4 Reasons Why You Should Have A Budget

Admit it: now that you’re working overseas, life is easier and money is not that much of an issue. You get to earn more than what you can earn here and your family back home is happy.

Still, this is not an excuse to splurge and do whatever you want with your money. In fact, now is the perfect time to have a budget.

You might ask why. Here’s why:

It Stops You From Overspending

Earning in dollars can be overwhelming. Finally, you can buy things you cannot normally afford and send it back home to make the family happy. But, there is a danger in that. You’ll never know how much money you lost or worse, you might later on realize that everything you worked hard for is gone.

This is where budgeting comes in.

Having a budget allows you to allocate your finds to more important expenses such as monthly amortization, tuition fee, and savings. By having a budget, you’ll be able to avoid buying unnecessary things since the money is already allocated.

It Encourages You To Save

One of your goals upon working overseas is to be able to save more money. Thankfully, budgeting could help you with that. Since you already assigned a specific month for savings, you have the obligation and commitment to deposit that amount to your account.

Another advantage is that through budgeting, you will be able to increase your savings because you know how much will go to specific expenses. Furthermore, you are sure that enough amount is allotted to savings instead of saving only what is left.

As a result, you don’t need to withdraw funds every time you need to spend on something, thereby protecting your hard-earned money.

It Makes You Feel More In Control Of The Money

Do you feel that your hard-earned money just brushes into your palm? If yes, then it means that you are not in control of your money – and it’s not a good sign.

Having a budget will make you feel more in control and mindful of your money because you know exactly where it goes. You won’t feel guilty as well when you spend on something because you know that your money is properly allocated. In fact, you are able to track and prioritize your spending without wondering what happened to your money. This will also stop you from overspending.

It Helps You Achieve Your Goals

Working overseas is not forever. This is why you have to make the most out of your stay to ensure that you can give a better future for your family. In fact, by the end of your contract, you wanted to have at least a cushion for your dream home.

But how can you do that if you don’t know where your money goes?

This is why budgeting is important. Through budgeting, you can prioritize your spending and focus more on things that really matter – savings, your kids’ educational fund, a dream house, and the list goes on. Since you can track your spending, you will have more flexibility in adjusting your daily expenses. This will make it easier for you to achieve your goals and maximize your stay abroad.

Finance Your Dream Business With The Help Of SSS Business Loan

Time and again, people will always tell you that OFW life is not forever. That’s true. In fact, you’re only as good as your contract. This means once your contract expires, you have to go back home and look for another job.

Or, you can start your own business and stay here for good – with your family.

“Wala naman akong pang-capital,” you might say.

Private lending firms such as Balikbayad offers business loans for OFWs like you. But if you want to make the most out of your benefits, then you might want to consider SSS Business Loan.

Stick around because you’ll learn everything you need to know about this type of facility from the government.

What is SSS’ Business Development Loan Facility?

The Business Development Loan Facility is SSS’ lending facility that aims to provide financial assistance to the business sector to increase productivity and enhance potential earnings. The borrowed funds may be used for expansion, diversification, and other business development projects.

This facility is also aimed to support the program of the government towards more employment opportunities and increased economic activity for the country’s economic growth and development.

The good thing about this facility is that there is no pre-payment fees and penalties to be charged in case you want to pay earlier.

What are the terms under this type of facility?

Loanable Amount

The maximum loan amount shall be the lowest of the following:

  • Amount of the loan being applied
  • Actual and total project cost
  • Loan value of the assigned securities or collateral
  • Maximum of P500 million per borrower

Take note that the equity ratio after financing is 3:1. Consequently, the total loan with the agency must not be more than five percent of the SSS Investment Reserve fund.

Interest Rate

The prevailing market rate, which will be reviewed every month. You also have the option between variable or fixed interest rate.

Loan Term

The term of the loan must be maximum of 15 years. The agency also allowed a grace period of more than three years on principal payment for those who will use the amount to finance projects related to forest development or extractive industries. In this instance, the maximum loan term is 25 years.


The SSS Business Development Facility loan is a secured loan. Asset of any kind may be used as long the total amount will fully cover the loan.

What are the allowed businesses?

  • Agri-business
  • Food processing
  • Manufacturing
  • Commercial Production
  • Service-Oriented Enterprises
  • Tourism-Related Projects
  • Real Estate Development Projects
  • Sustainable Energy Projects
  • Extractive Industries
  • Forest Development Projects
  • Trading
  • Leasing or Lending Business

What are the allowed purposes of the loan?

  • Site development
  • Enhance or modernize of existing facilities
  • Construction or repair of building and other civil works
  • Acquisition, repair, or upgrading of machinery and equipment, including furnishings
  • Acquisition of existing facilities
  • Acquisition of land, which is up to 50 percent of the acquisition cost
  • Working capital

What are the eligibility requirements?

The borrowers must be:

  • SSS member-employee in good standing
  • New or existing private industries and enterprises
  • Single proprietor, partnership, or corporation that is at least 60 percent Filipino-owned, including cooperatives and non-governmental organizations
  • Engaged in any of the businesses mentioned above
  • For existing businesses, must have a proven track records of profitability with no incurred losses for the past three years and average income for the past two years is positive

There are tons of financial companies that could assist you with your needs. Nonetheless, SSS is a good option that you might want to consider for your future business needs.

If you are interested, you may contact any SSS-accredited participating financial institutions or PFIs. You may call the Business and Development Loans Department at 8920-6401 local 5115 for a complete list of PFIs and to start your loan application process.

OFW Guide: Tips And Things To Remember When Vacationing In The Philippines

It’s Christmas season once again. Finally, after months or years of being away from your family, you can finally go back home and spend the most joyful celebration of the year. You already informed your family about when you’ll come home and how long you will stay.

Don’t get too excited. As an OFW, there are things you need to do and remember to ensure that you can go back to your job site without any stress or hassle.

Before you count the days, here is a list and guidelines on what to do, not to bring, and how you can make the most out of your stay:

Tip No. 1: Make the necessary preparations.

Surely, your family and friends miss you a lot. As soon as you step on Philippine soil, you will be bombarded by tons of parties here and there because they genuinely miss you. You also want to make up for the lost time with your family, so expect trips to the mall, shopping, eating out, and even going on a quick vacation.

Before you fly out, make sure you made the necessary preparations and arrangements. First thing on your list must be your budget. A lot of people will tease you to sponsor one round of drinks or your kids might ask you to buy this and that. You might also want to go on a staycation with your family for two days, which is something you should prepare for as well.

Bottom line is prepare. Set a budget and make sure you still have money left on your way back to your job site. Stick to that budget and learn to say no whenever necessary. OFW life is tough and the people back home must know that.

Aside from the budget, you need to have a list of things to do while you’re home. Make a list of what to do, where to go, the people you plan to see, and matters you need to take care of. Having an itinerary help you make the most out of your stay while making sure that you cover everything that needs to be done.

Tip No. 2: Your family should know when you’ll be back.

Surprising your family that you are home for the holidays is one of the best Christmas gifts ever. But if you want to lose that element, then make sure you inform them the exact details of your arrival – from arrival date, time, airline, and what terminal in NAIA you will be picked up.

Make sure your family knows how many luggages you have so that they could make necessary car arrangements, too.

Tip No. 3: Leave prohibited, unnecessary, and expensive items.

When packing your things, make sure you bring only what is necessary – your change of clothes, shoes, and pasalubong to your family. If you have items you want to leave in the Philippines, then pack those, too.

As much as possible, do not bring items that could potentially delay your departure. Expensive and unnecessary items must be left behind. Make sure you don’t bring prohibited items as well.

Check out this link where the Department of Transportation and Communications listed items that are prohibited in the airport.

Tip No. 4: Take it easy on your luggage and balikbayan boxes.

Depending on the airline, every passenger is allowed to bring baggages of up to 40 or 50 kilos. Anything in excess must either be left at the airport or pay for an additional fee, which is quite costly.

Therefore, take it easy on your luggage. It’s normal to bring pasalubong to your family, but make sure you meet the baggage requirements of the airline company. Bring only what you need to avoid leaving or paying an additional fee. Anyway, you can always send another set of boxes while you’re still working overseas. Duty Free is also an alternative in case you want to give something to your relatives and friends.

Better yet, don’t feel obligated to give everyone a present this Christmas. It’s okay if you can’t “share your blessings” to others. Don’t compromise your financial standing for the sake of pleasing everyone.

Tip No. 5: Know your benefits as an OFW.

Did you know that you are exempted from travel tax? Have you considered shopping in Duty Free in case you were unable to buy pasalubong?

These are just some of the perks you can avail of as OFW so make sure you take advantage of it.

Tip No. 6: Don’t forget about your government records.

Your vacation is the perfect opportunity to start or update your government records like SSS, Philhealth, and PAG-IBIG. Make sure you dedicate some time on that to avoid any hassle in the future.

Getting an OEC is also a must, which will serve as proof that you are a legitimate OFW. If you will be working in the same employer and job site, then make sure you get an OEC exemption.

READ: Returning Land-Based Workers

Tip No. 6: Include savings and investment in your itinerary.

Aside from government services, your vacation is the perfect time to update or start your savings and investment journey. Take this opportunity to explore your options in growing your money. There are several government-backed savings program you can try, which allows you to save higher than in banks. This way, your money won’t be put to waste.

If it were up to you, how will you spend your vacation in the Philippines?

Should You Insure Your Business?

Life is uncertain. You’ll never know when it will give you surprises, both good and bad. Whatever it is, you need to be ready for it.

This is among the many reasons why insurance exists. It helps protect not just you and your family but also your possessions in case something happened. The good thing now is that there are several things you can insure – house, car, motorcycle, personal possession, and the list goes on.

Did you know that you can also insure your business?

“Eh maliit lang naman ang negosyo ko. Wala din ako pang-bayad. Bakit ako magpapa-insure kung pwede ko naman idadgdag na lang sa kapital ko.”

That’s a good point. Still, having your own business means you are exposed to certain risks. These risks could negatively impact not just your cash flow but also your business in general. When this happens, you are at the verge of operating at a loss or close your business to save whatever is left. But when you have a business insurance, you feel secured against unprecedented events that could challenge your business.

But before you get one, did you know that there are different types of business insurance? These types cover specific areas in your business, so make sure you pay attention to find out what’s best:

Business Owner’s Policy

This is the most common type of business insurance availed by many businesses. It covers a wide coverage – from damage to property caused by fire or typhoon, business interruption, liabilities, to workers’ compensation among others.

BOP is ideal for small businesses with less than 50 employees.

Property Insurance

You’ll never know when fire, typhoon, or earthquake will happen. When it does happen, your business’ properties like owned space, inventory, and equipment is in danger.

Thankfully, insurance companies offer Property Insurance for business. In case disaster happens, you can reimburse whatever was damaged inside the area, including your inventory.

General Liability Insurance

Are you a start-up business? If yes, then this type of business insurance is ideal for you.

General liability insurance could protect you from various claims like accidents, damage to property, and personal injury. It could also cover medical fees or legal expenses.

Nonetheless, general liability insurance is best paired with another type of business insurance for bigger coverage.

Electronic Equipment Insurance

This is recommended if you are in a business that is heavily dependent on electronics. By electronics, we mean not just computers.

Electronics will break down and go through the normal wear and tear. Unfortunately, they don’t come with a cheap price tag. In case your concern is how to protect your business against loss or damage to the equipment, then EEI is the right coverage for you. This way, you don’t have to worry about temporary stoppage just because something broke down.

Here comes the best pat: home-based businesses may avail of this type of insurance as well.

Vehicle Insurance

Having a company vehicle is both efficient and convenient. Just like any other material things, wear and tear happens. Accidents might occur, too and when your vehicle isn’t working, it could affect your operations, especially when you are heavily reliant to it.

Here comes vehicle insurance. You can have your business car insured for protection against damages or accidents. Just make sure you ask for the coverage and restrictions to make sure that you can claim.

Business Interruption Insurance

Also known as Business Income Insurance, this type of coverage keeps you covered in case of unexpected disasters and evacuation is necessary. It helps you by covering costs of relocation as well as income loss as a result of closure brought out by the disaster.

There are many other business insurance types that are more suitable to your needs. Before you say yes, think hard and think clearly about what you really need and what is more suitable for your business. This way, the money you pay for the insurance premium won’t be put to waste.

OFW Guide: How To Apply For Police Clearance

Let’s face it: applying for a job, whether here or overseas, requires you to submit TONS of documents. These documents will be photocopies several times, depending on how many agencies you applied to.

One of the documents you need to secure is a police clearance.

Not all countries or agencies you will apply for requires you to get a police clearance. On the other hand, countries like USA, Canada, Australia, here’s what you need to know when applying for this type of requirement as well as a step-by-step procedure on how to get one.

But first, what is a police clearance?

A police clearance is a type of document that proves that you, the holder, has no criminal or derogatory record. This is valid for six months with a unique QR code to verify its authenticity.

You may be asked to get a police clearance either from:

  • Your place of residence, to ensure that you didn’t commit any crime in the area where you live; or
  • Your place of work, which ensures that you are not guilty of committing any crime in the companies you worked for within the same area.

Take note that the scope of police clearance is for a specific locality. It is also different from NBI Clearance in terms of scope since the clearance issued by the agency covers all criminal records anywhere in the Philippines.

Step-By-Step Procedure On How To Apply For A Police Clearance

Step 1: Prepare the requirements.

You will need:

  • At least two valid IDs with photo, complete name, and signature
  • PSA-certified birth certificate in case you only have one ID
  • Police clearance application form, in case you have not registered online
  • Cash for payment of police clearance fee – in case you have not registered online
  • An active email address

Take note that most local government offices prefer that you register with the NPCS website instead of applying thru walk-in.

Step 2: Register and create an account with NPCS.

Most city governments require applicants to register with the National Police Clearance System to speed up the process.

Go to the NPCS website and click Register. A new window will appear, so make sure to tick all the boxes to continue. Don’t forget to read everything since this serves as a guideline when applying for a police clearance.

Then, fill out the New Applicant Registration form and click Register. Check your email because a verification link will be sent, which you need to click to verify your information. Thereafter, you will be asked to sign with the email address you used to register.

Once you logged in, don’t forget to edit your profile by completing the necessary information being asked.

Step 3: Set up an appointment.

Click the Clearance Application button. Choose the police station where you will apply. Thereafter, a list of available schedules will appear. Choose your preferred date and time, and click Next.

Don’t forget to click the Land Bank of the Philippines button before saving your appointment.

Take note of the payment details, which will be displayed as soon as you saved your appointment. A reference number will likewise be given so TAKE NOTE and write it down. You will use this reference number when paying for the fee.

Step 4: Payment.

To pay, click Pay to LANDBANK button, which will lead you directly to the bank’s e-Payment portal. You can use your Landbank account, GCash, or Bancnet.

Take note that the police clearance fee is P150 plus P10 transaction fee.

Step 5: Go to your scheduled appointment.

Don’t forget to bring the requirements such as valid IDs, reference number, and official receipt of your payment. Once you presented the documents, you will undergo biometrics process wherein photo, fingerprints, and digital signature are taken.

When done, wait for your name to be called for the release of your police clearance.

In case your application got a hit, you have to go through a verification process first before you can claim your police clearance.

The good thing about applying for a police clearance now is that the process is faster since it is digital. It’s more efficient now compared before; hence making the process more convenient for you.

OFW Guide: What You Need To Remember Before You Board The Plane

Finally, after months of trying and waiting, you are on your way to another country to work. From the moment you stepped on the entrance gate of NAIA up until the plane landed to your destination, there will always be mixed emotions. This will remain true, especially for first-time OFWs.

Unfortunately, this mixture of emotions could backfire against you.

This is why preparation is important to make sure that you won’t forget anything come departure. Don’t worry because we listed the documents you need to bring plus other preparations and tips you need to remember to ensure that your trip will be smooth and hassle-free.

Documents To Prepare

Before you go to the airport and face the Immigration Officer, make sure you have the original as well as photocopies of the following documents:

  • Pre-Departure Overseas Seminar or PDOS Certificate
  • Valid passport
  • Working visa
  • Overseas Employment Certificate or OEC
  • Flight ticket and Boarding pass
  • Employment Contract
  • NBI Clearance
  • Valid government-issued ID with your photo
  • Letter of Guarantee or Letter of Endrosement, if applicable
  • Seaman’s Book, for seafarers

These documents will be presented to the Immigration Officer or IO. These signifies that you are a documented Overseas Filipino Worker and may leave the country legally. Have these documents stacked in an organized manner to make it easier for you to look for what you need.

What happens when you face the Immigration Officer?

Aside from ensuring your documents are ready, you need to fill out a Departure Card, which is readily available in the airport.

Once you’re done, line up and present the following documents to the officer in charge:

  • Passport
  • Visa
  • OEC
  • Plane ticket
  • Seaman’s Book, for seafarers
  • Departure card

This is tricky. IOs need to ensure that no Filipino will be a victim of human trafficking, which is why they pay extra attention to OFWs. Remember to:

  • Be calm and composed.
  • Answer the IO’s questions honestly and truthfully.
  • Answer the question directly and avoid giving too much information.
  • Dress appropriately.

IOs may intimidate you to ensure that you are telling them the truth. Just relax because sweating profusely and distorted stories might cause you to be offloaded.

Things To Bring Aside From The Documents Listed Above

Your documentation requirements are crucial. Still, you need to remember to bring these things to avoid hassle:

  • Black pen, for filling out other documentation requirements in the airport
  • Small notebook with your employer and/or agency’s contact details like contact person, mobile number, and address
  • Cash. Despite the exemption from airport terminal fees and taxes, you’ll never know when you’ll need another bottle of water. It’s better to be prepared.
  • Water tumbler. Drinking fountains are available in the airport, so make sure you keep those filled. This will prevent you from spending too much money on something you can get for free, right?
  • Extra clothes. Who knows, you might be stuck in the airport or there is a sudden change of weather in your destination. It’s better to be prepared.

That being said, here is a step-by-step process of what you need to follow once you’re in the airport:

  • Go to the OFW Lounge. This is where your OEC and Employment Contract will be validated.
  • Go through the airport security and scanning.
  • Proceed to your designated airline for check-in and dropping of bags. A boarding pass and baggage claim tag will be given to you after.
  • Go to the Departure Lobby for another scan. Make sure you present your passport and boarding pass.
  • Get a Departure Card and fill it out.
  • Head to the Immigration counter – OFW Express Lane. Make sure that all your documents are ready.
  • Once approved by the IO, pass through Customs for another scan. At this point, body search is legal and you will also be asked to remove your shoes.
  • After passing through Customs, go to your designated pre-departure gate for boarding.

Going through Immigration will take time, so make sure you arrive at least three hours before your designated departure. This way, you still have enough time to relax and enjoy the airport facilities.