My full-time VA Jomvie who comes from Mindanao discloses his cost of living in the Philippines. Learn from his overview how much you need to invest to make sure you cover your VAs costs with your salary.
This way, your VA can devote all their energy to your success without distraction.
Over to my VA Jomvie…
Working online has its pros and cons
“Wow, don’t have online workers great benefits?”
And I am just, like,
“How did you get that kind of idea…?”
- Do you know that not all those who are working online are fairly compensated?
- And that their basic needs and expenses are overshadowing what they are getting monthly?
I will give you a breakdown of my expenses as an example. First, let’s know that are these basic needs:
Cost for Food
Basically, we need to eat three times a day (full meal): breakfast, lunch and dinner.
And let’s not forget our snacks that come in between our full meals 😀 But, as for me, I do weekly groceries and I already have everything listed down. So, for my weekly allowance for my meals in a week, I have a budget of Php 1,500 or $36 in a week.
In other words, I am just a normal and regular worker, only that I sit in front of the computer all day long.
- power supply,
- an internet connection,
- and others, like phone and water.
But let’s focus on the internet and light bill.
Since I started working full time as an online provider, my light bill dramatically increased from Php 600 to Php 1,000+ monthly ($14 to $27 per month).
Let’s move on to my monthly internet fee that costs Php 1,300 or $31. And other monthly expenses such as water bill (Php 150/$4) and phone bill (Php 500/$12).
So, yeah, I am just another regular employee with a lot of monthly obligations – only that I don’t go out and travel everyday to work.
Some Filipino VAs live with their family and can economize this expense.
However, you cannot calculate that they can do this forever, e.g. if they have their own family plans.
Since I live separately from my parents, I live in an apartment that costs Php 5,000 monthly or $119 a month.
Now, I will break down all these expenses in dollars, since I get my salary in dollars:
|Basic Needs||Monthly Costs||Total Monthly Expenses|
|Food||– Weekly $36 x 4||$144|
|Bills||– Light: $27
– Internet: $31
– Water: $4
– Phone: $12
|Room||– Rental Fee||$119|
This is the actual breakdown of figures for my personal monthly expenses. And take note that healthcare benefits are not yet included in my monthly expenses and from working online.
So, can you still say that online providers are more blessed than offline workers when there’s not much difference between you as a regular employee and me as an online provider?
Holidays are excluded
Online providers are not fairly compensated and often we don’t get the benefits from a regular employee.
Some employers will not allow their employees to go on Philippine Holidays and their work is not even paid in double during the regular holidays.
A regular employee gets:
- Basic pay,
- Health benefits,
- Sick leaves,
- Vacation Leave,
- Holiday Double Pay or Paid Holidays and
- The most awaited 13th month pay and yearly bonuses.
Whereas online providers:
- Don’t always get double pay on holidays or are allowed to not work on holidays,
- Some employers don’t approve of paid leave,
- No health care benefits and bonuses.
I was fortunate with my previous employer: although I don’t have this health care benefit from him, the least he did is he approved of Philippine paid holidays and 13th month bonus.
Just like what I’ve said, it depends on your employer if he/she respects your perks and benefits as a regular online employee.
If they can’t give what is necessary for you, at least they could
- raise your salary or
- just give that 13th month pay and holidays.
Some employers give these two as an option or either of them. Unfortunately some don’t.
Why do I work online if I don’t get the benefit of a regular employee?
A regular employee’s basic pay amounts from Php 12,000 to 15,000 ($286 to $357) monthly, plus health care benefits and other perks.
As you can see on the above chart, my monthly expenses are $337. If I have a monthly salary of $357 in an offline “real job”, how much do I have in my pocket now…?
Also, if I work as a regular employee, I need to travel everyday and that will generate additional costs.
From my monthly expenses:
- $337 + budget fare in a week x 4 ($12 x 4) = $48 + $337 =$385
|Regular employee expenses||Monthly expenses|
|Food, Bills, Rental Fee||$48|
At the very least, as a worker online, I
- get to spare a little from my monthly salary (and my time) from not traveling everyday
- will not be one of those employees doing the hustle and bustle every morning.
- get to spare other expenses in my workplace like lunch and snacks.
So, if I have to choose what is more practical, I’ll work online. Maybe in time, I’ll find my luck in this career path.