As we have emphasized in our previous blog posts, working as a domestic helper overseas is not easy to do, especially if it’s your first time working in another country such as Hong Kong.
Although it may require a lot of hard work and sacrifice on your part, there will be benefits if you do well, just like with any kind of job. One of the benefits is to earn higher than those who work back home in the Philippines. Another is to develop a better work relationship with your employer(s). And finally, the ability to provide for yourself, family, as well as to save up for your future. However, despite earning more than your peers back home, some OFWs still find it hard to save some of their hard-earned money abroad. Why is this happening? Continue reading below to gain more insight and helpful tips on how you can better manage your finances.
Disclaimer: The information published is based on the experience shared by the vlogger/YouTuber. The information provided may change without prior notice and may differ in actual scenarios. Let this article serve as a guide only.
Here is the video guide shared by a Filipina domestic helper in Hong Kong, Daisy, a.k.a. Maid Vlogger on YouTube. If you find her tips helpful, you may check out her YouTube channel to catch more interesting content about her work and life as an OFW in Hong Kong.
[Video] Money-Saving Tips for Domestic Helpers in Hong Kong
There are many adjustments you need to make when you start working overseas. Aside from adapting to your new work environment as well as the culture of your host country and employers, you will also need to adjust to the lifestyle and cost of living in your country of residence.
Hong Kong is known to be one of the biggest shopping and tourist destinations in the region, and for this reason, you can expect a lot of great products you can only find here. This becomes one of the main reasons why OFWs find it hard to save up their earnings – they easily get tempted to buy things that catch their attention.
Here are some helpful tips on how you can better manage your finance and attitude towards spending:
Tip #1: Only buy what you need.
This advice is already a cliche but it’s a truth to remind you to prioritize your needs over your wants. By keeping this mindset, you will narrow down your focus on your priorities which is to save up for your family back home and to sustain yourself as you work in Hong Kong.
Tip #2: Don’t believe in love at first sight.
This means that not all that catches your attention is worth having. For those who easily get attracted to pretty (or cute) things, be careful not to fall in the trap of getting things that you don’t need. See tip #1.
Tip #3: Learn to check and compare prices.
If it’s a matter of life and death, then it’s alright to get the first thing that you see. Otherwise, it’s smart to check and compare prices from various stores. Though it may take some time, you can score better deals if you check around first. This will also be your reference when you need to get the same item in the future and to get more value for less the cost.
Tip #4: Learn to unsubscribe.
Social media paints an unrealistic image of someone else’s life, and only shows the highlight reel of their lives. If you’re tempted to watch influencers and personalities who, more often than not, promote something for their followers to buy, then it’s probably good practice for you to unsubscribe from these tempting invitations.
Tip #5: Learn to DIY (do it yourself)!
A good way to cut on some of your expenses, especially when you’re abroad, is to do things yourself. Nowadays, we’re all lucky to have easy access to the internet, and that means unlimited access to free tutorials and “hacks” on how you can be more productive in your own, and in this manner, cut down on your expenses.
If you want to get something done (as in a haircut or other services) for less the price or free – if you’re lucky! then you can also approach your friends to help you with a small(er) price. Sometimes, your connections can take you a long way.
Also, another practical tip is to bring your food and drink “baon” during your days off to save money for what you would normally spend outside. And of course, walking is considered a healthy form of exercise as well as a good way to cut on your expenses from transportation.
Tip #6: Learn to convert.
One of the biggest traps OFWs fall for abroad is the fact that prices, though cheap in your area, will still cost more if you convert it to peso. Failure to recognize or disregard this is a conscious way of mismanaging your expenses according to Daisy. So, though it will require some computation skills on your part, computing for the converted price of your purchases will help you realize how much you are spending on things that you buy.
Tip #7: Keep track of your finances.
What this means is to simply keep a record of your expenses – or simple accounting, also known as cash balancing. By keeping a record of your earning and expenses, you will become more conscious of how your cash flows in and out of your funds. If you realize that there is an imbalance – as in more cash goes out than comes in, then it’s time to reevaluate what you have been doing with your money and where you are spending it.
Tip #8: De-clutter and organize your things.
As a domestic helper, it’s easy to fall in the cycle of spending more time at work than taking care of yourself, which includes keeping your things organized and always in check. Failure to do this will result to overlooking what you already have and thinking that you might need to get something, when in fact, you already have it.
According to Daisy, it’s great to have some background on financial literacy, but this is not a requirement for you to start doing your part in properly handling your finances.
“Most of the time, you just need to be aware of your spending habits and behaviors, especially when you go outside.”
But don’t get us wrong, it’s okay to treat yourself out every once in a while, but if you can choose to spend your money on something more beneficial to you and your family in the long run (i.e. investing on business or saving up), then why not do it?
These are just some of the simple things you can start doing to help yourself manage your finances better and better control of how you spend your hard-earned money.
Did we miss anything? Do you have other tips that you think would help other OFWs better manage their finances and save up more effectively? Let us know by leaving a comment in the section below!