UPDATED: February 09, 2023

Perhaps you have followed the ‘living the dream’ motto and decided to work in America. You have a job and an income, but you still need to send money to your family back home in your country of birth or most recent citizenship. This requires creating and managing two household budgets. Here we provide tips on how to budget effectively for dual households.

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Be Clear About Your Long-Term Plans

Are you going to work indefinitely in America to enable you to support your family back home?  For starters, know your legal options for an extended working visa. Do you want to get established in the USA and then get your family to join you? Are you aiming for citizenship in America?

Open a Local Bank Account

The first financial goal is to open a bank account in which you can receive your wages or salary. A local account will have lower charges for transactions than sticking to your foreign bank account. You can establish a member of your family as a recipient and make monthly or ad hoc payments to their bank account in your home country. 

An alternative is to sign up for a money transfer service such as a Ria Money Transfer to send money to your loved ones. With access to transfers in more than 165 countries, you should easily be able to make transfers as and when it is necessary. This can be collected as cash at an office near to them. 

Draw Up Two Budgets

Budgeting is essential as you balance your needs and those of your family with the income you are earning. There are many budget templates to help you. You will need to include a savings account for emergencies for yourself or your family.

First, do your own budget. You will have to cover accommodation, transport, communication, and food. Second, work out the budget for your family in their currency. This may include school fees and uniforms, clothing, transport, communication, accommodation, and food. Convert the figures to dollars. 

Cutting Costs

Your first attempt at a budget may be overly optimistic. This reflects what you would like to spend. However, you will have to differentiate between needs and wants. Your budget should be based on needs first. If there is anything left over, you can go back and add in extra items in the expenditure section of your budget.

Most foreign workers will look for the cheapest accommodation and find ways to reduce transport costs, such as walking or getting a bicycle. Lower your communications spending by allowing enough data for emergencies or calls home. Cut down on the cost of meals by sticking to the cheapest items, most of which are good for your health.


Wise financial investments can let you grow your money. Compound interest will increase your capital more than simple interest. Ideally, this money can be left alone for as long as possible. It can form a retirement plan, or you may choose to use some of it to cover the costs of moving your family to America in a few years. 

Although you may have to make sacrifices to take care of your family while working abroad, in the long run it will be worth it.