The Art of Accumulating Pasalubong

Every Overseas Filipino know the importance of stocking pasalubongs for loved ones in the Philippines. Some even send balikbayan boxes regularly. You probably see many balikbayans at NAIA with lots and lots of baggage and boxes, especially during the Christmas season.

Pinoys who have spent many years in the USA have probably come up with their system of buying and accumulating pasalubongs. But for newcomers, it may be a bit overwhelming. Here are a few tips on the art of accumulating pasalubong.

How to Apply for an Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN)

After my first year of working in the United States, I had to file my income tax return. I had my Social Security Number, our HR Department withheld my tax every payday. All I had to do was to file my income tax. I decided to do it online through TurboTax. It was easy–all I had to do was upload my form W-2, which our HR provided.

There was a catch, though. I was taxed as a single person because I could not claim my wife and my son as my dependents. They did not have Social Security numbers and they couldn’t get it either. They are considered as dependents of a non-immigration alien. What that meant is that my wife cannot work at all.

I, on the other hand, was being treated as a resident-for-tax purposes.

Good thing, I got in touch with a few Filipinos who had been in the same situation as we were. They told us to explore the possibility of getting an ITIN for my wife and son. That’s exactly what we did in November 2016.

If you have family members who are dependents, but you want to claim them as dependents in your tax returns, then this information may help you.

How to Save Money on Your Child’s Haircut

When I was a small boy, my father cut my hair. I know that I looked pretty good as a kid. But I don’t really remember what my haircuts then were like. As I progressed through my elementary years and my father got busier, I started going to a barber. I usually got a “flat top” or a “barber’s cut.”

When I felt like I had haircut problems in America, I started looking for the right barber. At about the same time, my wife and I decided that I could cut our son’s hair in the comforts of our home. That’s important tip for y’all out there. Always consult your wife in all important matters such as your child’s hair!

The Best Ways to Send Money to the Philippines: Transferwise

Like any good Overseas Filipino, I need a fast and reliable way to send money to the Philippines. For the past three years, the main way for me to send money to the Philippines is Xoom.com. But I have found that Transferwise has a better exchange rate and it is also easy to use.

The best ways to send money to the Philippines from the USA: Xoom

Filipinos abroad need to know the best ways to send money to the Philippines. Same is true for Filipinos in the USA. We continue supporting our parents, siblings, and other family members in the Philippines.

The US dollars we earn can go a long way in the Philippines. A hundred US dollars can be converted anywhere between PhP 4,500 to 5,300. That would be helpful for a family in the Philippines.

That is why remittance services are important in America. You want fast and less expensive service. We live in Tennessee where there are fewer Filipinos. That is why we don’t have a lot of Filipino-oriented services compared to cities in California and Illinois.

Teaching Tagalog language to our son

Even before traveling to the USA, we started teaching and talking to our 1-year old son in English. We thought that doing so will help him adjust more easily to life in America. So by the time he was two, he can converse well in English, but he could also understand Tagalog.

We totally underestimated his ability to pick up languages and his capacity to adjust to life in the USA.

Tips When Driving on the Freeway or Interstate Highways in the USA

If you’re scared of the interstate, you will end up driving in the backroads where the maximum speed is between 25-45 miles per hour (mph), depending on where those streets are. If you go to the interstate, the minimum is 45 mph and the speed limit is usually 70 mph. Although I’ve found that in some interstate highways, cars can speed up to 80mph. One time, I had to drive from Nashville to Atlanta to apply for a Schengen visa. It was a 4-hour drive but man, all those cars were just zooming past me though I was driving at 72mph.

Here are some tips when driving on the freeway or interstate highways.

How to Lower Your Comcast Xfinity Cable & Internet Rate

When we first arrived in the USA, we applied for Comcast Xfinity cable and internet package. We paid $66 per month initially. But after the initial 12 months promotional period, we ended up paying $111 per month! Too expensive! So when our 2-year contract was up, I called them up and managed to bring down our monthly rate to $48.66

Here’s a trick to lower your Comcast Xfinity cable and internet monthly rate.

Dental Care is So Expensive in America!

in America, it’s very difficult if you don’t have one. The cost of healthcare without any insurance could be so high that you may end up paying thousands of dollars!

Our 4-year old son started complaining about his teeth. So we went to a dentist for a consultation. His dentist recommended that they put a crown on 6 molars – 2 on each side on the lower set of his teeth; and 2 on the upper right molars.

Dental services are so very expensive in the USA. The 1,300 dollars we spent could have been worth one ticket going back to the Philippines where dental services are way cheaper.