save money before moving abroad

How Much Money Should You Save Before Moving Abroad?

Moving abroad doesn’t have to be expensive. If you’re happy to find a job, write articles online or start a travel blog, living abroad can be cheaper than living at home. In this post, I show you exactly how to save money before moving abroad (it’s not as much as you think!)

Wouldn’t you love to be able to afford to live overseas?

I’m sure you’ve thought about it before. You may have even been lucky enough to have travelled overseas on holidays for a few weeks. I bet at the time you were thinking “I wish this never had to end!”

The truth is, it never has to end!

Most people believe that moving abroad has to be expensive. They feel they need to save ten’s of thousands of dollars if they’re going to be able to start a new life overseas.

These feelings are normal!

However, moving abroad doesn’t have to be expensive. Today I’m going to show you exactly how much money you should save before moving abroad.

It isn’t as much as you think!

In fact, you should be able to move abroad for less than the price most people spend on a 2 week holiday!

Watch the quick video below to learn exactly how much money you should save before moving abroad:

1. Find The Perfect Location

Find the perfect location (Nomad List) - How much should you save before moving abroad?

The first step is researching where you want to move to.

Whether you enjoy relaxing by the beach, hiking in the mountains or living in a big city, you should already have a good idea of the type of place you wish to explore.

By visiting a website such as Nomad List you can select certain filters that allow you to narrow down the cities that match your preferences.

For example, if you know that you’re going to be on a tight budget while living overseas, you would select the ‘less than $1,250 per month‘ filter. By selecting filters that match your preferences, you’re able to narrow down the number of cities that are suitable as a potential new home.

Find The Perfect Location (Nomad list) - How much money should you save before moving abroad?

After selecting the filters that are relevant to you, search through each of the cities that match your criteria. Take note of the cost of living per month for each city that interests you.

Note: After a month or two of living abroad, you should be able to get your cost of living half way between ‘the expat cost of living‘ and ‘the local cost of living‘.

2. Research The Cheapest Flights

Research flights (skyscanner) - How much should you save before moving abroad?

The second step in working out how much money you should save before moving abroad is researching the cost of flights. This is as simple as visiting Skyscanner and searching for flights to your destination.

If you want to know how to find cheap flights using Skyscanner, be sure to read this post!

It’s important to look at flights for each of the destinations that fit your criteria because some are going to be a lot cheaper than others, depending on where you currently live.

3. Get A Free Travel Insurance Quote

World Nomads Travel Insurance - How much should you save before moving abroad?

The third step is to get a quote on travel insurance.

I suggest that you invest in travel insurance because you don’t know what’s going to happen while living abroad. In the case of an emergency, you want to know that you’re covered. I recommend visiting World Nomads Insurance and getting a quote in less than 2 minutes.

For the point of this exercise, you should look at getting an insurance policy for 2 months. The great thing about World Nomads is that you can extend your insurance policy while abroad, meaning you can pay month to month and extend your trip as you please.

4. Fill Out The Budget Spreadsheet

Budget spreadsheet - How much money should you save before moving abroad?

The last step is to fill out your budget spreadsheet and see exactly how much you should save before moving abroad.

You can download the budget spreadsheet for free here.

So if I wanted to move to Cancun, Mexico the process would look like this:

-Research the city that I want to move to (Cancun)
-See the monthly cost of living ($1,000)
-Work out how long it will take to settle in and find a job (2 months)
-Get an idea of how much flights will cost ($1,000)
-Work out how much I’ll have to spend on travel insurance ($240)
-Add an extra $2,000 as a safety net (not able to find a job, flight home etc.) This figure should be equivalent to 2x the monthly cost of living.

If we totalled up all of these amounts we would get this equation:

Total savings=(2 x Monthly Cost of Living) + Flight + Insurance + Safety net

In this case, it would be:

Total savings needed = (2 x $1,000) + $1,000 + $240 + $2,000

Total savings needed = $5,240

You can use the same process for multiple cities and fill them out in the spreadsheet. By doing this, you can start to compare cities and see which option is best for you.


Although you may think that moving abroad is expensive, it doesn’t have to be.

Just because your friends spend thousands of dollars to go on a 3-4 week trip overseas, doesn’t mean that it’s expensive to move abroad.

By doing your research and filling out the budget spreadsheet you’ll be able to figure out in 10 minutes or less, how to save money before moving abroad.

If you’re willing to cut out a few unnecessary costs over the next couple of months, you should be able to save enough money to move your life abroad!

I can’t wait to start hearing about the different places that you guys are planning on moving to!

Do you now understand how to save money before moving abroad? Where are you planning to move to?

15 thoughts on “How Much Money Should You Save Before Moving Abroad?”

  1. Would like more info on finding housing abroad versus just Airbnb.
    Kids are grown and I’m looking at finding me after being a mom for 25 years full time. Empty nesting now and with your video it would seem I spend more than that monthly just living here and struggling paycheck to pay check.
    But I’m a little lost on how to find affordable housing before my arrival or after arrival. Thanks

    1. it really depends on what countries you’re looking at moving to and what type of accommodation you’re looking for (shared vs studio vs apartments etc). If you aren’t sure where you might potentially like to move to, head over to nomadlist and follow the instructions from the video to find places that might be suitable for you. After you’ve selected a few different locations, go to the forums for those specific locations and ask about the best way to find long-term accommodation in these places.

      In general, Air Bnb is going to be more expensive long-term than finding an apartment locally through one of the local websites or facebook groups. With that being said, Air Bnb is a great place to start and can mean that you can move over there straight away and stay in a relatively cheap Air Bnb for a month or so until you find cheaper accommodation over there.

      Hope that all makes sense

  2. hi, hopefully you still respond to questions on here. I’m planning to move to the States. In my case, there is no job waiting for me there. The plan is to look for a place that offers short term accomodation (something that I’m totally unfamiliar with) while I look for a job. I was hoping you could help me out in finding websites that explain how short term accomodations work and if there are any places that offer a monthly rent of at least 800 dollars. The plan is to rent out a place for a month. Also, I never lived on my own so basically I’m a dummy when it comes to things like this lol. Would really appreciate if you can help me out because I don’t know where to begin. I tried looking for information on short term rentals but the information is too vague. Thanks.

    1. Hi Alma,
      Yes, indeed moving abroad for the first time can be difficult, especially to know where to begin. Generally if you’re looking for short-term accommodation, you’re options are a little more limited than long-term. With that being said, you definitely still have options. Firstly I would check out any facebook groups related to the city in the states you’re planning to move to. Groups such as “Short-term rental + (STATE/CITY)” or “housing + (STATE/CITY)”.
      Then I would check out what type of options you can get for a bedroom on air bnb.
      Generally, ari bnb’s offer 33% discount if you stay somewhere for more than a month which makes this a great option short term while you’re looking for something long-term.
      Hope that helped. Check out my article on “Comprehensive guide to renting an apartment abroad” for more detailed info. Here is the link
      Hope that helps and good luck

    1. Hi Joy,
      I used this method to find out how much I would need to study any work overseas. I would work only part-time and still have enough money to live on. But obviously, this depends on which country you would be working and studying in as the Minimum wage is different in each country.

  3. Hey, I’ve been working on my Japanese while preparing to move there in 1-2 years. The budget question kept stressing me in the background but after seeing the expenses laid out in this manner I feel relaxed and more optimistic. Thanks a bunch, mate.

    1. Hey Angelo,

      Glad you found this article and video useful. Let me know if you have any questions about moving abroad and I’d be happy to help.

  4. Thank you so much for posting these fabulous and absolute tips!
    If you want to save money on your long-distance move try to decide the date, the amount of things and services provided by ensured moving company. Customizing the move according to your specific needs allows them to provide you with a successful and reliable moving process. If we are unable to provide a particular service, they will guide you to several established and trusted professionals to fulfill your moving needs.

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