First of all, congratulations. Congratulations because after month (or years) of waiting, you finally landed your first contract and you’re off to the greener pastures. Congratulations because finally, you can provide a better life and future for your family. Congratulations because finally, you can embrace better opportunities not just for your family but also for yourself.
Wherever you are, whatever country you are assigned to, your experiences as a Filipino migrant worker will be different from many others like you. Nonetheless, you still need to follow a certain set of rules to make your life overseas worth it:
1. It all starts with a plan.
Before anything else, you need to set how long you will be working overseas. Are you planning to settle there for good by bringing your family? Or do you want to just work there for 10 years or until you can buy your own house? Wherever you will go, have a plan and inform your family about it.
Also, leave the “bahala na” attitude behind. You need to keep yourself educated about the laws and practices in the country where you’re working. Research about the culture and do’s and don’ts to avoid issues as you start your life in a new land.
2. Set a schedule.
Aside from the plan, you need to establish your schedule to make your time abroad more worthwhile. Check your working hours and down time, which you can use to either communicate with your family back home or for side jobs (although this is not advisable – yet – since you’re still new in the place).
Also, schedule your trips back home, preferably once a year, especially during Christmas or birthday. If one family member can go there and visit you, then make sure to set that schedule as well.
3. And then, set your monthly budget.
Now that you are settled and becoming more familiar with the place, the next thing you need to do is to set your budget.
Many OFWs, especially the newbies forget about this. We can’t blame you. Earning in dollars can be tempting, plus you are working overseas where there are many items you can’t find in the Philippines. Still, this is not an excuse to splurge. Setting a budget is imperative because it helps you keep track of where your money is going and at the same time, helps you identify expenses that are no longer necessary.
Consequently, work hand-in-hand with your family when it comes to budgeting. Your family back home should also have a monthly budget that complements your budget to be able to maximize savings and grow your money.
Are you looking for a guide on how to set up your budget for the month? Then make sure you read this post.
4. Pay your debts, one due date at a time.
Do you have pending financial obligations back home? Then use this opportunity to pay those people you are indebted to. In fact, this should also be included in your plan to avoid losing some of your most priced assets. Consequently, this is a must to avoid further issues when you apply for a bigger loan.
List the loans that you have, including due date, interest, and outstanding balance. This way, it will make it easier for you which loans should be paid off first (preferably the loan with the highest interest rate).
5. Live a simple life – both you and your family.
This is another issue among OFWs. Instead of living a simple life, many of them give in to their family’s demands and often live a millionaire life while forgetting about savings and retirement. Don’t be one of them. In fact, don’t spoil your family and let them get used to living a life of luxury.
How should you do it? Set limits. Don’t easily give in to your family’s, especially your kids’ requests. It is also important to prioritize your expenses before you splurge on material things that won’t last forever. More importantly, live a simple life. Keep in mind that the OFW life is uncertain. It’s better to be prepared for those uncertainties than keep your family happy by giving in to their non-essential bilins.
6. Don’t forget about yourself.
At the end of the day, you matter. Take a break, eat well, get some rest, have fun, and treat yourself once in a while. If you are still single, plan ahead and prepare for your future. If you already have a family, set long term goals for both you and your family.
More importantly, be healthy, Your family is counting on you.