This morning, before school, Brigg (my 8yr old) comes to my wife with her phone in his hand and says “You need to buy me this.”

Ummmmm…I’m pretty sure that’s not how it works!

In the end, he was on Amazon and wanted us to buy him a book.
Ok, yes. I’ll buy it.  I always buy books. 

I’m not sure how this is in the UK, Canada or Australia. But in the US, if I want to buy something, it’s never a question of whether or not I can get it or it’s cheaper somewhere else.

Like, I want a new iPhone. I just buy a new iPhone. And I’m pretty dang confident I’m not going to find it cheaper somewhere else. It’s super easy. 

But in the Philippines, this is not the case. 

People often want to know how to buy their OFS a laptop. Or how to buy them some other equipment. Maybe an air conditioner or headphones. It hasn’t always been very easy.

So, in the past, I have bought things in the US and shipped them. Which is super sketchy. You can’t send it postal (which is by far the cheapest), you have to ship DHL. Shipping a laptop was like $250.
I’ve bought things in the US and sent it home with a relative, who was in the US, who was going back soon. 

One of the reasons I did this was because in the past, it wasn’t always easy for someone to buy a laptop or a MacBook Air in the Philippines. It’s still, today, more expensive in the Philippines than in is in the US. A lot of consumer electronics are more expensive in the Philippines even though wages are lower. This is due to import taxes.

For example, a MacBook Air in the USA costs $999. 
In the Philippines it’s 54,990php which is about $1082.

So how do you send stuff to your people in the Philippines? Well, it turns out, with shipping, with how difficult it is, it’s still just easier and cheaper to have them buy it on their own. 

Most places where they can buy electronics now are offering installment plans. It used to be really difficult. If you didn’t have cash to go into the store, you had to have a credit card. Most people don’t have credit cards. Without a credit card you couldn’t buy stuff online, so they were forced to go into a store and deal with whatever inventory there was. 

That is changing now. Most people can buy things online. They have installment plans. They have ways to make payments. So, your OFS can go buy things on their own. And if you want to pay for it, that’s great. Have them show you the receipts and send them the money as a reimbursement.

At least, that’s what we do.