Spending habits of expats

November 13, 2019
Scott Kingsley

As an expat in a new country, you are living the dream. Your salary is often much higher than back home and you are exposed to a higher quality of life. 
It is very easy for new expats to go on a spending spree when they first receive their expat salaries. They want to experience the local culture and all it has to offer. 

Surplus money is often spent on 

• dining out at fancy restaurants
• travel 
• entertainment
• buying luxury designer goods 
• splurging on luxury food items that they couldn’t get back home

All expats go through this initial honeymoon phase when relocating to a new country, but it is important to remember the reason for the move. For most expats, it is to save money and accumulate wealth for their nest egg. Unfortunately, many get caught in the spending trap and find themselves years later with no savings or assets.

Although it is normal to splurge for the first few months, it is essential that you are disciplined enough to live normally and commit to saving your surplus money for retirement, a rainy day fund or wealth building. It’s all about finding balance and budgeting. Often, expats earning very large salaries do not budget, thinking budgets are for the middle class.

Possible savings tips for expats

• Budget budget budget – of course you want to enjoy your new life; allow yourself luxuries but within moderation. Allocate savings first and then budget luxuries after your monthly expenses
• Try to live as normal a lifestyle as possible - splurging should be the exception and not the norm
• Cut down on eating out – Do you really need to eat out every weekend?
• Do you really need to live in the most expensive part of town? – Neighbouring suburbs tend to be much cheaper and are usually within 10-15 min walk of the hustle
• Plan travel during shoulder seasons and shop around for deals
• Avoid the credit card/loan trap – Easy money now, but it has to be paid eventually
• Think twice before spending, do you really need it?

“If you buy something which you don’t need, you will have to sell something which you actually need….. Pretend your salary is always 10% less than what you actually get. That 10 % is your savings. This way you live happily with what you get.”

– Warren Buffet

You may contact me to talk about the various savings options available that will suit your individual financial needs.


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