Most OFWs leave the Philippines in search of better opportunities. It all comes down to earning more money which is not a bad thing because we are doing all these sacrifices to be better provider for our families, to give them luxuries we have not yet experienced prior and to be as worry free as possible on where to get our daily expenses.
Unfortunately, we as OFWs who are also not used to having some extra money to spare began to be tempted living a lifestyle of excesses. We sometimes end up doing things and buying things that we could live without. Again, I’m not saying that’s a bad thing because some of these are gifts for ourselves that we deserve. But, it’s with this reasoning that we end up living on a paycheck to paycheck that when there is an emergency we end up searching for funds in the wrong places.
Being financially stable is one of the main dreams each OFW shares. We strive and work hard to pay all our debts, save some money, put up a business and hopefully be able to go back home to the Philippines for good and be with our families. If this goal seems still far-fetched for you, we have some suggestions on how you could make this more of a reality.
LIVE WITHIN YOUR MEANS
This is a simple concept but sometimes harder to follow. If we open our wallet and see that we still have some dirhams, riyals (and whatever currency you have) we get into a state of lull. “Oh! I still have some extra. Better buy that cordless headset even if my headset is still properly functioning!” Forgetting that it’s only the 12th of the month and salary is still weeks away.
Spending less than what you earn is living within your means. Say, you caved in and bought that headset. Now, you don’t have money for food and other daily expenses that you end up borrowing from a friend. When your next salary comes, it is already less than what you are used to because you have to return the money you owe which could be avoided if you refrained yourself from buying something you don’t really need. If you really want that headset, you could have saved part of your salary every month until you have the amount. Sure, it would take longer than expected but at least you would not have the headache of trying to find money to spend on what’s really important.
SET A BUDGET AND STICK TO IT!
I am also guilty of this. Every beginning of the month I set a budget but ended up forgetting about it when I receive a message from my bank telling me my salary is already credited to my account. All those budgeting fly away from my mind because I am reminded of the crap I don’t need but still want to buy. When you set your mind to an amount that you are only allowed to spend within a month, abide by it! Try to monitor your expenses. Divide the amount to 4 weeks and if you managed to save some amount for the first week, you could either save it or add it to your next week’s budget or you could do with it as you please. Provided that this is the only extra amount you spend and you leave the succeeding week’s budget alone.
There are good debts and there are bad debts. But if you suck at managing your finances, all debts are bad. If you have debts from several banks because of loans and credit cards, try to find a bank that offers debt consolidation so you would only need to pay one source of debt instead of paying for multiple. Debts from multiple banks also mean multiple interests. If that’s not possible, settle those debts that have a higher interest rate first. After you have settled one, continue to include it in your monthly budget but add it to other debts so you could finish all debts quickly.
FIND A SIDE HUSTLE
We could not stress this enough. Millionaires are known to have seven sources of income and if you want to be a millionaire someday, start finding those other sources of income. Find a side hustle that you are passionate about so it would not interfere with your full time job since it would not feel like work. There are tons of online jobs available that could provide you with extra money monthly. Strive as well to find a passive income, meaning something that would not require too much of your attention and or time. Examples of this are real estate (rent out a property), lending (but with a reasonable interest rate), open a high yield savings account, do affiliate marketing… the list is endless. Be creative and find one that would not cause you unwarranted stress. You already have your full time job for that.
BE FINANCIALLY SAVVY
I admit I am lazy when it comes to cooking. But after working for eight hours daily, it is understandable. This is one of the reason why I sometimes spend money I am not allowed to spend. Instead of cooking which is cheaper, I end up eating out or deliveries (curse you Zomato and Talabat!). If you could not help it and trust me I understand, use discount coupons. For OFWs in Dubai, read this post for some life hacks on how you could enjoy living in Dubai without having to break your budget.
HIDE YOUR SAVINGS
Spending is encouraged when you always see your money. But if you would hide your savings, it is easier to forget that you do have some extra cash lying around. Out of sight, out of mind.
LEAVE YOUR CREDIT CARDS AT HOME
If you have credit cards and you are going out, leave them at home. You would be easily tempted to use them. Trust me, been there done that.
So, there you have it kabayan. These are just some of the tried and tested tips we could give you. We are also far from living on paycheck to paycheck and the struggle is real. But with this knowledge, we are near there.
Do you have any tips you could share with your fellow OFW? Drop it in the comments section below!