The title says it all. This is the worst part to think about when considering to move abroad. It really grinds my gears when people say, “Well, if you don’t like living in X then you should just move!” This is a problematic statement as you’re making the assumption that everyone has the financial and emotional resources available to move. When considering moving countries, you might as well magnify the cost by a few factors. I also find it fascinating that I was able to write my first two posts within two weeks of each other, while this one has been sitting on the back burner for a couple of months. Thinking and writing about money is draining! However, this is all the more reason to make sure to save what you can and plan ahead.
Perhaps the most cost effective moving abroad strategy is finding a job before moving. Staying put with family, remaining in your apartment with roommates, or looking while you’re in school are most likely more cost effective than moving to your country of choice and looking there. Since it’s illegal to work without a visa, unless you have a way of generating income remotely, you won’t be able to earn money while looking for work if you’re already abroad. To facilitate this kind of move, you would have to have substantial savings or generous friends or family members that can provide housing and food. I have an immense amount of privilege because I had enough savings to sustain myself for six months without a job. I was also incredibly lucky to have a partner with a well paying job to fall back on. The unfortunate reality is that employers will most likely take your application more seriously if you list an address in the same country. While including your address on your resume isn’t a requirement, being readily available for in person interviews is important. However, each industry is different. With Skype and other communication apps, conducting interviews remotely is becoming the norm and is at least part of most screening processes.
If you do plan on moving before landing a job, do your research. Maybe you have friends or family you can stay with. Lookup laws around renting and subletting. I used Airbnb to rent a sublet, which was incredibly expensive but definitely above board. Look into staying in smaller towns or just outside of main cities to reduce expenses. Looking back, I could have saved a lot more money if I chose to live elsewhere. Then again, most of London is expensive. Surprisingly, it doesn’t even make the top 20 list of the most expensive cities in the world. Nonetheless, I could have chosen less expensive accommodations. I decided not to move any furniture because I wasn’t super attached to any of it, so I saved a lot of money there. Flight costs will also differ.
Time to rip off the bandaid. Below is a breakdown of my expenses. I decided not to include the cost of furniture, clothes, and other expenses that will vary more from person to person. I’m seriously cringing at how much the Airbnb was. There’re probably way cheaper ways to go like staying in a hostel or finding a sublet with more roommates. Alas, I can’t change the past. It also includes exciting parts of my move, see cat, that I have not yet discussed. If there’s enough interest, I’ll definitely write a post about it. Spoiler alert: it was incredibly stressful an expensive but it was worth every penny.
- Cost of living
- Airbnb $4768 (3.5 months)
- Rent, apartment= $3218.85 (3 months)
- Food, train, entertainment, phone= $2000 (6 months, rough estimate)
- Roundtrip flight $567.66
- Flight back to NYC $567.66
- Flight back to London $1900
- Moving cat
- Roughly $1000 including vet fees, certificates from USDA, reception fee at airport
- Professional registration
- HCPC registration $567.66
- BASW registration $60