Make it Last: 4 Budgeting Hacks For Expats and Travelers

You’ve moved abroad, you’ve gone through the stressful visa process, and now you’re getting settled into your new international life. Naturally, you want it all: to eat well, travel well, and enjoy any and every thing available to you. While this year may be the year of the “Yes!” sometimes it may seem like the monthly stipend is saying “yeah right”. After some trial and error and admittedly, frantically checking my bank statement at the end of every month to see if I’ve been paid, I have compiled a few ways that have helped manage, save and elongate the paycheck of a Language Assistant in Spain. Perhaps these tried and true tips will help you as you embark on your new journey in your new state or country! 

  Create a cohesive budget

Budgeting may not the be the most exciting thing, but it is definitely a good habit and quality to pick up at a young age. If the idea of sitting down and hashing out your finances stresses you out then there are a few tools that can motivate you to budget, or can even do it for you.

For someone who is more creative or crafty, try the bullet journal. The Bullet journal is a self-made organization system that includes budgeting. On top of getting more organized, you’ll have a beautiful masterpiece that you’ll be proud of once you’re done.

For those of us who are more tech savvy, there are several apps out there to manage your finances such as Mint or Spendee that will track your spending and tell you exactly how much you’re meant to spend on say, food in a month.

If a lot of your budget goes towards food, then try cooking at the beginning of the week and meal planning to help save money on eating out randomly.


Supplement your income

Nowadays everyone is hustling. A side hustle could be just what you need to make some extra money on the side. For English speakers the most obvious thing to do is to pick up private lessons on the side, or work in an English Academy. For those who don’t necessarily want to teach, freelancing may be a way to supplement your income. Websites like, a global freelancing platform, allow you to work with businesses all over the world in various fields.


 Be honest with yourself

I am a social person who loves to go out on the weekends and there is no way I can get around it. If I’m doing some major savings I will definitely cut back, but in the end, I love going out, that’s just who I am. So when creating a budget, I know that I must allot money (not a ridiculous amount) for drinks with friends, and cut back in other areas, such as eating out or random impulse expenses. Know where you are willing to sacrifice and where you aren’t.


     Go off the beaten path

Don’t be afraid to go off the beaten path, be open to going to different places or travel during off peak times. Small or lesser known cities could be cheaper alternative while also showing you a different side of a country. Staying two blocks from the Colosseum in Rome, Italy may be wonderful in theory but shelling out half of your paycheck could be avoided should you choose to visit a nearby town or stay further away from major tourist attractions.

Also be sure to utilize your resources on the wonderful internet. Join apartment exchange groups on Facebook, try Couchsurfing, or stay with friends to minimize travel expenses.


What are some of your tried and true ways to manage money?

Nikki Ndukwe is a twenty-something part time writer + foodie and full time travel enthusiast. Most of her time is spent plotting new adventures and day dreaming about life in Spain. Lover of photography, style, food, culture, languages, and all things Spain, Nikki is currently adventuring in the north of the country.