10 Tips for Money Management When Studying Abroad

Money Management When Studying Abroad

Our Best Advice for Money Management When Studying Abroad

Money management when studying abroad can be tricky. Even students who are studying in their home country are already considered to be some of the most financially disadvantaged demographics, let alone when you add the stresses and demands of living in another, potentially more financially demanding environment.

Making sure you spend responsibly and manage to maintain a decent budget will be one of the keys to ensuring your quality of life at your new location, alongside your ability to make new friends and deal with the eventual feelings of homesickness which might arise.

Here are few top tips for money management when studying abroad. These pieces of advice range from fairly obvious points to more niche techniques that might come as potential life savers. Combined, they should help you stay on the right track and have an overall better time at your university (although you might need to cut down on the partying and going out just a little bit).

1. Consider Opening a Local Bank Account

This could not be the best solution for everyone. For example, students who are studying somewhere for only a semester or less might find it less cost-effective to open up a bank account in a foreign country. That said, for those who are enrolled in longer programmes, this can help a lot.

To make an informed choice, your IDP counsellor can provide you with knowledge about the top banks in your destination. Because services differ from bank to bank, make sure you choose the one that offers the most advantages to students and does not charge exorbitant fees for international bank transfers.

2. Make Use of Your Student Status

We mentioned before how students are some of the most financially disadvantaged demographics. Fortunately, a lot of places recognize this fact and offer a plethora of discounts.

Make sure to get confirmation of your student status as soon as possible (whether that takes the form of a card or something else). Then, use your status to get discounts at places like restaurants, cafes, libraries, movie tickets, events, and especially public transportation.

3. Budget Responsibly

Knowing your financial situation at the moment will help you make a workable budget plan. Make sure to account for expenses like rent, utilities, groceries, transportation, data fees, entertainment, study materials, and travel each month. Save money each month in case of emergencies or unforeseen circumstances is one of the most important aspects of good money management when studying abroad.

Although sometimes playing your spending by ear can work, do not underestimate the power of planning and keeping track of your expenses. By being responsible, you can make sure that you have money in the moments when it really counts.

4. Get a Job

In the majority of countries, you are allowed to work up to 20 hours a week and full-time during term breaks. Just make sure that working is permitted under your student visa before looking for a job. Also, keep in mind that your income is taxable, so be sure to research your new country’s international student regulations.

In addition to providing you with valuable work experience, this extra money can relieve some of the financial pressure you might be feeling. Some extra pocket money will no doubt be a welcome bonus.

5. Learn Where You Can Save Money

It is important to keep cost-cutting in mind for expenses. Spending intelligently can be the difference between poor and effective money management when studying abroad.

Everybody knows to look for sales but, as an example, getting used books or digital copies can be a great way to spend less, too. Sharing accommodation with someone is something else you can do. There are opportunities everywhere you look: from joining the library to getting monthly public transport tickets. You just need to keep a watchful eye out and seize them when they appear.

6. Find Cheap Ways to Have Fun

International students often spend a lot of money on leisure activities. This is understandable as studying for university can get quite stressful and the lure of new places filled with interesting activities is difficult to resist.

However, there are ways to have fun without spending money. Apart from practically free entertainment such as public exhibitions, walking in nature, reading in the library or simply spending some fun time at home, it can be useful to look into cheap bars, cafes, restaurants, or public spaces where you can socialize for free.

7. Learn to Cook

One of the greatest money sinks in our modern age is eating out or, even worse, ordering food. Learning to cook a few simple meals for yourself can save you large amounts of money in the long run.

You may have access to a campus cafeteria, sure, but not all of us always eat at pre-scheduled times. What is more, sometimes you might crave specific types of food that they simply do not serve there. Learning some cooking basics can fix this issue and increase your quality of life for little to no extra cost.

8. Get a Bike

Depending on where you study how long your commutes are, purchasing or renting a bicycle can highly impact your money management when studying abroad. A bike can greatly lower your transportation costs while maintaining fitness at the same time.

Those who are more environmentally conscious will also appreciate the lack of a carbon footprint that comes with riding a bicycle. Even if you do not plan to constantly go downtown, bigger campuses especially are much more easily traversed on a bike than just on foot.

9. Look Up International Transaction Fees

Depending on your bank, certain charges and fees can be applicable overseas. It might be wiser to withdraw greater sums of money less frequently if your bank charges a flat rate cost in order to avoid paying several fees. Consider looking for a bank that has a lower rate if you do not feel comfortable carrying around a lot of cash.

Also, consider credit unions since their costs can be lower. Check to determine whether your bank has partnerships with other financial institutions or reciprocity agreements with banks in your host nation. This will sometimes completely get rid of transaction fees.

10. Use Credit Only When Necessary

Last, but definitely not least, a big part of money management when studying abroad is using credit only when necessary. Spending on credit while studying abroad is a simple trap to slip into, and it is common for students to return home with a big credit card load as an expensive keepsake.

Instead of having the student charge expenses to a credit card and subsequently pay it off, a parent or other family member can transfer a remittance to your account to cover travel and other expenses.

Spend Smartly, Not Rashly

All of our advice in this article can be aptly summed up in this phrase. It can be difficult to maintain self-control in a new and exciting environment. What is more, going away for university might be the first time a lot of people are in charge of their own finances.

However, if you keep these tips in mind and remember to always think before your next purchase, you should be able to make it just fine. Finance management in college is never an exact science and as long as you are applying the general principles you should be okay.

Take a look at our blog for other informative articles on studying abroad.

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  • 9 June, 2023