to investing your money, then do whatever you can to put that hard-earned money in your choice of investment.

All of these tips are useless if you cannot commit.

10 Rules to Remember when Riding an Airplane

There are several ways that could bring you from point A to point B. You could ride a bicycle, a car, a bus, or even a train. If you’re an OFW, whether first-timer or balik-manggagawa, the easiest way to go to your country destination is by plane.

Did you know that there are rules to follow when riding an airplane?

Before you leave, here are important airplane etiquette you should know as a form of courtesy and respect to other passengers:

Rule No. 1: Scent matters.

You’ll never know who among the passengers are allergic to particular scents that could lead to adverse effects. Before you ride a plane, avoid carrying anything that comes with strong scents.

This rule extends to the perfumes and skincare products you bought as pasalubong. There’s no need to spray it on the plane and these products are best kept in your bag.

Rule No. 2: Be mindful of your belongings.

There is a reason why a particular seat is designated to a particular person. Make sure you stay on that designated spot, including your belongings. The plane is spacious enough to position your hand carries so make sure you maximize on that without taking the space of the other passengers.

Rule No. 3: Be considerate when using the lavatory.

It’s annoying when someone at home takes a long time using the bathroom. Imagine that inside the plane where hundreds of passengers are limited to two lavatories.

Therefore, be considerate when using the lavatory. It is a common area shared by everyone. This means other people will use it, so make sure to keep it quick. Don’t take your time inside the bathroom since there is a line outside. Keep it clean after use as well. Leaving a mess is just outright inconsiderate.

This leads you to the next rule.

Rule No. 4: Stand up only when necessary.

Flights can be long, especially if you are heading outside Asia. You might want to walk around to stretch your legs, which is fine.

Still, make sure you get up only when it is convenient. Avoid standing if you see the cabin crew with their pushcarts coming your way. You might also want to time your bathroom breaks if you’re sitting on the window side. Otherwise, you’ll be disturbing your co-passengers if you stand up and move every 30 minutes.

Rule No. 5: Be respectful to the cabin crew.

Yes, cabin crew are there to assist you with your needs and make the flight comfortable for you. Still, they are not your servants who you can call and curse in case something didn’t go your way.

The point is be respectful. Treat them nicely and humanely, similar to the way you want to be treated. They’re humans too so treat them with respect.

Rule No. 6: Overhead bins are for sharing.

Carry-on luggages are placed on the overhead bin or that cabinet looking space above the passenger’s head. Sometimes, passengers place their bags under their chair, but if you have a bulkier carry-on luggage, you put it on the overhead bin, which is also a common space shared by everyone.

This is why do not abuse that shared space. If you see that there’s not enough space on the overhead bin for your bag, then look for other spaces near you. Never force your stuff in or else, you might damage the personal belongings of other passengers.

Rule No. 7: There is no battle of the armrest.

There is a never-ending debate on who gets what armrest, especially if you’re seated in the middle. To put things in perspective, here’s what you need to know about armrest:

  • The person seating on the window gets the armrest nearest the window.
  • The person seating on the aisle seat gets the armrest on the aisle area.
  • The person seating on the middle seat gets both the armrest in between him. This is a form of compensation for being squeezed between two passengers.

We hope this settles the issue.

Rule No. 8: To recline or not to recline the chair?

You want you ride to be as comfortable as possible. Can you imagine sleeping in an upright position? Therefore, you are tempted to recline your chair so you could sleep comfortably.

Well, easy on that. You still need to be mindful and conscious of other people’s space before you recline your chair. As much as possible, do not recline since it would make the person at your back uncomfortable. Certainly, the person in front of you reclining his seat will make you uncomfortable as well.

If you feel the urge to do so, then here’s what you need to do:

  • Check the person at the back and see if s/he is using the tray.
  • Inform the person at the back regarding your intention to recline the chair.
  • If he said that he’ll be using the tray first, then respect it. Don’t force.

Rule No. 9: Sleep considerately.

It’s normal to snooze on the plane, especially if your flight is at night. When you do, do it with consideration.

Avoid using the tray as your headrest. Be mindful of your space when you position yourself to sleep. If you can, bring a neck pillow so you’ll stay in your space as you hit the snooze button.

Rule No. 10: Know the proper way on how to disembark from the plane.

The pilot will inform you if you’re about to land. During that time, there will be reminders on what to do so make sure you listen carefully and follow them without question. It’s for your safety.

As the plane disembarks, stay on your seat with your seatbelt on. Remove the seatbelt only when the seatbelt sign is turned off. Once the plane landed, don’t immediately stand to get your things and go out of the plane. Front rows get out first and there is no contest with a prize waiting for that person who gets out of the plane first.

Keep these rules in mind.

OFW Success Stories that Truly Inspires You

Many Filipinos dream to work overseas for variety of reasons. You want a better life, provide a better education for your kids, financial security, a place you can call your own, and the list is endless.

Unfortunately, being an OFW is not forever. You need to make the most out of your stay because as soon as your contract ends, you have to come back home and look for another job.

Don’t lose hope. Check out these stories of former OFWs who turned into entrepreneurs and hopefully, this will inspire you.

Rebecca Bustamante: From being recruited to a multinational recruiter

A native from Pangasinan, Rebecca Bustamante decided to leave her hometown and went to Manila at an early age of 18. From there, she took jobs like sales lady and factory worker to make ends meet.

One year after, she decided to test her fate and became a domestic worker in Singapore. She was able to study Accounting at the Open University of Singapore Institute of Management. She also tried her luck in Canada where she became a nanny. At the same time, she enrolled for graduate studies at Ryerson University, which paved way to her work in Mary Kay Cosmetics and the Canadian Embassy.

At present, Bustamante owns a multinational recruitment company, Chalre Associates, and sought after training consultant.

Dina Dela Paz: From domestic helper to a respected beauty and skincare expert

Have you heard of a skincare brand Diana Stalder and Dermaline? Believe it or not, this is a brainchild of a former OFW, Diana Dela Paz.

Dela Paz graduated with a degree in Medical Technology from Centro Escolar University. In 1988, she went to London and worked as a domestic helper to a Jewish family. Thankfully, the family was kind to her and allowed her to take short courses on facial procedure and skin care during downtime.

When Dina got back from London and armed with the knowledge she gained while she’s in there, she put up Dermaline Facial Center. Eventually, the brand evolved and became known as Diana Stalder Face, Body, and Skin Care Center. She also established Dermablend, a line of skin and beauty products, from anti-aging to whitening.

Myrna Padilla: From human trafficking victim to owning a BPO company

Everybody has its own story that defined who you are as a person today. For Myrna Padilla, her’s is nothing short of extraordinary. She was a victim of human trafficking at an early age and found herself homeless in the busy streets of Metro Manila.

Later on, Myrna was able to work in countries like Singapore, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. During her stay in Hong Kong, it was her alaga, Jonathan, who taught her how to use the computer. Since then, she started Mynd Consulting and offered bug testing and QA services to American clients.

Fast forward today, Myrna Padilla and Mynd Consulting offers various services from virtual programming, virtual assistants, social media management, and WordPress services among others.

Eden Zaniega de Castro – Villa: From household service worker to environment-conscious business owner

Villa started out similar to many OFWs working in Hong Kong – a household service worker. When she got back to her hometown in La Union, Eden took a risk and started to open her own arts and crafts store – David’s Well Crafts and More. It was an environment-conscious business that sells handicrafts and trinkets made from items found in nature.

Her break came when her products were discovered by SM during a trade fair in La Union. Since then, her products are sold in Kultura and with the help of OWWA Loan, she was able to grow and expand her business.

You might say that these chances are one in a million. That could be true. You’ll never know unless you try, right?

Go ahead. Take risks. Make that leap. If you need financial assistance, Balikbayad is here to help.

Affordable Buffet Places to Celebrate Graduation

It’s graduation season. Surely, you’re excited to go home and see your child walk up on that stage and receiver his/her diploma. After all, this is a culmination of all your child’s hard work and effort in (and out of) school and a start of a new chapter in life.

A graduation gift will do, but in Filipino culture, every celebration comes with food. It’s okay to cook food at home but if you want to treat your family on this momentous occasion, then eating out will make things more convenient. By eating out, we mean buffet where everybody leaves with full tummy.

Here’s the thing: buffet restaurants are often expensive. If you want to treat your family while you’re in the country without breaking the bank, then here is a list of buffet places, aside from Vikings, that are within your budget:

Tramway (P268 / head – Banawe ; P289 / head – Timog, Shaw, and Roxas Blvd.)

If you want less than P300 per head, then this once-a-Cantonese restaurant is your bet.

Started in 2001, Tramway offers Chinese, Filipino, and Japanese dishes to satisfy everyone’s cravings. Feast your eyes (and your tummy) because you’ll never run out of dimsum and sushi among others. The best part is you can treat your big family since Tramway has the most affordable buffet package.

Quezon Buffet Restaurant (P499/head – Weekdays ; P599/head – Weekends and Holidays)

Surely, you miss Filipino food. If you’re into Filipino – Spanish cuisine, then Quezon Buffet Restaurant in Fishermall will surely satisfy your cravings. The restaurant serves dishes like paella, boneless lechon belly, sisig, and even spanish sardines stuffed tomatoes.

You’ll definitely love the ambiance of the restaurant too, which is perfect for your pictures.

Sweet Inspirations P420/head – Shangri-La, Katipunan, and Hemady Square branches)

Does your family love Mongolian rice bowls? Then this place is heaven for you. Aside from ala carte menu, Sweet Inspirations has crEATe All-You-Can buffet where you get to enjoy Mongolian rice bowls for three hours. You’ll have a wide range of meats, vegetables, and sauces without worrying about MSG and food extenders.

Charaptor BBQ (P490/head – Kamagong St., Makati and Mall of Asia)

If you prefer something grilled, then you might want to try Charaptor located in Makati and Mall of Asia.

Charaptor is a charcoal barbecue buffet that lets you cook in real charcoal grill. There are tons of food choices too – from squid, chicken, pork, mussels, and cold cuts among others. Don’t worry since there are kiddie plates available for the little ones in case they’re not into grilled food.

Cabalen (P298 or P398/head, depending on the branch)

Cabalen has been around for decades and among the most sought after buffet restaurants in the metro. Over the years, Cabalen remained true to its Kapampangan roots by offering dishes from Pampanga. You’ll still find a variety of Filipino food, but make sure you leave some for lechon.

Cabalen has branches in West Avenue, TriNoma, SM North Edsa, Market! Market!, SM Mall of Asia, SM Fairview, SM Megamall, Alabang Town Center, Robinson’s Manila, and Glorietta 1

Shaburi (P399/head)

In case Japanese food is your thing, Shaburi in Uptown Mall might not fail you.

Shaburi is a shabu-shabu buffet that comes with a wide range of meats like pork, beef, and wagyu. Sushi rolls and seafood are served as well, so make sure you try them.

It is best to call first for reservation to ensure your seats.

Four Seasons Buffet and Hotpot (P688/head – Lunch every Weekdays and P888/head – Dinner and Weekends at SM Mall of Asia and Cubao branches ; P638/head – Weekday Lunch and P738/head – Weekday Dinner and Weekends at SM Southmall branch)

If you prefer a buffet place that is more affordable than Vikings but still under Vikings concept, then Four Seasons Buffet and Hotpot could be your go-to place.

Unlike Vikings and The Alley by Vikings, this restaurant is everything hotpot that you could customize according to your own liking. You can also choose from a variety of fresh and healthy ingredients – from veggies to broth to soup paste to protein. Don’t worry since you’ll still find food choices from the original Vikings menu.

So, which buffet place makes you hungry?

Loan Facilities for Every OFW’s Needs

People will always have never ending needs. If you’re an OFW, your “needs” may be greater than the others because you have to carry most of the burden on your shoulders. You will always be compelled to send money for repairs at home, a medical emergency, payment for your kid’s tuition fee (or your niece’s school fees), or whatever expense your family – and extended family – could think of.

Thankfully, there are financial institutions that could help cater to all your needs, similar to what we do in Balikbayad. 

Check out these loan facilities that could help you for the following specific purposes:

For your home needs – PAGIBIG Housing Loan 

Shelling out hundreds of thousands of dollars for home improvement, purchase of a property, or building your home will never be easy on your pocket. The good news is there is a government agency that could help you with your housing needs.

As of this writing, PAG-IBIG has the lowest housing rates in the market at 3 and 5.375 percent for housing loans for loans up to P580K and P6 million, respectively. This could help you a lot in building your dream home without breaking the bank. Just make sure you contribute monthly so you won’t have a problem during the application process.

You may check out this post to learn more about PAG-IBIG Housing Loan.

In case you are looking for an alternative, then the SSS Housing Loan could also be a good facility for you.

For your business needs – OWWA Loan 

One of your priorities is to ensure continuity of funds for a more stable life. One way to do that is by putting up your own business. In case you don’t have sufficient capital, then OWWA Loan might help.

OWWA Loan allows you to borrow up to P2 million and offers free entrepreneurial training to ensure sustainability of your business. It also has a fixed rate of 7.5 percent.

You can check out this website to know more about OWWA Loan.

Despite the promise, applying and getting approved could be difficult. The OWWA Loan is limited to a budget, which means the agency has to screen every application thoroughly and grant the loan to OFWs who they think has the best potential in business. If you’re looking for an alternative sans the hassle, then Balikbayad is here to help. Simply fill out the loan application form for pre-approval and we will get back to you as soon as we can.

For your car needs – BDO Auto Loan 

Aside from house, you also want to have your own car that will bring you and your family from point A to point B. If you’re not willing to shell out money from your savings account, then applying for an auto loan could be your savior for that dream car.

BDO has a competitive package for auto loan. You can borrow starting at P100,000 up to maximum of 80 percent of the value of your car. Requirements are easier to comply with for OFWs and loan terms are flexible. You could learn more about BDO Auto Loan by checking this link.

You may also check out this post for comparison of auto loans in the Philippines.

For your sudden / personal needs – SSS Salary Loan 

Despite earning in dollars and making sure that you set aside a particular amount every month for savings, there will always be days when what you have is not enough. Who do you resort to during these days?

Family or friends may be the first choice but don’t forget that SSS has a salary loan too. You could borrow one- or two-months worth of salary loan depending on your monthly salary credit. Interest is lower and the loan is payable within two years.

Still, don’t rely too much on loans. This could get out of control especially when you are juggling too much debts on your plate. Live a simple lifestyle, spend only when necessary, invest your money, and make sure you set aside money for savings. You’ll never know what will happen so it is best to be prepared.

Stop Yourself from Becoming an Investment Scam Victim with these Tips

Sometime in February 2019, the PNP Anti-Cybercrime Group, together with SEC’s Enforcement and Investigation Division, raided the offices of ROSES4U Inc., a company that target foreigners into investing in an online investment scheme. In fact, they lure people into investing by showing a fake bank account.

On that same month, SEC issued a cease-and-desist notice to Kapa-Community Ministry International (KAPA). This organization is a religious group that solicits investments from its members in exchange of a “guaranteed return.” Although KAPA is registered as an independent religious organization, it cannot solicit funds for investment.

These are just examples of the many investment scams happening today. Despite the warnings, there are still many who fall for this. In fact, there are companies who target OFWs into get-rich-quick scams because let’s face it, you surely want to grow your money fast.

You can avoid that from happening to you by remembering these tips:

Always watch out for SEC advisories. 

The good news is the government is taking steps to ensure that the public is protected against investment scams. It may be a tedious task for some, but it won’t hurt if you check SEC advisories every now and then, say once a week.

The agency releases reports that inform public about dubious companies, which you need to watch out for. Take some time to read and make a list out of it as your guide to prevent you from becoming a victim of an investment scam.

There’s no such thing as “easy, quick, and risk-free” investment. 

All investments, regardless of their nature comes with a risk. The market is volatile and dependent on what is happening in the society; hence the changes in interest rate or policies. As a result, you will see the return of your investments after some time and NEVER the following week.

If someone approaches you and promises you 30 percent return next month, then walk away. No legitimate investment company offers that kind of return. It’s not worth your time and hard-earned money.

Remember, if it’s too good to be true, then it’s not true at all.

Check with SEC if the company is authorized to ask investments from people. 

It’s easy to say that a company is registered with the SEC. Anyone can easily put up a corporation as long as all the requirements are complied with. On the other hand, not all companies are authorized to solicit or offer investment schemes.

What you can do is to go to the SEC website and type the name of the company in the search bar. If you see “cease and desist order” on the search page, then forget about that and turn to banks instead for investment.

Another way to check the legitimacy of a company to issue investments is by visiting the PIFA website. A legitimate investment company must be registered under the Philippine Investment Funds Association to offer investment options. If you can’t see the name of the company on the website, then don’t push through with the investment.

If everyone is doing it, then it doesn’t mean that it is “legit.” 

Don’t be impressed by phrases saying “a lot of people joined us” or “your friends joined us already.” These are merely sales pitches to lure you to join. The truth is even if a lot of people are getting into a particular investment scheme, it doesn’t automatically follow that it is a legitimate one.

Be skeptical and don’t be easily fooled.

They’re always in a hurry. 

Sadly, the “hurry while supplies last” does not apply to investments. Some investment options like Retail Treasury Bonds are time sensitive but generally, there is no deadline when it comes to investment. In fact, you can invest anytime you want, preferably while you’re in the Philippines.

If someone constantly nags you to “invest now before you leave out of the country,” then don’t mind them. Investing your money should be at your own pace.

Take these tips in mind when you’re ready to invest your money. You worked hard for that money and you need to make sure that you will place it in something that matters.

Money Management Strategies for OFW Couples

No one said that OFW life is easy. In fact and in spite of the money you are earning, it is going to be one of the toughest parts of your life because you are in a foreign land and away from your family. What makes it even more challenging is making sure that your hard-earned money is spent properly.

This is where money management strategies comes in. This is crucial because this could dictate the financial future of your family such as budgeting your daily household expenses, paying off loans, or the amount of savings you have.

Here comes the challenge: what type of strategy should you follow considering that you are thousands of miles away from home?

Here are some options:

Money Strategy No. 1: “It’s On Me” or Relying on One Income

This is the most common setup among OFW families wherein one works abroad while the other one stays at home and takes care of the kids. In this setup, the main income earner, which is YOU, pays for all expenses at home. You set up an account, transfer money online, and your spouse will withdraw from the said account in the Philippines, On the other hand, the other spouse is responsible for budgeting the money you send – utility expenses, grocery, kids’ allowance, tuition, and so on.

The not-so-good aspect of this setup: it could cause misunderstanding and financial woes to the couples, especially when the money is not well-accounted for. You might tend to question where the money goes and constantly remind your spouse the sacrifices you have to make just to make sure that every expense will be paid. On the other hand, the non-earning spouse feels less dignified and may accuse you of not trusting him/her.

To fix this, both must do your best to be transparent and accountable as to where the money goes. Be clear that the money you sent is for a specific expense only and must not be used for unnecessary purchases. You should also encourage your spouse to look for additional ways to earn such as getting a freelance job or putting up a small business. Additional income could mean a lot in helping you manage expenses back home.

Money Strategy No. 2: What’s Mine is Yours, What’s Yours is Mine 

This is another common setup among families, including OFW families. In this set-up, money earned is pooled in a common fund and said fund will be used to cover all expenses at home. This works especially when both spouses are earning since you don’t need to keep track of each other’s contribution in the family as long as you know how much each other is earning.

Here comes the not-so-good part: in case you have trust issues, then this setup won’t work for you. This is because both will constantly nag about where the money goes and whether or not the money you deposited on the said account is used for the said purpose. There is also a tendency to compare since naturally, you will be earning more, which could also cause resentment.

How can you address these issues? Start by enumerating the expenses you have to pay for every month, set up a specific budget for each, and agree on a spending limit. It is also important to consult with each other before making a purchase, regardless of the amount. This way, you can keep your spending in check.

Money Strategy No. 3: One Works, The Other One Saves 

Let’s say your spouse has work but income is irregular. On the other hand, you are sure that you are getting this amount every month.

How do you strike a balance? The spouse with a stable income is in charge of expenses while the other one takes care of savings and investment. This is an ideal setup because there is a higher chance that you will be meeting your financial goals since both parties are contributing, regardless of the amount.

The issue would be when one loses her income. Thankfully, there are tons of ways to help the other spouse earn money. If saving is consistent, then the money saved may act as a buffer to help one get back on its working feet.

The Bottom Line

These three money strategies will work but at the end of the day, it will all depend on you and your spouse. Before you leave the country, sit down and discuss how BOTH will handle the expenses and the strategies you will use to ensure that nobody goes home hungry.

More importantly, be committed and disciplined. Any of these strategies won’t work if you are not serious with how you will handle your money.

So, which one is your money strategy?

OFW e-Card: What You Need to Know and How to Get One

Sometime last year, the government released the iDOLE OFW card, which OFWs can use to avail of various government benefits. Unfortunately, there were tons of issues such as confusing guidelines and the photo of President Duterte in the card.

The government decided to change that and issue a new OFW card – the OFW e-Card.

What is the OFW e-Card? 

The OFW e-Card is the new card issued to OFWs. It serves as a proof of membership to OWWA as well as an Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) for legitimate OFWs.

To avail of OWWA benefits, all you need to do is to present the card at OWWA Regional Welfare Office, POEA, Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO). Department of Foreign Affairs, Bureau of Immigration, and the Philippine Embassy in your respective employment country among others.

Why should you get an OFW e-Card? 

There are several benefits that come with it. This includes:

  • Serves as a valid government issued ID
  • Also serves as an OEC or exit clearance, thereby proving the legitimacy of your status as an Overseas Filipino Worker
  • Makes OWWA programs and services easier to access for OFWs
  • Entitles you to waived airport fees like terminal fees and travel tax
  • Comes with security features like QR code and unique OFW membership number for proper verification. This also prevents data breach as well.

The best part is unlike the iDOLE OFW Card, the e-Card application is easy since physical documents are no longer required. There is also now an OWWA mobile app so you can easily keep track of your information.

How to Apply for OFW e-Card: 

You need to meet the following requirements:

  • Active OWWA membership of at least 90 days from the time of card application
  • Passport with at least six months validity
  • Valid OEC or exemption number

In other words, a Balik Manggagawa may apply for OFW e-Card. Per POEA, a Balik-Manggagawa is an OFW who has completed or is completing his or her employment contract and has an intention to return to the same employer, regardless of the job site.

If you meet the requirements above, here’s how you can get an OFW e-Card:

  1. Visit the OFW e-Card application form site from the OWWA website. You can also click this link to load the online application form.
  2. Fill out the online application form.
  3. Choose the OWWA Regional Office where you plan to pick up your card.
  4. Check the box that says “I accept the Data Privacy Policy.”
  5. Click Submit Application button.
  6. At this point, a Confirmation page will appear. Make sure you take a screenshot or list the tracking number. The tracking number will be used to check the status of the card. Don’t forget to input your email address or Facebook profile name for the status of your card.
  7. Use this link (Delivery Status page) to track the status of your card.
  8. Once the card is ready for pickup, claim your e-Card at the place you designated.

Take note that OFW e-Card is FREE of charge. You can also apply for one even while you’re abroad. Apparently, you can only claim this in the Philippines, which means you can get this while on vacation or assign someone to get it for you.

If you want someone to claim the card on your behalf, make sure your representative will submit original Authorization Letter with your signature and a photocopy of your passport.

For further concerns, you may contact OWWA through the following numbers:

  • Landline: (02) 804-0639 / 833-0244 / 551-3647
  • Globe: (0977) 396-2809 / (0977) 3962-819 / (0977) 396-2818 / (0977) 396-2804
  • Smart: (0918) 605-3017 / (0918) 605-3026 / (0918) 605-3037 / (0918) 6053-046

There are also OWWA and POEA Assistance Desks in the airport to help you address e-Card issues.

What are you waiting for? Get your OFW e-Card ID now.

5 Non-Negotiable Qualities of OFWs to Succeed in the Workplace

What does it take to succeed in your job? The truth is A LOT.

When you apply for a job, recruitment agencies only see what you want them to see – your educational background, employment history, certifications and trainings, and references among others. You need to look good on paper so you could proceed to the next step of job employment.

Apparently, your resume is just a portion of who you are and does not define how you are in the workplace. Trainings and technical skills are helpful and considered by employers, but there are certain qualities you need to have or develop in order to keep ahead of the curve and succeed.

These non-negotiable qualities are:

Ability to Work in a Diverse Environment

Working overseas means working with people who came from different countries like you. This also means you will be dealing with people who grew up in a different culture. Can you handle that?

One of the important qualities employer looks for is one’s ability to work in a diverse environment. Instead of doing things your way, you must be willing to adjust, cooperate, collaborate, and work well with a team, regardless of where you all came from. If you could do that and get along with others, then you could survive and go a long way.


Let’s say you got accepted as a caregiver. It turns out that one of your patients is looking for English tutor for her granddaughter. Since you know the language well, you decided to sign up for it, for additional pay, of course. Who knows, this could pave into something bigger.

Working overseas means you need to be able to adapt to whatever situation is thrown at you, good or bad. You must be willing to make adjustments and accept new roles – as long as you are compensated accordingly. For you, it’s about additional income but for your employer, they could see something positive in you.

Speaking of English, you should also have this next skill.

Good Communication Skills

English is considered as a universal language for a reason – majority of the people can at least understand it. This is why Filipinos often have the edge because speaking and learning English is part of our culture. This will make it easier to communicate with people in the workplace and avoid work barriers like confusion or misunderstanding.

Still, don’t limit yourself to learning English. You should also make an effort to learn the language of the country where you’re working. You can check YouTube videos for language tutorials or apply in TESDA for specific language course. Don’t worry. It’s free.


OFW life is not forever. This is why you are advised to make the most out of your stay while you still can. While you are there, you need to have a vision.

What does this mean?

You need to have an ambition not just for yourself but also for your family. You need to envision financial stability and security, and use it as a motivation to work harder and persevere more. Keep in mind that even if employers are not saying positive things out loud, they do notice your perseverance and effort – and having a vision in life could help you.

Effective Time Management

Do you want someone working for you who is always late or cannot meet deadlines? Definitely not.

To succeed in the workplace, you need to have proper and effective time management skills. There is no room for tardiness or procrastination, especially if you want your employers to notice you.

Prioritize your time and avoid making side jobs that could affect your performance in your main job.

Do you possess these qualities?