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Moving Abroad: Your Comprehensive Budget Checklist

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Montmartre, France courtesy of Pexels

Moving abroad can be an exciting adventure filled with new experiences and opportunities… if you budget appropriately! Let me tell you, this isn’t cheap. Whether relocating for work, study, or just for the thrill of experiencing a new culture, carefully planning your budget is important. Here’s a comprehensive checklist to help you cover all your bases. So, don’t forget these when moving abroad!

Travel Expenses

The first set of costs to consider when moving abroad is your travel expenses. This includes initial moving flights, international shipping costs for essential items, and even leisure flights and train fares to explore your new home. You may also want to have money saved for a round-trip flight home during the holidays or just on a rainy day!

Rent and Utilities

Next, accommodation expenses. Budget for at least four months of rent in advance and potential security deposit required by landlords. Also, estimate monthly utility costs, including electricity, water, heating, internet, and streaming services.

Furniture, Appliances, and Decorations

Depending on your new place, factor in the cost of potentially furnishing your new place with essential furniture like a bed, sofa, table, and chairs. Even though some places are furnished, you may want other appliances, like a dryer, which are uncommon in places outside the USA. You may need clothespins or a drying rack. Also, allocate funds for decorating your new space to make it feel like home. This may include purchasing curtains, rugs, artwork, and other decorative items. Don’t forget those random items you normally pick up at Target!


Remember to budget for public transit and rideshare fares when moving abroad. Gas for your vehicle may vary by country, and there may be other potential costs associated with purchasing a new vehicle in your new country.

Food and Groceries

Eating is non-negotiable. Estimate your monthly food and grocery expenses based on your eating habits and living costs in your new location.


Healthcare can often be overlooked, but it’s important when moving abroad—budget for health insurance, co-pays for doctor visits, prescription medications, and any other healthcare expenses.

Language Classes

If you’re moving abroad to a country where you don’t speak the language, you might want to budget for language classes. This includes tuition fees, textbooks, and any other materials or resources you may need.

Cell Phone/Data

Staying connected is crucial, especially when you’re in a new place—budget for cell phone plans and international calling or messaging fees.


Research the tax laws in your new country and budget for any taxes you may owe there and any potential tax obligations in your home country. Consider hiring a tax advisor to help navigate these complexities. Check out this expat tax website that my friends have used and loved!

Social Integration and Leisure

Getting involved in your new community often comes with its own set of costs. This could be joining clubs and organizations or attending cultural events. Your budget for fun activities should also be larger than normal since you’ll be curious to explore at first! This includes funds for dining out, going to movies, or exploring your new place.

Other and Emergency Fund

Finally, budget for must-have products that you can’t find anywhere else in the world. These are often more expensive to get in your new country. Also, setting aside funds for unexpected expenses or emergencies, such as job loss or unexpected travel is crucial.

Remember, moving abroad involves not just the immediate costs but also ongoing living expenses. I forgot about a LOT of the little things, so don’t be like me :). This checklist should help you plan effectively, but remember to account for currency exchange rates and potential fees associated with exchanging money between currencies, especially if you’re taking your savings to another country with a stronger exchange rate. If you have pets, budget for their care, including food, veterinary expenses, and any additional costs associated with moving them to your new country.

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Moving Abroad Budget Checklist (1)
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Moving Abroad Budget Checklist (2)


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