How I Saved $40,000 in 2 Years Working in China

So many individuals ask how I was in a position to stop my job in China and journey the world working on-line. Was I an excellent worthwhile journey blogger earlier than I left China? Do I have some kind of huge inheritance? Am I residing off pad thai and counting each penny? Or am I just a few huge liar that lives in my mother and father’ basement?

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Where precisely did I get all this cash to journey and reside overseas, and the way may I afford to stop my job and begin working for myself?

Well, not one of the above is true… apart from the residing in my mother and father’ basement half. I did do this for a bit bit earlier this yr.

I’m going to allow you to in on my little secret: I saved $40,000 USD in 2 years by working overseas in China. 

Not solely did I fully repay my $20,000 in pupil loans, however I additionally had over $20,000 USD in the financial institution when I stop my job to work for myself.

So right now I’m going to show you how one can save up an enormous sum of money by working overseas, with out having to promote each merchandise you personal, subsist off packaged meals, and by no means have enjoyable ever.

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college counselor China

Working as a school counselor

My Job as a College Counselor in China

Whenever I learn articles about individuals saving cash for journey, it’s typically a saga of working a number of jobs, promoting the whole lot you personal, consuming low-cost unhealthy meals, and by no means going out or having any enjoyable ever. You want to save lots of ALL your cash for journey so to have enjoyable later, when you meet your cash targets.

But actually, who needs to reside like that?

For two years I labored as a school admissions marketing consultant in Beijing making round $2,500 USD (17,400 RMB) per thirty days after taxes. I additionally had a housing stipend of virtually $900 USD (6,000 RMB) for my house in Beijing. I had free medical insurance, I didn’t personal a automotive, and I actually didn’t have any main month-to-month bills aside from meals, alcohol, and my espresso dependancy.

In the 2 years I labored in Beijing I managed to save lots of $40,000 with out even actually making an attempt! This is ranging from full scratch too since I was flat broke when I began my job. Seriously, I needed to borrow cash from my firm to pay for my house deposit.

Great Wall Picnic

Great Wall picnic!

Saving Money in China is Easy

I will admit that for the primary few months I labored in China I was nonetheless in grad faculty mode, and wasn’t used to having any kind of cash, so I budgeted with out actually eager about it. However, after about six months or so, I actually began having fun with my disposable revenue, and barely thought of a finances.

I purchased lattes at Starbucks a couple of instances every week. I took taxis to work when I overslept or was feeling lazy. I went out for $10 cocktails and ate good Western meals when I felt prefer it. I purchased cute issues for my house. I even bought a brand new MacBook Air and iPhone whereas residing in China (not by selection…).

In addition to all that, I traveled round China and the remainder of Asia throughout my breaks. I had 20 trip days a yr to make use of, and I used all of them! I hung out in Hong Kong, South Korea, Vietnam, the Philippines, Thailand, and Indonesia. I went residence for the vacations yearly and even flew again to the US for a buddies’ marriage ceremony.

In brief, I had a full life and barely nervous about budgeting. Of course, I didn’t go CRAZY and purchase all of the issues, however I undoubtedly wasn’t disadvantaged both.

China VPN

Travel bloggers NEVER get a trip!

A Few Extra Ways I Saved Money

While I didn’t really feel like I was budgeting exhausting, I did do a couple of additional issues to save cash that undoubtedly helped me attain my targets in such a brief timeframe.

I Made $500 a Month on My Blog

In addition to my wage, I additionally made roughly $500 USD a month on my weblog. While I wasn’t a vastly profitable blogger, it was useful to have a bit little bit of revenue coming in.

Yes, I was fully exhausted working a full-time job, operating a journey weblog, and growing an internet course. But my predominant objective was that I can be making sufficient from my weblog that I may really feel comfy leaving my job as soon as my two-year contract expired.

That mentioned, a few of my buddies and coworkers did have some worthwhile aspect hustles. I know individuals who have tutored English on the aspect, edited school essays for non-native audio system and helped draft immigration resumes, simply to call a couple of.

Beijing studio apartment

My outdated Beijing studio

I Pocketed Housing Stipend Money

Once my firm modified its coverage and allowed us to retain unused housing stipend cash, I instantly broke the lease on my fancy studio in Haidian, Beijing and moved right into a shared house in the hutongs. Sure, I misplaced my $1,000 deposit, however I made this again in 2 months by switching to a spot with $500 a month hire.

Pocketing virtually half my housing stipend was a game-changer. Besides, I was in a position to transfer to a neighborhood I completely cherished in the method. Sure, I needed to handle life with FIVE ROOMMATES, however our house was really enormous, so it wasn’t an enormous deal. We additionally break up the price of a bi-weekly maid which actually reduce down on roommate conflicts.

Once I moved in with my now fiance Chris, my hire went right down to round $370 a month which is lower than half my housing stipend. I saved SO MUCH MONEY in these previous couple of months, it’s really loopy. Granted, there have been 4 adults and a 2-year-old in a teeny tiny 2-bedroom 1 toilet house, so there’s that.


I Used Public Transportation

For the primary six months, I walked to work which is clearly free. After that, I  took the subway to and from work for roughly 50 cents every approach. So sure, I spent $1 USD on transportation every day.

If I was feeling exhausted, I may deal with myself to a taxi experience for $four USD.

YES I Want to Teach in China!


Malatang is the love of my life.

I Shopped and Ate Local

Once I moved from away from the flowery excessive colleges and malls to the hutongs, meals bought loads cheaper too. I had my vegetable girl, the place I may purchase an enormous bag of veggies for about $2 USD. I had a fruit store the place I’d choose up no matter was in season. I additionally had a meat vendor the place I’d get contemporary rooster and pork (the most cost effective choices).

If I did need to prepare dinner overseas meals, I needed to make a particular journey to a hutong overseas grocery retailer the place I’d refill on luxuries like pasta, wine, cheese, and olives. Because these things had been costlier, I tended to make use of them as a complement to all of the contemporary produce. Sure, I’d make pesto pasta, however I’d put a complete bag of spinach and a ton of cherry tomatoes in there to chop down on carbs and save myself cash on noodles.

When it got here to consuming out, I’d solely eat overseas meals as soon as every week or so. Typically it was dumplings, malatang, xinjiang noodles, roujiamo, jianbing, or another native dish. When I went out to eat with buddies, about 2/Three of the time we’d select a Chinese restaurant. China has AMAZING meals, so I didn’t really feel tempted to eat costly Western meals fairly often.

Finally, after a couple of years in China, I began to discover ways to get the whole lot with out spending a ton of cash. For instance, as an alternative of shopping for expensive Western make-up or magnificence merchandise (even the pharmacy manufacturers had been insanely costly), I’d purchase from Korean manufacturers like Innisfree and Nature Republic. I’d additionally refill on issues like espresso when I visited Vietnam, garments and wonder merchandise in Korea, and I crammed my suitcase with low-cost stuff from the US every time I went residence.

Learn Chinese online

I purchased this desk and the shelf on Taobao

I Used Taobao and Miniso

If you want Amazon you’ll LOVE Taobao. I actually can’t consider it took me three years of residing in China earlier than I lastly discovered learn how to use on-line purchasing web sites like Taobao and JD. Anytime I wanted something low-cost for my house, I’d hop on Taobao and discover what I wanted. I purchased the whole lot from IKEA-style desks to a big steel kitchen shelf, to pretend designer boots on Taobao, and it was all loopy low-cost!

The better part is that China is obsessive about on-line purchasing, so I was simply in a position to see which objects had been going to carry up based mostly on 1000’s of evaluations. I by no means purchased something on Taobao or JD that didn’t have no less than 800 evaluations and no less than 50 photographs.

Finally, if I actually felt like purchasing, I’d head to my native MINISO which is literal heaven containing the entire belongings you by no means knew you wanted. I’d purchase a cute espresso cup, a packet of Korean face masks or a bit stuffed animal so as to add to my workplace assortment, and by no means spent greater than a greenback or two. MINISO can be AMAZING for Christmas purchasing. You can seize so many cool issues for individuals again residence with out breaking the financial institution.

Teach Abroad China

Enjoying Halloween with my college students

So Is Teaching Abroad to Save Money Right For You?

Most of you already know I’m an enormous proponent of instructing overseas. I write about instructing in China on a regular basis, and I even developed a course to assist individuals educate overseas in China (and have an incredible time whereas making financial institution).

That mentioned, instructing overseas is just not proper for everybody and I would NEVER counsel instructing overseas for the only real function of earning money.

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Teach abroad china

Don’t educate overseas if you would like every single day to appear like this

Don’t Teach Abroad if You Only Want to Travel

I’ve seen so many journey bloggers advocate instructing in South Korea or China as a method to save up a bit money earlier than shifting on, and I personally suppose that is horrible recommendation. You ought to educate overseas since you’re excited to reside and work in a rustic, and have an extremely immersive expertise. Teaching overseas is a JOB and you must take it significantly.

If you hate the thought of staying in one place, instructing overseas is just not going to be for you. Don’t power your self to take a job in a rustic like China or South Korea for a yr for those who don’t plan on sticking it out by means of your contract. There are loads of different methods to assist your self on the street, and for those who actually need that instructing cash whereas touring, you’ll be able to all the time educate English on-line.

Debate Coach Beijing

Judging a speech and debate match by means of my firm!

You Don’t Have to Teach English to Teach Abroad

After a couple of years of instructing overseas, I was a bit sick of instructing primary English. I did a bit digging and located work as a school counselor serving to Chinese college students apply to prime American universities. Not solely was this a brand new and thrilling problem for me, however the job additionally had a a lot greater wage!

If you hate the thought of instructing, don’t get a job instructing overseas. If you don’t like children, don’t power your self to show them. There are loads of different jobs in China the place you’ll be able to work in the training business with out really instructing English.

Work with adults, tutor SAT one-on-one, or educate artwork to younger college students. There are loads of alternatives if you already know the place to look!

Scammed in China

Hello Temple of Heaven!

What Kind of Salary Do You Need to Save Money?

The wonderful thing about China is that the price of residing is fairly low-cost. The most costly a part of residing there’s the hire (particularly for those who’re in a metropolis like Beijing or Shanghai), and most instructing jobs will both offer you a free house or a housing stipend to cowl this.

Even with a really low wage of 5,000 RMB/month (roughly $800 USD), I nonetheless managed to save lots of up $Three,000 by the top of my instructing contract, and that was with a good quantity of journey!

Obviously, the upper your wage the extra possible you’re to save lots of a ton of cash by instructing overseas. But don’t overlook to issue in the price of residing. Life in a second-tier metropolis like Chengdu, Xi’an, or Hangzhou goes to be cheaper than Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenzhen.

Personally, I wouldn’t take a job for lower than 6,000 RMB per thirty days in a smaller metropolis, and 10,000 RMB per thirty days in an enormous metropolis. However, with a little bit of negotiating and looking, you’ll be able to undoubtedly discover jobs for no less than Eight-10ok RMB/month in smaller cities and 12-14ok RMB/month in the larger cities like Beijing and Shanghai.

Want to discover ways to do that? Be positive to enroll in one in all my webinars, or my Three-Part Video Training Series!

Working in China

I nonetheless suppose China is one of the best

Why China and Not Another Country?

While my experience and expertise are centered round China, there are many different wonderful international locations to selected from. Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Taiwan, and Thailand are all common locations for good cause.

Personally, I suppose China and Vietnam are by far the 2 finest international locations for first-year academics. However, they’re COMPLETELY totally different locations with totally different work kinds as nicely. (If you need a publish overlaying this please let me know!)

Japan is a bit too saturated and it’s very exhausting to generate income, whereas South Korea is a good place to generate income, however your work-life stability received’t be nearly as good as Vietnam and China.

Taiwan is a good vacation spot to show you probably have no less than a yr of expertise underneath your belt, in any other case, you’ll in all probability find yourself at a horrible cram faculty coaching middle. However, the pay is unquestionably a bit higher in Mainland China.

Cambodia and Thailand are additionally nice locations for those who love Southeast Asia. However, there’s way more cash to be made in Vietnam.

That mentioned, for those who’re OBSESSED with residing and dealing in one in all these international locations, then go for it! Money isn’t an important factor, and you’ll nonetheless (in all probability) get monetary savings in any of those choices (besides in all probability Cambodia, Thailand, and Japan the place you’ll in all probability break even).

The Hoianian

We all stop our jobs in China to reside in Hoi An Vietnam!

Save Money BEFORE You Quit Your Job

While the thought of quitting your job to work on-line or journey the world is a romantic one, and many individuals are open to the thought of residing on a shoestring finances, I actually wouldn’t advocate both of those life paths with out cash in the financial institution.

Imagine you’re in a scenario the place you really want to fly residence however you don’t have the cash. I know so many individuals who’ve spent nights crying in a hostel dorm as a result of they solely have $50 left in their checking account they usually don’t know what to do.

While you’ll be able to all the time choose up odd jobs or discover a hostel gig, I all the time wish to have cash in my checking account as one thing to fall again on. This is very vital for those who’re making an attempt to take a weblog full-time or create an internet enterprise.

I 100% advocate having a nest egg to fall again on, particularly for those who don’t have a gentle month-to-month revenue coming in already.

Hub Hoi An

This coworking house is my new workplace!

Saving Up Money Allows You to Work on Your Goals

For me, $20,000 appeared like greater than sufficient. But with all of the touring I’ve finished, shifting from nation to nation the world over, that $20,000 is right down to about $6,000 now. My objective was by no means to dip under $10,000 however that didn’t actually occur… Whoops!

But having that cash in the checking account allowed me to take dangers and give attention to my enterprise in a approach I wouldn’t have if I was scrambling to tackle freelance purchasers. I was in a position to focus 100% of my time in Vietnam final yr creating my on-line course, which I hope will grow to be a full-time job for me in the long run.

Golden Pavilion

If you need to reside in Japan you higher save up

How Much Money Should I Save Before I Quit?

Well, that basically will depend on you and what you need to do. Since my expertise is quitting my job to work on-line, I’m going to give attention to that. But if you wish to stop your job to journey on a finances, try this publish right here.

Firstly, that you must contemplate how a lot you’re making per thirty days. When I stop I was making between $500 – $1,000 USD a month, which is basically not loads, particularly contemplating how a lot I was shifting round. $1,000/month is ok for those who’re residing and shifting round Southeast Asia, however for those who’re spending time in costlier international locations, or jetting across the globe each few months like I was, it’s going to be worrying.

That brings me to the subsequent level: the place do you need to reside? Are you going to gap up in Vietnam or Thailand, or do you need to earn a living from home in San Francisco or Sydney? Obviously, you’re going to want A LOT extra money if you wish to make it work in these international locations.

So principally, for those who plan to earn a living from home in Vietnam and have already got a job CONSISTENTLY raking in $1,000 – $2,000 a month you’ll be able to stop your job with $Three-5k USD in the financial institution and also you’ll be high quality. If you’re not making a lot cash, possibly have $5-8k saved up.

Now for those who plan to be in costlier international locations and don’t have an excellent constant revenue, I would advocate having no less than $10ok USD in the financial institution. If you need to reside full-time and pay hire in an costly nation and don’t have constant revenue, you’ll need no less than $20ok.

Just mess around together with your finances, the place you need to reside, what your present revenue is and the way a lot you intend to journey. Also take into consideration when try to be making a constant revenue, and what your backup plan is for those who can’t get to that revenue earlier than your cash runs out.

Personally, I wouldn’t be comfy with out no less than $5k USD in my checking account, however I’m additionally the woman that hyperventilates if I can’t repay my bank card in full each month so… yeah.

save money working in China

Are you able to take the leap?

Do You Want to Teach Abroad in China?

Whether you need to make financial institution or simply have an unimaginable journey, instructing overseas in China is an unimaginable expertise. If you’re in getting began and studying extra about how one can rating an superior, high-level high-paying job in China, I extremely counsel grabbing my Free Three-Part Video Training Series that can stroll you thru the entire course of!

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Secondly, I do have a FREE educate overseas reside coaching webinar arising! If you need to be part of me LIVE for some superior coaching you’ll be able to’t discover anyplace else, remember to enroll and be part of me!

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Do you want to save money and travel the world or work online? Here's how I saved 40k by teaching abroad in China! Work abroad in China for a few years and you can become location independent and work online like me! #locationindependence #travelblog #travelblogger #teachabroad #savemoney #moneytips #expat #travel

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Any questions on how I bought began instructing in China, or how I made a lot cash working overseas? Feel free to go away a remark under and I’ll get again to you ASAP! I’m all the time checking for brand new feedback and questions so for those who get in in contact I’ll remember to write again irrespective of while you remark!



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