Overseas Filipino Workers are often lauded as modern heroes of the Philippines for their valiant efforts in earning a better living for their families back here at home. Most of them have chosen to live a life away from home to aid their corresponding families away from pecuniary difficulties. However, as worthy as their cause may be, some of their relatives or even family members see them as a bottomless pit of cash which they can easily have access to any moment they run out of funds. This misguided and erroneous belief is the cause why some of these OFWs would easily dispense of their money to their relatives rather than saving it for a worthy investment here in the Philippines.
Seeing as this is the case, some of them may have been abroad for years yet have not managed to save an adequate and sufficient enough amount to gain enough financial freedom to buy a home. More often than not, their generosity stems from the belief that it would make up and serve as a consolation and a balm for all the years they have been away from their families. Whether that may be the case or not, it would be best if OFWs started saving as soon as possible and these are just a few of the ways they can.
1.) SEND BALIKBAYAN BOXES SPARINGLY
We have relatives working abroad who would send us care packages in the form of balikbayan boxes every single year. And more often than not, it happens more than once a year and at times even thrice. These boxes are filled to the brim with imported chocolates, soaps, and other imported goods that are otherwise probably too expensive to buy locally. OFWs should keep in mind that they are not obligated to do this and that they could potentially be doing more for their families if they had saved whatever they spent for the contents of the balikbayan box and its shipping. Remember, no matter how big or small these boxes would cost them and in a year their expenses could really accumulate. A smart alternative would be to set a budget for the goods you send to your immediate family only and send them these boxes sparingly, not more than at least once a year.
2.) GRACIOUSLY DECLINE TO BECOME THE NEXT PUNONG ABALA IN YOUR TOWN’S NEXT FIESTA
As you are working abroad, most people including some of your relatives and neighbors would think you are an endless teeming pit of unlimited cash and would be more than capable enough to sponsor extracurricular expenses. If this occurrence happened only once or twice, it would be understandable but to have you sponsor a fiesta or a party every time you come home is another thing. An alternative to this would be to suggest a potluck party or dinner instead wherein you do not have to vouch for everyone’s dinner in a restaurant. This will also provide you with a unique opportunity to eat homemade dishes from your relatives and neighbors.
3.) DO NOT BUY GADGETS THAT WILL ONLY DEPRECIATE OVER TIME
Among other things that do not increase in value over time, the latest smartphones seem to be the most popular. Apart from that, a wide range of various gaming consoles (with their corresponding expensive games), a smart tablet and powerful laptops are just some of the needless gadgets OFWs would find themselves frequently purchasing. Keep in mind that though these gadgets are trendy right now, their value would virtually be zilch in about ten years or so. If you are looking for a wise investment, the start saving your money and buy land instead.
4.) HAVE YOUR OWN PERSONAL SAVINGS
OFWs tend to send all their hard earned money to their families and leave themselves with enough financial resources to last them till the next paycheck. This puts them in a precarious situation wherein they have left nothing for them to save. Instead of sending a huge fraction of your paycheck back to your family in the Philippines, set aside some for yourself and create a savings system that would encourage you to save.
5.) LEARN WHICH INVESTMENTS YOU SHOULD REALLY PUT YOUR MONEY INTO
If you are looking to invest your money, do not make the novice mistake of pooling it all in in a single asset which more often than not would take a long time to pay off and get returns. Instead, diversify your investments and branch out whether this may be in shares of stock, mutual funds or tangible assets such as purchasing pre-selling condos or house and lots.