Budget-Friendly Tips for Studying Abroad

Studying abroad on a limited budget is absolutely achievable with some careful planning and a well-structured budget. It’s important to identify your essential expenses, like rent and utilities, to ensure you always have a place to stay. Estimating costs for things like transportation, healthcare, and books can be tricky in a new country with a different currency, but it’s doable with some forethought.

What Will You Be Spending Money On as an International Student?

As an international student, your main financial considerations are tuition fees and living expenses. Tuition fees are usually paid upfront at the start of each semester, but managing living expenses requires ongoing attention. These typically include:

  • Accommodation
  • Groceries and meals
  • Utilities
  • Transportation
  • Phone bills
  • Social activities
  • Personal expenses (clothing, personal hygiene, etc.)

Set Up a Local Bank Account

One of the first things to do when you arrive is set up a student bank account. These accounts often come with perks that can help you manage your money better. With a local student bank account, you can make direct transfers for things like rent, utilities, and phone bills. You’ll also be able to receive paychecks from part-time jobs or paid internships directly. If you have a scholarship, the funds will go straight to your account. Plus, your family can easily transfer tuition fees and other amounts for easy access.

Learn Where You Can Save Money

Keeping cost-cutting in mind is essential. Smart spending can make all the difference in managing your budget effectively while studying abroad.

Take Advantage of Student Discounts Being an international student often comes with discounts on almost everything. Look for student pass options for public transport to save on commuting costs. Services like Spotify, Apple Music, Hulu, Doordash, Lenovo, and Samsung offer exclusive student deals!

Shop During Sales In the first few months, you’ll need to buy essentials to settle in. Instead of buying from regular stores, look for garage sales or Black Friday deals to save money.

Determine What’s Essential and What’s Not Prioritize spending on essential items like food, toiletries, books, and clothing. Limit spending on non-essential items like gadgets and bikes to avoid unnecessary expenses.

Work to Earn Some Additional Income

During term breaks, consider working part-time or full-time to support your lifestyle. This not only provides additional income but also helps you gain valuable work experience.

Use Public Transportation

Private vehicles can be expensive due to fuel costs. Public transportation is much cheaper and can significantly reduce your commuting expenses. You can also use a bicycle or walk short distances to save even more.

Commute Using a Bicycle or a Bike If your campus is nearby, consider riding a bicycle or a bike instead of using taxis, which can be expensive.

Make Smart Accommodation Choices

When choosing accommodation, balance the cost of travel against the cost of rent. Living closer to the university might mean higher rent, but you’ll save on commuting costs and time. Decide what’s non-negotiable for you and adjust accordingly.

Groceries and Meals

Set a monthly budget for groceries and break it down weekly to keep track of expenses and ensure you have funds for necessities.

Learn to Cook Eating out or ordering food can be very expensive. Learning to cook simple meals can save you a lot of money in the long run.

Purchase Used Books

Textbooks are essential but can be expensive. Look for used books at stores that sell second-hand books at lower prices to save money.

Rent Reference Books For short-term needs like exam preparation, rent reference books from your local library. Just be sure to return them on time to avoid penalties.

Access the Free Library of the Institution Many educational institutions have libraries with free resources. Explore your institution’s library catalog to find the books you need without spending a penny.

Use Credit Only When Necessary

Lastly, be cautious with credit usage. Using credit only when necessary is a key part of effective money management while studying abroad.