How to Save Money when Teaching Abroad

May 4, 2016


Teaching abroad is one of the most rewarding experiences you can find, as it gives you a chance to experience a brand new culture, meet interesting people that you wouldn’t otherwise, and add something to your CV that you can really boast about. With almost guaranteed employment and the opportunity to build up your savings while you’re away, it’s perfect for anyone on a career break, for graduates, and for those who are not sure what to do next.

While you’re living abroad, you’ll want to make the most of your wage. Graduates especially will want to save as much as they can for support in the next step, or to finance a postgraduate qualification, so the more cash you can hold on to, the better! Follow this guide to cutting costs – without sacrificing a good time…

Set a budget

Before you go, plan to keep track of your spending by drawing up a budget. Take into account your fuel bills, food costs, rent, internet and phone charges, transport etc., not forgetting to allocate a portion to savings and, of course, leisure and entertainment! Thinking about these things in advance prevents nasty shocks once you’re there, and you can always adjust the amounts in each category when you’ve got your bearings and a better idea of how much things cost. Try this useful tool to help you create your budget.

Currency cards

The most secure, easiest and cheapest way to spend money when living abroad, especially temporarily, is a currency card. You can pre-load these with cash at any time and withdraw at ATMs once you’re over there, easily and securely. Use a reputable service to transfer your money abroad – Student Money Saver recommends TransferWise, which slashes the hidden fees banks charge you for moving money between countries.

Use Wi-Fi to call home – Viber, FaceTime, Skype

Calling home can get incredibly expensive and with modern technology, there’s no need to run up huge bills. iOS users can chat to their loved ones over FaceTime (and FaceTime Audio, which is just like a phone call if you don’t want to chat face-to-face), and the Viber app, which allows you to make calls over Wi-Fi over any device. Of course, there is always the traditional Skype for saying hello to friends and family, and it’s great for making multi-person video calls.

Get some flatmates

If your contract doesn’t include a place to live and you need to hunt for somewhere, just like at home you could save money on a flat by looking for people to share with. Your employers are the best resource for finding accommodation, and they may be able to put you in touch other incoming teachers, or staff already living there who may be looking for a flatmate. EasyRoomMate can help you find the perfect place – though it’s limited to Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Ireland, New Zealand, Singapore, and the UK.


Plan your meals, and cook with friends/flatmates

When you’re living in a new country, it’s tempting to eat out every night; but even in countries where the cost of living is low, eating out all of the time will start to dent the wallet. Learn to cook the cuisine of the region in which you’re living, and you’ll expand your skills while collecting new meals for your repertoire to show off with back home. If you’re living with other people, why not shop for ingredients together and share responsibility for the cooking? You could also invite friends over and get them to bring dishes


Ask the locals, head off the beaten track

Steering clear of the tourist traps will save you a fortune, and as you get to know the locals they can let you in on the best stores, cafés and restaurants, so you don’t get caught out paying far more than you need to. Try and make some connections beforehand, and dive into the social scene once you’re there. You’ll learn local moneysaving tips firsthand, and build up a social circle, so there’s nothing to lose from reaching out. 

About our company: Teaching Nomad is an American owned and operated education recruitment company based in Shanghai, China. Our goal and purpose is to help great teachers find great teaching jobs. Year round, we have hundreds of teaching job vacancies. Whether your goal is to be an ESL teacher or teach in an international school, we have a teaching job for you. You can browse jobs online at www.teachingnomad.com/job-search for the latest job openings. Teaching Nomad is here to make teaching in China easier, so please feel free to reach out and contact us with any questions or inquiries!


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