8 Things Balikbayan OFWs Should Do To Save Money This Christmas5 min read
Many OFWs returning home during the holidays find themselves going overbudget in their excitement to give families and friends a memorable celebration. Because of this, it’s important that they know the following OFW money saving tips.
Personal finance is a subject that many people are interested in, but many more remain clueless about. And sadly, this is true even to the most hardworking OFWs.
While some Filipinos who leave the security of their home country to explore opportunities abroad do end up expanding their finances and life experiences, many OFWs seeking business opportunities at home end up going over their budgets and spending way too much — especially over the holiday season.
Coming home this Christmas offers our modern-day heroes the perfect opportunity to return with a purpose. That is, to be with their loved ones and put their money in the right place.
To make sure that your holidays will be as worthwhile as possible, here are some money saving tips for OFWs on vacation.
1. Set a budget before going home
Like most things in life, it is always best to come prepared. To ensure that you won’t be stripped naked off your finances when you come home this holiday season, it would be best if you could make your expense calculations months ahead of your scheduled return.
Consider the cost of a lot of things especially these essentials, put it on a checklist, and know what should be on your budget or not:
- Budget for leisure
- Christmas shopping budget
- Investment fund
- Monthly utility bills
- Roundtrip plane ticket
The holiday season is synonymous to eating out, shopping, Noche Buena, exchange gifts, travel, reunions, and even investing. You might get tempted to spend out of hand. Budget allocation allows you to have full control of your cash flow.
2. Have an itinerary
Rather than just suddenly planning your trips when you come home for the holidays, consider having an itinerary.
Think of it as a map that could lead you to a more financially secured holiday. Having a fixed schedule will give you a more valid reason to decline unimportant events and parties, thus, giving you more time to finish everything that you need to do and help you avoid unnecessary expenses.
3. Be firm and learn to say no.
Many families expect gifts of sorts to make up for the times apart. Naturally, you would feel obliged to meet their demands. However, this can compromise your financial security and might even affect them too. Instead, explain the need to budget and let them choose one gift for a certain amount that you have set.
Politely tell them that you’re following a budget and explain that you’re setting aside your money for savings and investments.
4. Put the immediate family first
Giving pasalubong is a time-honored tradition and an expression of love in Filipino culture, especially during the holidays.
Aside from your nanay and tatay’s requests, it is also typical for friends and extended relatives to ask for and expect pasalubong. The usual scenario is that you end up having no choice but to buy for them even though they weren’t really part of the initial budget.
To keep things from getting out of control, put your immediate family members first on the list both for pasalubong and their needs. Then, if there is an extra budget, buy gifts for friends and other relatives.
Learn to put your foot down and politely decline if they nudge you for cash or gifts. Tell them that your money is already deposited in savings, insurance, or in wise investments.
5. Hold one celebration
To cut the time and the money you need to spend from going to different parties and visiting friends and relatives, set up one big occasion which you can invite everyone over to instead. Plan the party together and consider doing a potluck-type of celebration to divide party expenses accordingly.
While rekindling bonds is fun and something to look forward to, remember that you have a limited stay and a limited budget too. Go for quality, not quantity.
6. Learn something new
Instead of splurging on having just a vacation when you come home, why not make it a trip where you can learn new things especially when it comes to businesses? While you’re in the Philippines, maximize your time by looking for new money-making opportunities.
You can start by attending financial seminars or taking business courses which is widely available everywhere in the internet. You can also enroll to some online courses which you can do even at the bounds of your own homes.
Start this journey by researching online and discover which of those can be applicable to your interest, the length of your stay, and your budget.
7. Mind all your local accounts
Take the opportunity to update and manage your financial accounts in the country before heading back overseas to avoid penalties for non-activity or missed fees. This is also the perfect time to discuss with the family any updates on joint accounts, investment accounts, incurred balance on loans, and insurance policies.
Christmas is about coming together, right? What better way to celebrate the occasion than spending time with your loved ones tackling your finances over food and a couple of drinks?
8. Think for the long term
We’d often hear the funny yet apt line, “Walang forever.” And that is true for OFW jobs, too. There are some OFWs who are not tenured, or are only signed under contractual jobs. Thus, realistically speaking, there is a constant threat of layoffs for people working abroad.
Though everyone deserves a taste of their hard-earned money, it is important to fortify one’s financial security even if that requires a little sacrifice. It is through investments that you can put more value in your hard-earned money. Investments will allow you to have a secure fund for the future. It is best to prioritize putting your funds in the following:
- A fund to use to put up a business
- Educational plans
- Insurance for family members
- Investing in mutual funds
- Investing in stocks and bonds