Living on a Budget in Taiwan

You’ll be making good money, and because food and housing are cheaper than in the United States and Canada, saving money shouldn’t be difficult. Most people are easily able to save at least US$1,000-1,200 per month.

The following hints should help you do the same:

  • Open a checking and savings account at a bank in Taiwan as soon as you have obtained you resident visa. After you find a job and pay for your initial expenses, figure out your monthly income and your fixed expenses – rent, cell phone, transportation, food, and so forth. Depositing half or more of the remainder into a savings account will quickly result in substantial savings.
  • Make an effort to conform to a Taiwanese mode of living; for example, learn to eat rice as a staple and cook in your apartment whenever possible. Rather than eating expensive Western fast food for lunch, try zheng jiao (steamed dumplings) or a bowl of chow mein from the market stalls.
  • Limit your nights on the town to only a few each week. Restaurant food and drinks add up quickly when you aren’t keeping track.
  • Once you are comfortable with your surroundings and learn your way around, take the bus or ride a bicycle to work. You’ll save on subway and taxi fare and will fit in a bit better with the locals.


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