Before you leave for your job overseas, you promised yourself and your family that savings, among many others, will be on top priority. After all, you need to save for the rainy days and having a dedicated account for savings will really help a lot.
Let’s face it: saving money can be challenging. Even if that is your goal, you always come up with tons of excuses that stop you from saving. These excuses echoed by many OFWs include:
Excuse No. 1: My family needs money.
Whatever happens, you will always be responsible for the finances back home. You feel that it is your responsibility being the family member who earns more. Blame it on the family culture as well wherein members of the clan feel responsible and obligated to help everyone, even if they are your extended relatives.
Unfortunately, this excuse is the most common and most abused excuse uttered by many OFWs. No matter how much you feel the urge to save, it’s just too hard to say no to your family. Still, there is something you can do about it. It will only take a lot of courage and commitment to say NO to all their demands.
Excuse No. 2: It’s still to early to save.
You’re only down to your first month overseas. Since your contract is for two years, you still have 23 months more to save, which means you still have time. The next thing you know, your contract ended and you barely have money on your account to help you and your family sustain for at least three months.
There’s no such thing as “too early to save.” The best time to save is now and only now. As soon as you stepped into foreign soil, saving should be on top of your mind.
Excuse No. 3: “My kids / spouse will love this.”
Being overseas can be tempting. Apart from earning in dollars, you have access to beautiful things that you can’t find back home – most of the time, sold at a cheaper price. You want to share a piece of your life to your family so you always end up buying tons of stuff for them.
It’s okay to spend, but do you always need to send balikbayan boxes every quarter? Limit your spending on material things since these won’t last anyway.
Excuse No. 4: Enrolment Season
Apparently, education in the Philippines is not cheap, especially if you are aiming to send your kids to reputable schools. Once the enrolment season starts, your commitment to savings is forgotten because this “expense” must be paid first.
This is why it is important to save early. You give yourself enough buffer when the time comes and you need money. You don’t need to take tons of jobs in between just to cover tuition expenses since you were able to save early.
Excuse No. 5: Calamity happened back home.
The latter half of the year is when the Philippines is plagued with tons of typhoons. If your family lives in low-lying, typhoon-prone areas, then it’s not surprising when you always have to send money back home to help with the repairs.
Believe it or not, you can avoid this. Buying a house in a better location may be the best solution, but we know how heavy this is on the pocket. The best you can do for now is to set aside a Calamity Fund that will cover expenses back home. Government agencies like PAG-IBIG also offers Calamity Loan, which you can avail of – in the meantime.
Excuse No. 6: “I need to start Christmas shopping.”
In the Philippines, Christmas starts as early as September – and this is something you brought with you abroad. You started filling out those boxes just in time for Christmas. While there is nothing wrong with this, do you always have to splurge just because it’s the Season of Giving?
One or two gifts for every member of the family is fine. More than material things, the best gift that you can give them is the gift of stability. Don’t let this take a backseat and constantly give in to your family’s needs and demands. You need to prepare for everyone’s future and the best time to start it is now.