Top Frugal Habits I Still Do as an OFW

“Sorry . . . ” That’s what I say like a born and raised person in Canada when what I meant to say is “Excuse me.”

I’m adapting, all right. Occasionally adding “eh” to conversation. Ang eh ay karaniwang ekspresyon sa Canada.

But I’m still me. Mini me. Kahit ang vegan milk hindi na ako napatangkad.

My 5 Frugal Habits I Keep Doing Abroad

I still do what I love to do like blogging and staying committed to my frugal habits that I love to share with you. With these tips you can save and still send remittance to the Philippines.

Maybe we have something in common. Or yours is better. I love to know that in the comment but for now let me share something personal about myself.

1. Getting Used to Used Clothes

Growing up with siblings isn’t bad at all but it would also means that the tradition of handing over used clothes will keep on going. I’ve worn baggy clothes of my brother with hip hop themes and used clothes from Canada.

When I outgrow my brother’s clothes fortunately, my sister’s sense of style is getting impressive, I nicely borrowed her clothes. My tactic of persuading my sister to buy clothes which I’ll likely to wear¬† paved off.

When I moved to Canada, I sent balikbayan boxes with used clothing and shoes. But please don’t send winter clothes or any item that is not appropriate to wear in the Philippine weather and culture. (I remember that too short shorts. Buti kung makalabas ka ng bahay.)

What happens to the winter clothes from my relatives that I cannot send in a balikbayan box from Calgary? Well, I get to wear new used clothes. What I mean is that I have new addition in my closet.

Oh and I get to have branded bags too (Calvin Klein, Gucci etc). A friend also gave me a never been used fossil bag which I gave to my mom or sister. Pag sinuswerte ka nga naman. Sila pala.

2. Commuting like a Pro

I always felt I am paying more for a jeepney fare. Minsan parang kalahati lang ng katawan ko ang nakaupo lalo na kung wala ng masakyan noon sa University Belt.

No matter how many unfortunate incidents I had while commuting in the Philippines, I enjoy riding in the public transportation. (My dream is to try the fairy and PNR.)

So when I moved to Canada, I didn’t understand why I should drive a car when you can go anywhere if you have an adult pass.

Tip: You can declare the bus pass as public transportation expense in filing personal income tax return.

I was able to get by commuting to buy grocery. Minsan gumulong pa yung melon o pakwan ata yun. Excited kasing kumain ng tinapay eh sa loob ng bus.

Then the reality made me realized that I have to drive to get to work so turn that playlist on. And of course, I bought a used car which I sold when I moved to a new place close to work. I am a happy commuter again able to save more without car expenses such as gas, car insurance, and whatnot.

3. Recycling is Caring

Everyone in the house goes to the public market to buy our ulam etc except me. I don’t even know how to tell if a fish is fresh or not. Or who is selling fresh veggies without formalin.

I wasn’t only the first to seat on the dining table in every meal. My contribution in household chores is collecting all sorts of plastic from the market and mall.

When I move to Canada, I have to learn how to do grocery but without fish since I’m a vegetarian. Ang buhay ay makulay dahil sa gulay.

Tip: Watch out for that shiny apple. Use the dull side of the knife to scrape the paring (balat) of the apple then you’ll see the wax which could have been eaten by not thoroughly washing.

I brought the habit of segregating and recycling with me; I was thrilled to see the blue bins for recycleable items. Then came the green bin for compostable waste which means extra work but I don’t mind. It’s fun anyway.

Whatever paper bags or plastic that I cannot put in the balikbayan box or use at home, all end up in the recycle bin.

You can avoid having a lot of plastic by using tote bags in doing the grocery. Your saving the environment and not paying extra for the plastic.

Top Frugal Habits of OFW

Shoes on sale for the balikbayan box.

4. Hunting for Deals

Do you still remember the free toys inside Milo or Ovaltine. (Para akong nanalo ng lotto nun sa saya.)

Not everything is free . . . so why not wait for items to go on sale like jeans. When my sisters and I saved enough money from baon, we would wait for clearance sale to buy PHP 300.00 jeans in Bench. (Ang tagal na nun ah.)

We have grown to become bargain hunters and tech nerds. I would first browse online to buy the cheapest deal for a gadget. If there’s none, I wait for it to go on sale.

Tip: I earn points if I use my credit card (eg. Rogers Mastercard) I used the points to pay the credit card balance or invest it on exchange traded fund (ETF) or mutual fund.

5. Learning for Free

The first thing I look for when I arrived in Canada is not the mall. Guess what. Its the library because I’ve seen in foreign movies or sitcoms that the residents have free access to the library.

That’s how nerd I am. Someday I want to visit the Library of Congress (and live there forever).

Learning should never stop especially if you have access to FREE resources. I can read magazines and even the newspapers in the Philippines (online only) through the Calgary Public Library. Membership is also free.

A perfect day for me is drinking a cup of tea and reading books. But unfortunately, I cannot eat inside the library.

I remember a time when a classmate told me that she used to go to the library during day off. (She was an OFW in Taiwan.) Then she found out how crazy I am with books so she said that I would love the library in Taiwan or overseas. That I’ll have friends for life.

She must have a crystal ball that can see the future because I’m in a cloud 9. Even some of the books of Bob Ong made it here in Canada.

If you will ask me what will I do if I have all the time in the world, I’ll say read while drinking tea, read before going to bed, read while commuting. OK, I’m too annoying already.

Final Thoughts

That’s all the frugal tips that I’ll never stop doing but will improve more like commuting on trains that seems like it is running with locomotive engines. Whatever machine it has, I’m on board as long as I can go from one provinces to another.

I would love to learn strategically. Stop stopping at the middle of an online course then abandon it to pick up another course or a book that is also abandoned a year ago.

(It took me a year to finish Twilight. And I watched the movie five times I think long before the Netflix era. Ang ganda ng bahay ng mga Cullen. Tipid sa kuryente.)

By the way, leave in the comment where you are right now or moving to. Just curious. What about you, what frugal tips that you keep on doing regardless of location? 

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About Pwede Padala Gal

Pwede Padala Gal loves to share tips on how to save in Canada and the Philippines. Someday she'll finally teach her Aspin at least one dog trick and keep a cactus alive. Chat with her on Facebook and reddit.

Reminder: For clarity, don't use shortened words similar to text messages. Let's have a better communication. (And oh, comments will be edited or deleted.)

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