Traveling is expensive, let alone planning to move to another country. Many unexpected things can happen: Not finding a job as quickly as one would think, unexpectedly losing a job, not finding a place in your price range, and simply running out of money can be few of the many financial obligations one may face when deciding to live abroad. No matter how much one can plan, as in my case, saving for a year and even selling my car to get the cash to support myself in my first few months in Berlin. However, I could not predict my partner’s business problems and subsequent money issues we had.
I will be 30 in a few months. I am not exactly at an age where one can call their parents for money when I am deeply in need. I grew up in a house with a mother as an educator, my father helped with support, but I basically grew up on the lower edge of the middle class. With other siblings, and financial obligations of their own, my parents are not exactly the first people I can call when in need. With no help from home, and making decent money, but not being rich, I have managed to see many states and a little under 20 countries. I still think one should try in their lives to at least travel, and if possible, live in another country. Trust me, it is not easy, but I swear, if a shopaholic-perpetual expensive lunch-plus I always need hair and nails done- kind of girl, it is absolutely possible for one to do it, with work.
1. Save Money wherever you can:
One of the first ways I started to save money was to simply monitor my spending. I would take out cash, and just spend that. It really helped for me to see the money I was spending. After I assessed the damage, I started to see where I could cut back. I did not need a new pair of shoes every few weeks, and they certainly did not need to be a certain brand. I lived in LA, so I got a wholesaler license and went to the Fashion District where I would buy less, for less money. I also stopped treating all my friends, and going out to lunch all the time. I started to make food, and invite people over.
2. Get rid of things you don’t need:
Towards crunch time, I started selling things I did not need but could be sold on Craigslist. I did not need a TV and everything if I had the internet, for example.
3. Start to get a feeling for costs:
When I was visiting Berlin every couple of months, I noticed when was the best time to purchase, and generally how much things would cost, and started saving towards that goal price. I also started visiting websites for locals in English to see how much things would cost such as phone bills, rent, cars, essentials. That also helped on frequent visits. For example, Berlin has cheap rent, but also cheap salaries. I was shocked to see what passed as a salary here, but it is enough to survive.
4. Make a life plan:
You need to really budget and plan as much as you possibly can. Know where you will stay, how much, and save for that goal. I cannot stress a plan enough. Start looking for jobs before you leave. Learn what skills and things you need before you land. For example, in Germany you need to know the language and to have patience.
5.I swear to god, SAVE:
I pretty much shut my social life down as soon as I decided to move to Germany. I was serious about saving money, because I know that if I got stuck, that all I had was my partner and his pod. If I wanted to have my own money, I needed to save my own and hit the ground running on finding a job to earn more.
These are the things that worked for me, however, I had a partner. Alone, I would maximize my efforts towards saving and finding information regarding your potential job, housing, and quality of life. Trust me, it made the difference to visit. If this poor girl from the Inland Empire of California can do it, you can save and go wherever your heart desires.