Money Matters: 6 Financial Tips for Every OFW

Every Overseas Filipino Worker has their reason for leaving the country. At the end of the day, it all boils down to providing a better and more secure future for the family. That is because sadly, working abroad, could help you provide a better life.

Here’s the thing: earning in dollars does not guarantee a good life. In fact, there are (many) cases when OFWs have little to no money left once the contract has expired.

Don’t let this happen to you and your family by remembering these money-savvy tips: 

1. Set a goal. What is your reason for working abroad? Whatever the reason is, it is important to set a goal to help you keep your eyes on the prize. You can start with “I want to save P100,000 by the end of the year so your family can start a sari-sari store” to get you motivated. This leads you to the next tip.

2. Always set a budget. This is the problem with many OFWs. Since you are earning more than what you can earn in the Philippines, you tend to be complacent and send a big chunk of your salary to your family. That shouldn’t be the case. Instead, set aside portions of your salary for savings, remittance, and daily expenditures – and make sure to stick to it. Allocating your money will help you keep track of your earnings and at the same time, put your money into good use. If it’s possible, set up different bank accounts for specific purposes.

3. Needs over wants. It’s easy to give in to the request of your family. Being away from them makes you feel guilty; hence you shower them with material things to make up for the time lost. The problem with this is that material things don’t last and you might end up spending more than saving. Prioritize needs over wants and don’t feel bad if you are unable to buy the latest phone or tablet for your kids.

4. Don’t be afraid to invest. Does the term “stock market” or “investment” scare you? Financial literacy is not common among Filipinos, but this doesn’t mean you should join the bandwagon. Read about various investment options available and find out which one you are more comfortable with. All it takes is an initiative to invest, no matter how small, and you will be growing your money in no time.

5. Know who really needs your hard-earned money. As the person working overseas, you are often tasked to help people other than your immediate family in times of emergency. After all, you are earning in dollars and it won’t hurt if you pay for your nephew’s tuition, which they promised to pay you back when able. Go back to your goals and remind yourself why you are working abroad. Money may come easily, but this doesn’t mean you should carry the burden of providing for everyone. You don’t want the culture of laziness and apathy grow in the family, and prioritizing your expenses could stop that.

6. Stop the culture “over-giving.” Your hard-earned money is precious. While giving pasalubong to your immediate family is fine, you are not obliged to give something to the whole clan. This could be a buzzkill, but set aside a budget for gifts when you get home and don’t feel bad if you are unable to give something to your barangay captain.

At the end of the day, remember your goal on why you are working overseas. This will help you get back on track and remind you of the needs of your family.

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