Today I'm joining up with The Rachael Way to present you with a slice of #ChinaLife. I'm talking about how the ways in which we spend our income have changed since the move, check out her space to see what she's talking about!
I can imagine that when I publish posts like "How to Move to China", plenty of people wonder, "And why would anyone want to do that?"
There are plenty of reasons. The financial side of it wasn't a key reason for us, honestly, the best financial decision to make last year would have been for Angel to finish grad school and start working as an NP, but we chose a different route.
Wherever you are in the world, there's ways to save and to spend money--some who teach ESL spend every penny they make, others use this as a strategy to pay off debt or start a savings fund, it's up to the individual.
Today, I wanted to do an open comparison between our living expenses in Michigan and our living expenses here in ShenZhen:
Let me start out by saying that I know that we kept our monthly expenses during our life in Michigan rather low. We had our splurges and little extras, but we were blessed to live in an old home owned by my parents (that explains the low rent) and made plenty of lifestyle choices and used strategies aimed at keeping our regular bills as low as possible. Here's what they were:
Estimated Monthly Bills in Michigan:
Car insurance for our two cars: $150
Gas (cars): $200
Groceries (just what we ate at home): $300
Gas (house): (summer) $20, (winter) $80
4 AT&T cellphones (just talk, no text): $100
AT&T Internet: $30
Total? Over $1200 in fairly basic living expenses. This doesn't include health and dental insurance premiums which were deducted before we received Angel's paycheck, or all the "Extras" of life such as dates, going out to eat, or hosting parties or car maintenance or vacations or buying clothes or stuff just for the fun of it, that's just the bottom line of what we basically "needed" to spend.
Estimated Monthly Bills in ShenZhen:
Rent (housing provided by our employer): $0
Utilities (water, electricity, gas, internet, provided by employer): $0
Groceries (including eating at home, restaurants, and the cafeteria): $250
Public Transport (bus and metro tickets): $30
1 Cellphone (talk and text): $5
Total? Under $300. For basic living expenses--although we do splurge a little on food (Men like to eat, I've found). Obviously, the numbers are skewed because we are earning our rent and utilities, but they're considered part of our compensation package, and our paycheck is separate. Our living style has changed a lot since we moved--I can't even imagine how much it would cost to own two cars and rent an 1800 sq. foot home here (it would be a lot). I didn't know how I would feel about having to use leg power or public transportation to get everywhere, but while it takes some adjustment, I like to highlight the benefits:
1) I never liked driving anyway.
2) We never have to look for a parking spot.
3) ShenZhen's public transportation goes just about anywhere, and is very inexpensive.
4) All of this walking is getting me into the best shape of my life.
Cars are expensive, aren't they? I'm appreciating this inexpensive season of relying on public transportation!