If only expat life was all peaches and roses. Most people think expats are living the high life getting an expat premium and tons of extra allowances to live in another country. Yes, I did get an expat assignment in a great country where most people speak English and I can find a ton of American brands, but expat life isn’t just a bowl of cherries. You have to get used to a whole new country, culture and a whole new life. Not only are you looked upon as a “foreigner” but they assume because you are a “foreigner” that you’re rich.
So my friends and family know that me and the hubby are not rich. We are simple folk and try to be frugal. We make our own compost, we rip a paper towel in half to share, we rarely go out to eat, we grow our own vegetables to save on money, I cut the hubby’s hair myself and use Groupon, LivingSocial or Restaurant.com when we want to do something extra special.
Living in the Philippines is definitely something to get used to as a lot of places many locals try to take advantage of us. Whether it’s charging more for a service than locals pay, trying to scam us on something like parking or expecting I want to pay an extra 20 PHP ($0.47) for imported nail polish. I may be splurging more than I would be back home, mainly on travel since when am I ever going to be living in Asia ever again?!? However, I’m still not going to fork out 3,000 PHP ($70) for a gym membership at my work or eat dinner out every night. I wish I had a ton of disposable income but we do have a mortgage back home, pets, and a house that’s in the middle of being remodeled.
So here’s to trying to be frugal on an expat assignment while still trying to enjoy all that the assignment has to offer! Let’s just hope we come home with more money then when we left!