This post is about life abroad money-saving tips.
You moved abroad and you want to experience what the area has to offer, sometimes you also want to treat yourself. And that’s great! But that doesn’t mean you should unnecessarily lose money while doing so. Be smart about your finances, the little things you do add up. Check out the following money-saving tips I used while living in the US.
Here are 8 life abroad money-saving tips.
1. Budgeting app.
Find a way to have an overview of your finances, especially your expenses. You could try to collect the receipts or simply write it all down, but there’s an easier way. Get a budgeting app that will do the work for you and help you with money-saving. In that way, you can access it at any time. Depending on the app, there are different features, but overall the idea is the same. You can link your bank account to the app and it will show your income and expenses, you can then budget based on category. Some apps show you a list of your subscriptions, which can really make you reconsider if they’re worth it.
*Please note! Watch out when you purchase stuff online that there’s no paid subscription that comes with signing up! (I find this to be especially true when it comes to the US) Some websites have a paid subscription, which is not clearly indicated, so you might not be aware of it until you see your money disappearing from your account. Fortunately, the customer service in the US is pretty great, at least that was my experience, and so you should be able to cancel any unwanted subscriptions right away.
There’s a bunch of user-friendly apps out there, with nice, clean designs so you should be able to find one that works best for you. A few that might be worth checking out are Mint, Clarity Money, Wally, PocketGuard.
2. Sign up at local stores for discounts.
You might go to a grocery store or a pharmacy and see quite a lot of discounts, great! But then once you take a look at the receipt you’ll find out that you paid the full price. What happens is that stores very often offer special deals for customers that signed up at their store. Sometimes you need to download an app, sometimes you just tell the cashier your phone number or email address. So make sure you read the fine print on the discount labels and sign up, especially if you have stores that you visit often, it adds up over time!
3. Shop second-hand clothes.
Bye fast fashion, bye overpriced boring clothes. Whether you moved to Los Angeles, Hawaii or Belgium, make sure to check out some local second-hand shops. It’s a great way to save some money, especially if you’re lucky, and find some high-quality, designer pieces. It’s great both, for finding unique pieces as well as daily basics that will get worn out fast anyway.
4. Get a library card or shop second-hand books online.
Whether you love reading and can’t wait to discover some great books in the foreign language you’re trying to improve or you need a workbook for a class, don’t go running to the bookstore just yet. Go to your local library and find out if you can sign up for a library card. If you’re an Au Pair or a student, that shouldn’t be a problem at all.
Another option is looking for second-hand books online. I personally enjoy using ThriftBooks, as they really have everything I was ever looking for. The best part about the website thought is that you can really choose based on your budget as for every book they show you what format (paperback, hardcover, etc.) is available as well as the condition they’re in (new, like new, very good, good or acceptable). Depending on those two aspects the prices vary. You can easily find well-known books for 2 – 5$ in a very good/good condition.
5. Use resident discounts.
Inform yourself about resident discounts. Before you use a service or a tourist attraction make sure to check if there’s a resident discount. For example, if you have a Nevada driver’s license you will pay lower admission rates for shows or you’ll get free pool access, whereas Southern California residents get to enjoy inter alia a Disneyland ticket discount and so on. Depending on where you live, just google “your city/state resident discounts” and you should easily find a list of all your options.
6. Join together.
Whether you’re interested in a language course, you want to join the gym or you want a Netflix account, make sure to check if there’s a group/family discount if you sign up with two or more people. Tell your friends about your ideas and see who might be interested in joining you. Share the costs of a subscription or enjoy a discount for signing up together.
7. Exchange what you don’t use any more.
Another tip connected to sharing. Organize your room- your clothes, book, makeup, workout equipment, and so on. Set aside what you don’t use anymore or haven’t used at all and make a list of items you need. Encourage your friends to do the same with their stuff. In this way, you can share and exchange, and nothing goes to waste. Your friends might have something you really need that they can give you for a low price or even for free. Also, it just feels great to declutter!
8. Sell what you don’t use anymore.
If not exchanging with your friends, you can try to sell things whether online or at a local second-hand shop. To sell online look for local groups on Facebook, for clothes you can try Vinted, Poshmark, or ThredUP.
This post was about life abroad money-saving tips.