5 ways to save money by moving to a different country

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Living in a different country can help you spend less money on your daily living costs.


the main points

  • Some countries have a lower cost of living, so the daily expenses are cheaper.
  • Health care, transportation, and housing may be cheaper in a different country.

In my late twenties, I decided to travel the world. More specifically, I moved to South Korea to live and work. For many reasons, it was a life changing experience. But this step also helped me save money on everyday expenses and allowed me to prioritize personal and financial goals. Find out how I saved my money by moving to a different country.

The cost of living was cheaper

The cost of living was cheaper than what I’m used to in the United States. I noticed a huge difference in the prices for the facilities and eating out. Because of this, I was spending less money on daily living expenses, and my income went even further. During my two years living abroad, I invested over $10,000 in debt.

Accommodation is provided as a functional feature

One of the biggest ways I save money while living in a different country is to get rid of most of my housing costs.

When I arrived to start my business, I had an apartment waiting for me, and the entire cost of my rent was covered by my employer. You are only responsible for the cost of utilities. My Korean apartment was small. It was smaller than many studio apartments you might find in the US, but I got used to living in a small space quickly.

By not paying $1,000 or more per month on my mortgage or rent payments, I was able to let the extra money build up in my savings accounts.

Health care costs were low

South Korea has a national healthcare system. Money has been taken from my monthly salary to cover my healthcare premiums. At the time, I was paying less than $75 a month.

As for other healthcare costs, they were also low. I bought prescriptions from the drugstore which cost less than $2. Doctors and hospital visits were the same. It wasn’t unusual to only pay $5-10 for a visit.

Fortunately, I didn’t need major surgery or undergo significant procedures during my time there, but I was less concerned about the financial implications of my medical needs there.

Tipping was not part of the culture

Tipping is the norm in the US, I worked in the food service industry through college, and tips helped me pay my bills. If you eat a lot here, 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 might imagine, this makes eating out more accessible to everyone.

Public transportation was affordable

I also saved money by eliminating my usual car expenses. Before leaving, I left my car with my family. I’ve already paid off my car loan, so I’m no longer making car payments or paying for car insurance.

While in South Korea, I walked a lot and used public transportation. Even in the countryside, public transportation is plentiful and affordable too. At the time, I could take a three-hour high-speed train cross-country ride for less than $50.

Moving abroad has helped me reach my goals

When she first moved to South Korea, she 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 lived an affordable lifestyle, I was able to set aside more money for travel as I continued to pay off debt.

Adapting to a new culture and lifestyle does not come without challenges, but I will always be grateful for the opportunity to live in a different country.

Don’t be afraid to try something new

Can moving to another country help you save money? It’s possible. Even if moving around the world isn’t for you – landing a new job, switching from a salaried job to a freelance job, or experiencing a new side hustle can help you reach your financial goals sooner.

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

If you are looking for tips that can help you improve your financial situation, check out these personal finance resources.

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