Female digital nomad graphic | SCRIBACEOUS.COM

From the beaches of Belize to the bodegas of New York City, the life of a digital nomad is a glamorous one. It’s also more expensive than you might think!

There’s a cost to constant travel, so you’ll want to be smart, frugal, and prepared for the non-filtered realities of working remotely around the world.

Here are just a few tips for saving money as a digital nomad:

Accumulate Some Savings

First things first…don’t quit your job to become a digital nomad until you have at least six months of savings in the bank.

You’ll need that money to support your adventures. What’s more, you never know when a freelancing gig will fall through or when you’ll have a major emergency purchase like a last-minute plane ticket or overseas hospital bill.

You’ll be glad to have a nest egg to act as a safety net.

Use a Currency Converter

Does a convenience store sandwich cost 2,700 bucks?! No, that’s just the price in Korean Won…it works out to around $2 USD.

It’s easy to lose perspective when shopping in a currency that you aren’t familiar with. It’s also easy to overspend, especially if you’re hopping between different countries and different currencies all the time.

Do yourself a favor and use an app or website for currency conversion. Keep it handy for all purchases that you make abroad.

Beware of Housing Costs

Accommodation is one of the biggest expenses for travelers of every type. As a digital nomad, it’s something that you’ll have to deal with again and again, so it’s best to develop a strategy for it.

Get comfortable with sites like Airbnb and Vrbo. Know how to find last-minute hotel deals through Hotel Tonight.

And, consider alternative housing options such as homestays, couch surfing, or becoming a house sitter.


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Create a Monthly Budget

It doesn’t matter whether you’re bundled up in the mountains or digging your toes into the sand, your paycheck is your paycheck and you don’t want to exceed it.

The trick is figuring out how much you can afford to spend every month in your particular destination. Different places might be more expensive in terms of food, lodging, or public transport.

Forget the Co-Working Spaces

You don’t need a fancy co-working space. It might look nice on Instagram, but it’s an unnecessary expense. Any major city will have cafes and other public places with free Wi-Fi.

If you need access to office equipment, such as printers and scanners, look for a library! They’ll usually let patrons use their equipment for a small fee. Another option is staying at a hotel that offers business suites or facilities.

Apply for an International Credit Card

Avoid “foreign transaction fees” by getting yourself a credit card that can be used anywhere in the world. They’re available from many major brands like Chase, Discover, and Capital One.

The best international credit cards also offer reward or loyalty programs that can benefit you in extra ways. These perks can include everything from free airline miles to cashback on certain types of purchases.

Visit Non-Party Attractions

You don’t have to pop champagne like the uber-elite in Crazy Rich Asians on HBO Max. In fact, you can save a lot of money by being a teetotaler!

While it may be a matter of individual preferences, just think of all the cash that you throw away while clubbing on drinks, tips, cover charges, drunken Uber rides etc.

If you plan (and enjoy!) an evening around a non-party attraction, you’ll spend much less. Consider things like beaches, parks, and shopping malls

Make Smart Short-Term Purchases

Will you be staying in one location for a while? Consider making short-term investments like buying a local SIM card.

Rather than paying international fees for your usual one, you can save a lot of money by living like a resident for some time.

This also applies to other purchases like monthly bus fares or grocery store rewards cards. If you’ll be sticking around for a bit, act like it!

Develop a Side Hustle

It’s always nice to have a little extra cash and you don’t have to give up on your side hustles just because you’re away from home.

The internet makes it easy to continue business as usual. You can vlog, take surveys, sell secondhand goods, pick up virtual freelancing jobs, and more.

You can also look into local opportunities. For example, teaching or tutoring English as a second language (ESL) is a common way that English speakers earn money abroad.


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Take Advantage of Freebies

This might sound obvious, but there are lots of freebies that travelers don’t always utilize—especially the young and hip crowd.

For example, they might pass on an unexotic shuttle service to and from the airport. They might sneer at the continental breakfasts offered by their hotels. Never pass up a freebie!

Even if you don’t want that blueberry granola bar now, you can tuck it into your bag and munch on it during your next commute.

Stay Productive

Last, but not least, don’t forget that you’re still a working professional. Your “office” might be a bakery where you sip on chai tea and enjoy incredible views outside of the window, but you need to get things done regardless.

You need regular paychecks to support your nomadic wanderings. If you can figure out how to stay focused regardless of where you are on a map or what kind of environment that you’re working from, you’re golden.

How to Save Money as a Digital Nomad

Is adventure calling your name? You can answer it! Just make sure that you’re smart, well-prepared, and willing to make a few sacrifices in order to support yourself as a digital nomad. It can be an amazing lifestyle, but just like any other kind of living, it isn’t without its challenges.

About the author : Janet Doré

Janet Doré is the founder and CEO (Chief Everything Officer) of Scribaceous, Inc., a boutique design company specializing in branding & graphic design, IHubApp PWAs, WordPress websites, and optimized blog content. She is also the proud creator of the Hub Mama program where she trains and mentors those looking to grow their own freelance Hubmaster business.

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