How an OFW can Save Money

by Gily Tenorio on June 26, 2012

in OFW


One dilemma that many OFW are facing aside from homesickness is the lack of saved money when they return to the Philippines. Most of them are not prepared going back due to the unexpected circumstances like job termination, sickness or war in the country they are working.

I know majority of OFW don’t have a high income of more than P50,000 per month and many are working as construction workers, domestic helpers and factory workers that earn meager income. I have realized that their life stories and sacrifices are worth sharing especially those people who live a good life even there are many hardships.

Just what I am saying in my other posts before, I’m publishing this kind of article as my way to help my fellow OFW on the things they should more focus on. I know that it is very hard to work and live abroad and many OFW are spending very minimal money so they can send money to their loved ones back in the Philippines.

This scenario is not bad since it is out of love that’s why they are doing that. However, as an OFW you should also learn how to save little by little even starting with a small amount of money. In this article, I would like to give some tips on how an OFW can save money in simple and practical ways.

1. Include financial education or literacy in POEA’s PDOS

This tip is solely the task of the government. I believe it will be a great help when financial literacy is included in Pre-Departure Orientation Seminar (PDOS) for OFW. I’m noticing many banks are very interested and eagerly offering their products to OFW that’s why several banks are now operating inside the POEA building.

Imagine if these banks can offer their products, why not use them to conduct seminars on basic banking and financial education for OFW. In addition, I think there are many people who are qualified as a speaker since there are many financial planners, bankers and even finance blogger in the country right now. I am available as a speaker if this thing will push through by POEA, hehe.

Financial education is very important for OFW and I’m one of those people who greatly benefit from learning financial literacy. However, I didn’t learn it before leaving the Philippines, I have learned personal finance when I was already working here in South Korea.

If POEA can offer financial education seminar, it will be a great program for OFW since many of them were not able to learn how to handle money properly, how to save and invest money and so on.

2. Apply for an automatic savings account

An automatic savings account is a special type of account linked to your bank account. If you are regularly sending money to your family in the Philippines, I assume you already have your own bank account.

Not all Philippine banks have this kind of service. I don’t know other banks if they have but BPI has this kind of facility where you can save money in auto-mode.

Obviously, you should have a BPI account before you can apply for an automatic savings account. First, you need to enroll for BPI express online. Once, you got your username and password, you can use BPI express online for applying automatic savings account which is called BPI Direct Save-Up.

If you want to learn more on how to apply for BPI Direct Save-Up, you can go to this post that I published several months ago. There you can get basic information on the application process.

The important thing here is that your BPI Direct Save-Up should be linked to the account where you remit the money. You can schedule the date of transfer of money from your bank account to your automatic savings account. You can also choose the frequency and the exact date.

how ofw can save

3. You can start small

Saving money doesn’t need to be big at the beginning especially if your income is not that high. You can start small, maybe P100 per month or depending on your salary. If you have a high salary, you can save higher amount maybe a thousand pesos per month.

As the months or years passed by, you will notice that you have developed the habit of saving. It will become normal to you to save even in small amount or even the coins you have.

Actually, we have many piggy banks in our house but all of it are owned by my son. Occasionally, I’m putting some left over coins to his piggy and it’s fun to see that the coins are getting many each passing day. Remember, start saving little by little.

4. Don’t send to your family all the money you have

Maybe some of you may disagree to this but it is for your own protection. I know many OFW are sending money to their family way back home to the point that very little are left to them.

It is good to help but there’s should be always a limit. I suggest you could send 80% of your salary to your wife and the remaining money you can leave to your self or depending on what you have agreed with your spouse.

If you will send all the money you have to your spouse and kids, you will have a very small chance to save money. You can ask your spouse to budget the money properly or you can tell her to send their monthly expenses so you can have an idea how much money they really need. From there, you can decide how much you will send to them.

For single (not married) OFW, I think you have bigger chance of saving money because there’s no one or few people are relying on you unless you are the breadwinner. You can try to save by opening a BPI Direct Save-up so it will be automatic every month.

5. Spend less than what you earn

You cannot save money if you are spending more than what you earn. Many OFW are becoming one-day millionaire because maybe it’s their first time to earn that big amount.

It is not bad, of course, to enjoy what you have labor but there should be a limit because you don’t know what will happen tomorrow. You see, working abroad, may not be permanent, all things you’re doing are just temporary.

With this in mind, it is better to prepare for something that might happen in the future like job termination or sickness that can stop you from working. Yo don’t know how long can you stay in the company you’re working right now so it is wise to assume that you can be terminated anytime and then you should prepare for that event.

Only people who spend less than what their earn are capable of saving money. They have very minimal or no debt at all since they do not buy things they cannot afford. They are not a show off people. It is not what they have that makes them happy and fulfilled in life.

Wrapping Up

Saving money may be difficult for most OFW because of the mentality of having low salary. However, if you are really decided to save and willing to take actions, it can be not difficult at all.

You can follow the tips I mentioned here to help you start saving money little by little. It is a good habit that every OFW should learn because working abroad is not permanent.

A time will come that you need to go back to the Philippines or perhaps due to unforeseen circumstances. It is better to have money that you can use when returning home.

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About the Author:

GilGil Tenorio is a blogger, a husband, a father, and an active Christian. He likes playing guitar, C.S. Lewis, Plants and Zombies and NBA. Follow him at Facebook, Google+, YouTube and Twitter. Thanks!


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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

PhilSmile June 24, 2014 at 06:22

PhilSmile provides education prepayment to Filipinos Overseas. Makapagpatapos. Show your love. Save for education.
PhilSmile provides education prepayment to Filipinos Overseas. Makapagpatapos. Show your love. Save for education.

Makapagpatapos sa madaling paraan at magaan sa bulsa.

PhilSmile provides them an easy-to-use solution to set aside a small proportion of their hard-earned money for education.

This enables senders to know where their money goes, to bridge the gap and build better communication with their family. And by planning ahead, senders can keep themselves out of debt trap and loan sharks, such a common solution for the unbanked and short term migrants.

Know more about PhilSmile click on our link:


Junelsa Philippe July 1, 2012 at 22:53

Hi Gil, thanks for this post, I’ve seen also a lot of OFWs that have the biggest difficulties to manage their personal finances, hope this will help them.


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