How to save money while studying abroad? This is the question almost every student asks and stresses over when they study abroad. Here is a list of some of the best hacks, a.k.a money-saving tips for students that will help you save more than $12,000 per annum, while you study abroad.
Sometimes, students are so invested in getting themselves enrolled into their dream universities abroad and worrying about the tuition fees, that they forget that they still need a considerable amount of capital to survive. From accommodation to traveling and daily meals to entertainment, everything is going to cost you money. Therefore, it is really important that you strive to keep your education abroad as cheap and as cost-effective as possible. You can always take up part-time jobs but, what if you are unable to? If you do your research, there are always some easy study abroad tips to save money with or without a part-time job. To help you save money while you study abroad, here are some quick money-saving tips for students that will answer the big question: how to save money while studying abroad.
Hack #1: Make a budget
When you go abroad for your education, exploring, food, accommodation, traveling, etc. takes up a lot of money from your savings. The saved amount seems like a lot and hence, most of us don’t think twice before spending on little expenses. And that’s where many students make a grave mistake. They don’t budget their food, accommodation, travels, and tours the way they should and as a result, they end up spending money that is supposed to be saved.
Making a budget helps you twofold: Get more organized and save a sizeable amount of money. I suggest that you account for the very basic things like your rent, food, travel expenses, etc. and make a budget list. Also, make sure that you don’t utilize all of your budget and that you keep a little buffer. For instance, if you’re expecting to spend about $5,000 a month then tell yourself that you only have $3,000 a month. Save the remaining $2,000 and keep it for emergencies or for future fun experiences!
Hack #2: Use cheap phone services
Calling locally as well as internationally is essential if you’re a student studying abroad. Therefore, if you don’t pay attention, your phone bill will skyrocket very quickly. While there are apps such as Google Duo, Whatsapp, Skype, etc. for free online calling, these apps require mobile data or WiFi which may not always be available. Carefully using cheap phone services and choosing the perfect offers is the best option to save money while studying abroad. You’ll be amazed at how much you save on your phone calls to your home country using services like Rebtel, GoogleFi, etc.
Hack #3: Make the most of student discounts
Student discounts are also one of the answers to how to save money while studying abroad. But for that, you need to be attentive and must carry your student ID all the time. From trains to theaters, your student card can contribute to saving a lot of your money. Don’t hesitate in asking vendors and cashiers if they offer discounts for students. You are a student asking for student discounts and there is nothing outrageous about it. Another really simple way to get a student discount is to ask your university office or library if they know of any discount offers for various amenities or services. You never know what you might find!
Hack #4: Learn how to cook
Learn to cook—this is one of the soundest tips for studying abroad that you can get. Not only does it instill discipline in your lifestyle but you can also save a lot of money. Truth to be told, ordering food and devouring takeouts is not the solution when you have to work out every meal on your own. By cooking a couple of dishes in large quantities on weekends, you can sort out your dinners for the entire next week in money that may worth only 2-3 takeouts. Cooking for yourself also allows you to customize your diet and lead a healthier life.
Hack #5: Learn how to get price cuts from the locals
Your local friends and contacts can also come in really helpful in keeping your studying abroad cheap. Locals anywhere are aware of the hack of saving money on products and services in that particular region. Where hackling works and where doesn’t, a local will guide you better for that. Their tips and tricks will let you save some money on every spending.
Hack #6: Shop during Black Friday or Garage sales
When you first reach your study abroad destination, you might be excited to buy all your necessities together. However, we suggest you hold off on doing that. Buying things like furniture or other knickknacks at Flea markets or Garage sales instead of regular stores is always cheaper. As for all the other stuff you need for day-to-day living, you can always buy stuff in bulk at stores like Costco or Walmart. And the best option? Shop at seasonal sales like Black Friday, Boxing day, Cyber Monday, etc. It’s amazingly cheap and you can get crazy deals during these sales.
Hack #7: Look for free entertainment options
Every new place you travel to will have some amazing tourist and local spots that are worth checking out. This hack is hands-down a rare one on this list of money-saving tips for students. Big cities have many free entertainment avenues that many people are not aware of. Search for them and then visit them to splurge in your free time. Museums, parks, and cultural shows— all those and many other options can offer entertainment free of cost.
Hack #8: Find affordable accommodation
Accommodation is one of the greatest worries every international student has. You have to hack your way into the best accommodation possible for yourself because that is the biggest expense item outside of your university tuition fee. Living off-campus is comparatively cheaper than living on the university campus provided you find the right one. You can also choose multiple roommates to live with and then reduce your rent accordingly.
Hack #9: Make the best use of credit cards
Now, this is a very risky yet useful hack, so make sure you’re very careful about implementing this one! Credit cards are a very popular way to save money while building your credit history with the banks. Every credit card has an allowance or a limit within which you are allowed to spend and then pay the bank afterward. So, here’s one of the biggest money-saving tips for students; get credit cards that reward you for using them. These rewards can be in the form of cash or points which can be later used to redeem for really cool offers and save a lot of money. You can also get an Airline credit card that lets you collect ‘air miles’ which you can use to get big discounts on your flight tickets.
Hack #10: Travel cheap or on foot
If you are studying in any European university on Schengen visa, then it is very likely that you will make the most of this opportunity and will travel to all the places that you have longed mark as your tour destinations. So, if you don’t want to strain your student budget while fulfilling your wanderlust, make your travel as cheap as possible. Forget convenience and consider prices only. In some places, you will find bus fares lower than trains and vice versa. Assess all such fares beforehand so you can take the cost-saving decision at the given moment. And when taking a plane for cross-border traveling, book red-eye flights (nighttime flights at cheaper rates).
Also, travel on foot for most of your intra-city roaming and commutes. It is good for your health, good for your wallet and you will also be able to experience things with a new and closer perspective.
So, that’s a wrap, guys! I really hope you all follow these simple and easy money-saving tips for students who study and live abroad. If you’re still in the planning stage of studying abroad, take a look at these blogs that tell you all about choosing the right university, managing your finances, your tests and their preparations and more! For any other higher-ed related queries, you can visit our website or ask any questions on our student discussion page. Happy studying!
A writer by day and a reader by night, Rashmi is a quirky cog, in the wheel that is iSchoolConnect. She spends her days writing intriguing and informative articles about all things Higher-Ed.