If you read my story, you’ll know that I made mistakes too when it comes to my finances. I started working abroad at 23 without prior financial knowledge. And gaya ng marami sa iba nating kababayang OFW, I had a hard time saving money.
It was indeed unfortunate, especially because I was earning almost three to five times higher than the average salary back in the Philippines.
Kaya naisip kong mag-bago.
Today I listed down the 15 money saving tips for OFWs I know and I did to turn my financial mess to success.
1. Have an open communication with your love ones
It is your responsibility to inform your loved ones about the reality of an Overseas Filipino Worker. Don’t hesitate to talk to them about your actual financial situation.
Remind your family that proper budgeting is needed. Ask them to help you build a buffer savings account to be used on emergencies. Huwag magpaka-martir,kabayan. Kasi kung hindi mo ipapa-alam sa kanila, tataas at tataas ang expectations nila.
There is nothing wrong with them enjoying the fruits of your labor but with proper guidance. Be transparent to your family, most specially your spouse.
2. Set smart financial goals
Life abroad is not always good. There are days where you will get homesick because you miss your family so much.
This is where smart financial goals come in.
Goals are created to set as motivation in your journey to financial freedom. Select your vision in the next three, five to ten years. Do you see yourself coming back in the Philippines for good? If yes then you better write that goal down in a piece of paper.
Gumawa ka ng listahan ng mga gusto mong makamit at lagi mo itong basahin.
Let your goals inspire you every single day.
3. Learn how to budget
Budgeting is one of the core concepts of personal finance. A budget works to give you an idea where your money goes and how much of your money goes to what. You can find a lot of helpful free budget templates in the internet, too.
4. Automate your savings
One sure way you can save money while working as an OFW is by automating your savings. Ask your employer it is possible to take a portion of your income automatically as part of your savings. You can also do it yourself too.
Open a separate savings account and automatically deposit certain amount every month. This is called pay-yourself-first policy. Bago ka gumastos sa iba, future self mo muna ang isipin mo.
How much should you automatically save each month?
A good 10-20% of your monthly salary would do.
5. Health is wealth
Filipinos are naturally hard working individuals. Kaya nga we are loved by other nations. But, as OFWs we should learn to prioritize our health too.
If we get sick abroad, there will be no relative who can assist us. There will also be a good chance that we can’t provide for our family’s needs back home.
Hospital fees abroad may vary from where you are working, but it is surely higher compared to the Philippines. So one of my money saving tips for OFWs is to be healthy. There are nutritional supplements available to strengthen your immune system. Exercise and try to live a healthier lifestyle.
6. Avoid vices
Vices such as smoking cigarettes, excessive drinking and gambling will not only cause you to get sick but can also put your health at risk.
Compute how much your vices are really costing you! If you want to save more money then you should learn to sacrifice your vices.
7. Use coupons to your groceries
Couponing is a game changer when it comes to grocery shopping. I personally use coupon to save money whenever we buy ingredients and household supplies. You can get a lot of good deals too like buy 1 take 1 or freebies included when you purchase a specific product.
8. Create a spending tracker
Here’s a good money tip I recently learned. In simple (even used notebook) try to record everything money that comes in and comes out of your wallet. No matter how little or big that expenses is, record it accordingly. With this method you’ll be able to know exactly where your money goes.
9. Know the difference between needs vs. wants
This is something most OFWs struggle about. We find it hard to say no to our loved ones especially when it comes to the needs and wants. Before you purchase anything, especially pagdating sa mga padala, think first whether what you’re buying is really needed. Knowing the difference between needs and wants will help limit your unnecessary spending. This will also save you money in the long run.
10. Bring your own food to work
I know this could be a hassle for some especially those who are working alone. Even I used to have hard time preparing a decent meal for myself when I started working as an OFW.
But it is still a good money saving tip to bring your own lunch to the office. By making and bringing your own meal you will not only be sure on the ingredients but will also save a lot of money.
11. Cut down on your electric bill
Use power saving tips such as unplugging appliances when not in use and replacing light-bulbs with cost-efficient LED lights to save money on your bill.
12. Find a side hustle
An extra income on the side can boost your savings. Find a side hustle you can do with your free time abroad. You can even use the power of the internet and create your own passive income.
I joined a reputable networking business and dedicated my free time learning and doing the business. With hard work I was able to generate enough income on my sideline without quitting my full-time job.
13. Start a blog
Another good way to increase your cash flow and save more money is by starting a blog. With a blog you can insert ads, join affiliate programs and create your own digital products.
I learned a lot about personal finance reading blog posts online, and now that I already have a blog I promise to share helpful money tips too para sa mga kapwa ko OFW.
14. Invest your money
Once you have secured your emergency fund, your next money move is investing. There are a lot of resources that will teach you how to invest your money right. The general rule I can share to all OFWs who are reading this post is this…
Save only on what you know.
Be a vigilant investor and never entrust your hard-earned money in something you don’t know. Ask for proof and documents as well as testimonials from other investors. Study every financial product you invest with.
15. Stay debt-free
As much as possible avoid debt. This is a crucial step in building wealth as an OFW. Always strive to have a positive net worth.
How to do this?
Avoid going to where the crowd goes. Malls, bazaars and other places where you will surely spend money should be avoided at all cost.
Don’t let credit card ruin your finances. Condition yourself in paying cash instead of credit card. If you already accumulated high credit card debt then make sure you pay. Delaying your payment will only earn and increase the interest you need to pay.
Live within your means. Huwag lalaki ang ulo. Not because your salary increases does it mean you have to increase your spending power too. Always live below your means, meaning your expenses should be lower than your income.
I hope this post helped you. Create impact over your finances today by following any of the money saving tips above. Let me know in the comment section below what money you are excited to apply.