La Vie Locale


Moving to Paris- How much to save?


Thinking about moving to Paris and you’re not quite sure how you will be able to afford the move, or how much to save? These are very valid questions and figuring out how you are going to finance your time in another country is a big part of preparing for a move abroad. To be honest, it is something I didn’t plan for, I moved with a little bit of savings in my account, and I pretty much took the leap hoping really hard things would work out. End the end things did end up working out, and I found ways to finance my living costs once I arrived. There was a lot of struggle and stressed involved, so I highly recommend taking time to do some financial planning before making the leap abroad. I recently did a blog post to give a glimpse into the “Cost of Living in Paris”, and I wanted to continue to discuss the topic by discussing how to save for a move abroad. 

I’m not an expert in finance so I asked some insight from a personal finance lover who has also made the move to live abroad in Paris. Meet Olivia Montague, she is a senior financial consultant that has worked with some of the world’s largest financial institutions across New York City, Paris, and Hong Kong. She is the founder of Styled by Olivia, a lifestyle brand and company focused on empowering and inspiring women. In this post, she will provide financial expertise on savings strategies, a sample budget of monthly expenses, as well as helpful resources. 


Tell us a little bit about your move to Paris? Did you save before you moved? If so how far in advance? 

It was always a dream of mine to live in Paris and I knew if I wanted it to actually happen, I needed to have a plan. I was living and working in New York City at the time and every paycheck I got, I would automatically put money towards my savings accounts. I started planning and saving about a year in advance in order to fund my move. I stuck to my budget, tracked my progress every month, and eventually saved $10,000 USD.

What savings accounts come in handy for preparing for a move abroad?


I love Betterment and they have a great user-friendly app. They have a feature that allows you to save toward a long or short term goal which is perfect for planning a move. You can set the amount that you want to save, give yourself a deadline, and it will tell you how much you need to contribute each month in order to meet that goal.

Ally Online Savings Account

I also think it’s very important to save your money in an account that is separate from your everyday checking account. It is TOO easy to transfer money between checking and savings accounts that are at the same bank. Having a separate bank account for your moving fund is a great way to stay on track.

Ally bank is a great online bank that I discovered through the Budgetnista. Since the Ally savings account is online only and I did not get a physical card for the account, it makes it difficult for me to take money out of the account. So once I transfer money into the account, I am very unlikely to touch it. This a great option that helps to combat impulse buying. 

Fidelity Investment Account

Depending on how much you plan to save or invest, Fidelity is another great option that I used to help finance my move to Paris. They have a user-friendly website that makes investing easy and straightforward. 


How much do you recommend to save, and what should one save for?

Having a few months of living expenses saved before you leave will give you peace of mind during your move. The biggest expense during your move will likely be your rent and security deposit. Finding the right apartment can take time, so my advice would be to start looking for potential apartments before you arrive. Then you can plan to set up visits as soon as you land in Paris. I was even able to do a video tour of my apartment before I arrived in France. Be proactive and start early. 

How much you need to save will depend on a variety of factors: where you want to live in Paris, if you want to have roommates, will you get a furnished or unfurnished apartment, if you will be working or going to school, etc. Take a serious look at your current finances and see what makes sense for your lifestyle and what type of lifestyle you want in Paris. Once you have figured out those details then you will be able to better plan. 

I recommend starting with all of your current expenses and seeing where you spend the most money. This will be incredibly helpful as you plan. 

Below you will find a sample of living expenses in Paris.

La Vie Locale Expenses.png

What are some of the Best apps/ links you use for transfering USD to Euros? 

I only use Transferwise. It’s the best option that I’ve found.

Any general advice you would like to share regarding finances in preparation for a move? 

Save Money Automatically

Long term savings goals take consistency and that is definitely true when trying to coordinate a move to another country. One thing that I recommend is to make saving automatic. Set up an automatic transfer to go toward your moving fund every time you get paid. Even if it’s only 20 dollars a paycheck, just getting into the habit of saving will be incredibly powerful in the long run. 

Things you wished you knew/ planned for before moving ( financially speaking)?

Save more than you think you need. Life happens and something will always come up when you’re moving. I recommend saving an additional $1,000 - $2,000 more than you think you need just to give yourself a cushion.

Also don’t be too hard on yourself in the beginning when you’re just getting started. It takes time to build healthy money habits. Give yourself benchmarks along the way and celebrate your progress as you go. 








Helpful Books:

You are a Badass at Making Money

The 4-Hour Work Week

Olivia have moved to Paris and is now currently living in Hong Kong. You can keep up with her on Instagram @styledbyolivia_ or at

We hope you found this post helpful? Feel free to add any questions or helpful resources you have discovered below.