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How to Live Cheaply as a Digital Nomad (10 Must-Know Tips)

Over the last few years, the number of digital nomads has drastically increased. And this recent study found that 48% of digital nomads see financial freedom as a top benefit.

So how can you live cheaply as a remote worker? We’ll share everything you need to know in this article.

how to live cheaply as a digital nomad

Digital nomads can work from home or anywhere in the world. Some might think this requires spending a lot to live a luxurious lifestyle. While you can work and live large on an island in Italy if you choose, being a digital nomad doesn’t have to mean living expensively.

Keep reading to learn how to live a comfortable lifestyle as a digital nomad on a budget.

Is being a digital nomad affordable?

Various factors influence the cost of being a digital nomad, including your job, location, and lifestyle. That said, there are many ways you can keep your costs down, like travelling during the low season and tracking your finances.

10 Tips for Digital Nomads to Live on a Budget

Whether you have minimal income or you simply want to learn more about cheap living, these tips are helpful for any digital nomad interested in budgeting.

1. Find Reliable Work

If you haven’t found work yet as a digital nomad, we recommend spending time learning about potential job opportunities and how to find reliable work. This is what will set you up for the most financial success.

Fortunately, there are many remote work options and ways to find job opportunities.

These are some of our favourite ways to find work as a digital nomad:

2. Determine Your Priorities

No matter your chosen job path, you’ll want to determine your priorities. This will help you decide where to spend money and where to save.

Consider what you find most fulfilling and prefer spending money on. Here are some things to think about:

  • Accommodations
  • Activities
  • Food and drinks
  • Technology
  • Clothing and accessories

For example, you might prefer spending money on nice, comfortable rentals and saving by eating meals at home.

Read More: How to Be a Digital Nomad in the USA

3. Use a Budgeting App

Did you know a large percentage of smartphone users use an app to manage their finances? This is especially helpful for remote workers who work as independent contractors and have fluctuating incomes.

Budgeting apps can help you create a budget, track your spending, and save.

Here are some of our favourite apps for budgeting as a digital nomad:

  • Mint: a free app that helps you track your spending, reminds you of upcoming bills due, and monitors your credit 
  • You Need a Budget (YNAB): connects to your bank account, categorizes your spending, and offers budgeting support with online classes and a user forum
  • EveryDollar: a zero-based budgeting app that lets you track your spending, savings, and debt
  • Simplifi: offers a customizable spending plan, tracks your bills, and provides a real-time update of your spending balances

Read More: 15 Best Finance YouTube Channels (Meet Your Personal Finance Goals)

4. Find Budget-Friendly Destinations

One of the biggest perks of being a digital nomad is being able to work from anywhere in the world. The good news? You can do this on a budget.

Here are some of the cheapest countries for digital nomads:

Tip: Visit during the off-season for the most affordable prices.

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Read more: Cheapest Places for Digital Nomads & Remote Workers

5. Take Cheap Flights

If you take the right approach to finding flights, you can get to your next destination with minimal spending.

After years of travelling as digital nomads, we’ve found these to be some of the best ways to find cheap flights:

  • Explore different booking sites to compare flight prices
  • Be flexible with flight dates and destinations
  • Opt for long layovers
  • Fly with budget airlines
  • Take red-eye flights

6. Book Affordable Accommodations

As the digital nomad community expands, so do rental options. This makes it easier to find affordable accommodations.

Here are some tips for finding budget-friendly rentals:

  • Book longer-term stays for a discount
  • Travel during the off-season
  • Consider a shared co-living space

Read more: How to Find Accommodation for Digital Nomads (18 Great Options)

7. Find House-Sitting Gigs

If you want to travel and opt out of paying rent entirely, house-sitting is an excellent option. It allows you to explore new destinations without paying rent.

As a housesitter, you stay in someone else’s home while they’re away. Instead of paying rent, you offer your services to watch over their home. Some house-sitting opportunities also entail taking care of pets.

While there are various websites and Facebook groups for finding these opportunities, TrustedHousesitters is one the most popular websites for finding house-sitting gigs.

Read More:

How to Work Remotely Without Paying Rent: A Guide to House Sitting

How to Get Started With Long-Term House-Sitting

8. Avoid Debt

One of the quickest ways to increase your expenses is by going into debt. High-interest rates and late fees often accompany debt, making it difficult to keep your costs down.

Unfortunately, the current high cost of living leaves many people in debt. That said, there are ways to stay on top of your money to help you pay down existing debt and prevent further debt.

  • Pay high-interest debt first. If you already have debt, get clear on what you owe. Order your debts from highest to lowest interest and prioritize paying off high-interest debt.
  • Get creative with saving. This could be making meals at home and finding free activities to enjoy. Use the money you’re saving to pay towards your debt.
  • Charge what you’re worth. Increase your rates regularly and replace clients or employers who don’t value (or can’t afford) your work with those who do.
  • Create a passive income stream. Passive income allows you to earn extra money with little day-to-day effort.
  • Be okay with slow travel. Flying from place to place can seem intriguing for digital nomads. But slow travel is more affordable and often more enjoyable.
  • Be kind to yourself. Many people are ashamed of and feel defeated by debt. If you have debt, it’s essential to understand that many people are in debt and give yourself grace.

Related read: How to Avoid Debt as a Digital Nomad (+ Debt Management Tips)

9. Stay On Track With Your Taxes

One factor that disrupts many digital nomads’ finances is taxes, especially if you don’t understand taxes or monitor your income and expenses.

Staying on track with your taxes is one of the most important ways to keep up with your finances. If you don’t do this, you risk owing more than you need to or being responsible for a lump sum of money at once.

Use these tips to stay on top of your taxes:

  • Know what country you’re filing for
  • Understand when tax payments are due
  • Set aside a portion of your income each month for tax payments
  • Identify your business structure
  • Know what income to claim
  • Keep a record of your income and expenses
  • Prepare your documents

10. Adopt a Positive Money Mindset

While living cheaply as a digital nomad requires day-to-day action, adopting a positive money mindset can also go a long way.

When you think negatively about earning and spending money, this can influence your finances. Often we do this subconsciously, so rewiring our mindset to think more positively takes work.

One of the best ways to adopt a positive financial mindset is by educating yourself on money. Check out some of our favourite positive money mindset books.

Read More: A Complete Guide to Investing for Digital Nomads

Working remotely is incredibly rewarding, especially when you’re comfortable with and happy about your financial situation. We hope you found this article about living cheaply as a digital nomad helpful. If so, please consider sharing with someone else who may be interested in reading.

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