This week Brookfield Global Relocation Services published research that revealed that 74% of companies have reduced the value of the relocation packages that they offer to their employees. It appears that international assignments are not what they once were, and moving overseas is not quite as lucrative as it once was.
While living costs around the world are starting to gradually equalize there are still plenty of opportunities for expatriates to reduce their living expenses and cut unnecessary expenses from their everyday lives. Here’s our tip tips for living overseas on a shoe string.
1) Live like the locals do
You will hear this said time and time again but it is perhaps once of the most important pieces of advice you will receive. If you settle into life in your new country and buy the local brands and eat at the local restaurants you will generally find that your expat salary will take you a very long way. Conversely, if you insist on buying imported products from your home country you will significantly increase your living expenses and your cost of living will actually be higher than it is at home because you are paying a premium for foreign goods. One or two treats every now and again is totally fine but try and keep it within reason.
2) Sort through the junk mail
Although we all hate junk mail there are often some golden nuggets hidden in it if you are willing to take the time to find them. Direct mailings often contain offers and price reductions and can be a great way of reducing your living costs. Also check out the local newspapers as many companies publish details of any offers they are running in these.
3) Introduce yourself
Many shops and stores welcome new blood and you may find you get a significant price reduction simply by telling shop owners that you’re new in town. Simply slip in the fact that you have just moved to the area as you consider the purchase and there’s every chance that you’ll be added an introductory discount or welcome gift.
4) Read the classifieds
Every popular expat destination has a steady flow of people arriving and leaving the country and this can offer you an ideal opportunity to secure your furniture and appliances for knock-down rates. Look on supermarket notice boards and newspaper classifieds for moving sales and you will find that you can get stylish furniture for a fraction of the store price–sometimes even free.
5) Sign up for coupon or deal of the day sites
Many cities throughout the world now operate coupon buying schemes or deal of the day websites. These are excellent for expatriates who are looking to score a deal. Sign up for the email list of a site operating in your area and keep an eye open for the daily deal. From restaurant reductions, grooming packages and photography courses through to holidays, tours and trips, there’s bound to be something that takes your fancy at some point.
6) Buy a water filter
If you are living in a country or city where the water does not taste great then consider purchasing a water filter. It will remove impurities and undesirable tastes but will be much cheaper than buying bottled water on a weekly basis.
7) Choose short-term accommodation
If you travel light and do not have a family living with you then short-term accommodation can sometimes offer you a significant reduction in rent. Keep an eye open for properties that are available for short let, perhaps because the owner is out of town for a short period or a landlord needs temporary tenants. Given that the alternative to you taking the property is that it may be left empty there’s every chance that you could score an amazing deal.
Do you have any money saving tips you would like to share? Leave a comment below to share them with our expat community.