Managing Money As a Migrant in Belgium

It can be a challenge moving to a new country. You need to get used to a new culture, a new climate, and sometimes even a new language. Since Belgium has three official languages, German, French, and Dutch, picking up the local language can be even more of a challenge! You also need to learn how to manage your finances in a new place while still handling your money at home. So, before you head over to Belgium, here’s some information that might help you make managing your income and expenses a little easier.

Cost of Living in Belgium

Belgium is a relatively small country compared to some of its European neighbors, so while the living costs still tend to be higher in main cities like Brussels, the overall average isn’t as varied throughout the whole country. On average, a single person in Belgium can expect to pay €1,837 in living expenses per month. This makes Belgium more affordable than many other European countries, but it’s still by no means cheap, especially if you’re coming to the country as a foreign worker. 

Common Everyday Costs in Belgium

A good way to gauge how cheap or expensive day-to-day life is in a new country is to look at the prices of common goods. That way, you can compare what a typical grocery shop might cost in one country as compared to another and get a better idea of how much you might expect to spend each month on necessary expenses. Here are some average costs in Belgium:

  • Rent: between €650 – €1,400 depending on the area and apartment size
  • Meal at an inexpensive restaurant: €15
  • Beer: €4.00
  • Bus ticket: €2.50
  • Milk: €1.06
  • Eggs: €3.60
  • Gas (1L): €1.42
  • Monthly utilities: €91 – €132 depending on apartment size (heating, electricity, gas, etc.)

Where do Migrants Live in Belgium?

As the “capital of Europe” and the home to the European Union, it’s no surprise that Belgium also has a big population of immigrants and foreigners. In fact, as of 2020, Belgium is home to 1.4 million foreign nationals. Out of a population of just over 10 million, that’s a lot! 

For the most part, non-EU immigrants in Belgium live on the outskirts of main cities and in the central cities of Belgium. Overall, you’ll find many foreigners in Belgium live in or around the following cities:

  1. Brussels
  2. Antwerp
  3. Ghent

Tips for Managing Money in Belgium

Managing your money can be a challenge for anyone, but learning how to balance managing your finances in two countries is even trickier. Here are some tips on how to get by with managing your finances in a new country:

  • Create a budget and stick to it. Once you have an idea of how much your income is and what you’ll be spending on monthly expenses like rent, food, and transportation, you can make a budget to estimate how much you can expect to save and spend each month. 
  • Look for ways to cut corners. Whether it’s shopping for second-hand clothes or furniture, taking public transit instead of getting a car, or finding a low-cost international money transfer provider to save on fees, all the money you save will start to add up.
  • Meet other foreigners in your area. Whatever city you find yourself in Belgium, seek out the internationals around you to help ease your transition and learn what money-saving tips they’ve picked up, like places to shop or how to get discounts on local goods.

To Wrap Up

Belgium can be a great place to work as a migrant and save up money to send home. However, if you don’t plan ahead when it comes to managing your finances abroad, you run the risk of having a harder time transitioning to a new country. Not to worry though, a little bit of preparation and research is all you need to help you learn what to expect.