Rough costs of house and petsitting as a long-term lifestyle

I made a detailed calculation once for us, the average amount is 700 EUR per month. Including absolutely everything for 2 people except for extras like eating out , sightseeing or anything not strictly necessary. About 230 EUR is just for health insurance (my girlfriend is 100% covered, I’m only covered for acute needs). We do sits around Switzerland and other expensive areas, so your amount could be lower (or higher if you stay at Airbnbs or fly a lot). I think we spend 40% on trains (very expensive here!), but I haven’t double checked that for this post ;).

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Yes Schengen can certainly become an issue…one of the main reasons we liked the Balkans so much. Bosnia and Herzegovina is especially affordable, Croatia a little less so since it has boomed as a tourist destination. Cyprus and the Czech Republic are other landings that can offer affordable living and good Wifi.

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Fantastic information, thank you very much!!

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I work for a US company as a freelancer, and I don’t work full time. I also don’t have a fixed address outside the country, so I’m not using US funds to “live” anywhere. These are the loopholes (if you want to call them that) that make it legal. If you get a full time job in a country other than your home country, you may be subject to paying tax in both countries. If you work full time remotely for a US country and live full time in another country, you may pay more tax, but I haven’t looked into it as it doesn’t apply to me.
I will say, if you are worried about the legality of things, that housesitting sits heavily in a gray area. Some countries see it as work, some as volunteering. Both things are illegal in many countries without a proper visa.
I see it as a community of like-minded folks, so wherever I go I’m ‘staying with friends.’ Just something to keep in mind.

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All good points. My accountant just told me today I’m likely in the clear with taxes. Yes I recognize it is a grey area and it is “staying with friends” for sure.

Also, you need to limit being outside of the US to 183 days.

I’m guessing you mean in terms of taxation exemption?
That actually doesn’t apply to me, because I work in the United States, so no matter where I am I always have to pay federal taxes. US citizens can stay out of the country indefinitely, but we are still required to pay federal taxes if we earn money in the United States (and also of we earn over a certain amount overseas).

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This is also not applicable to all. Best advice for those traveling abroad regardless of your citizenship, residence or country of origin is to familiarize yourself with the requirements for your personal situation through the official government site and/or embassy of your own country and the countries you are interested in.
There are many situations and circumstances that can create incredible creative opportunities that are possible.
For example for myself, natural born permanent US resident retired, I have no limits on how long I can be out of the US and frankly the more I travel the longer that will be. I have an in-depth account of all requirements for the countries that interest me and then I work it like a jigsaw puzzle, a game of where, when and how long all in a manner that works within my budget.
It’s liberating when you actually see what one can do.

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Thanks for sharing! Impressively low costs!

Applicable to US citizens who work for a living, which was the relevant subject. The 183-day rule applies for tax purposes. @Amparo

Hopefully, one day I will be in your position, though with the way things are going, I think it’s more than likely that Social Security and Medicare will be severely curtailed and pushed back (to later age), even in a best-case scenario. My generation and younger does not have a lot to look forward to, sadly. So we do what we can within the confines of wage slavery.

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This also applies for Canadians who spend time in the US. I would have to be careful not to spend more than 183 days in the US or the US govt will tax my income. I can spend more than 183 days in some other countries, but not the US.

(Canadian US Tax Residence Rules | Canadian Tax Lawyer)

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@Kelownagurl and @Amparo so if employed by a company in the US, I can’t leave the US for more than 183 days? But if retired, unemployed, or employed by a foreign company, then it doesn’t matter :+1: good to go?

I haven’t got a clue what the rules are for people employed in the US, sorry.

I only know that if you stay in the US for longer than 183 days, you will have to pay US income tax, in addition to any you pay at home. IE, I’m retired and have a pension but if I stayed in the US too long, I’d have to pay US income tax as well as Canadian income tax. I think that’s how it works.

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Hi @cherylfah!

Lots of good answers to your questions here: Frequently Asked Questions About International Individual Tax Matters | Internal Revenue Service

Cheers,
Bruce

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Oh I think I see. I talked to my accountant and he said that for US citizens, tax on foreign earnings only starts when you’re making over $112,000 (for 2022). That’ll never be my case, so I won’t worry about it. So–I think as a US citizen I will be 1. paying US taxes if I work for a US company (obviously) and then 2. paying foreign taxes via whatever company in whatever foreign place, but I will not be paying additional US taxes on the foreign income, because I’d never have that kind of income. Thanks.

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Hi @cherylfah
As I said it will depend on your personal situation but check the official government sites and as Bruce points out the tax laws as applicable to you.
And also see what changes will create a different outcome so you can be more in control of your life, travel, money and such because situations change. Nothing is fixed or permanent.
Read Vagabonding, The Four Hour Work Week.
They are older books but the lessons are timeless and priceless. Changing how one thinks and believes opens doors of possibilities.
P.S. I am excited for you because I know you will figure out how to do what you wish to do.

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Never say never but you will discover that less is more.
No price tag on freedom and disentangling oneself from The Man.

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Emancipate yourself…

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Had a quick look, these are our expenses per year (2 people):
3068 CHF (health insurance) + 1900 CHF (public transport) + 2400 CHF (food) + 1260 CHF (Airbnb, insurance, mobile internet, clothes, sanitary products, dietary supplements etc.) = 8628 CHF per year (719 CHF per month)
We cook at home, use TooGoodToGo and eat a vegan diet (quite cheap!). Trains here in Switzerland are super expensive! If you chose to not have a health insurance or just a travel health insurance you can save a lot, but my girlfriend is 100% covered (for emergencies, she only goes 1-2 times a year to the dentist).

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Wow! - That is really impressive - especially for Switzerland :smiley:

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