Blog by Guest Author: universityliving.com
When you’re studying abroad, it’s all fun and games until you realise you’re on the verge of being broke! It’s easy to go overboard with your spending habits when you’re having fun. In the first few months, you want to explore the city, try out all the local food, getting your fashion game on point, and maybe check out all the hottest clubs. Sooner or later, you realise that you need a plan in place to manage your finances. Don’t worry, we’re here to help. Read on to get a few useful pointers on how to manage your funds while studying overseas.
1. Be Thrifty
Almost all countries, especially those that are known for higher studies, have many benefits for students – you just have to look. There are travel passes that are discounted for students, public libraries that are free, and food coupons or subsidised rates on campus or at certain department stores, amongst others. Europe has an international identity card for foreign students called the ISIC card. This card will get you discounts on gym memberships, interstate travel, and even international travel within the Schengen countries.
2. Local Bank Account
Whatever you do, don’t depend on your bank account back home, for the simple reason that the bank charges will be exorbitant. When you land, it makes sense to open a local bank account that will keep your money safe and help you access your funds easily. In many countries, this is pretty much compulsory. Germany has a blocked bank account for students that only releases a certain amount of funds every month that is considered the monthly cost of living. This helps in keeping your spends in check.
3. Create a Budget
Budgeting sounds boring and unnecessary but take our word for it when we say that it goes a long way in managing your finances. When you’re living alone, you can’t afford to be broke at the end of the month. We’ll make it simple for you; all you need is a list of expenses that include rent, utilities, travel, groceries, essentials, take-out, and leisure. Once you’ve covered the first 5 items, you know how much money you have for entertainment and leisure.
4. Get a Job!
Of course, this isn’t compulsory, but it helps in multiple ways. A part-time job is easy money that will lessen your financial burden a little bit. At the same time, you get to meet new people, sharpen some skills, and get a glimpse of how the real-world works. It’s also a fun experience to earn in a new currency, learn the work culture of that country, and understand the meaning of taxes!
5. Learn to Spend Like a Local
At work, university, or at your student home, be observant of how the locals go about with their monthly expenses. You will find the right farmer’s markets to buy your groceries at reasonable prices, you’ll learn tricks of how to get around the city without spending too much, and you’ll find department stores where home essentials are at wholesale rates. Stock up for the month when it comes to toiletries and kitchen equipment because buying in bulk is always more cost effective.
6. Invest in a Bicycle
If you’re studying abroad, there’s a high chance you’re living within a 2km radius from campus, if not on campus. Hence, it makes sense to ride your bike to college. This way, you won’t have to wait for the bus every day, you won’t have to spend on cabs if you miss the bus, and you don’t have to tire yourself by walking. Many western countries have bike parking and bicycle paths on the streets, across the city. You’ll be doing the environment a favour, too!
7. Learn to Cook
You might have been waited upon back home, but the student life isn’t as pampering. If you depend on eating out every day, you’ll definitely have spent enormously by the end of the month. Now, if you can afford it, well and good, but if you want to remain within budget, it would make sense to try your hand at cooking. You never know, you might enjoy it. In fact, cooking and baking with your housemates is rated as one of the most enjoyable student experiences.
Now that we’ve given you couple of tricks and tips that you can adopt, we’re sure that you’ll enjoy a very comfortable student life if you incorporate these suggestions in your lifestyle. If you’re living in a student home, especially those provided by University Living, getting by will be easier since their properties are conveniently located near campus, and they have well-equipped kitchens. Studying abroad is fun, and all these practices make the experience even more valuable.