Expat tips for saving money whilst working overseas

Published:  12 May at 6 PM
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Many would-be expats accept overseas positions as it gives a sufficiently increased salary to be able to save money during the term of the contract.

One of the best reasons for moving to an overseas job on a fixed term contract is the opportunity to save a good deal of money due to an increased salary and benefits such as paid accommodation and schooling for your children. Many expat professionals return home with a substantial increase in their bank balance, but many more get caught up in a lavishly luxurious lifestyle, thus wasting the opportunity of a lifetime.

No-one is suggesting expats should live like monks on a retreat, but common sense brings its own rewards, especially in the financial side of life overseas. Living within your means on a strict budget was probably a habit born out of necessity in the home country, and can be easily continued once you’re settled in your new life. Creating a realistic budget and sticking to it is a must, and needn’t exclude the odd bottle of champagne or self-indulgent meal.

One tedious but rewarding habit is to keep a track of exactly where your cash is going via a monthly budget check. Obviously, in some months you’ll exceed your limits, but in others you’ll be pleased to find you’ve cash left over in spite of a reasonable amount of self-indulgence. That’s where savings come in, rather than blowing the lot on a night out with the boys.

Setting a savings goal, however modest, is a good way to avoid unnecessary purchases, and you’ll be well rewarded by the increasing numbers on your next bank statement. Networking in order to find a group of like-minded expats with similar lifestyles to yours is one way to stay out of the red. Long-term expats are happy to pass on tips for getting the most out of your disposable income whilst leaving enough to build up a nest egg.

Online expat forums can help here, with tips on the cheapest places to buy, inexpensive, fun things to do and other helpful advice. Perhaps the best advice of all is to live like a local by shopping for fresh produce in daily markets, renting property in attractive but less than expensive areas and finding small, welcoming and inexpensive bars and eateries. Opening an offshore bank account is a sensible way to manage your savings in a tax-efficient manner, and transferring cash back home can be done at better exchange rates than with local banks.
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