Living abroad doesn’t have to be expensive – all we hear nowadays is that British expatriates in the eurozone can’t afford their luxury lifestyle anymore, it’s too expensive to move abroad, Brits can’t sell their UK home to fund their relocation, and a fixed pension is not enough to survive upon overseas. What rubbish! Since when have scaremongering headlines and depressed media reporting meant anything to you?
There is nothing we hate more at Shelter Offshore than someone telling us we can’t do something! The Internet was invented for people who feel the same way – no more restrictions on information dissemination, no more lack of freedom of voice, and no more brainwashing people into believing there are any restrictions on their life other than those they impose on themselves!
What’s more, expatriates are freer than any other group of people – because no matter where in the world they choose to live, they have made the choice to go and live there all by themselves. Yes, a lucrative job offer could have been the carrot that finally made them move, or better weather and a better lifestyle could have made the decision an easy one, but look at it this way – you’re living abroad on your terms, you made your own choices. You are a free person. So, as this report will show you in 5 easy steps, expatriates needn’t now be restricted by mass media reporting of money worries – nor do you need to start fretting about a lack of cash in your life.
1) Start Thinking Carefully About Your Consumer Habits
– how quickly we changed from the days of ‘make do and mend’ to living in a world where we can buy disposable anything and everything.
Disposable barbeques, disposable nappies, disposable razors. Do you know what ‘disposable’ really means? It means ‘landfill’ – and there is really only so much land that we can fill with our unwanted waste before it becomes a visible problem we will have to do something about.
Having lived in a beautiful part of the world for some years, over-looking the Mediterranean and enjoying a sun-kissed existence, I was sharply awoken to the perils of irresponsible consumerism and couldn’t care less disposability by the fact that the stunning natural environment I lived in was constantly awash with the rubbish people fling into the sea. The beaches that should have been havens for sea turtles to lay their eggs on were clogged up with rubbish dumped on them by people in the local environment who didn’t value what they had, and rubbish which washed up when the tides decided they’d had enough of carrying the debris.
Whilst I’m not accusing you of adding to the problem any more than me or the next person along, next time you go to throw away a jar, a tube or a pot of something, can you just check that it’s really empty? And then recycle it? Next time you decide to buy new, check that the old item is really past its usability date. And if its not, either consider making do and saving yourself some money into the bargain – after all, that’s what this article’s all about – or free-cycling, swapping or trading in.
You can save yourself money and you can save the environment at the same time. Don’t be too hasty to throw things away – make sure they are really finished with first, and if you can, recycle or hand on.
2) Get Back to Buying and Acquiring Basics
– maybe you’ve enjoyed a period in your life where you didn’t have to think too hard about the money you spent. Or perhaps you found you had too little time to think carefully about what you bought and just shopped for the same brands time and time again. Well, I’ve got news for you – the bar in terms of quality has been raised for all sorts of goods and products nowadays, so buying branded cosmetics, pricey bathroom ‘essentials,’ named and highly advertised cleaning products or designer anything is no longer necessary if you want to guarantee quality.
You can save yourself so much cash if you buy supermarket own brand products, and often times they are the same as the big brand items, with cheaper packaging! What’s more, why not research how your mothers and grandmothers used to get by, and go back to some basics for cleaning up and general household maintenance. Depending on the nation you now live in, you may also find that the local community gets by on a lot less than you seem to need – so observe their habits and adopt them as your own! From shopping at the local market each week instead of the supermarket, to only buying what’s in season, you could learn a lot and save a lot.
In terms of clothing and furnishings, what’s stopping you from making do with what you have, scaling down how much you need, buying second hand or bargain shopping? False ‘keeping up with the Jones’s’ pride will see you out of pocket and unhappy every time – whereas realising that you don’t have to spend all your money to have a comfortable and clean home should leave you feeling smugly cheerful!
3) Living on a Budget is the New Hedonism
– it’s true, budgeting is becoming a new way of life for all! Creating and sticking to a budget is becoming obsessively competitive in certain communities in certain Western countries, and where once you might have sat round at a dinner party, gorging on your host’s hedonistic offerings and discussing the size of your mortgage, now you’re more likely to be found sharing a meal with friends that you’ve all contributed to, discussing which budget calculators are best, and how you’ve managed to shift your debts around to pay of the highest interest accruing ones first!
Look online for some help with drawing up a budget, factoring in every ounce of income and every penny of your outgoings. The best calculators will make you work hard for the results, asking you to even input the rates of interest you’re paying on secured and unsecured debt – from your credit cards to your home loan. They will then return a statement of action for you to consider following, helping you see where you can make cut backs in life, which debts to service first to ‘save’ yourself the most money in terms of interest payments, and even perhaps where you need to look at saving some cash towards your retirement.
4) Embrace Your Community and All it Has to Offer
– a community spirit can see you gain in terms of spiritual and practical fulfilment. For example, if you get to know more people in your community, you will come across more opportunities. You may find an opportunity to work for extra cash, helping a neighbour. Alternatively, perhaps you will see an opportunity where others can all work together to improve local children’s playground facilities. This has the knock on benefit to you of saving you money, because next time your children are bored, you can take them to the playground rather than spending a fortune on taking them out for the day.
Perhaps you will make more friends, and whilst this may not ‘save’ you money, it may see you find ways to recycle old items you no long want, or pick up bargains that others are giving away or selling cheap. A community spirit certainly can’t hurt you, and if you are feeling squeezed for cash, having the support of more people around you in your new home country will maybe make you feel better about life.
5) Learn How to Love Your New Life
– chances are, you moved abroad for very good and very positive reasons – it’s time you got back in touch with those old reasons and fell back in love with your life abroad. You probably had such passion when you first arrived, fuelled by the fact that everything was fresh and new and exciting. Well, it’s time to get back to that. Take a ‘staycation’ in your new nation – rather than flying ‘back home’ or heading off somewhere exotic, borrow a tent from a friend, hire a caravan, find a b and b or just take day trips out and discover your ‘new’ country.
You will save yourself bags of money, and reawaken that old spirit of adventure that drove you abroad in the first place…and perhaps that is all you need to do to embrace your life and learn to love it all over again – no matter how much or how little money you have in your wallet.