Considering costs is a vital part of planning your entry into expat life. Neglecting budgeting can abruptly cut short a stay. On the other hand, a little financial planning can pay off in a longer and more enriching lifestyle than you dreamed possible.
A great web-based tool for this is Numbeo. Just type in the name of a city or select a country from the drop-down list. You get the standard information, like how much expensive it is to rent an apartment. You also get much more detailed figures, such as the cost of imported vs. domestic beer. Near the bottom of the page there will be a colored pie chart, showing which expenses will take the most bite out of your budget.
Money isn’t everything, however. More expensive isn’t always better, and cheap isn’t always a bargain. You might want to drill down even deeper to determine quality of life. You could be torn between two countries that seem almost equally attractive to reside in. In that case, you can try using If It Were My Home. You can choose two countries and get a breakdown comparing them on life expectancy, health care, and other important factors.
Have you been an expat? What tools did you use to do research? Please share your tips and experiences in the comments.