Keeping on top of your home finances while abroad

  • Tips

You may have nothing financially holding you back in your hometown, like apartment bills, bank fees, car mortgage, etc. That’s great! But this post is about when you do have to keep paying things at home while you travel.

manage your home finances while traveling abroad

First thing’s first

I would verrrrrrrrry strongly suggest not having any credit card/bad debt before you go traveling. This may be obvious, but if you aren’t paying those off, that means you’re incurring interest and your credit score is diminishing.

The second thing

Make a budget. At least have a general idea of what you think you’ll spend and you can readjust while on the road. It’s easy enough to find out how much things cost in each country. I may not plan most things in advance, but there are a few key things like money to consider.

You don’t want to look at your bank account on day, wake up from a drunken night, or – worse – being robbed – and suddenly realize you don’t have enough left to buy that nice meal, stay at a hostel, or even book your return flight home! You may get into trouble with local authorities if that’s the case. Active Planet Travels and TripSavvy have good articles on what to do when you have no money left.

Anyway, you should have some money left as a cushion for when you return. You don’t want to spend all your money on travel! You need some in order to survive when you get back home, especially if you quit your job to travel.

Paying credit cards and bills

If you have multiple credit cards, as you should, while abroad, or other bills, try to find a day where you can pay off all of them together so that it’s a once-a-month thing rather than having to remember 2 or 3 (or more!) separate days. This day has to be one where there’s overlap in the days before the bill is due…obviously. Don’t want to incur interest charges!

My only bill

I had a cell phone sim card that I had to pay every month. My cousin from Japan came to study in Canada and I offered for him to pay for the plan for the year as he would be in Canada and I would be traveling in Asia and it’s a damn good plan! You can’t find anything that cheap anymore. It worked out beautifully.

Automate what you can

Automate: have payments come out of your bank account automatically at regular intervals

Better yet if you’re able to automate your bill payments. Set it up at least 2 weeks prior to your trip. It’ll give you peace of mind and everyone will be happy.

Get rid of what you don’t need

If you can remove or pause certain expenses while you’re away, that can save you a ton! Think about any subscriptions you hold and ask if you can pause your account. This is a great time to get rid of expenses you know are a waste of money! (and will now go towards your travels, yes!)

Have a trusted friend or family member to help

Having this person be available for anything that may come up is a lesser-known tip. Find someone you trust, who would be more than willing to help you, and can relatively easily get to your place.

Here are various circumstances that may pop-up:

  • If any problems occur at home (let’s say financially-related, like a fire affects your home), then have a delegated contact whom you trust to help you out until you get back.
  • If you’re expecting a cheque or important documents in the mail while you’re away, ask said trusted person to pick-up your mail for you occasionally. This also tells burglars that your place is being watched over and they shouldn’t try to break into your home.

Other tips on your home finances

  • If you’re away for a while in winter, DO NOT turn off your heating to save money. Your pipes will freeze and it may lead to them bursting when you return, causing huge repairs and money down them broken drains.
  • Settle any personal debts. You don’t want people to get resentful when you owe them $100 and they see you posting about your travels on social media. (Nope, not talking from experience~)
  • Don’t lock up all your money in investments just in case you need some for an emergency, such as getting robbed or breaking a bone (get travel insurance!)

Here’s a related article that you might be interested in (coming soon): keeping on top of your travel expenses while abroad 

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