Setting your rental budget

Properly managing your finances abroad will have a direct and positive impact on your experience. 

The majority of your funds will most likely go on rent. Nowadays, it isn’t uncommon for people to spend around 40% of their monthly income on rent and that’s why, when looking for a home, you need to have clear figures in mind.

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Look at the net monthly income you will have abroad and then calculate how much you will need to spend on: Food, insurance (e.g. Health, Travel), transport, entertainment/ leisure, other ongoing costs you’ll have (phone bills, subscriptions, payments back home, etc.)

Whatever’s left is – approximately – what you can allocate for monthly rent. It’s always wise to keep a financial cushion of one or two hundred, either to save for the future or for one of life’s unforeseen events.

Once you’ve settled on your absolute rental maximum, you can apply this figure to all filtered accommodation searches.

Before arriving, you can expect to pay:

  • Deposit. Typically, this equal to a month’s rent, but this can vary per advertiser and from country to country. Provided you uphold your end of the contract and there is no damage to the property, you should get the deposit back at the end of your contract.
  • Administrative fees: Some advertisers may charge an extra one-off fee at the beginning, to cover certain rental activities, such as drafting the contract or paying registration fees.

Maybe your utility bills are not included in the monthly rent. In that case, you will need to pay those on top of the monthly rent, and potentially to someone other than the landlord, e.g. an energy company.

If a bill is excluded from the monthly rent, then it will usually be calculated based on actual usage rather than a fixed amount.

  • Studio: They tend to be more affordable and more available, though the definition of a studio does vary depending on the location. It usually means living alone.
  • House: This is a popular choice for many making the move abroad. A shared house is attractive to second-year, masters and PhD students in particular, because a house offers a bit more independence from campus.
  • Apartment: Make sure you clarify how many bedrooms are in the apartment before booking anything, as a ‘one room apartment’ can mean a studio in some countries and a one-bedroom apartment in others. 

NFTs seem to have entered the mainstream. But the technology remains confusing and inaccessible to normal Americans.

Millions of dollars are poured into this emerging market for digital goods, which has rapidly increased the careers of some independent NFT creators.

NFTs have no physical or tangible value. The technology of NFTs codifies and enforces a metric of scarcity on a digital file.

  • Functional value (What can I use this for?)**:** Most of the discussion around NFTs is about how you will use the NFTs, show people your cryptocurrency wallet, and your taste in art or music.
  • Hedonic value (How much do I like this thing, in and of itself?)**:** Things that were once treated as interchangeable on the digital space, like a virtual collectable, are existing with the added value of where you got it from.

Digital scarcity can be seen as a supply and demand phenomenon. The NFT technology gives you the supply, not the demand.

NFTs impose scarcity on something that doesn't naturally have scarcity. The free aspect of the internet means anything you make has zero reproducing value. The NFT technology can change how artists are thinking about their work and how they get paid. While the file remains free and available, somebody may be willing to pay because of where they got it from.

Contagion In Economics

Contagion, in financial terms, refers to the diffusion of economic booms, and can occur both domestically and globally. It is basically a spread of an economic crisis from one region to another, and spreads on an international level due to the global market interdependence.

The term contagion was coined during the 1997 Asian financial crisis, but it was occurring namelessly even during the Great Depression in the 1930s.

Developing countries and emerging markets are often more susceptible to be affected by a contagion, whereas large, established markets can weather them to a greater degree.

Periodic, global financial crises has been a staple of the economy for every decade since 1825, in one form or another.

The early working years of the MacDonald brothers

In 1926, brothers Maurice and Dick MacDonald hoped to find fame in the industry of moving pictures. At first, they hauled sets and worked the lights during back-breaking shifts on silent film sets. But they were unable to move up in the behind-the-scene ranks of the business.

In 1930, after scrimping and saving, they purchased a theatre. To dissuade patrons from taking their own food to the movies, they installed a snack bar in the lobby.

The McDonald brothers' theatre faltered during the lean years of the Depression, leaving the brothers always behind on their bills. In 1937, they sold the theatre and moved from entertainment to food service.

They made an open-air food stand and served fresh orange drinks and hot dogs in close proximity to a flying field. The venture was successful enough that they opened two more stands.

The The McDonald brothers entertained a dream of a new establishment they'd call the Dimer but rejected the idea as too Depression-era. They were certain the future involved appealing to drivers.

After many rejections, the entrepreneurs secured a loan of $5,000, this time putting their surname on their roadside restaurant, followed by the featured menu item of "McDonald's Barbeque."

The beginning of popular McDonalds
  • A fleet of attractive young women outfitted in usherette uniforms delivered McDonald's Barbeque food directly to the customers' car.
  • After the war, drive-inns became increasingly popular and a minefield of unsavoury behaviour. Despite this, sales continued to increase.
  • In 1948, Dick and Mac decided to close their doors and reassess. They asked themselves how they could prepare hamburgers, fries and shakes as efficiently as possible and for maximum profit.

Following the enterprising family of Levitt that applied Ford's Model T-like assembly-line logic to building homes on New York's Long Island, the McDonald brothers decided to mimic this mentality in the preparation and serving of food.

  • They identified their best sellers and slashed their menu from twenty-five items to the nine most popular items. An automatic condiment dispenser was designed that squirted a precise amount of ketchup or mustard, and a mechanised press formed beef into patties.
  • The makeover included an assembly line of food preparation and less personnel. Customers had to get out of their cars and walk to the window to order, viewing the efficient kitchen where their food was being prepared.
  • The efficiency meant reduced operational costs, lower cost to the customers, and a handsome profit to the brothers. But customers despised it. The facelift was a disaster.

Four months in, a turnaround occurred for no particular reason. Profits soon soared to $100,000 a year. The quality of food was not the main draw except, perhaps, for the crispy fresh potatoes.

Copycats arrived to study the operation in action. The details the imitators couldn't see, Dick and Mac shared cheerily. In 1952, the brothers ran an ad announcing that their "revolutionary development in the restaurant industry" was now available for sale to interested parties.

Instead of just paying a visit and stealing the idea, the more honest plunked down a $950 franchise fee for the formula. The first in line wanted to use McDonald's name of the stand he intended to build, saying he thought their name "lucky." He got an operating manual for his money, a counterman on loan for a week, and an architectural blueprint from which to build the restaurant.

A dairy supplier, hoping to encourage sales of ice cream, offered to replicate McDonald's nationwide. The brothers ultimately refused. They were happy with just selling the manual and blueprints.

Simple money questions to ask yourself
  • Why do I want money? 
  • How much do I need to live a simple, yet comfortable life?
  • Where am I being wasteful
  • Am I helping those less fortunate? 
  • Am I being a good example for my children? Teaching them how to use money wisely? 

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