Many Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) struggle with saving money. This is a sad reality, as being an OFW is not easy at all. Being one entails endless sacrifices, including being away from loved ones and living in unfamiliar ground. If you are an OFW struggling to make ends meet, realize that this is not the end of the road for you. In this article, you will learn some tips and tricks for saving money as an OFW.
1. SET FINANCIAL GOALS
Most likely, you had a financial goal in mind that encouraged you to apply as an OFW. Maybe you wanted to put all your children or younger siblings through school. Maybe you dreamt of building a home for your family. Or maybe, you just grabbed the opportunity of working abroad to elevate your current lifestyle. Remember those dreams and reflect on them. Remind yourself of these dreams so that you can set your eyes on these financial goals.
2. LIST DOWN YOUR PRIORITIES
Now that you remember your financial goals, list down your priorities. If you have long-term financial goals, incorporate them little by little into your regular budget. Separate your budget for savings, family, investments, long-term financial goals, and other necessities. When you know at your priorities are, then you can properly allocate your money every time you get your paycheck.
3. SET ASIDE YOUR SAVINGS FIRST
Oftentimes, it is taught that your savings should come from what remains of your income by the end of the month, but this is not usually the best way to secure savings. More often than not, this formula will lead you to overspend on unnecessary things. A more fool-proof formula would be to set aside your savings immediately after you get your paycheck. This way, you will find a way to work around the limited budget that you have.
4. INVEST WHEN YOU CAN
When you have extra money, look for ways to invest it. Investing your money will give you more chances to grow what you have. However, investment always entails taking risks, so do not put all your eggs in one basket. Before you start investing, have an emergency savings fund that can sustain you for months on end. This will prevent you from losing everything that you have. Also, be smart about your investments. Always do your research before you invest in something.
5. AVOID VICES
Vices come in all shapes and sizes, and they’re mostly unhealthy for both your body and your wallet. Unfortunately, many OFWs fall into the trap of vices—may it be smoking, drinking, gambling, or over-shopping—as a way to cope with loneliness. The good news is there are alternative activities for recreation. Working out, playing sports, or meeting with fellow Filipinos are some activities that can help you. When you spend time nurturing your body and social life, you also stay away from the big expenses that come with sickness.
6. TRACK YOUR EXPENSES
If you find that you are constantly overspending, start making it a habit to track your expenses. This way, you will have a clearer view of where your money is going. Most likely, this is how you will determine where you should cut back.
7. LIVE A DEBT-FREE LIFESTYLE
Avoid incurring debt, but if you already have debt, prioritize paying them off. Generally, prolonging debts will lead to you having to pay higher interest rates. You want to live a debt-free lifestyle as soon as possible, so look for ways you can achieve this.
8. INVEST IN YOURSELF
This may sound counterintuitive, but it is okay to spend for yourself from time to time—just know which expenses will add value to you. Learn new skills. Whenever there is a chance, attend workshops and join conferences. While some may require you to pay a fee, you will certainly get your money’s worth with your gained skills.
9. ATTEND FINANCIAL LITERACY COURSES
Nowadays, there are several financial literacy courses available for OFWs—some for free, others for a fee. These courses will come in handy for someone like you who is striving to save up. If you do not have the resources for this, consider looking for a financial advisor instead. This person will help you make wiser financial decisions.
10. BE TRANSPARENT WITH YOUR FAMILY
It is normal for OFWs to send money to family. In fact, most OFWs do this. However, this—whether it is an act of generosity or of responsibility—should not hinder you from saving up. Talk with your family until they understand your financial goals. More importantly, help them become financially literate because in reality, you won’t always be present to guide their spending. Eventually, they should learn how to budget the money they receive.