Last Updated on 24 May 2023
Living as a digital nomad on a shoestring budget can be challenging, but it’s definitely possible. With the right mindset and a few tips and tricks, you can enjoy the freedom of working remotely while keeping your expenses under control.
In this article, we’ll dive deeper into each of the 10 tips for living as a digital nomad on a shoestring budget, providing more detailed information and additional resources to help you make the most of your nomadic lifestyle.
Choose affordable destinations
Choosing affordable destinations is key to living as a digital nomad on a shoestring budget. While there are many amazing places to visit around the world, some destinations are simply more expensive than others.
When choosing a destination, consider the cost of living, the availability of affordable accommodation, and the overall vibe of the place. Some popular destinations for digital nomads include:
- Bali: Bali is a popular destination for digital nomads due to its low cost of living, beautiful beaches, and vibrant expat community. Accommodation can be very affordable, with options ranging from shared dorms to private villas. The island also has plenty of coworking spaces and networking events for digital nomads.
- Thailand: Thailand is another affordable destination for digital nomads, with a low cost of living and plenty of options for affordable accommodation. The country is known for its delicious food, stunning beaches, and friendly locals. Popular digital nomad hubs in Thailand include Chiang Mai and Bangkok.
- Mexico: Mexico is a great destination for digital nomads who want to experience a different culture without breaking the bank. The country has a low cost of living, delicious food, and plenty of beautiful beaches. Popular digital nomad destinations in Mexico include Playa del Carmen and Mexico City.
Of course, these are just a few examples of affordable destinations for digital nomads. You can also consider other destinations in Southeast Asia, Central and South America, and Eastern Europe.
To find affordable destinations, you can use websites like Nomad List and Numbeo, which provide information on the cost of living in different cities around the world.
Stay in hostels
Staying in hostels is a great way to save money on accommodation while also meeting other travelers and digital nomads. Hostels offer a social atmosphere, often with shared kitchens and common areas where you can hang out and make new friends.
Many hostels also have coworking spaces or offer discounts on coworking memberships. This can be a great way to have a dedicated workspace without breaking the bank.
When choosing a hostel, look for options that offer private rooms or pods if you need some privacy. You can use websites like Hostelworld and Booking.com to find affordable hostels in your destination.
- Use coworking spaces
Coworking spaces are a great option for digital nomads who need a dedicated workspace. Coworking spaces offer a professional environment, high-speed internet, and often have networking events and other perks.
Many coworking spaces offer day passes or monthly memberships, so you can choose the option that works best for your budget. Some coworking spaces also offer discounts for longer-term memberships, so if you plan to stay in one place for a while, this can be a great way to save money.
To find coworking spaces in your destination, you can use websites like Coworker and Deskpass.
Cook your own meals
Eating out can be expensive, especially in touristy areas. To save money, cook your own meals. Many hostels and Airbnb rentals have kitchens, so you can easily prepare your own meals. You can also shop at local markets to save money on groceries.
Cooking your own meals can also be a great way to experience local cuisine and learn new recipes. You can ask locals for recommendations on where to shop for groceries and what ingredients to use.
If you don’t feel like cooking, you can also look for street food or local markets where you can grab affordable meals on the go.
Use public transportation
Using public transportation is a great way to save money while traveling. Instead of taking taxis or Ubers, use buses or trains to get around. Many cities also have bike-sharing programs, which can be a fun and affordable way to explore.
Using public transportation can also be a great way to experience local culture and see more of the city. You can ask locals for recommendations on the best routes and modes of transportation.
If you need to get around quickly or don’t feel comfortable using public transportation, you can also consider renting a scooter or a bike. This can be a fun and affordable way to explore your destination.
Work with a budget
To live on a shoestring budget, it’s important to work with a budget. Keep track of your expenses and set a daily or weekly budget for yourself. This will help you stay on track and avoid overspending.
You can use apps like Mint or You Need a Budget to track your expenses and create a budget. These apps can also help you identify areas where you’re overspending and find ways to cut back.
When creating a budget, make sure to include all of your expenses, including accommodation, food, transportation, coworking memberships, and other miscellaneous expenses. Be realistic about your budget and adjust it as needed based on your spending habits.
Use travel rewards credit cards
Travel rewards credit cards can help you save money on flights, hotels, and other travel expenses. Many travel rewards credit cards offer sign-up bonuses and rewards points for every dollar spent. Use these rewards to offset your travel expenses and save money.
When choosing a travel rewards credit card, look for options that offer rewards for the types of expenses you typically incur. For example, if you spend a lot on flights, look for a card that offers bonus points for airline purchases.
You can also consider using a cashback credit card, which gives you a percentage of your spending back as cash. This can be a great way to save money on everyday expenses like groceries and transportation.
Use free resources
There are many free resources available to digital nomads. For example, you can use free WiFi at coffee shops, libraries, and coworking spaces. You can also use free apps and tools to manage your finances, stay organized, and communicate with clients.
Some free resources to consider include:
- Google Docs: Google Docs is a free online document editor that allows you to collaborate with others and access your documents from anywhere.
- Trello: Trello is a free project management tool that can help you stay organized and manage your tasks.
- Slack: Slack is a free messaging app that can help you communicate with clients and team members.
- Skype: Skype is a free video conferencing app that can help you stay in touch with clients and team members.
- Zoom: Zoom is a free video conferencing app that can be used for meetings, webinars, and other events.
You can also look for free events and activities in your destination, such as free walking tours, museum days, and cultural events.
Live a minimalist lifestyle
Living a minimalist lifestyle can help you save money and reduce your environmental impact. When traveling, pack only the essentials and avoid buying unnecessary items. Focus on experiences rather than material possessions.
Some tips for living a minimalist lifestyle include:
- Pack light: When traveling, pack only the essentials and avoid bringing too many clothes or other items.
- Buy secondhand: If you need to buy something, consider buying it secondhand rather than buying new.
- Embrace minimalism: Focus on experiences rather than material possessions. Spend your money on activities and experiences rather than souvenirs and other items.
By living a minimalist lifestyle, you can save money on travel expenses and reduce your environmental impact.
Freelance and diversify your income streams
As a digital nomad, it’s important to have multiple streams of income. Freelance work can provide a steady income while allowing you to work from anywhere. You can also diversify your income streams by selling products or services online, investing in stocks or real estate, or starting a side hustle.
Some tips for freelancing and diversifying your income streams include:
- Build a portfolio: Build a portfolio of your work and showcase it on your website or social media profiles.
- Network: Network with other digital nomads and professionals in your industry to find new clients and opportunities.
- Offer a variety of services: Offer a variety of services to appeal to a wider range of clients.
- Invest wisely: Invest your money wisely to build passive income streams and grow your wealth over time.
By freelancing and diversifying your income streams, you can create a more stable financial foundation for your digital nomad lifestyle.
Living as a digital nomad on a shoestring budget requires some planning and discipline, but it’s definitely possible. By choosing affordable destinations, staying in hostels, using coworking spaces, cooking your own meals, using public transportation, working with a budget, using travel rewards credit cards, using free resources, living a minimalist lifestyle, and diversifying your income streams, you can live a fulfilling and affordable digital nomad lifestyle.
Remember, the key to living on a shoestring budget is to be intentional about your spending and focus on the things that matter most to you. By following these tips and staying true to your values, you can enjoy the freedom of working remotely without breaking the bank.