Leaving Home: Saving Money

Mar 22

Moving abroad is not a decision you can take lightly; whether you leave temporarily and decide to extend your stay or go the whole hog and pack up for good, it requires significant financial foresight and planning to avoid struggling.

A lot of it depends on your city of choice and what your financial situation is to start with, but suffice it to say that most people move when they’re students or newly employed and still partially reliant on others (even if you take out loans) for financial support. In other words, for many people, it can be tough.

That’s the downside, but the upside is that with fewer dependents and long-term payment plans, you can live quite easily and cheaply. Provided you carefully research your adoptive country and save, save, save before you go.

Get conservative

Move in with your parents or move to a one-bedroom apartment with damp patches in the ceiling if you have to – just don’t leave home without cash in the bank. Trust me, when you’re far away from home, you’ll need it.

Hurry up and wait

Realise that you may struggle to find a job in your chosen career path, and it’s probably got nothing to do with your skills or experience. Landing a job often has as much to do with who you know as what you know, and your visa situation may also count against you. It’s a tough market but don’t give up. Look into finding temporary employment, keeps sending out CVs and networking with people in your industry.

Resist a spending spree

While you’re waiting to secure a decent income, cut down on luxuries like meals in restaurants, mobile contracts and takeaway coffees. Resist purchasing that high-end laptop, designer t-shirt, gym membership or fancy cocktail – even when it’s raining, take the bus instead of flagging down a taxi cab; remember that you might end up counting pennies for meals at the end of the month.

Be aware of hidden costs

One of the best ways to avoid attracting unwelcome bank fees is to find out which banks in your adoptive country have relationships with your home bank. Many banks have branches in countries all over the world, from London to Qatar, making it easier to apply for things like credit cards and personal loans (depending on your residency status).

Don’t ignore necessities

I’ve advocated living conservatively but there are things that you really can’t live without, like health insurance. Get inventive when it comes to entertainment and put a small amount aside for this; it’s important to spend time with friends and relieve stress without depleting your budget completely.

Take a holiday

A big cost saving is spending holidays back home, where your accommodation and transport costs are often picked up by family and friends. But don’t spend too much time focusing on going home – make plans to explore your adoptive country and get to know the local people as well. Good luck and remember to research, plan and save well in advance of your trip!