Taking the plunge and moving abroad to work requires lots of planning. This is especially true for your finances. You should be saving as much as possible, or you’re going to have a hard time once you arrive.
Setting up as an expat in a new country can be expensive no matter where you’re going. If you’re moving to China, for example, when renting an apartment, you’ll need to pay 3 months’ rent upfront – which means that you need to have at least that saved, plus the first month or so of expenses until you earn your first paycheck.
Even if you have an apartment provided, you’ll likely need to buy things such as dishware and bedding. You’ll need to stock your pantry and buy a local phone or SIM card. If you’re moving to the UAE, you may also need to rent or buy a car. Research the different costs and be sure that you have enough to allow you to settle in and live comfortably in those first few months.
As you know, making and saving money can be a serious challenge, especially if you’re between jobs. With bills to pay and prices rising, it’s a tough environment to build a healthy bank balance.
So what are some ways of saving and generating cash? Here are just a few tips that we’ve found work for most people to give them the extra cushion of cash to take on fresh opportunities in exciting new places.
Organization is the key to healthy finances. Central to this is the art of putting together a budget, be it weekly or monthly.
It’s easier than you think. If you’re no good with numbers, there’s a range of apps that can do the financial heavy lifting for you. Take Mint for example. The app provides an overview of your money, making it simple to monitor your activity.
At the end of the week, take some time to look over your expenditures for the past 7 days. Where could you shave off some costs? For example, those daily $5 smoothies could become a much smaller expense if you buy the ingredients in bulk and whip them up at home instead. You may also realize you have monthly subscriptions that you don’t even use – streaming and delivery services are just a few that add up over time.
Once you get into the habit of tracking your finances, you’ll be better educated on how to manage your earnings. This is essential when you’re living far from home.
2. Online discounts
If you’re not savvy about the universe of discounts out there, then now’s the time to wisen up! All it takes is a few clicks and a bit of know-how. There are plenty of sites such as RetailMeNot that find bargains for you. If you take advantage of these things, you’ll find that you can save more money in the long-term than you would if you just popped into the store to purchase whatever you need immediately.
This is especially true if, for you, a simple trip to the local Target turns into you going home with one of everything. By shopping online, you’ll avoid the tempting aisles full of new clothes, snack foods, and fresh books just waiting to be read. You’ll also save a lot of time – and gas! Be sure, however, to factor in shipping costs.
Also be careful with this – stop buying things online that you don’t need. Now that shopping is so easy to do on your phone, you have to catch yourself before you hit ‘place order’ and decide if it’s a necessary purchase.
3. Shop smarter
When you do have to visit the store, know that there are plenty of ways to save money weekly at your local supermarket.
Put a little effort into finding coupons, and you’ll be amazed at what you can save. Buy canned or frozen veggies instead of fresh, and buy things like oatmeal and nuts in bulk. Meal planning also goes a long way – stick to your guns, too, no matter how tempting that frozen pizza looks.
Make sure you’re going to the cheapest grocery store too, and you can usually find non-namebrand items that are just as good as the ones you’re used to buying without a second thought. Over time, these little things add up!
4. Take a side gig
If you find yourself with a gap between jobs, consider part-time work. Working minimum-wage at a restaurant or stocking shelves at a store doesn’t seem particularly glamorous, but when you’re spending that money in Dubai, it’ll have been more than worth it. There’s nothing wrong with working at a coffee shop for a couple of months before jetting off.
Consider freelancing as well. If you have writing chops, or if you can design, edit, create websites, paint, etc., freelancing gives you the chance to earn some extra money on the side. Sites like Fiverr and Upwork allow you to create a profile which can more easily connect you with clients.
If teaching is your main jam, why not teach online or take a short-term sub job while you’re waiting on your next long-term teaching gig to start? If you decide to go this route, you might even be able to keep your side gig for some extra spending money once you start your next in-person teaching job. Advertise your services on local bulletin boards, in the classifieds, on Craigslist and Yahoo! Local, and Facebook.
5. Keep your eyes on the prize
It may seem simple, but when it comes right down to it, you need to keep reminding yourself why you’re saving money. Make a mock budget for your first couple of weeks overseas. Continually think of the wonderful things you’ll eat, the places you’ll travel, and the people you’ll meet when you’re abroad. Change your phone and computer backgrounds to a photo of your destination. Remember that whatever sacrifices you’re making right now will pay off twofold once you arrive.
The key factor in all of this is discipline. These are easy things that you can do immediately, which will make the lead up to your departure a whole lot smoother.