Most college students struggle with finances. Students often want something but unfortunately, their tight budgets will not allow them to have their object of desire. This struggle with money management is even more pronounced for students studying abroad in a foreign country. Being in a foreign country has its expenses, but studying abroad doesn’t imply that you need to exceed your set budget. A few finance tips for study abroad students can go a long way. All you have to do is some financial planning and practice discipline, and you will enjoy your studies without busting your budget.
Top 7 Finance Tips for Study Abroad Students
The following are seven finance tips for study abroad students that will help you to organize your finances:
Come Up With A Budget and Stick To It
Having a budget is very important. To begin, create a list of all your expenditures and sources of income. Review the expenses and determine if they are necessary. Then, do some investigations to identify things that can be bought cheaply. Make sure that what you spend is within the limits of your total income after you’ve set aside some cash for emergencies and savings. Like you’ve just seen, coming up with a budget isn’t tricky; what troubles most people is sticking to it.
If you want to succeed at cost-cutting and living within your budget, try to live in a city or town that has a low average cost of living. If you’ve not settled on a study abroad destination, you can make use of a cost of living calculator to evaluate the cost of living amongst different cities. You’ll find that most students settle upon home stays as they have lower expenses.
Make the Most of Financial Aid
Try to find out if there are any scholarships available for your course abroad. Contact the various institutions and inquire about the types of financial aid available for your preferred class. Then, apply for the most favorable financial aid. You might end up getting part or total funding.
Applying for financial aid can help reduce the overall amount of fees that you would have paid for your course, meaning that you can utilize the rest of the amount on other things while abroad.
It is still important to have a plan for your finances. Living in a foreign nation may result in new financial obligations like paying additional cash for some essential commodities. Everyday living expenses might be slightly higher than what you’re used to. Therefore, to be prepared, always make a financial plan.
The earlier you set out on planning, the better you will become at financial management. It will enable you to save money for emergencies and other essential activities. Moreover, you will be able to point out the activities whose expenses are high and may not fit into your budget. Furthermore, planning prevents the likelihood of going into debt from your time abroad. Planning should be done as quickly as possible with a view to making sound financial decisions while studying abroad. You don’t want your exciting time abroad to result in the burden of consumer debt once you return home – so stay vigilant!
Make the Most Out of Student Discounts
Various businesses and organizations offer student discounts on several goods and services. Take advantage of them to save some cash. Always make a point of carrying your student ID as an opportunity might arise for you to use it. Additionally, ask about student discounts whenever you are out shopping. You will eventually save a lot on things like clothing or even food. Moreover, recreational facilities like museums and cinemas might offer discounts for students. Utilizing your student status is one of the most accessible and most convenient ways to save a few bucks while you’re abroad, so don’t miss out.
Consider Part-Time Employment
If you can, try to look for jobs while studying abroad. You should keep in mind your studies when making this decision. If eligible, choose a position that will enable you to attend classes and co-curricular activities.
Find out the legal requirements since some countries might expect you to have a work permit. In particular, check your visa status when making this decision, as working on a student visa is prohibited. Likewise, find out the requirements for your institution as some may not allow international students to look for employment due to the nature of their study program.
Once you’ve secured employment, your financial problems might be somehow settled. However, remember to practice financial management even when you receive a regular check.
Keep an Eye on the Currency Exchange Rates
Once you’re abroad, you have no choice but to acquaint yourself with exchange rates. You have to continually monitor the exchange rates so that you can identify when the rate drops, which is the opportune time to exchange money. Exchange a significant amount so that you are taken care of when the price rises. To save on exchange rate fees, try to get of a credit card that doesn’t charge additional fees for withdrawals at international ATMs. And, when you do head to the ATM, try to take out larger amounts less frequently so you don’t get crushed by the crazy fees.
Only Wire Money When It’s Necessary
At first, this may not go well for some people because of security concerns. However, while abroad, carrying money around makes sense mainly if you have daily or frequents payments. Using your credit card might incur a lot of charges. On the other hand, some stores might reject cards or place a minimum amount to charge your card. Therefore, in these situations, having cash with you will do.
Also, some emergencies may arise in which you may need cash. Thus, it will be wise for you to carry cash instead of solely relying on a card. Remember not to carry your whole stash around to avoid any cases of theft and impulse buying.
However, if you have to wire money, only do so when it is essential. Wiring money via channels like Western Union can be a tedious and costly process. You should only wire money in emergency situations. Ensure that you give somebody you trust the power to deposit money in your account in case an emergency arises.
There you have it. These seven tips for study abroad students will enable you to efficiently manage your finances while schooling abroad, thus ensuring that your stay there becomes enjoyable.
What is your experience with finances while studying abroad? Please share with us.
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. Currently, Richard works as a general blog editor for EliteEssayWriters. Follow him on Facebook.