Celebrating Halloween in London as an Expat

Sharon  @GoodMigrations

Back in 2010 my husband and I left the concrete jungle of New York City to move to Sydney, Australia and test it out for a few years.

It was a great experience filled with so much. But it also gave us the opportunity to learn about a new culture and celebrate new holidays.  We always loved Australia Day and playing 2 Up. On the flip side, it was equally as exciting being able to share our own holidays and traditions with Aussie locals that might not be familiar with those of our own. I remember hosting a Thanksgiving Dinner where the majority of our guests were NOT from America. And it was a hit! I mean, how can you not love stuffing your face with tons of delicious food while enjoying time spent with friends?

As Halloween quickly approaches, you may be wondering where in London can I take my kids trick or treating? Keeping in mind that this is not a local holiday celebrated by all. In fact, the British hate Halloween apparently. A survey done way back in 2006 found that over half of British homeowners turn off their lights and pretend not to be home on Halloween. Yet another reason the United States is happy to be free from British rule. smiley

Here are a few tricks and treats to celebrating Halloween as an expat in London. 

Read more…

Activities Expat Life

Cost of living around the world- what will $100 buy you?

Sharon  @GoodMigrations

When living or traveling overseas, it still always amazes me how much, or how little, your money will get you in another country. Knowing exchange rates is very important to every traveler’s experience. Being wise in money will ensure you are better prepared but also help ensure you will not be taken for a ride during purchases. A good place to start would be on the internet with a quick XE currency converter search before you depart.

When I visited the absolutely beautiful Philippines back in 2013, I was amazed at how far my money went. I felt like a queen when a wonderful dinner out was the cost of a sandwich back home. It was just the opposite when I visited London during the spring of 2014. Doing the exchange rate math in my head, I was pretty discouraged, as my US dollar didn’t go very far there.

$100 USD- GoodMigrations

So we thought it would be fun to show what $100 USD gets you in different countries and cities around the world. Pretty interesting!

What will $100 USD Get You Around the World

India

You can purchase a fancy dinner for two at an expensive restaurant with starters, mains, sides, dessert, and wine. You will probably even have money left over. A good example is a restaurant in New Delhi that my friends recently went to, Indian Accent. Check out the prices! $100 is 6000 rupees and that can get you a lot! If food isn’t your thing then you could afford one month’s rent or give the gift of education to a child for an entire year!

New York City

We all know the Big Apple is pretty pricey but you will be able to afford a taxi ride to and from JFK airport. Dinner, dessert and a drink for one person at a nice restaurant is also an option. Just be careful because tax and tip will sneak up on you when the bill comes.

Philippines

Amazing how $100 in the Philippines will get you food and electricity for 10 days. You can also take a boat tour to different islands for two people.

Oman

323 litres of petrol, 380 litres of bottled water, a speed boat for a morning of wild dolphin watching for two, or six days of food.

United Kingdom

Hungry? Go to Macca’s and you can buy 24 Big Macs (without fries and drink). That’s the best deal you are going to get because $100 USD won’t get you a hotel room but at least you can fill up your car’s tank of gas.

USA

The USA is a big place and depending on where you are you can get a lot or a little. How about 100 McDonald’s cheeseburgers, 6 drinks at the Four Seasons, 6 months of streaming from Netflix, a days rent in San Francisco, two bags of groceries at Wholefoods, or 8 adult tickets to the cinema?

Bulgaria

While this country is known for having amazing feta cheese, there are still lots of other things to be bought for $100 USD. You could get 50 liters of petrol, 15 Big Macs, 12 months of high-speed internet, or 15 adult tickets to the cinema.

Sydney

As beautiful as Sydney is, your money won’t go very far. You’ll get 5 adult tickets to the cinema, 1 Apple mouse, or 25 cups of coffee at a café. Been thinking about doing the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb? Think again! Depending on the time and day of the week you are not even halfway there.

Norway

10 beers at a local pub or 6 packets of cigarettes. Or maybe you prefer admission for 12 into the National Museum located in Oslo.

China

What can you buy in the most populated country in the world? How about web hosting for 1 year, 36 Big Mac’s or better yet get you and 61 of your friends’ admission into the Temple of Heaven in Beijing.

Indonesia

Amongst the beautiful islands there is much to see and do but did you know you and 4 friends could play detective for the afternoon at The Escape Hunt Experience for $100 USD? Maybe you prefer one month of food for one person or 215 litres of gasoline.

South Africa

Safaris, wild animals and vistas that go on for miles are among the many things to see and do in South Africa. Here are some other things to consider: a month of groceries, three tanks of petrol,  23 Big Mac meals or 6.5 cases of beer.

Brazil

It’s a big country so better start off right and fill your car with 64 litres of petrol. Walk the famous Ipanema Beach all day long because that is FREE!

United Arab Emirates

To quote my friend, “that’s about 367 AED and you could purchase one of the following: – unlimited booze brunch at a hotel – sand tour jeep safari for 2 people – one way taxi ride to Abu Dhabi – 3 spin classes at Fly Wheel – 2 Platinum movie tickets – moderate shopping as long as there are sales – a shit load of gas cus it’s dirt cheap over here.” Awesome! Thank you Jose.

Did we forget something? Send us a message so we can add it to our list.

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*NB: calculations are rough estimates based on the exchange rate at the time of publication.

Humorous Money

An Expats Guide to Getting Setup in The UK

Sharon  @GoodMigrations

When you’re heading to the Queen’s country you have to have your finances in order. This includes understanding how to establish and build credit as a new expat in the UK.

Your credit score is a statistical tool to predict the likelihood of you defaulting on your credit obligation. There are a dozen different credit scores built with algorithms to predict the likelihood of default on a particular type of credit (credit card, car loan, car lease, etcetera). The credit score is a tool to allow increased retail consumption.

Credit in the United Kingdom is handled by three agencies cleverly called Credit Referencing Agencies (CRA’s). TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian are the three most commonly used. Experian and Equifax give you a credit score that can range between 300 to 850 and TransUnion gives a rating between 1-5, depending on their specific criteria and system tracking.

Credit Score Table for TransUnion, Equifax and Experian Read more…

Building Credit

The Expats Guide to Building Credit in Germany

Sharon  @GoodMigrations

Having a good credit score is very important to your finances. You may not realize it now but it affects many things in your life: Your credit score can determine whether a landlord will rent to you or not; it can affect your ability to get a mobile phone or a mortgage on a house; it can even prevent a bank from loaning you money to buy everyday things (which means no credit cards since those are basically loans). So what do you do as an expat in a new country with no credit?

Our guide below will help outline the steps needed to establish yourself in Germany as an expat so you can begin building credit (and test your pronunciation abilities because German government terminology is not known for its brevity).

Let’s start with a brief education of the German credit system as it can be confusing for many.

The Schufa

Germany’s sophisticated credit system is called the SCHUFA (shorthand for Schutzgemeinschaft für Allgemeine Kreditsicherung).  As a resident of Germany, this system immediately begins collecting data on your financial history in order to calculate a score. This score will then stay with you for the duration of your residency in Germany.

The Schufa is based on a 100-point scale and gets “dinged” when you are delinquent on payments.  Beyond that, exactly how this score is calculated continues to be a mystery. We do know that scores around 90 are considered positive and should not negatively impact you with lenders.

Every resident is entitled to one free copy of their report per year. Should you need to request an additional copy the Meineschufa website is a great resource to check out.
Meineschufa- Schufa

Building credit in a new country takes time. So be diligent about paying bills in full on time.
Read more…

Building Credit in the United States – An Expats Guide

Michael Boateng @GoodMigrations

What’s all this talk about Credit?

There are so many things to think about when getting ready to move to the United States:  where to live, how to get there, making friends and what you’ll need to buy. Have you thought about how you will get a local cell phone or open up a U.S. bank account? These are just a couple of things that require you to have credit.

When moving to the US, learning about the credit system can eat away at the excitement of your amazing journey. We get it: it’s a boring and confusing topic. While learning how to get credit, you may experience the following side effects: anger, fear, hope, and calm. If it makes you feel better, even many individuals born in the States are still confused about their own system.
wallet with credit cards for GoodMigrations

What is Credit?

Your Credit Score is a statistical tool to predict the likelihood of you defaulting on your credit obligation. There are a dozen different Credit Scores built with algorithms to predict the likelihood of default on a particular type of credit (credit card, car loan, car lease, etcetera). The Credit Score is a tool to allow increased retail consumption.

It allows you to rent an apartment, get credit cards, and purchase a mobile phone by showing that you’ve borrowed before and paid it back consistently. Read more…

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