What do expats spend their money on?

In any community, general perceptions of immigrants, expatriates or part-time residents can be really different. In some places, the foreigners earn more than average while in others immigrant workers are at the bottom of the heap.

Dusty merc at Dubai airportBooming growth brought together the worst of both worlds in places like Dubi with everything from conditions of near slavery to thousands of abandoned luxury cars at the airport.

So, different groups of expats have very different income levels which obviously makes a big difference on what they will be spending their cash on. However, there are a few areas where the average expatriate spends more than average:

  • Telecommunications: accross all groups, immigrants (especially those in the first 24 months abroad) spend more on phone calls. In Spain, non-natives spend 40% more than average on their mobile phone bills.
  • Second-hand cars: In Spain 86% of immigrants opt for a second-hand car.
  • Flights: Trips home to see family and friends are usually in addition to the average budget.
  • Language learning: individual and group language remains a popular expediture item.

UPDATE: We have added to some information about expatriate spendings here.

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