OFW- Baby-Piggy Bank

Earning and Spending Habit Headache

“MY SALARY IS NOT ENOUGH. I only have small salary. I have too many expenses. I have many obligations.  A lot of people are depending on me. Life is too hard. I’m only a poor guy. I come from a poor family.”

The above are few of the many complaints an individual employee has in mind and OFWs are no exemption from these never-ending life’s complaints. Same like our kabayans back home who earn “little” to “enough” money to augment all their needs and expenses back home. They too, feel the pain and console themselves up with their measly salary.

Walang duda, di hamak na mas malaki ang kita natin kaysa kanila, yet, we still complain.  I’m already working abroad and earning good but my salary is still not enough.

OFW - Money-Toilet Paper

Money In The Toilet

I discovered that being honest to oneself is an important factor in determining what causes this problem. Acknowledging that money is one facet in our lives that needs attention and if not taken cared of, it will just go wasted and drained out in the toilet. Instead of taking charge and analyzing what is going wrong and keeping us on the thread of maxed-out credit cards, baon sa utang, baon sa loan, walang ipon, walang investments, said sa gastos, tabla-tabla lang, we just continue this way of earning and spending our hard earned monies.  After many years of working abroad, we realize matanda na tayo.

With our social norms and culture, the subject of money is really not easy to bring it on the table. Safer not to discuss it either with your friends or family because of rejection or they are not interested after all. To add more, ayaw mo din namang masabihan ka na, mukha ka ng pera. So, you keep it to yourself and avoided the subject too.

Come to think of it, you know there is something wrong in this kind of notion. If in the office, it is very fine discussing money matters and finding out ways to improve and to better company’s growth, why not with your own finances and for your own personal growth?

Generally, we think money is all nothing but common sense. For the most of us, it is just earn it spend it principle. To others, it is earn it, spend it and save. To some, it is earn it, spend it and save and then invest. There is a need to know more how our money can work for us and not us working for money all the time.

Try to recall your yesteryears working in the Philippines. You were able to manage a small salary back then. Tightening your belt is okay and you were used to it. It is hard too but somehow, you were able to manage despite the meager salary. But now, after having tasted the luxury of working abroad and the power of green money, you feel discontented and seemed the salary is still not enough for your needs and expenses.

You wonder why and could not find answers. So, you complain.

Ang sabi ng iba, “Hindi naman sa nagko-complain. Mahirap lang talaga ang buhay. Tumaas ang lahat ng gastusin pero sahod ko hindi pa rin. Ang dami na kasing gastusin sa bahay. Maliit lang kasi ang sinasahod ko. Kailangan pa ni bunso ng computer, Si ate nagyayang mag-outing sa Boracay, May bagong iPad ngayon, Ang sarap ng pagkain sa Hyatt, next time sa Fridays naman, May bilin si Kuya 43 daw ang size ng sapatos niya, sabi, NIKE daw maganda. Naku! Enrollment na naman, papasok na sa high school ang prinsesa ko, Si Junior graduation sa Abril, Sa susunod na pasukan may college na. Ano kayang magandang pasalubong sa kanila? Angganda ng 2012 model ng Toyota Fortuner ngayon, maglo-loan ako nito pag-uwi ko.”

OFW - Needs and Wants

Needs vs. Wants. Balancing the Equation.

We may seem nothing wrong with the above. Perhaps, we might need to perform a self-check mechanism to help us distinguish our WANTS from our NEEDS. Before you feel discontented, burned out and embrace the idea that your earnings are not enough, assess yourself first especially when you first hit the green dollar.

You’ll find out that no matter how loaded you are with those self-justifications, there is no doubt, you are still earning big compared to what you were having before in the Philippines. Despite this reality, you continue to compensate your impulses and convince yourself that it is just fine. Your spending habit is louder than your discipline to control your unwarranted buying spree.

You got higher salaries but your spending sky rocketed as well. At first, it feels great and overwhelming because you got more money to use to buy this and to buy that. After a long while, you noticed, you are starting to be broke again despite the new income. Unfortunately, the cycle keeps going month after month.

Many are simply saying, “Okay lang iyan. May sahod pa naman sa susunod na buwan.”

So, this cycle continue until such time, naka-ten years ka na pala abroad. Some 15 years na. Marami rin ang umabot na ng 20 years or even 30 years of working abroad. Yet, most of them, pag tinanong mo, they will just shrug their shoulders off and say, Wala eh… Kailangan pang bumalik at magtrabaho ulit abroad. Mahirap ang buhay sa Pinas.”

 We work like a dog and live like a king. One day, the king is no more a king but an exhausted old man and forced to retire. This is the worst thing that could ever happen to us. Gustuhin man nating magtrabaho pa, hindi na kaya ng pagal na katawan. We are not prepared when that time happens.

It is a given fact. Just look around and see our fellow kabayans. Tumanda na tayo pero nasa malayo pa rin. Lumaki ang mga anak natin na di nasisilayan ang kanilang pag-usbong sa mundong ibabaw. Ngayon, nangangapa tayo sa isa’t isa. Again, we justify the situation and simply say, “Okay lang iyon. Kaya nga ako lumayo at nagpakahirap magtrabaho abroad kasi para sa kanila talaga ito… Para sa kinabukasan nila. May-awa ang Diyos, makakaraos din.”

There is nothing wrong with this. It’s a noble dream that every family man must have. However, on our way through this OFW journey, we somehow have forgotten that our main goal is a secured future for our family. Our exorbitant spending and buying spree kept that goal on the side.

THINK AGAIN. Having a small salary might not be the problem after all. It might be our perspective with regards to money. The way we think, use and handle the money we earn are pivotal consideration. Our lack of understanding on the matter is what makes us trapped in the hole we are in today, month after month, year after year.

Also, earning big is not only the solution to our financial problems.

Have you said these lines to yourself as well? “Kung mai-increase-an lang sana ako. Solve na! Okay na! Kung sasahod lang ako ng ganito kalaki. Ayos na!”

Now that you earn big, it is still the same scenario.

It’s a plus factor if you are earning big but there is no guarantee of success.

Live a simple life. However, keep your family & social life balanced.

Work hard, earn high and earn even more. Keep your expenses low. Be prudent and live a frugal life. In due time, you will say no more, “My salary is not enough.”

Thanks for reading and Gob bless. 🙂