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Budgeting For Gambian Expats: Tips And Tricks For Managing Your Finances Overseas

17 Jan 2024

Located in West Africa, Gambia is a small country in mainland Africa and is surrounded by Senegal. According to a USAID report, it has a population of just over 2 million.

About a 10th of the Gambia’s population, the same report said, works abroad to earn a living, and they send money to Gambia to offer financial support to their families residing in the Gambia.

The economy of the country is not strong enough to accommodate all the job-seekers in the country, whose number is low given the small population. But even the small number of those seeking jobs the country’s flailing economy cannot accommodate.

Therefore, those who can manage travel to developed countries to find work with better financial prospects, which is hard to find in the Gambia.

Since a majority of the Gambian migrants come from humble financial backgrounds, they try their best to do everything in their capacity and within the legal bounds of the countries they work in to earn and save as much as they can.

But do you know what it takes to save money while working abroad? Is it the amount you earn or your job abroad that helps you save money?

Well, these are some really important questions to answer because instances abound where people earning less have successfully managed savings in comparison to those earning fairly better in foreign countries.

Continue reading to get the answers and know the fascinating details.

A Brief Background About Why Managing Finances Is Important

It is never the amount you earn that matters.

It is only your financial attitude that matters the most. As they say, it is never the gun but the man behind the gun that matters.

Similarly, if you have a careless financial attitude about your money and earnings, you will not be able to manage your savings.

This is one of the reasons the poorer segments of society have a sharper financial sense than those with wealth.

Why they remain poor despite having better financial acumen than the rich has more to do with the country's overall economic condition than other factors.

In this context, it is pertinent to take a look at the Gambian economy and inward remittances to the country.

The Gambian Economy And Inward Remittances

  • A report by the World Bank said that in 2021 the nominal Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Gambia was $2.04 billion.
  • In another report, the World Bank said that the GDP per capita income in the Gambia in 2021 was $772.2.
  • The first deputy governor of the Central Bank of the Gambia (CBG) said that the Gambian diaspora had sent in $712 million in remittances to the country in 2022.

Remittances are considered economic lifelines to developing economies. Still, such a small amount and a weak economy show why Gambians travel abroad to work and support their families back home through a money transfer to Gambia regularly from abroad.

Let’s now learn a few tips to manage your finances better in a foreign land as a Gambian migrant.

Essential Tips To Manage Your Finances Better Abroad

It is never the amount you earn. Rather, your financial attitude will help you with better financial management.

And that attitude largely depends on and revolves around the following financial tips.

Create A Financial Roadmap

Create a financial roadmap for yourself and your future in light of your true, current financial strength. Figure out your financial goals and endurance for risks. A better option is to seek help from a finance professional.

Create A Budget

Create a budget that is based on your true financial situation. You have to set short-term attainable financial goals in your budget that correspond to your earnings.

You need to Read This to learn all about creating a budget while living abroad.

Want And Need – Understand The Difference

Distinguishing between want and need is critically important. Confusing these two can lead to excessive spending on things you can do without that broadly fall in the category of wants. So., be careful about it and make it a habit while shopping to say no to things that do not align with your needs.

Automate Savings

You send money to Gambia online every month as soon as you receive your salary. This and other expenses can leave you with an insufficient amount to save at the end of the month. Therefore, the wiser course is to make savings automatic so that the designated amount goes to your savings before you can spend anything on getting your paycheque.

Record Expenses And Review

Even if you spend with care but do not record your expenses to review them later, you can be spending on things you do not need. To avoid such a scenario, record every expense you incur and make it your habit to review your expenses at the end of each month.

Slash Expenses Where You Can

See in what areas you can cut your expenses. If you find any margin for it, cut your expenses. Areas like energy and utilities, groceries, banking and credit card fees, taxes and auto expenses, etc., allow you to slash expenses.

Create An Emergency Fund And Contribute To It Regularly

Thinking that you will be able to save money without an emergency fund is a fallacy at best. By the time you realize you have to save some money for an emergency, you will have exhausted your funds. So, make sure to create an emergency fund in advance and contribute to it regularly before you incur other expenses.

Following these tips will help you save enough as a Gambian migrant.

The Way Forward

Try finding a service provider for your online money transfer to Gambia that offers live and competitive currency exchange rates and charges a low fee because these factors help you save enough in your remittance transfers.


Why is budgeting important for Gambian expats living overseas?

Budgeting is essential for Gambian expats to manage their finances effectively, ensure they meet their financial goals, and maintain financial stability while living abroad.

What are some key budgeting tips and tricks provided in the guide for Gambian expats?

The guide may offer tips such as tracking expenses, setting financial goals, creating a budget, prioritizing savings, and seeking ways to reduce living costs while maintaining a comfortable lifestyle.

How can Gambian expats deal with currency exchange and fluctuating exchange rates in their budgeting process?

The guide may provide advice on strategies to handle currency exchange, such as using international bank accounts or foreign exchange services, as well as ways to mitigate the impact of fluctuating exchange rates on their budgets.

Are there specific financial tools or apps recommended in the guide to assist Gambian expats with budgeting overseas?

The guide may suggest various budgeting apps and financial tools tailored to expats' needs, making it easier to track expenses, set financial goals, and manage their money efficiently while abroad.

How can Gambian expats strike a balance between saving for their future and supporting their families in The Gambia, as highlighted in the guide?

The guide may provide insights into strategies for managing finances to meet both personal savings goals and obligations to support family members or contribute to community development projects back in The Gambia. It may emphasize the importance of effective financial planning to achieve this balance.

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