The Costs of Living Abroad for Expats and Global Nomads
Deciding where to live as an expat can be a difficult process, especially when you lack a strong understanding of how costs will differ in your new potential home. The International Citizens guide for international costs living will help you understand prices and find the right place to call your next home.
I know what you are thinking: Which countries have a low cost of living? What are the most expensive cities in the world or are the most affordable countries to live in? How does the Cost of Living in China compare to the Cost of Living in Thailand?
We are working hard to provide some expert insight into the different costs of living in different cities and countries around the world. One of the most important things to consider about moving to a new country is the cost of living abroad. From rent to food to transportation, prices for essential items vary greatly from country to country. Living overseas, if only for a brief time, can be a life-changing experience. But before you pack your bags and move thousands of miles away, you have to think about how international living will affect your wallet. Before you go, make sure you do your research, so you know exactly what to expect. Understand how much living abroad costs (and determine if what you need to do to afford it).
We’ll help you get started.
Why is the Cost of Living Important?
Living in a new country is exciting. But, it can also be a bit of a challenge if you don’t have enough money to sustain yourself comfortably. Make sure that the income you’ll be bringing in will be enough. Whether you want to live a modest life or a life of luxury, it’s crucial to have enough money to afford the quality of life you want. If you are not going to work abroad or you are worried about earning enough, safeguard yourself by having plenty of savings in your bank account. Having a disposable income can be the difference between just getting by and totally enjoying your new town.
Are you a retired abroad and a U.S. citizen? Check to make sure you can still collect Social Security in your new home.
In any country, the cost of living is usually lower in small cities and small towns than in major metropolitan areas. So, if you need to keep your expenses down, avoid moving to the downtown center of a major city. Instead, opt for a smaller town or a small neighborhood a few miles outside the city’s hub.
No matter how you plan to live or which foreign destination you decide on, research the cost of living to make sure you can afford it.
Cost of Living Factors to Consider
When we talk about the cost of living, we’re talking about much more than just the cost of housing or rent.
Most expats find a place to live before they move, so most are aware of the average cost of real estate upfront. However, there are a host of other things that people often don’t take into consideration until after they’ve arrived in their new country.
Don’t be caught off guard. In addition to rent and housing costs, research these essentials as well:
Utilities include more than heat, electricity, and water. Don’t forget to account for the price tag on phone bills, smartphone data plans, and monthly Wi-Fi connections.
If you think you’ll do most of your traveling by train or bus, make sure you know the cost of public transportation. On the other hand, if you prefer to drive, determine how much you’ll need to pay for a car and how much you can expect to pay for gas. These expenses vary considerably around the world.
Foreign countries import and export different types of food. The things that are affordable in your homeland may be quite expensive overseas, and vice versa.
Find out what grocery essentials cost, as well as those extras you don’t want to live without.
Also, look into the cost of dining out in restaurants or at fast-food establishments. If you like to have a few drinks with dinner, look up the prices of beer, alcohol, coffee, or whatever it is you like to drink.
You’re going to want to explore your new city, so make sure you’ll have enough disposable income to go out and enjoy it! Know what you can expect to pay for tickets to movies, theaters, concerts, sporting events, and museums.
And if you love to exercise and work out, research how much a monthly gym membership will cost. Some countries entice citizens to lead active outdoor lifestyles by providing bikes and green spaces. If you’re moving to a country with those kinds of amenities, you might not need an indoor gym membership.
Determine how much you will need to pay each month for healthcare, medications, and/or international health insurance. Some countries have nationalized healthcare systems. Others may require you to have private health insurance to get the best care.
If you’re moving with children, make sure you understand the cost of education. Depending on the country, you may want to send your child to a free public school or pay for private education at an international school instead.
Most Expensive Places to Live Abroad
Some international destinations have a reputation for being affordable – others are not.
Some of the most expensive cities to live in include:
- Hong Kong
- New York City
Some of the most expensive countries to live in include:
- United Arab Emirates
- United States
- New Zealand
Keep in mind, countries, and cities with high costs of living also tend to pay higher salaries and wages. Weigh the cost of living relative to your monthly earnings.
Least Expensive Places to Live Abroad
Looking to stretch your dollars and move to a country with a low cost of living?
Some of the most affordable countries to live in are also some of the most beautiful in the world.
These affordable locales also happen to be some of the best destinations for retirees:
- Why the Cost of Living in Costa Rica is Affordable
- What is the Cost of Living in Mexico
- How Much Does it Cost to Live in Thailand
There’s no doubt that you’ll make incredible memories living in a foreign country. The experience will be even better if you can afford to enjoy it. Living paycheck to paycheck may be typical in your hometown, but when you’re thousands of miles away, it’s essential to have financial stability.
Be thorough when investigating living abroad costs. Know how much you’ll need to spend on rent, food, transportation, and entertainment. Factor in the outlay for utilities and other monthly expenses such as healthcare and tuition.
If your bank account isn’t full enough to sustain the lifestyle you want to live, you might want to delay moving. Saving your money for one more year just might be the difference between barely affording your new town and enjoying all that it has to offer.