Living Abroad – an Extreme Approach to Saving!
Guest post from Genevieve
Although we had six months to prepare, the shift to one income after having our first baby was a total shock to the system.
We were in a situation not unlike many other families out there. We had a new business which was only making a little bit of money, but had so much potential that we didn’t want to “shelf it” while we had a family. And as a new mom, I didn’t want to go back to work to make ends meet. So we came up with a rather novel solution.
We packed up the family and moved to Cambodia!
We were fortunate that our business didn’t require us to have a physical presence anywhere. Our business was small, but the income was mostly reliable. We realized would make the same money no matter where we lived, so while we were only making ends meet in an expensive Western consumer society, we live a wonderful lifestyle with our kids abroad.
Our business is 100% online — we sell name change kits to new brides — but even if you don’t have an online business, moving overseas might still be possible for your family!
Developing countries have large expat communities of teachers, hairdressers, architects, graphic designers, bloggers, writers and so many other professions. These people can make decent money abroad. In some cases you only need to work 20 hours a week as you’re making the same hourly wage as if you would in the states. As an added bonus, it’s wonderful way to watch your children grow up in a multi-cultural society.
Interested? Here are some suggestions on how to gear up for a move:
Freelancer? Reach out to all your business contacts and see if any can commit to a monthly work load. Consider charging less for the added flexibility, and you’re more likely to get an ongoing contract.
Online business? All you need is a decent internet connection. Even rural South America has decent internet these days. Get a US toll free number that diverts to Skype so you can provide customer service anywhere
Teacher or hairdresser? Most capital cities have a thriving expat community and you can make decent money serving expat clients.
No special skills? Become a freelancer or create your own blog with your adventures abroad. Sites like Freelance.com and Odesk allow you to find work in data entry writing, customer service, and more. Virtually all the jobs posted on these sites have no geographic requirements.
Benefits of Living Abroad
Cheaper cost of living. Rent, food, and travel, is all considerably cheaper in developing countries.
Affordable, quality childcare. If you’re a working mom, you can find an abundance of wonderful caring nannies in many countries. With wages from around $60 per month part-time, it’s an affordable investment
More time with family. Especially if you work from home with a nanny. Be with your kids when you want, and work when it suits you.
Consume less. Embrace a simpler lifestyle. Consumerism is hard to come by anywhere outside of North America and Europe.
Healthier lifestyle. So many of the fruits and veggies sold in the US are months old before they hit the supermarket. Developing countries are flushed with affordable and fresh fruit and vegetables, often organically grown.
De-stress. With finances less of a worry and more time with your kids, your mental state of mind is sure to improve.
Cheaper healthcare. Cost and quality of healthcare vary wildly depending where you live, but nowhere is more expensive than the US. If you have an existing health condition, check the quality and prices of hospitals where you plan to move.
Life experience. This is something that money can’t buy. Our 2-year-old is a budding tri-linguist. We love learning about other cultures!
Affordable travel. If you need a break from your break, it can be very affordable to travel to neighboring countries and get a real glimpse of how others live.
Yes, there are some drawbacks of living so far from home — Grandparents missing out is the biggest — but we will be living back home soon enough and all this will be a wonderful memory.
If we were back on the money treadmill in the states we wouldn’t have much time for socializing with friends and family in any case, and we would be stressed out all the time.
We are three years into our five-year adventure and haven’t looked back!
Genevieve Dennis is a reformed corporate stress head. She lives with her husband, Miss 2, and Miss Newborn in rural Cambodia. She and her husband run Easy Name Change in the mornings, then swim, play and socialize in the afternoons.
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