Studying abroad is a great experience, and if you have an opportunity to go study somewhere outside your country, you should definitely seize it. But if you do want to approach this wisely, you need to keep a lot of important things in mind, from how are you going to take care of yourself to how are you going to spend money.
Sadly, not all of us have good money habits when we go to college or start studying abroad. Those things are rarely taught in schools, so unless you’ve read some good books, received great tips from your parents or have good money handling skills on your own, there’s a chance that you might struggle with both budgeting and spending.
However, it’s never too late to learn. Here are the strategies that could help you not only spend wisely but also to save more money while studying abroad.
10 Best Strategies to save money studying abroad
Now, this is not the easiest thing to master and the whole article probably wouldn’t be enough to cover it. The first and the most important basis of budgeting is to spend less than you earn (or receive as a scholarship, etc.).
You need to spend some time each month to write down your monthly expenses, your income, and to decide how you’re going to spend the money that is left.
It’s always a good idea to save at least 10% of your income for future and in case of emergencies. But even if you cannot do so at the moment, do your best to spend as wisely as you can.
Tracking your expenses is what makes your budgeting realistic and most effective, and also saves you from spending too much.
There are plenty of ways to track money: you could use an app or do it manually – everything that is convenient to you is okay.
Just don’t forget to do it daily: it doesn’t take much time but helps you to clearly understand where does your money go.
Buy used textbooks
Textbooks are often very expensive. But you don’t need to spend so much money just to buy a textbook which you’re going to use for a couple of months only.
Unless your college’s library doesn’t provide you with textbooks, consider visiting a college bookshop to ask whether they have some used (and therefore cheaper) version of them.
Also, try looking for local websites that sell used textbooks, or search on Amazon if the textbooks you’re interested in could be found there.
Moreover, if you handle your textbooks with care, you could also try reselling them once you don’t need them anymore, earning some extra cash.
Eat healthier and buy local food
Sure, healthy eating might seem too expensive and time-consuming. However, there’s a big chance that you’ll spend more money eating mostly pizza and burgers or noodles.
Moreover, there’s also a possibility that this would affect your health quickly and you’ll have to spend some money on the doctors as well.
Therefore, take a tour around the local shops and supermarkets to see how much local products cost and which one of them could you add to your healthy diet to save more money.
Find a way to earn some money
There are plenty of ways to earn money for a student. Maybe you’re a skilled student, who often hears things like «Could you please write my paper for me?» While I definitely not recommend doing so to avoid troubles, you could still offer tutoring services to other students in order to earn some money.
And that’s not the only thing you could do to earn them. You could sell some stuff you make, find a part-time job, help someone lose weight, try freelancing, and so on. If you do have a skill that could be monetized, try doing so.
Make the most out of student discounts
Being a student, you do want to go out – and probably cannot afford to spend a lot of money in the process. Lucky for you, there are plenty of ways to save money on any kind of entertainment.
Student cards like ISIC and student discounts allow you to spend less on museums, movie tickets, bars and restaurants, and even on travels.
Save money on calls home
Of course, homesickness is not a pleasant thing to experience, and keeping in touch with your friends and family can help you overcome it.
But not if it comes for a price: and international calls could be very pricey.
Most likely you know about all those apps that allow making online calls: Skype, Viber, Whatsapp, and so on.
Try using them and ask your parents to learn how to use them, so you could both save money and chat with them more from now on.
Try finding cheaper ways to go out
Going out with your friends is great. It’s also important: you need to relax and to spend quality time with people you like to de-stress effectively.
But going out could also be very expensive if you do it often.
While I don’t advice you to avoid going out at all, I recommend approaching it wisely.
You could create a separate budget for that and decide how many times a semester you could afford going out based on that budget. Use study tours or student exchange programs to meet your travel goals.
You could make the most out of the discounts mentioned above. You could offer your friends to spend some time together without spending much money: for example, throw a picnic, organize a pizza and Netflix evening, etc.
Learn how to save online
Cashback services and discount websites are your best friends for the next few years. If you do shop online often, try looking for cashback services in your country.
If you shop offline mostly, ask your bank whether they have a cash back program or not.
Also, look for sites that offer discount coupons for students: you might find some awesome deals there.
Spend in cash
A card, be it credit or an ordinary one, is convenient and easy to use. However, if you have a tendency to overspend, a card could be your worse enemy. It’s easy to spend more than you could afford when you don’t see how the money disappear.
When you spend in cash, however, the money is physical. You are able to see how much you are spending – and you are also able to see how much you have left.
Try coming up with a sum you can afford to spend this month and withdrawing this amount of cash from your bank account. This way you will be able to see that you’re running out of money and stop overspending.
The important thing here is to be uncompromising about it. If you are tempted to take some extra money from your bank account or get a credit, remind yourself that it’s the opposite of what you’ve been trying to achieve.
Persistence is the key when it comes to money saving. You will be able to succeed and to become a financially wise person – but only if you remember why you are doing this and why this is important to you, and won’t give up.
About the Author: Richard Nolan is a professional educator and team building coach, sharing his experience in spheres of writing, blogging, entrepreneurship, and psychology. Richard writes for numerous blogs and gives useful tips for bloggers and students.