How to save money tips for OFWs

Investing for self improvement

Investing for self improvement
With my colleagues during one of our branch gathering.
“There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.” ― Ernest Hemingway

For three years as an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) working as a stock clerk in Kuwait in 2006, I received a meager salary. Just enough for me and my family’s basic needs. No savings. No funds allotted in case of emergency. In other words, “Isang kahig, isang tuka”.

Each year prices moves up. Salary the same.

I wanted to earn more. I wanted to increase my earnings.

But how to do it?

What came in my mind at that time was of course to look for a new job, which has more salary.

But what kind of job?

At that time, I have 10 years of experience in organizing stuff in a warehouse.  No other experience. Most likely, if I will look for a new job, I would land the same job with the same salary range. Then what’s the use?  But then, I still tried to look for another job. The job I like. An office job.

A former Sultan Center colleague and a close friend worked in one of the biggest Oil and Gas Company in Kuwait. He gave me tip about a secretarial vacancy there, and I applied. They called me for an interview.

Apart from the interview, which I believed I passed, they also gave me a practical test on excel.  I found it too difficult at that time because I’m computer illiterate. The last time I touched a computer was in college. During the time of DOS, Wordstar and Lotus 123. What the hell is excel? In short I failed. The opportunity burned right before my eyes. I struggled to do basic formatting in excel. It will take me a lifetime to finish. I’m disappointed. But I learned something.

The need to become superior to your former self.

I need to improve my self. I need to invest for my betterment.

We need to upgrade ourselves. Not just upgrading or mobile phones, gadgets, to the latest model.

At that time, I don’t have internet connection. I need to pay per hour at internet shops to access Google. I find it too difficult. In an internet shop, nobody will guide you. As I told you, I’m computer illiterate at that time.

I searched for a tutor and came across International Institute of Computer Science & Administration (ICSA) in 2009. They offered short courses in computer applications. I enrolled and took a 2-month basic office secretarial course. The course covered basic MS office application for KD 40. I cough out that amount from my KD 85 salary. It was tough. But that was a sacrifice and decision that changed my life and career forever.

When I finished the course I felt confident in applying for the job I wanted. I was given the second chance in the same company. I’ve got the opportunity to re-apply. They gave me an exam. An interactive MS office application. This time, I am confident that I will pass, because I know that I have acquired the knowledge to do it. I’m equipped this time. In short I finish the exam ahead of time and almost got perfect. I was hired in 2010 as secretary in Human Resources Department in one of the biggest Oil and Gad firm in Kuwait.

Picture (2)I’ve got my dream job and a salary more than enough for my me and family’s basic needs.

Accumulating wealth should start from investing for yourself. You came in this world naked. If you are not able to finish college — with your present circumstance try to do something out of nothing. If you have internet access try online studies. The key is to continue learning and acquiring new skills. Acquiring knowledge is not confined in the four corners of a classroom.

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