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Yes, I know part of the reason why you moved abroad was to cut your expenses, but here are a few tips on how to minimize your expenses even MORE while abroad. I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t follow any of these rules. Mexico City is so much cheaper when it comes to these rules I don’t mind spending the money. The same might be said for your new country but again if you want to save, follow these rules!!!
1. Don’t fall into the “you must come back home for every graduation, birthday, holiday”! This is what Skype/Hangouts/WhatsApp/? is for. Video calls and pictures are your new best friend. Save that money and put it in a savings account somewhere.
2. Stay out of American food chains. I went to PF Chang this past Sunday for my favorite glass of plum wine and stir-fry. So, yes call me a hypocrite but sometimes you need a “fix” and remembrance of back home. Eating local food all the time can get old when you’re so used to variety.
3. Don’t ever go to the mall. Shop locally as the malls are overpriced. You need to find out where the locals shop for certain things. I’m also guilty of this because all the American food chains are in the malls, but I have great restraint on buying unnecessary things in the mall. Plus I hate shopping anyway, so you won’t catch me in the mall shopping unless it’s something I really need.
4. Learn to negotiate if it is part of the culture in your new home. Be prepared to walk away to help your negotiations. This isn’t really a thing here in Mexico City as prices are posted in most places here, so I never negotiate on price.
5. Don’t buy familiar brands you find from back home. Buy the local brand only. I know buying these brands will make you feel more comfortable, but don’t do it! The familiar brand is always priced more than the local brand. You’re going to have to find new products you like through trial and error. I buy local brands all the time. Find a new seasoning, soap, and cleaner to satisfy you.