April 9, 2016

As an OFW, I always look forward to vacations not only because of the short relaxing break from my monotonous work but also because I can go back home again to be reunited with my family and friends.

The fact is, starting from the first week of going back to work, I start counting the weeks, then days before the next vacation. I’m sure I’m not alone on this. I’m sure you are also very eager of your nearing “bakasyon”.

But, most of the time, while we are excited to go home for a short visit, back on our mind, we are also worried and a little bit hesitant because there is this voice saying “ANG MAHAL UMUWI SA PINAS”.

You start imagining your friends and relatives and neighbors queuing for their pasalubong. You start thinking about parties to be thrown, trips with family and friends to the beach or somewhere, eat outs, daily groceries, etc. Then you’ll suddenly say, “Hwag na lng kaya”.

But, you don’t have to be too hard on yourself about this. You can go home and still do the fun you do with your family and friends, stress free, by preparing a FUN fun moneyMONEY and maybe cutting down a little bit on your planned activities during your vacation.

What is FUN MONEY?

This is the amount you set aside from your monthly salary that is specifically allotted for your FUN vacation. The amount of money you saved for your recreation by the time you visit home.

 Why OFWs NEED TO HAVE fun money

1. To avoid bad debts

no debtVioly works abroad and goes home regularly to visit her mom and the whole family. Of course, to meet her friends, too. She is always excited to go home. But the thing is, she used to go home without setting aside her FUN MONEY.

So, because Violy has no fun money, she used to spend her money that is allotted for other things until her money runs dry. Then, Violy will run to her insurance agent and file a loan to finance her gallivanting with her friends, and other expenses at home. Then after 4 to 5 weeks of vacation, Violy goes back abroad, broke and with a bad debt.

It took Violy years to realize that she needs to have FUN MONEY set aside before going home, and for the past 2 years, that’s what she has been doing and she’s happy to see good results.

2. To avoid selling or pawning stuff

sellLet’s take a look at Cely’s (not her real name) unfortunate story. She also used to work abroad. Like Violy, she used to feel excited everytime she gets a long vacation to go home.

And because she has been away for a very long time, she sees to it that she makes everybody happy to make up for the time she missed.

And again, as usual, it’s not hard to use up money. So, once Cely spent all her money, she used to run to some friends or neighbors and sell her stuffs like smart phone, laptop, camera in a very cheap price. Sometimes, if no one wants to buy her gadgets because they also don’t have money, she used to run to the pawnshop to pawn them until she won’t be able to claim them back.

And so, Cely used to go back to work abroad, flat broke and has to start all over again to buy things. Cely did this all the time when she was working abroad until she went back home for good. And so now, when you ask her where her gadgets and other stuffs are, she’ll answer, “it’s all over town.”

3. To have a peace of mind
PeaceOfMindPeter (not his real name), another OFW, shares his story about preparing a FUN MONEY which Violy finally imitated 2 years ago.

Before Peter goes home, he sees to it that he is segregating money from his monthly salary for his bonding moments with his family and friends when he goes home.

Then by the time he’s in the Philippines for vacation, he also sticks to his budget. He plans activities that suit his FUN MONEY. By doing this, Peter said, he can go home with a peace of mind because he does not need to worry of disappointing his love ones by not treating them in simple dinners or outings.

He also does not need to borrow or sell things to make ends meet. He said, he can also finish his planned projects like house renovation because he does not need to use his allotted money for it to have fun.

Peter’s example is an inspiration to me and to us all.

Don’t be afraid and don’t be worried of the expenses of going home. Yes, “magastos umuwi sa Pinas”, but make going home more fun by having a FUN MONEY.


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