When it comes to saving money, I go through periods where I save all my money followed by periods where I buy way too much stuff that I don’t need (mostly books). Here are some tips on how to save money as an au pair.
Find a job
Being an au pair is all good and fun, but it doesn’t pay a lot of money. If your host kids go to school, this gives you plenty of time during the day to get a job.
Start a budget
Write down how much money you have coming in every month and then write down your expenses. Figure out what your priorities are. If you have a monthly phone bill, a gym membership or a car, those expenses come first. Write down how much this is every month and then look at the money you have left. In the first couple of months, write down what you spent money on at the end of every day. This makes it easy to see where you can make cuts.
Put money in a savings account/a little jar
After writing everything down, I worked out how much money I needed per month to actually enjoy myself without spending a crazy amount of money. My host parents pay my money into my bank account every week. So, as soon as I receive the money, I transfer part of it into my savings account. That way I can’t just spend it, and I’m very aware of it if I have to transfer it back to my current account.
Live off your host family – like you’re supposed to
I actually have a little trouble this one, but you’re supposed to be a member of the family. All your essentials should be paid for. As a vegan, I eat a lot of fruit, and I feel bad for everything they buy, so I buy it myself as well. If you buy something for the house, you can leave receipts for your host parents and ask for the money back.
Save by participating in a challenge
Something as simple as the 1-penny challenge will help you save £650 in a year! Go on Pinterest and look for money saving challenges to find one that fits your salary.
Finally, get creative
Drink what the locals drink and don’t go to the big coffee chains. You can find coffee that’s much cheaper (and usually better) at smaller coffee joints. (I do like a Starbucks coffee, though, so you don’t have to follow my advise on this one.)
Whatever you do, don’t forget that this is your time in a different country. Make sure you enjoy yourself. Don’t make the mistake of skipping out on fun just to save some money. If you break your budget, you can make up for it in the next month.