How NOT to Save Money

How NOT to save money when working as an international school teacher #6: Spend tons of money during your trip back home

December 21, 2014

We all hear about the big possibility of saving money while working at international schools, but the reality is that many of us don’t save much of any money.  So, why aren’t these international school teachers saving money?


How NOT to save money when working as an international school teacher #6 – Spend tons of money during your trip back home

Of course you go back to your home country to spend time with your friends and family. It is important to go back at least once a year to see them in person and hang out like before you moved abroad. Even if you are able to Skype a lot with these people throughout the year, you can’t beat getting a hug from them in person!

boots2We all know though that there is something else on our minds when we go back home…and that is shopping!  We all have those go-to-stores that we must visit.  If you are from the United States, then it might be Target. If you are from England, then it might be Boots. Finding time to do a bit of shopping in these stores is a must!

Maybe clothes are cheaper in your home country. Buy them!

Are some toiletries cheaper and are there brands that you can’t get in your host country? Buy them!

Did you bring an extra suitcase in your other suitcase just for putting the stuff you bought from your trip back home? Buy even more!

Now to food.

Food is extremely important when living abroad. One of the best parts of living abroad is trying the local products and food delicacies, but having a bit of the food from your home country around can be quite comforting.

Img00003Everyone has their own food that they want to buy and bring back to their host country. What one teacher might bring back, another teacher might say why. To each their own really.  We all have those things that we want and that is how life goes as an expat.

But, the key is not to let your home country purchases get outta hand!  “Oh, I’ll just buy one of these and two of those” one day. The next day you find yourself saying, “Oh, I better buy one more of each!”  Purchase after purchase, the amount you spend goes up and up.

It is easy to get caught up in the mainframe of “well, I am only here one time a year, so I better stock up.”  Though that is true, saying it over and over in your head can increase your purchases even more than you were expecting (not allowing your save your money as it were!).

How can you then keep your purchases under control? One key rule to keep in mind: only buy things that you for sure can’t already buy in your host country.

Is it true that the longer you live abroad, the less things that you buy when you go back home? Or maybe it is that you get smarter about the things you let yourself purchase. Some might say both of those statements are not true at all and that we are all subject to the temptation of buying products from our homeland when we go back for a visit and putting our savings plan on hold for a bit.

Happy shopping back home and bringing those items back to your home abroad!


We do have a comment topic on our website related to the theme of what food items you might want/need to bring to your new host country (don’t go overboard though!).  It is in the city section of the comments and information tab on the school profile pages. It is called: Tell about your experiences in the local grocery stores. What can you get or cannot get? Which ones are your favorites.

“There are almost no British/Australian/NZ/Canadian/American food items that can’t be found in Bangkok nowadays. Items from home tend to be expensive though, so you you may wish to pack a couple of jars of Marmite/Vegemite and your favourite tea bags.” – Rasami (Thai-British) International School (Bangkok, Thailand) – 11 Comments

“Sometimes, items are in abundance, and other times they are scarce, such as peanut butter.” – Orchlon School (Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia) – 68 Comments

“We can get nearly everything. Rooibos tea is hard to find, but everything basic is easy to get.” – Qatar Academy (Doha) (Doha, Qatar) – 56 Comments

“There is a very large supermarket 5 minutes walk from the school. It has a wide variety of products. (Greater variety than Danish supermarkets)” – International School of Helsinki (Helsinki, Finland) – 30 Comments