Living Abroad (for Beginners), Part 2

Welcome back 🙂 Now that you have read the first part of the series, you’re hopefully feeling a bit more confident about your trip. Here are a few tips on how to you keep your money business in order!

Before you leave home:
• Get local currency: It is always convenient to have some cash on hand. Although most countries will accept Visa or Master Card, you will surely find some services that can only be paid in cash. For these cases, try to get some change or small bills as well, so that you don’t have to worry about this upon arrival.
• Inform your bank about your trip: Some banks require you to do this as a security measure, in order to avoid frauds. It is usually quite simple and does not involve going to the bank.
• Consider using more than one credit/debit card. In other words “do not put all the eggs in just one basket”. In case of loss or theft, it’s always better to have a fall back plan.
• Ask the locals about the services you can pay with your credit or debits cards. Once again, most countries will accept any Visa o Master Card, but there are exceptions. (Yes, I learned this the hard way ^^)
• Keep your banking information with you, in a safe place: Bank account numbers, card numbers and safety codes should be kept discretely in case of loose or theft. It is also advisable to keep the toll free numbers at hand, so as to report any irregularities. You should NOT write down pin numbers. But, if you must, avoid using titles such as “bank accounts”, “pin numbers” or “money”. Avoid keeping this information in your laptop or mobile phone, as well.
• Leave a copy of your banking information at home, in case you lose it or suddenly need someone to transfer you some extra money for an emergency.

The Budget:
Chances are, you’re not the richest person in the world and will have to live on a budget. Here are a few tips to help you find your way through a new money system:
• The first month abroad will imply extra expenses. Deposits, enrollments and official procedures’ fees should be considered. Depending on your accommodation arrangements, you may need to invest in a couple of these things such as furniture or appliances. For that matter, second hand stores or outlets will come in handy.
• Create a price reference system: This will help you understand the new value of your money. How much do the locals spend on a regular trip to the supermarket, the coffee house or the local pub? Ask about details about their lifestyle and compare to what your expenses are in your home country.
• Make a list of the expenses you won’t be able to avoid such as food, rent/accommodation, personal items (toiletries, clothing), basic services including energy, communication (internet/mobile phone), transportation, cleaning products, etc.
• Think of a couple of things you would like to do for fun so you can plan ahead. Buying tickets in advance will save you money.
• If possible, consider having some savings to cover unexpected expenses.
• Build a budget accordingly: Now that you have an idea of what you’ll be spending your money on, you can crunch some numbers.
• Control your spending. Until you get the hang of things, spend only what you need and keep unnecessary expenses to a minimum.
• Keep some spare money and credit card safely in your new home.

Do you have any tips about money and budgets while living abroad? Share it with us!


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