No matter where you are in the world, money–and how you maintain a budget–is something that is common to everyone. If you’re looking for inspiration or new options as you think about your own money practices, then check out how people from these three countries approach savings, budgeting, and investing:
Savings in China
Even the ancient Chinese text of the Dao De Ching extols the virtues of being frugal, which might be why the average Chinese household today saves about 30 percent of its annual income.
Lessons learned: Being conscientious about saving money doesn’t mean you’re cheap. Going easy on the spending is simply a wise move in the direction of financial health. How much money do you manage to save each year? Even if you can’t save as much as you hoped for this year, the new year is almost here and is a great opportunity to set up a new savings goal (and corresponding plan).
Trading in India
Bargaining or bartering in the street markets of India is expected. As much as it can be entertaining for both parties and passersby, it´s also quite necessary, since vendors may have doubled or tripled the original cost of clothes, vegetables or accessories that they are selling—and the quality isn’t always worth the price.
Lessons learned: Though you may not be able to bargain in most western stores, it’s important to make sure that the price you pay is worth the quality of the item. If you aren’t satisfied with the price, don’t be a lazy shopper and assume that there´s no other option. Shop around, do a price comparison with a shopping app and see what else is out there.
Investing in Argentina
With a major economic crisis in 2001, Argentina’s financial situation continues to fluctuate even today, and significant inflation and devaluation of the local currency, the peso, occurs every year. However, the country’s citizens have learned to deal with the unstable currency by investing their earnings into something solid, like a car or property, and paying it off in installments.
Lessons learned: Although it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to get rich, safely investing your money in goods, like collector’s items or antiques, can make more sense than simply sitting on your savings and counting them. Even countries with more stable economies and strong currencies experience inflation, but at a lower rate, so you will only notice it over a longer period of time.
Looking at money from a fresh perspective might be just what you need to kick your financial troubles to the curb. Tips on saving and frugal living don’t just come from personal finance blogs and money gurus. Open your mind to different attitudes toward money from around the world, and how they could change your finances for the better.
Suchi Rudra is an avid traveler and freelance writer from Texas who covers personal finance, travel, green building, tech, and entrepreneurship. Her work can be found in VICE, The Guardian, Vice, American Way, BBC Travel, Fodor’s, Transitions Abroad, PlanetEye.com, TravelStart.com, Expats.cz, The Writer and India Currents and many other publications.