5 Small Businesses You Can Try this 2018

How many times have you heard of the term “financial freedom?” Surely, several times, Here at Balikbayad, we always emphasize the importance of attaining this because we want every OFW to live comfortably even after life overseas.

There are many ways on how you can achieve that. Investing your money in UITF, mutual fund, or stocks is a good option. In case you want something that is more sustainable, you might consider opening your own business.

Check out these business ideas you can try this year, both in and out of the Philippines:

1. Online selling of RTW clothes

Everybody needs clothes because everybody needs clothes to wear. Why not capitalize on that by selling clothes that you can find in the country where you’re working? You can stick to basics – shirts, shorts, skirts, or dress in basic colors. Ask your customers for suggestions and look for them. Who knows, this could lead to something bigger.

Tip: Consider selling clothes and shoes for kids. Mothers are more willing to spend on their children than themselves.

2. Discounted authentic perfumes

Unfortunately, perfumes can be expensive in the Philippines. Malls are taking advantage of the people’s need to smell good, so they charge a higher amount since people will always buy. This can be a good business to start with by offering perfumes that are more affordable.

It would be great if you can find a supplier in the country where you’re working. Otherwise, you can buy perfumes in stores and sell it online for a slightly higher fee (but make sure it is still cheaper than the ones sold in malls).

3. Food catering 

Do you love to cook? Have you perfected several dishes that people can’t stop raving about? If yes, then use your skill and turn it into cash by starting your own food catering business.

You can start by sponsoring food during your get-togethers with the Filipino communities or parties. Leave your contact details so that people can reach out to you. Post your food offerings If you find food catering a bit overwhelming, you can try packed lunches first and sell it to your colleagues. This can be a good start to grow your catering business.

4. Handicrafts

There is something about homemade products that makes it appealing for customers. The idea of turning “junk” into something useful or products crafted by hand will always have a special place in people’s hearts. If you have that skill of making something out of scrap, then go ahead and give handicrafts business a try.

Keep in mind that when you start this business, the burden, time, and effort will fall on you. Maximize your downtime and post your finished works on social media. If the company allows it, consider selling your items to your co-workers. Make sure you leave your contact number so people will know who to call when they want to buy more.

5. Food cart

Let’s face it: starting your own business from scratch can be overwhelming and stressful. If you don’t know where and how to start or still figuring out what type of business you should try, then consider franchising a food cart.

Here’s the thing: people will eat – all the time. Maximize on that by selling food and/or refreshments. Known brands like Potato Corner offer franchise to start-up entrepreneurs like you at an affordable price. Still, the key here is to find a location with high foot traffic so people can see you easily. The best part is your family can manage it even if you are abroad.

READ: What you Need to Know about Franchising

What business would you like to try this 2018? If you need additional working capital, Balikbayad is here to help. Submit your online loan application now and we’ll be happy to assist you with your cashflow needs.

Financial Milestones OFWs Must Attain Before Retirement

OFW life is never easy. Despite earning more (and in dollars too!) and having an opportunity to live and work abroad, you will long for your family and always willing to take the first flight back to the Philippines. At the end of the day, you still want to go back to the country and be with your family.

Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. You might not even consider retirement and willing to work for as long as you can.

Here’s the thing: you can’t work forever. At a certain point in your life, you need to slow down and relax. Before that day comes, make sure you are able to attain these financial milestones:

Milestone No. 1: An emergency fund that could sustain you in times of need. 

Emergency situations – flood, fire, medical surgery, or typhoon – are everywhere and most of the time, these situations will surprise you. Even if you have pension to sustain you, it won’t hurt if you have a fund that could help you last for up to six months. This all-cash fund must also be easily accessible to you, so you don’t have to worry about anything in case of unfortunate events.

READ: Tips on How to Put Up Your Emergency Fund

Milestone No. 2: Living a debt-free life. 

Who wants to live in debt? No one, right? Apparently, debt is like a ghost that will continuously haunt you even in your sleep.

When you retire, you should be able to pay all of your financial obligations or at least set aside a specific fund for that. Keep in mind that an indication of happy retirement is being free from financial obligations. Pay as much as you can while you still can. Avoid borrowing money for the wrong reasons and when you are already close to 60 years old. Consider consolidating your debts so you’ll only worry about one once you are nearing retirement. This way, you can truly enjoy life by the time you cross 60.

Milestone No. 3: A house you can call your own.

A house is a culmination of all your sacrifices and hard work. In fact, it is one of the many reasons why you decided to seek greener pastures and work overseas because you want to make that dream home happen.

Still, a house should be an asset and not a liability by the time you retire. If you decided to buy a house with the help of housing loan, you should be able to pay the loan in full by the time you retire. Make sure that the payment method corresponds to your retirement age so that you don’t have to worry about amortization when you are in your 60s.

Milestone No. 4: A passive yet stable income. 

Many people who retire experience drastic changes in their lifestyle because they don’t have steady income that could sustain them. Don’t let it happen to you. You can still live a comfortable life even if you are 65.

How will you do this? Through investments.

When is the best time to start this? Now.

If you want to retire comfortably, you need to start investing your money in facilities that will provide you a source of cash. You can try mutual funds or UITF for starters since there are fund managers who handle your account. If you are willing to take a risk, investing in stocks is another option. If you are really willing to take a bigger risk for higher return, consider opening your own business.

What are you waiting for? Start working on these goals before it’s too late.

4 Ways to Get You Out of the Paycheck-to-Paycheck Cycle

Do you often find yourself left with almost nothing every end of the month? If yes, then you are in financial trouble. You might be stuck in the same situation prior to your work overseas, but the difference now is that you are earning in dollars. Still, it’s no excuse to use all of your salary and rely on what you’ll receive the following month.

You don’t have to live from paycheck-to-paycheck anymore. In fact, now is the perfect time to get out of this cycle since you are earning more than what you earn back in the Philippines.

What can you do? Here’s what:

Know your financial situation. 

We constantly stress the need to budget and there’s a reason for it. Still, if you follow budgeting properly and still end up almost empty by the 30th, perhaps it’s time to assess where you are financially situated.

How will you do that? Look into your and your family’s lifestyle closely. Are you constantly sending money and/or balikbayan boxes full of goodies to them? Do you often ride a cab instead of walking or riding more affordable public vehicles? Is shopping part of your budget?

These little things could eat up a lot, which also explains why you are living from paycheck-to-paycheck.

Tip: Make it a habit to list all of your spending. This way, you can check what areas you can cut back and make the necessary adjustments. 

Differentiate needs from wants. 

Needs are non-negotiable – food, electricity, water, shelter, and your kids’ tuition fee. On the other hand, wants are something you can live without – shopping, new phone, annual vacation, Netflix subscription, and the list goes on.

Why should you differentiate? It allows you to prioritize your spending, thereby maximizing your savings. When you differentiate needs from wants, you have a closer look at areas you can cut back and establish alternatives that is not too heavy on your budget. In the end, you will be able to save more, which you can allot for important things such as savings or Emergency Fund.

Practicality is key. 

Now that you established needs from wants, the next thing you need to do is to become more practical.

Practical is defined as “reasonable to do or use.” This means you get to differentiate what is good and affordable for you without spending too much. For instance, you saw the latest Nike basketball shoes retailing at $10, but there is somewhat similar style for half the price. Of course, you need to look into the quality as well since this will define whether it’s a practical purchase or not.

In other words, practicality is about cutting back on luxuries. Look for cheaper alternatives that are of good quality. Don’t settle.

Look for income-generating opportunities. 

It was said that to attain financial freedom, you need to have more than one income stream. That’s true. In fact, you can’t just rely on your existing job, especially if you want to get out of the paycheck cycle.

What should you do then? Don’t be afraid to look for other income opportunities. Take a second job, venture into online selling, rent extra space in your apartment, or do freelance worker. There are tons of opportunities you can try. It’s just a matter of finding something you can be committed to.

In case you need extra cash, Balikbayad is here to help. Send your loan application online for pre-approval and we will get back to you as soon as we can.

5 Steps to Build Financial Freedom Even After Your Work Abroad

There are many reasons why you decided to work overseas – to send your kids to a good school, have a house you can call your own, sufficient savings that will last you for years, and a small business that will sustain your everyday needs among many others. Whatever you hope to achieve, it will fall under one big umbrella and that is financial freedom. 

Here’s the thing: the term “financial freedom” may be easy to spell, but it can be challenging to make it happen. Still, this doesn’t mean you cannot achieve it. It may not guarantee 100 percent success, but these six steps could help.

First, get out of debt. 

At one point in your life, you can’t help but borrow money from lenders. That’s okay, especially if you used the proceeds for important purchases. Nonetheless, if you really want to say that you achieved financial freedom, then you need to get out of debt so you could focus more on savings and investments.

To guide you better, check out this post to help you get out of debt.

Second, set aside a budget for your Emergency Fund. 

Emergency fund is important. You’ll never know what could happen, so it’s better to be prepared. This is essential because you can use the emergency fund in times of, well, emergency.

Ideally, the fund must help you sustain at least two to three months worth of your income. This is enough to help you get through in case of loss of job, sudden expense, and illness among others. Remember, the purpose of the fund is for emergency expenses only. Buying a new phone or tablet is not part of the emergency list.

Here are tips to help you set up your Emergency Fund.

Third, prioritize long-term savings. 

Don’t just settle with having an Emergency Fund. Another fund you need to have is long-term savings account.

It’s not the savings + remittance account you set up before you left for your work overseas. Long-term savings is a separate account that could serve as your Retirement Fund. You may opt for the typical savings account, but you might want to consider long-term time deposit for higher interest rate. You can deposit anytime plus the interest earned is cumulative, thereby allowing you to earn more.

Tip: In case you prefer the typical savings, make sure that this long-term savings account should be in passbook only. Having an ATM can be tempting and makes it easier for you or your family to withdraw, thereby defeating the purpose.

Fourth, make long-term investments. 

They say that to be able to achieve financial freedom, you need to have more than one source of income. That’s true. Opening your own business, no matter how small it is, might be your go-to option, but keep in mind that this could be risky. You are your own boss and managing a business is not as easy as it sounds.

To minimize risk, you might want to look into investments. There are many options – mutual fund, UITF, stocks, and bonds. Each of them comes with its own risk and benefits, so it is best to explore your options and understand them before putting your money into it.

Fifth, it’s time to make those large purchases. 

Ideally, you should be doing the first four steps before you even think about buying your own home or car. This is because the first four steps give you enough time and leverage to invest into something bigger while reducing the risk of losing everything you worked hard for.

Once you achieved the first four steps, go ahead and make that large purchase. Still, take it one purchase at a time. Give yourself a few more years to save up before buying again.

You can do it!

12 Tips to Lower Your Electricity Bills (and Save Money Too!)

Being an OFW means you are the breadwinner. This also means you are in charge of almost all, if not all the expenses, back in the Philippines. While some expenses can be eliminated (read: fastfood or trip to Starbucks), there are non-negotiable expenses you have to deal with every month. This includes electricity bill back home and even in your place overseas.

Obviously, you need electricity, so you cannot eliminate it completely. The good news is you and your family back home can do something to at least decrease your electric bill and save money in the process.

Here’s what you can do:

1. Make it a habit to check the energy rating of appliances before buying. Go for appliances that are more energy-efficient. The higher the energy efficiency ratio (EER), the better the energy saving performance feature for the appliance. It could be more expensive than appliances that are less energy-efficient, but you can save more in the long run because your family is able to reduce electric consumption.

2. Iron clothes in bulk by scheduling a specific day every week. Consequently, iron clothes that require low temperature then move from there. Keep in mind that iron takes more electricity when you just opened it. You or your spouse can also use fabric conditioners to reduce the number of clothes to be ironed.

3. Put on the timer if you plan to use the air-conditioning unit at night. This will automatically turn off the unit that could translate to additional savings,

4. Go for LED lights instead of incandescent lights. LED lights last longer and are more energy-efficient compared to its counterparts.

5. Use thick and dark colored curtains on your window to stop the heat from going in and penetrating the room. This is a better option that putting dark tint on your windows since you can simply open the curtain in case you need additional lighting inside the room.

6. Switch to induction cooker since majority of the heat is transferred to the cooking vessel instead of putting it into waste. You get to save extra cash as well since you don’t have to buy gas. Also, use flat-bottomed pots and pans since they are easier and faster to heat.

7. Charge gadgets wisely and efficiently, preferably when the battery is critically low. At the same time, avoid leaving gadgets plugged overnight.

8. Always unplug when the appliance or charger is not in use. Even if an appliance is turned off, it still consumes electricity, which leads to higher electricity bill. Unplug.

9. Regularly maintain home appliances by getting it checked to ensure efficiency. Appliance companies have dedicated maintenance team, so make that call and schedule maintenance.

10. Get rid of appliances that are less energy-efficient. The 90’s refrigerator may be working fine. but it is consuming more electricity, which could contribute to higher electric bill. The same goes with air conditioning units.

11. Do not place heat-generating appliances like television or lamps near the air conditioning unit. The heat coming from these types of appliances will be picked up by the unit’s thermostat, thereby increasing its energy consumption.

12. Choose appliances in your home wisely. Manufacturers these days are becoming more conscious in designing and making their product. Most incorporate energy-saving features, so in case you need to shop for an appliance, don’t just stop with the energy efficient ratio but also ask for its features that could help lower your electric bill.

Keep in mind that your bill won’t magically decrease over night. These saving techniques take time before they are converted into habits. Practice discipline and everyone in the family should be committed to it.

5 Questions You Should Ask Before Buying Things for the Balikbayan Box

OFW life is not easy. Yes, you are earning in dollars and more than what you can earn in the Philippines, but with bigger earnings come bigger responsibilities. You need to make sure that your family is financially secure and at the same time, will have food on the table. You take the burden of paying everything – from bills to tuition fee and even medical expenses of your relatives.

Apparently, it doesn’t end there. There will always be a sense of longing and guilt feeling, which you compensate by sending a balikbayan box with love. Surely you mean well, but one of the reasons why many OFWs don’t have enough savings is because they spend up to the last centavo buying something for the family. Worse, this “something” might not even last for at least a year.

You can change that without compromising the “need” to send balikbayan box back home. Here are questions you need to ask yourself first before shopping for the box’s contents:

Do they need this? 

Everybody needs clothes and shoes, but do you really have to buy these items frequently? The shoes you bought for your son six months ago still fits so there’s no need to buy one. Plus, you spouse doesn’t need bottles of perfume good for the next three years.

Unless you plan to turn this into a buy-and-sell business, evaluate the need for such item first before buying. Otherwise, you could be wasting your hard-earned money for something your family won’t use anyway. Quality over quantity.

Is it part of the budget? 

There is a reason why budgeting it important. It allows you to allocate your money to make sure you will last and at the same time, make you conscious of your spending habits because you can easily see which areas you can cut down.

Before shopping, look into your budget first to see if it can accommodate another expense. If not, don’t purchase an item – yet – even if it’s on sale.

Can I afford this item? 

Do you know why many Filipinos are living in debt? There are many reasons, but one of them is relying heavily on credit such as credit card or loan. There is nothing wrong with applying for a loan if you use it properly and for the right reasons like putting up your own small business. But if you apply for the purpose of buying a new phone or laptop for your kids, then you need to re-think your priorities and avoid buying items you can’t afford to pay in cash.

The best thing you can do is to walk away. That’s fine. It only means your money deserve something better and more worthwhile. Better yet, save up for it.

Is this the best deal? 

There are stores that carry the same item but for a different price. Before you buy anything that is really necessary, make sure to shop around and compare prices per store. Some stores charge higher and the goal is the get the best deal (or cheapest price) for bigger savings. There are stores that offer free add-ons or discounts, which you should take advantage of as well.

It doesn’t matter if one store is more expensive by $2. That’s still $2-worth of savings and you shouldn’t say no to that.

How is the quality of the item?

The biggest department store in your place is on sale, so you decided to check it out. Sure, you get clothes and shoes for half the price, but how is the quality? Are you willing to pay for rubber shoes with 80 percent price tag but the soles look like rats chewed on them?

There’s nothing wrong with buying on discounts, but make sure to check the quality of the items first. You want to save, but if saving involves compromised items, then it’s best to leave them on the rack and wait for better opportunities.

At the end of the day, don’t feel pressured to shop for your family as often as you can, especially if it means compromising your savings. More than the material things, what your family wants is your safety and good health, so focus on that.

5 Common Investment Mistakes Every OFW Needs to Avoid

Investment is not as easy as it sounds. Yes, it helps increase your earnings (even doubles or triples your money), but it will always require knowledge, time. commitment, and more importantly, patience.

That’s not all. You’re always bound to make mistakes, which could affect your financial strategies. If you’re not too careful and vigilant, you might even lose the money you worked hard for.

Don’t worry. The market may be difficult to predict but there are some things you can control, such as avoiding these investment mistakes:

Mistake No. 1: Not educating itself about what investment is.

Don’t take investment for granted. Its purpose is to grow your money, but it needs time, discipline, knowledge, and a lot of patience to make it work to your advantage. If you really want to make it work, then it is imperative that you know what investment is.

One mistake people make (not just OFWs) is that they don’t understand what investment truly means, including the variety of ways on how you can earn. You can change that by keeping yourself informed. Maximize Internet and find out everything you need to know about investing you money. The more informed you are, the better the chances of making your investment work for you.

Just in case you can’t understand certain terms or how a particular investment option works, don’t be afraid to ask. Clarify your concerns instead of saying yes on something you don’t understand. Otherwise, there is a bigger possibility of losing the money intended for important expenses, say your Retirement Fund or kids’ educational plan.

Mistake No. 2: Putting all eggs in one basket. 

Here’s something you should know about investment: there is always a risk involved. It will only differ on the type of investment you chose, but risks will always be a part of it.

Therefore, diversify your investments by putting your money in different assets such as bonds or stocks. This way, you don’t lose your money “one time, bigtime,” so make sure you spread it out evenly.

“But I just want to invest my money in stocks or UITF,” you might say. That’s fine. If you plan to get UITF, make sure you go for Peso Balanced Fund (learn more about it here.or invest in various companies to keep your portfolio diversified.

Mistake No. 3: Undefined financial goals. 

It’s easy to say, “I want to invest” or “I want to grow my money,” but for how long and for what purpose?

This is another common investment mistake committed by many. Consequently, not many people realize the importance of defining financial goals according to term.

The next time you say you want to grow your money, ask yourself first about what you plan to do with it and how soon (in months or years) do you want to achieve it. Consequently, define and characterize your goals into short, medium, and long term. This will serve as your reminder on when to stop and when to keep waiting in order to make those financial goals happen.

Mistake No. 4: Investing without any emergency fund. 

There’s nothing wrong with investing. What makes it wrong is that you invest without preparing for what might happen in case you lost your money.

Keep in mind that the market can be volatile. One day you are earning and the next day, you are losing your money. Without any emergency fund, you might end up losing a big chunk from your account and it will take time before you get it back.

Therefore, establish not just an Investment Fund but also an Emergency Fund. The Emergency Fund will keep you covered in case something happens to your investment.

READ: How to Establish your Emergency Fund

Mistake No. 5: Not knowing how to manage or assess risks. 

Investment always comes with risks. In fact, that’s what makes it exciting. The problem lies on how you handle those risks.

One of the common investment mistakes made by OFWs is not understanding the risks associated with investing according to level of tolerance (conservative, aggressive, or balanced). Identify the risk you are willing to take and then work from there. There are many investment choices you can choose from according to your risk level, so choose based on where you are most comfortable.

The world of investing can be overwhelming in the beginning. You’re going to be fine. Just read up, keep yourself informed, and start small – for now. You’ll learn more about it as you go along this journey. Good luck!

Every OFW’s Guide to Investing in the Stock Market

Have you invested your money already? No, this does not include savings account. By investment, this means you place your hard-earned money in a certain financial product for a specific time, thereby allowing your money to earn more than what you initially placed.

READ: Best Investment Options for OFWs

There are tons of investment options available that you can try. In case you are willing to take that risk in exchange of higher returns, then you might want to consider putting your money in the stock market.

Below are things you should know about the stock market plus tips on how to get you started:

Facts about the Stock Market

1. A stock market is a place that allows you to buy and sell stocks from Philippine-listed companies, which represents your “ownership” in a particular company.

2. There is only one stock market that facilitates transactions and is called Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE).

3. There are two ways on how to earn from the stock market: price appreciation and through dividends. Price appreciation is the increase in value per share of stock, thereby translating such increase as profit. On the other hand, dividend is the distribution of earnings (stocks owned x amount of dividend) to every shareholder in the form of cash or additional stocks. Dividend is given at least once a year but some companies could give as much as twice or thrice a year.

4. You don’t need a big amount to start investing in the stock market. Believe it or not, you can have as little as P5,000, which is already a good amount to familiarize yourself with how the stock market works. Eventually, you can increase your investment to allow you to buy more stocks.

Tips in Investing in the Stock Market

  • Educate yourself about how the stock market works. Know the companies worth investing (also known as blue chips), check the price per share of the companies you are eyeing for (preferably for the last three months)), and keep yourself informed with what’s happening in the Philippines since this will likely affect the prices of stocks.
  • Establish how long do you plan to put your money in the stock market. Stock market can be addicting, especially if you see that you are already earning, so make sure to put a limit on it.
  • Choose a licensed firm and/or stock broker, particularly accredited by the PSE. This is a must because it is through them wherein you will course your stock transactions.
  • Register your account online. Unless years ago where every transaction is done over the phone, you now have the ability to decide and do things on your own (and instantly too!) because of the online tool. This is convenient since you are working overseas and you don’t need a “middleman” to do the buying and selling for you.
  • Think long-term when investing in the stock market. Keep in mind that the price per share appreciates (or depreciates) in a matter of days to years. Hold on to that number of shares you have if you want bigger returns.
  • Do NOT put all of your money in the stock market. The returns may be higher, but the stock market can be risky as well. The key here is to invest a certain amount that will not cripple you and at the same time, willing to lose.

Don’t worry, there are more posts related to investing in the stock market, so stay tuned. 

Should you get an Educational Plan for your kids to fund college education?

Securing your family’s future is one of the primordial concerns of not just OFWs but every parent in general. By future, this includes your child’s college education.

Let’s face it. Sending a child to college is not easy – and cheap. Tuition fee must be paid twice every year, with the rate depending on the school. Then there’s the weekly allowance, commute or gas expense, miscellaneous fees to be paid on top of the tuition fee.

In other words, you need at least a million (or even higher if you’re aiming for Ateneo or La Salle) every year for four years to be able to send your child to a good school. With the expenses you need to pay, your monthly income and side earnings may not be enough to pay for your child’s college education.

This is why you resort to educational plan to help fund your college dreams for your child. Apparently, there were several pre-plan fiascos (CAP, anyone?) that makes you doubt whether to get an educational plan or not.

The next question is this: is getting an educational plan worth it? 

Benefits of Educational Plan 

  • It guarantees your child’s education, especially when your child dreams of going to a particular school.
  • An educational plan makes studying more affordable by supporting your child’s school fees.
  • The maturity benefit meets your child’s college expenses, especially when you start early.
  • There is an option to choose riders such as personal accident insurance. This means even if you are gone, your child will still be covered and go to college. Ask your agent about riders (although this means you have to pay for additional premium).

Downside of Educational Plan 

  • It takes away a big chunk in your monthly budget. Insurance plans don’t come free and if you plan to put add-ons in your child’s educational plan, this means higher premium as well. Check your budget first and see if you can accommodate additional expense.
  • The educational plan doesn’t cover the entire school fees. You still have to pay for certain expenses like allowance or miscellaneous fees, which you need to save up for.
  • The return on educational insurance plans is lower compared to the inflation of tuition fees.
  • The risk is still there. This is why it is important to invest in legitimate and reputable insurance companies.

Tips in Getting the Best Educational Plan for Your Child

  • Plan ahead. There is no better way of starting than doing it now.
  • Choose your insurance provider wisely. The insurance company must not only be known in the industry but is also legitimate, reliable, and capable of meeting your demands.
  • The benefits of an educational plan must be aligned according to your needs. Aside from the college plan, ask for additional features like life insurance to make sure that your child can still continue its college education in case something happens to you.
  • Consider your budget. Add-ons can be helpful, but if it will burden the entire family because of the premiums you have to pay, then stick to the basics.
  • Educate yourself about educational plans first before getting one. Learn about concepts, terminologies, and the basics of insurance so you will know what the agent is talking about.

More than educational plans, it is best to start saving for your child’s college education as early as now. Get a sidejob if possible to help you save more. Then, set aside a specific fund for this and make sure not to get a single centavo from it. This will give you enough leverage by the time your child enters college (and preferably in his or her preferred university).

4 Holiday Money Mistakes You Need to Avoid this Christmas Season

They say the Philippines has the longest Christmas season. That’s true. As soon as September starts, you will also start hearing Christmas songs on the radio and in malls. By the time the calendar hits November, Christmas trees and lights are everywhere, each mall and city giving something to boast about.

You may be thousands of miles away from the Philippines, but you can definitely feel the Christmas spirit every time you talk to your family. There’s long list of pabili as well, regardless of whether you’re going home or stay in the country where you’re currently working. Since it’s Christmas season, you tend to commit these money mistakes, which could compromise your savings and hard-earned money:

Forgetting about Christmas Budget

Fine, budgeting during the holidays can be challenging. Almost everything is on sale and there are tons of items available that make you want to buy them even if you’re don’t really need them. You justify it with the “Pasko naman” excuse until you realize that by next year, you have nothing left in your pocket.

What you can do is to set a Christmas budget and make sure you stick to it. You can even assign a specific amount per person to help you keep track of how much money you have and eventually, how much money is left. This way, you won’t be able to use all of the money you have.

Spending most, if not all of your money

You might justify your spending because it’s Christmas season. Still, don’t use this as an excuse to buy everything you want for your family and spend all of your Christmas bonus on material things, especially if you are going home. .

Keep in mind that the OFW life is uncertain. Stick to your Christmas budget and immediately set aside a portion for your savings or emergency fund. You’ll never know what will happen.

READ: 6 Tips on How to Spend Christmas Bonus Wisely

Borrowing money to buy gifts for the family

Gift-giving will always be part of Christmas. In fact, the celebration will never be complete without gifts under the tree. Kids are surely looking forward to opening their presents as well.

What if you are on tight budget? In that case. don’t borrow money just to appease your family. There are legitimate and acceptable reasons why borrowing money is advisable – and buying gifts is NOT one of them.

Keep things simple and explain ti your family why you cannot give all of their demands. Be honest about your financial status.

Too generous with gift-giving

There’s nothing wrong with giving gifts. It is and will always be part of Christmas. Still, take it easy on your spending. Your generosity is fine, but make sure that you will still have something left by the time the year ends.

Again, go back to your Christmas budget. Set a certain amount for each person and try your best to stick to it. At the end of the day, it’s the thought that counts.

The year may be ending soon, but this doesn’t mean your wallet should be empty. Take note and avoid these four holiday mistakes and you might be surprised with how much money is left by the time Christmas is done.