Choose Between PAG-IBIG MP2 or SSS PESO Fund for Your Savings

Over the years, people are given more available options for savings, which is a good thing. This is because it allows people, regardless of what income bracket they belong to, to save and help them for their future.

If you are an Overseas Filipino Worker, you are not excused. There are tons of saving options available to you to ensure that you have something to hold on in case your contract overseas ended. 

In separate posts, we discussed about OFW membership in government agencies like PAG-IBIG and SSS. Aside from the benefits you can get from respective government agencies, did you know that they also have savings facility that you can try? 

Here is a closer look between PAG-IBIG MP2 and SSS PESO Fund and find out which savings facility is best for you. 

Common Features:

  • Open to all regular SSS and PAG-IBIG members, including OFWs
  • Tax-free
  • Savings is guaranteed by the government, which means you don’t have to worry about losing your money 
  • Optional savings program offered to all members with up-to-date contributions
  • Higher interest rates compared to banks
  • Monthly payments not required

Nonetheless, there are several differences between the two programs, which you will learn more about in the succeeding sections. 

Eligibility Requirements:

PAG-IBIG MP2 – 

  • No age limit
  • All PAG-IBIG members, including OFWs, regardless of amount of monthly income
  • Open to retirees and pensioners as long as at least 24 monthly contributions were made before retirement

SSS Peso Fund 

  • Open to SSS members must be 55 years of age and below
  • Paid at least six monthly contributions within the last 12 months prior to enrollment
  • For OFWs, SSS payment must be maximum contribution
  • No claim filed under SSS programs such as total disability benefits 

Amount of Investment:

PAG-IBIG MP2

  • Minimum investment of P500
  • Has no maximum savings amount

SSS PESO Fund –

  • Minimum investment of P1,000
  • Savings and earnings under this facility go to three accounts: retirement / total disability (65 percent), medical (25 percent), and general purpose (10 percent)
  • Maximum savings amount of P100,000 every year

Interest Rate:

When it comes to interest rate, PAG-IBIG MP2 takes the spot. In fact, investment grows faster in MP2 than SSS’ PESO Fund. 

Dividend rate rose from 4.58 percent in 2010 to 8.11 percent in 2017, which means savings is almost doubled. Depending on the market trend, there is a possibility that the dividend rate will go higher. 

On the other hand, SSS PESO Fund’s dividend rate is between 1.85 to 3.75 percent, which is based on T-bill and Treasury Bond rates. The rate may be lower compared to PAG-IBIG MP2, but this rate is still higher compared to what banks offer in their savings and time deposit accounts, thereby allowing you to earn more when you opt for this facility.

Policy on Withdrawal: 

PAG-IBIG MP2 – 

Aside from the savings itself, this facility gives out dividends, which you can claim after five years. 

In case of emergency such as health reasons, disability, or insanity, early withdrawal may be allowed. In case of death of the member before the five-year maturity period, beneficiaries could claim the savings. 

What if you want to reinvest the money? That’s fine. After five years, you can register for a new MP2 account and keep on saving for another five years. You might be surprised with how much your money will grow over the years. 

SSS PESO Fund

Just like the MP2 savings facility, you can claim your savings after five years. Here’s the catch: you can only claim up to 35 percent of your savings, which is the medical and general purpose funds. The remaining 65 percent may only be withdrawn when either you reach the age of 60 OR you file for retirement or total disability with SSS. 

In case you withdraw before the fifth year, then SSS will charge a penalty fee. 

That being said, what is the better savings program? 

Both are good, but if you will be wiser with your money, then it is best to go for the PAG-IBIG MP2 savings facility. It is easier, more convenient, flexible, and allows you to grow your money. What more could you ask for? 

4 Investment Tips to Remember for OFWs

Sometimes, working hard is not enough to be able to secure your family’s future. Life overseas is unstable and there is always a possibility that you might be asked to go home even if your contract is not yet due because of various reasons like political turmoil, civil uprising, or tragedy among others.

In case that happens, are you ready?

This is why time and again, we always emphasize the importance of investing your money. In doing so, you are not only making your money grow but also ensuring everybody’s future because you always have funds to back you up.

The question now is how do you invest?

Here are tips you need to remember to make sure you make the most out of your investment:

1. Knowledge is power. 

For the laymen, investment can be overwhelming and difficult to understand. This could also be the reason why there are many who prefer not to invest because it’s something that they cannot comprehend.

That should not be your mentality. It could be overwhelming at first, but that’s what the Internet is for. Simply type “investment” and you will find tons of articles, podcasts, videos, and blog posts about it. Take your time to go through the information in front of you so you will have better understanding of what your options are and how each of them works.

If self-study is not your style, then you might want to consider attending seminars about investing. In case you have questions, you will easily get answers because someone who knows a lot about investing is in front of you.

2. Know the difference between good and bad investment. 

No pun intended, but scammers are most likely to lure OFWs to invest in their “venture” with a promise of high return of money after a week or one month at most. Since you are interested in growing your money (and hopefully as quick as possible), you decided to sign up.

Be careful. Before you invest your money into something, you need to make sure the legality of such investment deal. There is no such thing as double or triple your money in one week. Yes, you can grow your money, but this will take time, months or years even, before you can reap the benefits.

Be vigilant and stick to banks and other legitimate investment companies in growing your hard-earned money.

3. Send remittances regularly. 

When you invest, there is a higher possibility that your family back home will manage it or process necessary acts on your behalf. This way, you don’t have to worry about it and just focus on your work overseas.

To make sure that your investments are properly maintaining, you should be able to send money regularly for this specific purpose. You can use the money sent for various investment purposes like increasing the amount of your investment or getting another type of investment.

Speaking of remittances, it is important that you send money on safe and legitimate channels. This way, you are sure that the money you sent from overseas will arrive in the Philippines.

4. Go online. 

You are miles away from home and you only rely on your family when it comes to managing your investment. Still, you need to be on top of everything to ensure that your hard-earned money is spent wisely.

Therefore, go online. If the disbursement account is through a specific bank account, make sure you apply for online banking facility so you can easily track your investments. Don’t forget to check it regularly.

Take note that this will not guarantee you a million by the end of the year, but investing your money will help you a lot in making it grow. Don’t be afraid and give investing a try. There are tons of investment options available and it’s just a matter of finding the right track for you.

7 Money Tips to Remember During the Christmas Season

It’s almost Christmas. Are you counting the days already? Surely you do, especially if you’re coming home for the holidays. Aside from the balikbayan boxes filled with tons of pasalubong for your loved ones, there are tons of reunions and parties you have to attend to because hey, people missed you. Plus, this is a perfect opportunity to go shopping. You feel that goods are cheaper here in the Philippines and you wouldn’t even notice since you are earning in dollars.

Indeed, going home this Christmas season is a grand celebration. Sadly, it’s an expensive one. Worse, you will realize how much you’ve lost once you head back to the country where you are working.

Does it really have to be that way? Of course not. Yes, you missed your family but there are certain things you need to remember to ensure that you won’t compromise your financial future just for the sake of having Pasko sa Pilipinas. This includes:

1. Set a Christmas budget before going back home. 

This is the first thing you need to do before you head home. Having a budget is necessary to guide you on your spending and avoid unnecessary expenses. You need to set a limit on your spending because you might be surprised to find out that there’s no job waiting for you.

What you can do is to allocate money for Christmas shopping, dining out, presents, etc. Set aside a portion for last-minute emergencies because you’ll never know what could happen while you’re back home.

2. Buy presents that increase in value. 

Sure, your kids will appreciate a new iPad or gaming console, but is it worth spending? The problem with giving material things is that they don’t appreciate in value. By the following year, a new model will be released, which improves the older version. Selling it won’t help because by the time you decide to sell the gadget, the value is way lower than what you hoped for.

What can you do? Give your family something that they will like and something to open this Christmas BUT make sure it is affordable. Also, use your money to buy your kids’ educational fund or invest in stocks or mutual funds. This allows your money to grow more instead of spending it on something that doesn’t appreciate in value.

Surely your family may not appreciate it now, but they sure will once they get older.

3. Limit your gift-giving. 

You’re not running for public office, so don’t feel pressured to give everyone something. Yes, it’s the season if giving, but do you have to share everything you have to the entire barangay? 

The answer is no – and it’s okay.

The point is limit your gift-giving to immediate family members and people who truly matters to you. This will help you save more money.

4. Once Christmas celebration is enough. 

So your former colleagues at work found out that you’re in the Philippines and they wanted to ask you out. Your college buddies also wanted to see you and asked you to meet them for dinner and drinks after. Your family wants to eat out.

The question now is do you really need to say yes to all the invites just so people will see you? The answer is no.

One of the ways to cut your spending while you’re home for the holidays is by scheduling just ONE (read: ONE) Christmas party. Schedule a party, preferably weekend, and invite people to come over. You can spend on food, but don’t hesitate to ask people to bring some of their specialties over. This way, you get to meet everyone while minimizing your spending.

5. Do not boast. 

One of the common misconceptions surrounding OFWs is that they are rich and money comes easy. Some do experience a leap, but there are still many others who are doing what they can to make ends meet. Yet, there are OFWs who act like they are living a life by showing off material things they own.

Don’t be one of them. Show the people that you are living a simple lifestyle instead of trying to make yourself look “bigtime.” You don’t need people to see that you have a new phone and your kids have up-to-date gadgets. People will less likely borrow money from you if they see that you are living a frugal life.

6. You’re not an ATM. 

It is part of Filipino culture to give something. Since you’re back home, this could be an opportunity for people to ask if they could borrow money from you.

No matter how close you are, the answer is no. You’re not an ATM machine and you have your own needs too. Don’t give in to their demands because you shouldn’t be the one they’re running to in case they are having financial issue. Learn how to say no and be firm about it.

7. Update and manage your accounts. 

Now that you’re back home, take this opportunity to check and manage your accounts. See how much money you have and don’t forget to enroll in an online facility so you can easily see and be updated with your account. If you plan to get an investment account or insurance policy, then use this opportunity as well.

It’s more complicated if you ask someone to do this on your behalf (through SPA, of course), so make sure you make the most out of your stay.

Are you ready to go back home?

5 Christmas Gift Giving Tips to Remember for OFWs

Christmas is fast approaching. Are you done with your Christmas list? Even if you are miles away, the reality is you will always feel responsible to give something to your family (and extended family!) back home.

Unfortunately, gift giving means you need to prepare your pocket because this will surely eat up a big chunk in your salary. You always feel the urge to make up for the lost time that you should’ve spent with your family. Still, does this mean you should go bankrupt just to send something back home?

The answer is no. It will take you a lot of discipline and strict budgeting skill, but you can still make everyone happy during Christmas without compromising your financial future – or that of your family’s.

Here’s what you need to do and remember when it comes to gift giving:

Tip No. 1: Make a list. 

This is the first thing you need to do when it comes to gift-giving. OFWs are always obliged to give the entire barangay something, even if it’s just one bar of chocolates per family. Before you shop for Christmas gifts, make sure you know who to give gifts to – and the best way to do this is by making a list. This will serve as your guide during the holidays.

Tip No. 2: Set up a budget. 

Aside from making a list, you also need to set up a budget.

Christmas is a season of giving, but this doesn’t mean you need to spend every centavo you have. Set up a budget for each recipient to guide you on your spending. This way, you can check the amount of money you are willing to spend (preferably not all of your income and savings, combined) versus how much you can save.

If the gift is below your intended project, then good. Still, don’t use the extra amount of money you have to buy something that won’t last.

Tip No. 3: It’s not always about the material things. 

New shoes, clothes, perfume, and gadgets – these are the usual contents of your balikbayan boxes. Does your family really need all of them when you just bought them the same items months ago?

Keep in mind that gift-giving is not always about material things. We understand that this is your way of showing how much you love them because you cannot be physically present in their lives, but this doesn’t mean spoiling everyone with things that don’t last. Focus more on intentional gift giving.

READ: Meaningful Gift Ideas to Give this Christmas 

Tip No. 4: Stick to people who truly matters. 

Again, don’t feel obligated to give gifts to everyone. You’re not Santa Claus and you only have so much money to spend because you will need it for more important things.

Therefore, give gifts to those who truly matters to you – family, closest friends who helped you get through life overseas, relatives who genuinely helped you and your family while you’re away, and an understanding boss who knows what you’re going through. Unless you want to run for office or a position in an organization, only give gifts you are genuinely closest to.

Tip No. 5: Always start early. 

Christmas season can be overwhelming. Prices tend to be higher during the holiday because people are willing to pay regardless of the price. Before all the rush happens, make sure you start early. Plan your shopping trips ahead instead of wrestling your way with people in the malls.

Are you ready to go Christmas shopping?

6 Meaningful Gift Ideas You Can Give this Christmas

They say that in giving gifts, it’s the thought that counts. That’s true. The fact that you gave – and received – a gift from someone means you care about that person and you are willing to spend on something out of your hard-earned money.

Still, don’t you think it is best if that person will truly appreciate what you gave them?

This is where intentional gift-giving comes in. It’s about giving something meaningful to someone even if you are miles away from them. To save you from the hassle and stress and thinking what to give your loved ones back home, we listed gift ideas you might want to give them on this season of giving:

Staycation Trip 

This is ideal if you are allowed to go back home during the Christmas season. A staycation trip with the family allows you to spend time together and makeup for the time lost even just for a few days.

The staycation trip doesn’t have to be in five-star hotels. There are tons of hotels in the metro that gives you a five-star experience that still fits your budget. Make sure you book as early as now because Christmas season means most hotels are fully-booked.

Pearls

This one is for your spouse – and she deserves it. As long as budget permits, consider giving pearl jewelry to your spouse. It is more affordable than diamonds, but still provide a certain class to those who wear it.

Something Handmade

Is there anything more meaningful than something you actually made?

If you want to give gifts to your closest friends who helped you get through life abroad or your boss who is nothing but understanding of your situation, then give them something you personally made. It could be painting, personalized card, woodwork, or anything you are good at. You will only spend on the materials and more importantly, you won’t go over your designated budget.

Savings Account 

This is an ideal gift to give to your kids or younger siblings. 

Working overseas means you get to earn in dollars – and more. Take advantage of that opportunity by opening a savings account for them. The good thing about giving this gift is that it helps start build a better financial future for your kids. You can open a bank account with as little as P500.00 and get to earn interest as you make deposits.

Savings account with ATM is more convenient, but if you want to make saving work, opt for the one with passbook. You can also check out this post for banks with savings account specifically for OFWs.

Investment

If you prefer something that earns more than the savings account, then getting an investment for your family is a good idea. There are variety of options to choose from – mutual fund, UITF, government or corporate bonds, or stocks. Choose an investment option that suits your family most to start growing your money.

Don’t worry. Investment is not only for the rich. In fact, you can start your investment portfolio with as little as P5,000.

Startup Business

Even if you are the one earning more, this doesn’t mean expenses back home should solely be your responsibility.  In fact, it should be a collective effort of the family.

To ensure that, why not give your family a business they can manage? Franchising is a good start, but if you don’t have enough funds to cover for the fee, then there are affordable business ideas your family can try. Talk about this with your family and make sure that everyone will take part to ensure the business’ success.

Still, don’t force yourself to give gifts if your wallet can’t afford it. What’s the point of gift-giving if you’ll end up with nothing by the end of the year, right? More than anything else, set up a budget and give gifts to those who truly matter. 

Negotiate Your Salary with the Help of These 7 Tips

Salary or Compensation.

Admit it. This is your biggest consideration on why you want to work overseas. Although your job here in the Philippines is “sufficient” to cover for your daily needs, working overseas means you get to earn in dollars; hence bigger.

Let me tell you a secret: you can negotiate for a higher salary. 

In fact, this is among the things you need to do especially during job interview. This will allow you to earn more and get more benefits – provided that you have experience and skills to back up your request for higher pay.

Before you sign the contract, here’s what you need to do to get a better salary package:

1. Know the company first. 

They say never face your battles unprepared. Before you negotiate for better salary, make sure you know who you’re talking to first. Learn everything about the company so you know what you’re getting yourself into and whether or not you are a perfect fit to join them. Don’t forget to research about employee benefits as well the company’s owners or officers.

2. Don’t agree right away. 

$1,000 every month might be enough for your family, but are you willing to settle for that amount? What if your employer could offer more but because you agreed on the initial offer, you also lost your negotiating power?

The point is don’t settle right away. Always negotiate for a better salary amount or package. If you can’t get a raise, then at least bargain for allowances or employee benefits such as insurance, flight tickets, or overtime pay. Believe it or not, this will help you a lot in the future.

3. Highlight your strengths and skills. 

An increase in salary or the grant of additional benefits doesn’t come easy. You need to justify this by highlighting your strengths and skills that will be useful for the job. Inform your potential employer about additional trainings you went to in order to improve your skills. This would make it easier for your employer to give in because he is able to set you apart from the rest of the candidates.

Be careful. You might over-sell yourself or sound too arrogant, so learn to hit the brakes when needed.

4. Do not convert right away. 

This is a common mistake among Filipinos, especially first-time OFWs. When negotiating for a better salary package, do not convert the salary into peso right away. Conversion rate changes regularly, plus you might not receive your salary in US dollars.

Once you agreed on the amount and salary package, make an estimate as to how much your expenses will be to give you an idea on how to budget your money.

5. Be flexible when negotiating. 

Yes, you want to earn as much as you can, but at the end of the interview, the employer still has the last say. Listen to your employer’s salary offer and employee benefits provided. Make sure you look like you are seriously considering the offer, but leave them hanging. Don’t immediately inform him that you want this much because you will only give away your bargaining power.

Then and if negotiation is allowed, make a counter-proposal. You might want a higher pay or additional benefits based on your experience and skills. Inform your potential employer that this is what you offer on the table but you are still willing to compromise to ensure that both parties are happy.

6. Always ask nicely. 

This is a must. Some foreign employers are not willing to bend but because you asked nicely and negotiated while showing respect, you could get the last laugh after the interview.

Therefore, ask nicely and politely whether the salary is negotiable or if there are any add-ons. If the employer is firm about sticking to only what was advertised, then don’t immediately look so disappointed or start being disrespectful. This will only ruin your chances of getting hired.

7. Never bluff about other job offers. 

This is a big no-no.

Sure, you want the employer to go after you because you feel you deserve the job based on what you can do. If things didn’t go your way, then don’t lie about job offers from other employers just to get a higher salary. This could backfire and you might end up not getting the job.

Are you ready to start the negotiation process?

6 Business Ideas for OFW Spouses for Extra Cash this Christmas

Holiday is just around the corner. Is your wallet ready?

Normally, you would depend on your spouse for money. While s/he would gladly send money for use, you have to remember all the hardships and sacrifices s/he has to go through just to ensure your family’s welfare and future. The least you can do is to not just save whatever you can but also help with the expenses.

In what way, you might ask.

The answer is simple: try putting up your own business. 

Don’t be scared. There are business ideas you can try with little capital required. The best part is you get to help your spouse pay for the expenses, especially during the Christmas season.

Here’s what you can do:

1) Bake Your Famous Cookies 

… or brownies, or cakes, or whatever works for you. Since it’s Christmas season, fruit cake, leche flan, and ube halaya are surefire hits as well. The point is baking could give you additional income during the Christmas since many people are willing to pay for convenience. Plus, baked goods are a hit during the holidays because everyone, regardless of the age bracket, will appreciate it.

If you perfected the recipe, then go ahead and sell it. Who doesn’t want a cookie from the cookie jar, right?

2) Party Trays at Their Service

If baking isn’t your forte, then that’s fine. You prefer to cook more and you can turn your kitchen skills into cash.

Offering packed lunches is one way to earn. Since it’s the season for parties, why not try party trays instead? Post your party tray services on your Facebook account and ask friends and family to help you advertise. If you get it right, this could turn into full-fledged business, which means additional capital for you.

3) Give the Gift of Scent

Who doesn’t want to smell good? Apparently, perfume, particularly those with popular names, can be expensive. Since your spouse is abroad, why not ask him to send perfumes over and you can sell it prices cheaper than malls?

If you want to keep it local, then there are perfume-making trainings you can attend to that will train you not just how to make perfume but also give you an idea regarding storage and costing.

If perfume is not your thing, then try soaps or dishwashing liquid. This could be a good income generator as well.

4) Gift Wrapping Services 

Do you enjoy wrapping presents and making something wonderful out of ordinary Christmas wrappers and ribbons? Now is the perfect time to showcase that talent.

Wrapping gifts take time, which explains why there are people who are willing to pay for it. If you are willing to take the burden off them, then offer gift wrapping services. Plus, don’t you think it’s fun to bring out your creative juices?

5) Try Your Hand on Recycled Packaging

Too much garbage is found everywhere. Do your share of saving Mother Earth by using used or recycled materials and turning it into an attractive packaging. Boxes or bottles are in demand this Christmas season, especially for people who are not into wrapping gifts (another reason why gift wrapping services are in during the holidays.).

Instead of the usual box or jars, decorate it and sprinkle your creative touch to make the packaging itself good enough to give and no gift wrapper required. Your friends could be your customers, but don’t be afraid to sell this to other people and online.

6) Sweet Ham will Always be a Hit 

Let’s say you love to cook but you find preparing party trays tedious. That’s fine. You might want to get your hands into making sweet ham, which is another favorite during the holiday season.

Sweet ham may have a standard taste, so what will set your product apart from the rest is the sauce for the ham. Check out ham sauce recipes online and make adjustments to it or make one from scratch. The best part about this is that little capital is required.

The bottom line is be creative and think of ways on how to earn extra while helping your spouse. Don’t count money yet because the goal is to help augment expenses during the holiday season. Once everything is settled, who knows, you could turn this into a business.

Are you ready to earn extra this Christmas?

4 Business Ideas You Can Do for Extra Cash this Christmas

Can you hear the Christmas bells ringing already? Here in the Philippines, Jose Mari Chan’s famous Christmas in our Hearts and other popular hits are already played constantly in malls. Even if you are on the other side of the world, your Christmas spirit has not and will never die down because let’s face it, iba talaga ang Pasko sa Pilipinas.

Still, Christmas equates to spending. At this point, you need to start making a list and checking it twice because your hard-earned money will be spent buying gifts for your family back home. Instead of using your Emergency Fund (and we assume you have one), you can try getting a sideline for additional cash.

Here are some business ideas you can try:

1. Buy and Sell 

One of the good things about working overseas is that you find items that are not available in the Philippines. Take advantage of that by selling hard-to-find products for extra cash. Or you can do the other way around by selling Filipino products to your friends and colleagues overseas. Going online may be your first option especially if you will sell items from overseas, but don’t forget that old school selling where you are face-to-face with your customers is still effective.

Either way, you will earn so make sure you take advantage of it, especially during the Christmas season.

2. Use Your Photography Skills 

Are you into photography? If yes, then now is the perfect time to use it for extra cash.

You can offer themed photography sessions to your colleagues for affordable fee. Since you are already abroad, choose a place where the background or scenery would look good on pictures and work your magic there. You can also tap immigrant families since they surely want to send photos that show a glimpse of their new life to their relatives in the Philippines.

Word of mouth travels fast and who knows, this could also launch your photography career.

3. Turn Creativity into Cash 

Do you love making cards? Then offer personalized card-making services, which your OFW fellows could send back home to their respective families. This is better since the message comes from the heart and not just written by a company.

If they think that going Hallmark is dead, then you can also try making personalized gift tags, which your colleagues could use especially when sending gifts back home. You can also offer this service to your supervisors since surely, they would want to send gifts with personalized gift tags on it.

Scrapbook making can also be another business idea you can try. The drawback is this would take a lot of your time.

If you find it tedious, then try decorating services. Some families may not have the time to set up their homes just in time for Christmas, so this would be a great opportunity to showcase your skills – for additional fee, of course.

4. Food won’t Let You Down

Everybody eats. Since it’s Christmas season, Filipino communities all over the world love get togethers since it gives them a taste of home.

If you are good in the kitchen or mastered several dishes, then take advantage of that and offer party trays for a fee. Don’t forget to leave your contact details so they could refer you to future events.

If baking is your thing, then bake your famous goodies and sell it. If you want to set yourself apart from the rest of the bakers, then try coming up with your own flavors. This way, they can easily identify you and the product you’re offering.

There’s no right or wrong when it comes to business. What matters is your willingness to learn and take risks for better and more secure financial future of your family. In case you need additional  funds, Balikbayad is here to help. Fill out our online application for pre-approval and we will get back to you as soon as we can.

From OFW to Entrepreneur: Are You Ready for It?

Admit it. Working overseas can be tiring and overwhelming. Plus, you miss your family so bad and you want to be with them. Apparently, there are mouths to feed and bills to be paid. Plus, you want to make sure that your family, especially your kids or younger siblings, will have a secure future. This is why you are willing to take the sacrifices to ensure everyone’s welfare.

Still, you can’t be an OFW forever. At one point, you have to come home and build a life in the Philippines instead of depending on an employment overseas that may or may not happen. This is why it is important to start saving early and thinking of putting your money into something more sustainable, like a business.

The question now is are you ready for it? 

Well, you need to satisfy these qualifications first:

Minimum of Six Months-Worth of Emergency Fund

One of the funds you need to prepare for is an emergency fund. You will never know what would happen, so it is best to prepared. Plus, not all businesses will succeed especially during the first year, which is why it is imperative that you have a fund that will keep you covered in case you hit a roadblock.

If you’re not convinced, then here is another reason why you need to have an EF: you could use the funds for additional working capital instead of borrowing. At least you don’t have to worry about interest rate, right?

Two Words: Financial Stability

This is the first thing you need to look into before you start with your business. In fact, you should be financially stable wherein a fixed amount of money comes in every month.

What does financial stability means? It’s about being free from debt, regardless of the kind loan. This way, when you decide to borrow money for additional working capital, you only have ONE loan to worry about.

Being financially stable also means you already diversified investments that are currently earning. You can check out this post about investment options to help you get started.

If you insist on putting up your own business even with existing loans, then at least make sure that you qualify the first requirement, which is having an emergency fund.

You Know What to Pursue

There are tons of businesses you can do. You might also be inspired by the many rags-to-riches stories, which is why you want to take your cue from them.

Is that what you really want?

Before you go home, make sure you know what you want to accomplish. At this point, you should have a business idea with a defined strategy on how to make it happen, including suppliers, marketing techniques, a defined demographic, and where to sell your product or service. Quitting your work overseas without having a clear, defined business plan is a big risk. You need to be sure first before you kiss your job goodbye.

You Understand How the Business Works

The difference between being an entrepreneur and an OFW is that being a business owner is a 24/7 job. You don’t get mandated off days and you have to work day in and day out to make sure that your business thrives. This is why you need to be equipped with necessarily business knowledge to make sure that you will succeed in this endeavor.

Eventually, problems will come along. You need to be able to solve this instead of quitting and saying you’re done with business. If that is your point of view, then you are surely better off working overseas because that’s not what a successful businessman will do.

The key here is to start small first. Also, don’t give up everything yet just to make this entrepreneurial dream happen. Take it slow and eventually, your dream of having your own business will come true.

10 Frugal Hacks for OFWs when Living Overseas

Let’s face it: being an OFW is hard. What makes your situation harder is the fact that you have to support your family and their (never-ending) needs, and make sure that their future is secure. This is why you are willing to take three to four jobs just to make ends meet.

You can still make it happen. It’s a matter of proper budgeting, making sure you stick to that budget, and some frugal hacks you need to know by heart.

1. Share a Space – This won’t be applicable if your employer provided accommodation. Otherwise, you need to find a space you can temporarily call your own. Apparently, renting can be expensive, so make sure you look for roommates, preferably trustworthy ones, that could help you split the bills. This includes utilities like water and electricity as well.

2. Keep a Penny Jar – Got loose change? Surely, you don’t want to bring coins everywhere you go, so put it in a penny jar. You might be surprised to find out how much money you’ll have, which you can use to buy goods.

3. Say NO to Extended Family – Yes, this is hard, but constantly giving in to your extended family’s money requests will bring you nowhere, at least financially speaking. While you appreciate the help they’ve given in taking care of your family, this doesn’t mean you’ll say yes to all their demands. Check out this post to find out how to say NO to your extended family.

4. Walk – Going from point A to point B doesn’t always mean riding the bus or train. If you can just walk or your destination is few kilometers away, then go ahead and walk. It’s a good way to relax and clear your head, plus it’s an excellent exercise too.

5. Cook, Not Eat Out – Yes, we understand that after a tiring day, you just want to eat without exerting too much effort. Buying food saves you time, which you can devote to sleep, but this would mean spending money too. The key here is to prepare your food during off days, cook in bulk, and then freeze. Thaw only when you’re ready to eat.

6. Bring Your Own Baon – You’re lucky if your employer provides free meal, usually free lunch. If not, then don’t use it as an excuse to eat out. Plan your meals ahead, go to the market to buy ingredients, and cook meals in bulk. Set aside a portion for your lunch and dinner to save you time.

7. Plan Shopping – Don’t get too excited on sales. As much as you want to fill that balikbayan box with goodies for your family, putting that pressure on will make you spend more. Know when is the sale season, make a list of the things you will buy, and stick to a budget.

8. Never Make Purchases when Hungry – Believe it or not, you will end up buying more than what you actually need. Plus, your decision-making is impaired, which means you might be spending more – a scenario that you must avoid.

9. Use Cash – This will make it easier for you to track how much money you spent and left. You can easily make adjustments in your spending because you can physically see how much money have. More importantly, at least you don’t have to worry about bills come end of the month.

10. Invest – One of the common mistakes committed by OFWs is saving and saving, and not investing. Saving is good, but your money will only grow this much. If you want to make your hard-earned money work for you, then you need to look into other options such as investment. There are many investment options available that will help you grow your money. You can check this post for further details.

Remember, if there’s a will, then there’s a way. Stop making excuses on why you are not able to save. At the end of the day, it’s about discipline and commitment. You can do it.