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How Young Professionals Working Abroad Can Live Frugally

by Guest on March 22, 2011

Usually, working abroad in foreign countries brings great rewards for both your career and your finances. However, extravagant, extraneous spending can nullify the financial gains stemming from earning an expatriate salary.

Furthermore, due to the worldwide recession, salaries for working abroad are declining. More companies are starting to structure compensation packages to resemble the pay rates of host countries. For example, if you are sent to Shanghai, you may be asked to accept a host country package, which bases salary on the market rate of your services within Shanghai.

This makes it increasingly important for those living and working abroad to tap their inner frugal nature. In order to increase your savings, you can easily cut down on daily expenditures, but here are some other tips on how to live and work abroad frugally:

Hang out with the Locals When Working Abroad

If you are working for a European or American company in the Middle East, Southeast Asia, or Africa, it is easy to become a little too comfortable within your expat compound.

The downside of only associating with other foreigners: you may be paying expat prices for most of your goods and services! You can become better acquainted with the local hang outs by involving yourself within the broader community.

Usually, actual citizens in the host country know about great deals for dining, music, and shopping. In addition to saving money, you will learn more about the culture and traditions of a new place. You may even learn some new recipes, which will save you from the expenses of dining out on a regular basis.

Look for Deals Before You Work Abroad

Groupon has already invaded Europe, but you don’t necessarily need a specific website to provide you with deals in another country.

Frequent visits to cultural events and museums can rack up a long list of expenses. If there is an exhibit you are interested in viewing, check online to find discount rates or even free admission days.

Also look for discounts on government websites. You may be able to find tourist deals for certain events, especially if they take place during tourism off seasons.

Get Comfortable With Skype When Working Abroad

Personal long distance calls, usually not covered by your employer, can be expensive and unnecessary. Embrace modern technology and the increasingly efficient communications industry! It’s never too late to earn your MA in communications, if you want to better your networking skills. In addition to great social networking sites, you find great deals to keep in touch with your family via telephone.

Try using Skype’s calling plans. You can use it from your phone or laptop from any Wi-Fi location. Plus, the calling rates are much cheaper than calling directly abroad from your phone. If you don’t want to pay, you can Skype with your friends/family for free when you are both online. If Skype doesn’t float your boat, find calling cards from gas stations or markets in your host country. A little bit of exploration can save you a lot of money!

Learn to Bargain Like A Local

Just because you may stick out like a sore thumb in your new place of residence doesn’t mean you should be the target of high-priced goods and services.

Explore local markets during your down time.  Before buying anything, see if others are bargaining for grocery items or other goods.

Assuming all items sell at fixed prices can lead to trouble. You may be paying much more for an item than market prices would suggest. Bargaining is an acquired skill, but you can learn to do so pretty easily after practice. Plus, it can be tons of fun!

This has been a guest post by Lauren Bailey, a freelance writer and blog junkie, who blogs about online colleges. She especially loves hearing back from her readers. Questions or comments can be sent to: blauren99 @gmail.com.

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