Three Alternatives to Balikbayan Boxes for OFWs

Bea Bongat
alternatives to balikbayan boxes

400,000 balikbayan boxes are being sent to the Philippines every month. Just last year, the value of the contents inside these boxes totaled Php 2.28 trillion ($48 billion) with each box being filled to the brim with bags of candy, a selection of make-up and food items, clothes, and many more. Sending these boxes is one way of providing for your family members back home aside from the usual remitting.

However, depending on balikbayan boxes can pose a number of issues as well. For one, it can take multiple months before the box arrives in your residence. Second, there have been numerous reports of people receiving the boxes with multiple items missing. Third, balikbayan boxes are subject to random inspections and will be opened instead of scanning them through x-ray machines.

The above issues, along with the tax-exempt limit of Php 23,300 ($500) per box, which isn’t much, make it difficult for Filipinos to maximize their padalas. They’re forced to limit what they can send to their families and are, in addition, subjected to taxes.

There is no denying balikbayan boxes are here to stay. It is one of the best ways to send bulk items overseas despite the long wait and certain risks. If you want to save money on fees and grow your net worth, Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) can use the options below:

Cash is king

Remittances are much faster and safer than balikbayan boxes. Within minutes, the money remitted will be reflected on the debit account as compared to balikbayan boxes which can take months to arrive. Numerous reports show how companies promise a one month delivery period only for the boxes to arrive months after.

Andrew, a MoneyMax.ph newsletter subscriber, recounts a time when he was waiting for a balikbayan box from his OFW parent. He received the package a month late with the delivery man apologizing to him. They had shipped the box to Mindoro instead of Metro Manila because the last name of the recipient was prominent in said province even if the address written on the box was for Metro Manila. From Mindoro, they had to deliver the box back to Metro Manila.

You can avoid this by sending cash directly. Provide some examples of reliable remittances here

Investments for your dependents

If you ask people which they prefer, an Apple computer or Apple stocks, they’re more likely to answer the former. Aside from the risk of theft for putting a computer inside the balikbayan box, tangible items such as home appliances and computers decrease in market value as they age. What they don’t realize is that stocks, when picked properly, appreciate over time.

Instead of sending international goods, why not open an investment account while abroad and buy stocks of and bonds from companies whose products you are buying? Your child may not appreciate it at first, but he’ll be thankful when you’re funding his college tuition with those investments.

The strength of a business

The common concern that arises when there is an OFW in the family is that his family members, both immediate and extended, become dependent on him. A number of OFW dependents tend to sit by and wait and for the next remittance or balikbayan box to be delivered. If you want to provide for your family, the best way is give them the opportunity to earn and learn at the same time. Start a business with your family members, be it a franchise or your own idea, and give them the responsibility of growing it and turning a profit. You’ll not only be able to provide for them, but you’ll open up opportunities as well.

Providing for the family

Balikbayan boxes are a good way to way show your family members that you care, aside from the daily Skype or Facebook calls. However, it’s important to keep in mind that most, if not all, tangible goods devaluate in value through the years, and most of the goods sent via balikbayan boxes can be bought in the Philippines (although for a steeper price). Try limiting the frequency of sending out balikbayan boxes. Also, save and grow your money instead through remittances, investments, and business opportunities.

The post Three Alternatives to Balikbayan Boxes for OFWs appeared first on MoneyMax.ph.