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In order to save money to move abroad you need to have a clear goal to work towards that sets you up for a successful move. Regardless of if this is a short term or long term move, planning a budget for moving abroad is a very different mindset than saving money to travel.
The good news if it is not necessarily super expensive to move abroad. Hello endless vacation mode! Okay, not quite yet. Let’s figure out this budget to move abroad first and then you can go back to planning the fun stuff like looking at viewpoint hikes on Pinterest.
Download the FREE Budget Spreadsheet to calculate your own budget as you read through the post.
There are a few steps to follow in order to gather the information you need to calculate your specific moving abroad budget. Make sure to follow along on the free downloadable budget spreadsheet!
Even if you are still debating between the lush jungles in Bali and the beautiful beaches in Spain, you can still pick a few locations and fill out a different cost estimator for each location. Once you choose a location, you need to determine the estimated monthly cost of living. Some great resources for quickly looking at different locations and costs of living are Nomad List, Numbeo, and looking at blogs of real people who have lived in your desired new location.
Flights are often one of the biggest flat expenses of travel or moving abroad, especially if you are bringing #allthethings and have to pay bag fees. (Travel Tip: Pack less. No matter where in the world you are moving, I promise you need less than you think)
Flights don’t always have to be the biggest expense if you plan ahead and use some of our favorite flight hacking tips! However, your flight is something you need to consider when you are figuring out how much you need to save up for that move abroad!
I am a huge budgeter so I personally couldn’t not include and recommend having a safety net. A safety net essentially means, how much to want to keep in savings that is not accounted for covering any costs of the move or travel. This looks different for everyone and is more important to some, however, I highly recommend saving at least $2000 as a safety net. This could be used for an emergency flight home, a travel mishap or simply your move costing more than you anticipated. Sh*t happens no matter how much you plan, so plan for sh*t to happen.
Depending on your job and home country, this category looks very different for everyone. Regardless, it is an important expense to account for as well as begin looking at options for. We highly recommend World Nomads for a combo travel/health insurance options. While they do not cover routine checks up and things like that, they have been very reliable in covering other health related expenses. Zach was bit by a dog in Vietnam and decided to go get the Rabies vaccine as precaution. This cost a few hundred dollars out of pocket, but World Nomads reimbursed him 100%!
I am not a medical professional and this is not professional medical advise.
This category is easy to overlook because you are likely very focused on everything that will be a part of you new life abroad. However, you need to make sure and calculate your fixed monthly “home” expenses which includes anything that you will still be paying for that is not tied to your travels or your new home abroad. For many this might include student loans, credit card debt, a storage unit, phone plan, car payment, or subscriptions such as Netflix.
You might not have any business expenses or you might just want to turn this category into a “travel category” for extra or monthly travel expenses you want to build in or estimate.
For me, in the beginning, this included things such as my domain name, hosting for my website, and Adobe Creative Suite. If you don’t run your own business this could still include any estimated costs (even if they are not recurring monthly) that you need to estimate for related to your (new) job.
If you haven’t already been following each step on the spreadsheet, make sure to download it below and fill it out. It will help break down each of these categories in an easy visual manner as well as help you calculate your grand total for how much you need to save to move abroad.
This is not exact and not professional financial advice. This is just a simple system that provides a rough estimate and was a helpful tool for me before I moved abroad.
I personally found that the best most comfortable amount to save to allow for both error in living and travel expenses was ultimately found by this formula:
2x Total Monthly Savings (calculated separately on the spreadsheet) + Flight Expenses + Safety Net Amount
Often when you move abroad there will many many unseen expenses. Further, if you are moving abroad for a new job you will have to allow for how much time it will take for you to get your first paycheck and/or set up a foreign bank account if applicable. This formula provides a cushion on top of the actual estimated amount of money you will likely be spending! And ultimately, this cushion and pre-planning can be the difference in you running out of money and having to pack your bags and head back home!
Although budgeting is not always sexy, it takes less than 30 minutes to do some light research and fill out this spreadsheet. Doing so will set you up for success and give you a defined clear goal of how much money you need to save before embarking on your big adventure!
Now that you have your budget, it’s time to learn how to save money as well as what you actually need to do before moving abroad! Don’t worry, we’ve got you on both things!
We are a couple that travels the world full time while running our own online businesses. We want to be your one stop shop for a location independent lifestyle full of travel inspiration and useful tools and knowledge to grow your own online business.