- Ryan Kretch
If you're looking to save money as a digital nomad, you know the excitement of globe-trotting, but also the challenges of managing your finances. Fear not my intrepid, sexy friend! Here are 10 lesser-known tips to help you save and grow your wealth while you explore.
1. For the Love of God, Make a Budget and Stick to It
It sounds boring as hell, but a budget is a digital nomad's best friend. Keep track of your income, expenses, and savings goals to avoid overspending. Doing this will also make you develop a more positive mindset about money.
My favorite tool is, Wallet - Daily Budget & Profit, which links all your bank accounts together (including PayPal) and makes tracking all incoming and outgoing finances and planning a budget pretty seamless.
If you are traveling with others, there are great ways to make sure everyone is spending their fair share. Fabio and I like to write everything we spend in Splitwise, which has a beautiful interface and actually makes tracking money feel fun and gamified. It also ensures that we are
2. Utilize Free Tools
There's a wealth of free resources for digital nomads. Use apps and websites to find affordable accommodation, compare flight prices, and manage your finances.
For flights, sign up to Secret Flying, which is pretty spot-on if you are flexible with your travel plans to get some of the cheapest flights. Of course, Skyscanner is a no-brainer, introducing new tools all the time to find the cheapest flight.
3. Take Advantage of Currency Exchange Rates
Pick your destinations wisely. Some countries have favorable exchange rates, allowing you to stretch your dollar further.
For example, Japan is always thought to be extremely expensive, but due to a weaker Yen in 2023, we were able to travel around Japan and somehow save money. Keep an eye on weak currency trends, as you'll save massively going to some of these destinations.
4. Cook Your Meals
Eating out can drain your wallet. Opt to cook your meals more often – it’s not just cheaper but also a fun way to explore local food markets.
This Forbes article puts it into perspective that a restaurant meal can cost five times as much as the same meal cooked at home.
That being said, if you go to aforementioned cheaper destinations, you can eat out on the cheap! Nevertheless, cooking with local ingredients generally will always come out on top as cheaper.
5. Be Flexible with Your Travel Plans
Flight prices can vary greatly depending on the day and time. Be flexible with your travel dates and times to find the best deals.
When we were headed from Cape Town to Bali, we saved hundreds on flights by just staying on a few days later. Skyscanner has some great tools for flexibly finding the cheapest days for flights.
6. Consider House Sitting or Work Exchanges
Accommodation can be one of the biggest expenses. Look for house sitting gigs or work exchanges to save cash.
We are absolute TrustedHousesitters.com lovers. While living in Berlin and London in the Summer 2023, we spent $0 on rent over the course of 2 months and got to hang with some cool cats 😍. That is essentially passive income that allows us to live in some of the world's most expensive cities on the cheap.
Here is a guide we created to get started on TrustedHousesitters.com as a traveler.
7. Travel Slow
Slow travel can save you money. Staying longer in one place can lower accommodation costs and gives you a chance to explore more deeply.
When renting on Airbnb, we often would take advantage of monthly discounts, which cut off a lot of money from the compiled daily rates.
Check out our article on slow travel.
8. Get a Local Sim Card
International roaming charges can be exorbitantly high. Get a local sim card to save on mobile data and calls.
Whenever we get to a country, this is one of the first things we do after passing through arrivals in the airport. Our work relies on good internet, so if the local wifi is not up to par, hotspotting on our phone usually does the trick!
Check out some of our digital nomad articles where we always have a section on SIM cards 🤣:
9. Prioritize Your Spending
Decide what's really important to you. Spend money on these things (especially experiences) and cut back on others (the unnecessary clothes you'll have the urge to pack with you). Remember, every dollar saved is a step closer to your financial goals.
10. Invest in Travel Insurance
It might seem like an unnecessary upfront cost, but travel insurance can save you from potentially huge unexpected expenses.
SafetyWing is our absolute favorite when it comes to this. Recently Fabio had a small accident in Bali and a 400 dollar medical bill was softened to approximately 40 dollars (the cost per month of the travel insurance. It may seem like an expense to get travel insurance at first, but it is so worth it if something were to happen.
Bonus: Invest in a skill that will make you more money
This may seem like an easier said than done one, but learning and applying an online skill like marketing, coding, data science, video editing and more will allow you to make more money, and thus if you are disciplined, save more money. Check out this post for some ideas.
Following these tips can help you stretch your money and enjoy your life as a digital nomad even more. If you want to learn about some of the essential apps to have as a digital nomad, some of which help save money, you can also check out this post. Happy travels!