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5 ways to save money moving to another country

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Living in another country could help you spend less money on living expenses.


Key points

  • Some countries have a lower cost of living, so daily expenses are cheaper.
  • Health care, transport and housing can all be cheaper in another country.

In my late twenties, I decided to move around the world. Specifically, I moved to South Korea to live and work. For many reasons, it was a life changing experience. But this move also helped me save money on day-to-day expenses and allowed me to prioritize my personal and financial goals. Find out how I saved money by moving to another country.

The cost of living was cheaper

The cost of living was cheaper than what I was used to in the States. I noticed a big difference in the price of utilities and restaurants. Because of this, I spent less money on daily expenses and my income went further. During my two years abroad, I put more than $10,000 in debt.

Accommodation was provided as a business benefit

One of the main ways I saved money while living in another country was to eliminate most of my housing costs.

When I arrived to start my job, I had an apartment waiting for me and my employer covered the full cost of my rent. I was only responsible for the cost of utilities. My Korean apartment was tiny. It was smaller than many studios in the US, but I quickly got used to living in a small space.

By not paying $1,000 or more a month on a mortgage or lease payments, I was able to let the extra money accumulate in my savings accounts.

Health care costs were low

South Korea has a national healthcare system. I had money deducted from my monthly salary to cover my health care premiums. At the time, I was paying less than $75 a month.

As for other health expenditures, they were also low. I picked up prescriptions at the pharmacy that cost less than $2. Doctor and hospital visits were similar. It was not uncommon to pay only $5 to $10 for a visit.

Luckily, I didn’t need major surgery or major procedures while I was there, but I would have been less worried about the financial implications of my medical needs there.

Tipping was not part of the culture

Tipping is the norm in the United States I worked in the restaurant industry until college, and tipping helped me pay my bills. If you dine here a lot, the costs can add up quickly.

But tipping is not the norm in many other countries. In South Korea, it’s not part of the culture. As you can imagine, this makes dining out more affordable.

Public transport was affordable

I also saved money by eliminating my usual vehicle expenses. Before leaving, I left my vehicle with my family. I had already paid off my car loan, so I was no longer making car payments or car insurance coverage.

In South Korea, I walked a lot and used public transport. Even in the countryside, public transport is plentiful and affordable. Back then, I could take a three-hour bullet train ride across the country for less than $50.

Going abroad helped me achieve my goals

When I first moved to South Korea, I signed a one-year contract. I ended up staying for two years. The experience allowed me to prioritize my personal and financial goals.

Since I had fewer monthly bills and led an affordable lifestyle, I could spend more money on travel while still paying off my debts.

Adapting to a new culture and a new lifestyle is not easy, but I will always be grateful to have the opportunity to live in a different country.

Don’t be afraid to try something new

Could moving to another country help you save money? It’s possible. Even if moving around the world isn’t for you, taking on a new job, transitioning from paid employment to a freelance role, or trying a new side hustle could help you reach your financial goals faster.

Don’t be afraid to explore opportunities outside of your comfort zone. By doing things differently, you may be able to save more money and reduce your monthly expenses.

If you’re looking for tips that could help you improve your financial situation, check out these personal finance resources.

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