Budgeting Tips For International Students

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Budgeting Tips For International Students

Studying abroad is an incredible way to further your education while exploring more of the world. But tuition, accommodation, books, food, transportation, sightseeing, socializing…it all adds up very quickly. The last thing you want to do is constantly worry about maintaining a healthy bank balance. 

We’ve put together some useful tips to take your mind off your money and your money off your mind (yes, we went there). 

Prepaid Travel Cards

Before you move abroad to study, it’s worth looking into buying a prepaid travel card – especially if you’re moving to a country that uses a different currency. For example, if you’re moving from Canada to France, buy a prepaid card and load it with euros. You can access these funds in France without paying a high exchange rate every time you make a withdrawal.

Usually travel cards can be topped up via the issuing financial institutions’ website. Using this card will be super convenient until you’re able to open your new local bank account. 

Student Bank Accounts 

Opening a student bank account when abroad can help you save money since a lot of banks offer options with interest-free overdraft and no fees. Before opening an account in your new country, be sure to research which bank is best for you. Banks often set up promotional stands in schools to promote themselves to students – don’t be afraid to go and ask questions. 

Save That Money

The key to saving is having a budget and sticking to it. Creating a budget is a great way to figure out exactly where you’re spending your money and where you could be saving. Start with a sheet divided into two sections, ‘Income’ and ‘Expenses’. Write down all of your sources of money and all the things you expect to have to shell out for. 

Once you have this done, break it down to give yourself a monthly allowance. Don’t forget costs like laundry alongside rent and food. It’s also a good idea to include a certain amount for emergencies and irregular expenses. 

Use Your Student Card

Your student card is one of the most underrated saving tools you possess. Many places offer student discounts, including retail stores, restaurants, hairdressers, cinemas and sporting events – it’s the best way to spend smart without sacrificing on the experiences. 

Socialize Like A Pro

It’s important to take a break from your studies and let your hair down. Sometimes socializing can be expensive, but it really doesn’t have to be. Take advantage of what your campus has to offer in terms of activities. Many campuses have events like movie nights and concerts that are cheap or sometimes free. If your campus has a bar, it will likely have cheaper food and drinks than most venues off campus. 

If you feel like venturing off campus, consider doing it during the week. Restaurants and bars often have food and drink specials on weeknights.

Food and Drink

Eating out is fun, but if you’re buying food every day your bank account will definitely start to feel it. One simple way to save is to start by making more of your own meals and drinks. 

When doing grocery shopping, consider cost vs convenience. Sometimes the cheapest grocery store may be slightly farther away. Stores closer to college/university campuses tend to be more expensive than others. 

Pro Tip: Never go grocery shopping when you’re hungry. It’s impossible to resist all the expensive, tasty and unhealthy snacks if you do!

Money Saving Apps

There’s an app for that! Mint and YNAB connect to your bank accounts and help you keep track of your finances and spending habits. Mylo makes it easy to automate your savings and jump start your investment portfolio. Here are a few more options for you to explore.

You can also check out: Top 10 Moneysaving Apps