Becoming an expat is a bold move and a great adventure. And like anything bold and adventurous, you really do need to prepare.
You work hard for your money and definitely don’t want a lack of homework to hit you where it really hurts – right in the back pocket. At best, you’ll find yourself skint. And at worse, say goodbye to that expat adventure.
A common difficulty experienced by thousands of expats every single year is in managing their money between their home and adopted countries, where the currencies, costs, economies and cultures often differ significantly.
So for the expat about to make that bold and adventurous move, here are some money saving tips to maximize every dollar:
9 Money Saving Tips
Whether big or small, nobody’s income is limitless. But as an expat, you’re out of your comfort zone and suddenly slapped with all sorts of extra costs you didn’t expect.
It’s, therefore, more crucial than ever to itemize your expenses and tick them off in order of priority. That way, if you do make a miscalculation, you’ll still have a roof over your head and money to get the train to work.
Creating a budget empowers you with knowledge about your own financial situation, and the control to determine how it is apportioned on crucial and more discretionary expenses.
What goes hand-in-hand with budgeting? Saving.
As you write that budget, also commit to putting a little extra away every week or month. It doesn’t have to be a lot, but it will come in very handy for a rainy day.
If you’re struggling with that budget, or consistently failing to put any savings away, it could be because your record-keeping skills are a little off.
Keeping great records is the key to tracking how you spend your money, and identifying problem areas to focus upon in order to get you back in the black.
Too many expats assume too much about how the tax systems of both their home and adopted countries will affect them.
The truth is, tax systems are often so complex that what you think you know about even your home country’s code is likely wrong or incomplete.
So as an expat, it’s a particularly wise move to get some expert tax advice, especially in relation to your obligations, income and investments.
As you go about adjusting to life in your adopted country, don’t let any money-hungry costs fly under the radar.
A common one is how you transfer your money to and from Australia. It’s something just about every expat has to do, but most don’t look beyond using the international money transfer facilities of a major institution like the Commonwealth Bank (CBA).
The reality is that if you’re going to be transferring funds regularly, you’ll get a much better deal from a specialist FX provider. In fact, CBA exchange rates can be outpaced by a margin of several per cent, which can mean savings of hundreds of dollars per transaction.
Another one of the easy money saving tips is to just do some online homework.
Yes, signing up for the first offer you see for your mobile phone and internet providers may keep checking off those items on a long ‘to do’ list.
But it is often the case that the much better deals are lurking a little deeper – normally because they spend less money on advertising.
Luckily, in our handy year of 2018, there are plenty of online comparison sites that have already done the work for you, no matter where you are in the world.
Just like picking the first utility provider you see on Google, another sure-fire way to blow money is by being lazy.
Why’s that? Because being lazy – like constantly eating out – is convenient, and you very much pay for that luxury.
Similarly, you might actually think that going to the laundromat is saving you a chunk of money on a washing machine. But if you just forked out for a second-hand machine and started counting those laundromat pennies, the savings will start paying off soon enough.
Been in your adopted country for a while but don’t know any or many other fellow expats? You’re not just missing out on great friends, you’re missing a great money-saving trick.
Just by hanging out with other expats, you’ll naturally swap and exchange money saving tips and ideas. Not just about tax, budgeting and record-keeping but also cheap places to eat out and buy groceries.
Never forget, simply being an expat is a big, bold adventure – and that’s why you did it!
You didn’t do it to hang around at Cafes or buy fancy clothes and cars. You did it because you’re daring, or because of the financial advantages like the tax system or a job opportunity.
So don’t blow it by trying to maintain an expensive lifestyle, and instead re-focus on the adventure.
By getting smart and doing your homework, the expat lifestyle is not only a sea-change, it could be your ticket to a healthy financial future as well. Happy adventures and good luck with following these money saving tips!