5 Essential Tips on How to Save Money as an Expat

5 Essential Tips on How to Save Money as an Expat

With laptops in tow, scores of millennials now have the flair of not just traveling abroad for a short vacation but find themselves living in a foreign country as expats.

Although the cost of living can be lower than in the United States, following some best practices when and if you embark on this journey, can save you some headaches in the future.

Cloe, who is now an expat, shares some best practices and resources that can make your expatriate transition as smooth as possible. Enjoy!

5 Essential Tips on How to Save Money as an Expat

Moving to another country can be one of the most liberating, exciting experiences of a person’s life. Unfortunately, it can also be very expensive, especially in the beginning. Are you planning on heading abroad to work, study, or join family? Try the following five essential tips on how to save money as an expat:

Connect with other expats as well as locals

Thanks to the internet, meeting other expats is now relatively simple. Early on in your stay, join groups and make an effort to befriend these people. Having been through it all before, they’ll be able to give you plenty of advice regarding all sorts of situations. They’ll know the best (and cheapest!) places to eat, shop, and go out. They may also be able to help you to transfer money from your old bank account to your new one.

Making friends with locals will give you an even more authentic experience in your new home. While they may not be familiar with the unique issues that expats face, they’ll have expert knowledge on how to live like a local.


Consider tiny homes or small spaces for rent

Unless you’re moving with your whole family, you probably don’t need a huge space while you’re abroad. Consider tiny homes as a viable alternative to apartments or houses. If you’re planning on staying long-term, you might even think about building your own. Refurbishing a shipping container can be a great way to create your first one.

Think carefully about where to live, too. Foreigner-heavy areas in cities are often overpriced. Ask the locals where they search for housing. If you don’t speak the language, think about having a local friend or workmate call or email listings so you won’t be ripped off.

Save money on utilities

There are plenty of ways to save on utilities. To save on power, use natural light as much as you can in your home. This might mean choosing somewhere to live with plenty of windows, or investing in a set of quality sunlight control blinds. To save on internet, choose a phone plan with plenty of data that you can use even when you’re at home.

Look into utility bundles, too. Some companies offer cost-effective utility rates when you sign up with them for all of your utilities. Choosing a bundle will also make your transition go much more smoothly – the less you have to sort out upon arrival, the better.

Take advantage of government programs – and watch out for tax

Many countries’ governments offer various ways of helping new arrivals. For example, if you’re going to a non-English-speaking country, look into subsidized language courses. Rather than paying hefty fees at private language schools, you’ll pay a minimal amount – and meet other expats into the bargain.

Speaking of the government, expats need to be extra-aware of their tax obligations. In some countries, filing taxes is mandatory for citizens, whether they spent time in their home country during the tax year or not. Before you head off, check your obligations so you don’t get caught out and have to pay heavily later on.

Travel in low season

A big part of many expats’ lives is travel. While this is, of course, an advantage of living in a new country, travel costs can add up fast. Time your trips for low seasons so you’ll both save money and not have to battle hordes of tourists.

Whether you’re headed to Turkey, New Zealand, or Spain, life as an expat is sure to be exciting. Managing your money well will make your new life easier and more stable and, help you to thrive in a foreign country.

Cloe Matheson loves to travel and has a passion for all things adventure. When not writing, she enjoys trying local food and exploring new places. Read more of Cloe’s work here.

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