How to Create a Budget for Moving to Another Country

Moving to another country is not only a new life and opportunities but also significant expenses. It’s important to accurately assess and plan your budget to avoid finding yourself in a difficult situation. Let’s break down what to consider when planning your move.

Preparing for the Move

First, get your finances in order at home. Pay off all debts, loans, and fines to avoid problems with crossing borders and obtaining visas or residence permits.

If you own an apartment, it’s advisable to either sell it or rent it out. For both options, you need to either be the owner yourself or grant a power of attorney to someone you trust. They will be able to sell the apartment, rent it out, handle repairs, and manage utility payments.

What to Do with Your Belongings?

We recommend taking only the essentials with you. Transporting all your belongings abroad doesn’t make sense — it’s inconvenient and complicated. It’s also expensive, and there are limitations on duty-free baggage.

It’s better to sell or give away excess items. You can have an online sale or organize a garage sale, inviting friends and acquaintances. You can also donate items to charity funds.

If you don’t want to part with your belongings, find out how much it will cost to ship them to another country. Many people use storage services with monthly payments. Then, once they are settled in their new place, they handle the transportation. You can also estimate these costs in advance.

Initial Expenses

To get to your destination, you need to buy tickets with baggage and possibly pay visa fees. Check in advance what documents will be needed and what fees you will have to pay.

For legalization, you will need diplomas, certificates, and other documents, which will need to be translated into the country’s language. Some documents may also require an apostille or notarization. All of this will also require money. Each country has its own requirements. For example, in Spain, some documents need to be translated by an accredited jurado translator.

Find out how much health insurance costs and what taxes and mandatory contributions you will have to pay. Information on taxes in different countries can be found here. You may also need to open an account in a local bank, which sometimes requires additional expenses or meeting certain conditions.

Housing Expenses

Upon arrival, you will need to rent accommodation immediately. Find out in advance what documents and confirmations are required for renting.

The cost of renting a home varies greatly from country to country. For example, in the Netherlands, renting a one-bedroom apartment costs around $1300 per month, excluding utilities. In France, it’s about $750 per month, and in Latvia, around $450. You can check prices on Numbeo, but it’s better to find local rental websites and check current prices there. Keep in mind that prices may change depending on the season, especially if you’re moving to a tourist country.

Rental expenses usually include a prepayment for the first month and a refundable deposit — often equal to one or two months’ rent. If you rent through an agency or realtor, be prepared to pay a commission, which is usually equivalent to one month’s rent.

In some countries, rental housing may be unfurnished. For example, in Germany, apartments are often rented completely empty. It’s best to find this out in advance and calculate the cost of buying all the necessary items.

It’s better to inspect different housing options and check documents on-site, so be ready to stay temporarily in a hotel. Consider these expenses as well.

Daily Expenses

To estimate the cost of living for the first month and subsequent periods, calculate your daily expenses. The principle is the same as with housing; it depends greatly on the place where you will be living. You can check approximate prices and even create your grocery basket on Numbeo. Note that these are average prices, and your expenses may be significantly lower or higher.

In the Netherlands, average monthly expenses, excluding rent, for one person are approximately $1035. In Latvia, it’s about $890, and in Vietnam, only $460.

Evaluate your transportation costs as well: prices for public transport and car maintenance.

Unexpected Expenses

Be sure to budget for unexpected expenses — they will definitely occur. We recommend setting aside 10-20%. This will help avoid unpleasant surprises and make your move more comfortable. You might need money for language courses, translator services, transport, or legal services. You might need to replace household appliances or furniture. And don’t forget about leisure: you’ll probably want to visit cafes, museums, and travel around your new location.


Moving abroad is a significant event that requires preparation and proper budget planning. By considering all possible expenses, you can avoid unpleasant surprises and successfully start your new life. Good luck in your new place!

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