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Planning Process: Financing the Move Abroad

The Repat Diaries 

You decided you want to repatriate to Africa or move abroad! Now what? The most common question posed to us is “how can one afford to make such a big move?” First, you have to research your country of choice. Here is the kicker! There are two ways of looking at this. You can live like a local or live like a king. Whatever you choose, your savings goal should reflect that. If you are looking to get a job you may not have to save as much to cover an extended period of time because you would eventually have a source of income once you find employment. However, if you plan to relax and have some much needed detox time after getting out of the “rat race” you may need to save a bit more. No matter what you choose to do we suggest you look at the move from a local’s perspective and save based on how most natives live.

There are so many ways to save money for a big move. It takes planning and dedication. We already had a monthly family budget which we adjusted to accommodate for our move. Based on our research of Ghana, our country of choice, we determined that the median income is approximately 29,669 cedis or roughly $10,483 dollars. Using the average salary information, knowing there was constant inflation in the Ghana economic, and our desire to live comfortably for awhile while we developed our business(es), allowed us to set a financial goal which we had a year to save said dollar amount. However, since we changed our departure date, we would only have 6 months to save our nest egg. The money would cover rent, utilities, food, transportation, and other basic necessities. Now, we know saving a few thousand dollars in  6 months for most people sounds impossible, especially if you have children, but it’s definitely doable if you can commit to a frugal lifestyle for a short period of time. To be honest we didn’t have to do much adjusting in order to save due to our minimalist lifestyle, but I know this is not the case for most. So how did we do it?


 We adjusted our household budget. For most, creating a budget is like torture. Trying to stick to a budget, forget it. However, a family budget is essential for all purposes, especially making a big move or taking a big trip. Therefore, you want to look at how much money you and your spouse are earning each month and after monthly expenses, how much is leftover. Write that number down. Determine what expenses you can cut back on or remove completely. If you know where your money is going, then you will know how much you can save. My husband and I created our budget together so we made sure we were both very aware of our finances. We did this by creating a basic spreadsheet in Excel and put all of our information in it. If you're not excel savvy there are free tools available online. Once we made a saving goal of $30,000 for the move, we revisited the family budget to determine how we would manage our finances for the move and where we could cut more expenses. Here is our excel template if you would like to use it. 

 • Make a grocery list.  Most people’s grocery bill is out of control and we find this to be an area where you can do some serious saving. We decided to stop shopping for the week and shop by the day. This helped us to cut down on stocking up on unnecessary food and items that typically go to waste. We buy what we need for our meals and maybe extra produce but that’s it. This was also a way to prepare for our move because in most developing countries locals shop daily because food tends to spoil rather easily (no GMOs or preservatives) and electricity isn’t always consistent.

 Get rid of cable, get basic cable, or find a cable alternative.  Another area where people tend to over spend is on cable. There was a time where we didn’t have cable at all which actually aided us in our savings. We have kept our internet and watch shows online. This has saved us around $125/month. For those of you who can’t live without HGTV and the Cooking Network, then simply cut back on your cable package which is something we also did and it saved us between $40-50/month. 

 Cut back on eating out. You can budget for this which is what we did or pay for the Cooking network, become an iron chef, and make fabulous dishes at home. Either way this can be an enormous cost for families, but if you cut back in this area you can definitely have more money to save for your move. 

 Car note, car insurance, and gas. You can sell your car if you can and take public transportation. Carpool or use services like Uber or Lyft. If you can’t sell your car find cheaper insurance and try to drive only when you need too to cut down on getting gas. We plan to sell our cars before we leave but in the mean time we have found cheaper insurance which saves us about $80/month. We typically drive my husband’s car because he has a gas allowance through his job which cuts down on gas costs. 

 Housing options. Moving in with friends or family in order to save may not be ideal, however, it can help you meet your goal even faster. We haven't done this, but a good friend of ours did and he was able to save in 6 months versus a full year. 

 Pack light. Sell everything if you can! One thing we realized very quickly is material things can be replaced. Do not try to ship everything you own when you can easily sell it all, make money from the sale to add to your savings, and buy brand new things once you settle in your new home country. We are currently in the process of selling everything we own. We didn’t think twice about it because we have no attachments to material things and we can see the bigger picture. 

 Fundraising. Get family and friends involved with your journey by asking for a set dollar amount to help fund the move. Try not to overwhelm them but let them know that even the smallest donation helps.

*Ps. Please feel free to reach out to us to get more exact numbers of who we financed our move. There are additional things that you can do to save for your move and it will vary depending on your situation. This plan worked for us but may not work for everyone. Do your research and plan accordingly. It is very important to remember that this decision will come with sacrifice but there is a light at the end of the tunnel if you just stay on course. It won’t be easy but it will be well worth it in the end.

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