Many college students will choose to study abroad. However, as they study in a foreign country, financial strains might plague them during their college careers. In fact, financial management should definitely be considered, when studying in a different country, meaning that all international students must handle their own finances by keeping up with bills, paying fees, and keeping their money safe and secure from scams and theft. It can be difficult to manage your finances as an international student. However, with some basic planning and understanding, you will not only have enough money for utilities and other expenditure, but also to reward yourself once in a while.
Here are 6 tips on how to manage your finances while studying abroad:
1. Monthly Budget
It’s absolutely imperative that you have a monthly budget, and that you stick to it too. If possible, try to save a little bit so you can splurge once in a while. Most students end up overspending when they first arrive at a new country, while it’s true that you’ll need extra funds to settle down at the beginning, try to fix and follow a budget within the first two months.
Once you have a budget plan, you can differentiate which expenses are priorities, and which ones are nonessential (i.e. fun and leisure).
It is important to know your current financial status and create a practical budget plan. Make sure you include factors like monthly rent, utility bills, grocery, transportation, data charges, recreation, study material and travel in it. It is a wise idea to save some amount each month for unexpected situations or emergencies.
2. Student Pass
One perk of being a college student is the endless list of coupons and discounts you get. From restaurants, transport, cinemas, shops, grocery stores or even local events, just showing your student pass can save you a lot of money. So, try to get hold of your student ID as soon as you set foot in the university.
This card will help you avail discounts on restaurants, shops, movie tickets, transportation and various cultural events. In fact, there are many websites that offer great student discounts on events and shopping, do check them out!
3. Get yourself a local bank account
Setting up a bank account in your new country is the primary step to your financial survival. Your IDP counsellor can help you with information on the leading bank accounts in your destination so you can make a well-informed decision. Since services vary from bank to bank, ensure you choose the one with maximum benefits for students and do not levy heavy charges for international bank transfers.
Transferring money every now and then from an Indian bank to a foreign one might cause a significant portion of your funds to be eaten up as transaction charges from both ends. One of the first things that you should do is open up a local bank account, preferably one that your college has ties with. Also, keep a close eye on exchange rates to spot the best time to transfer money.
4. Spend money like a local
Get to know the local’s way of doing things. Try not to get ripped off of your money by local vendors. Different countries have different trading cultures. You would be benefiting if you understand and get to know about them as soon as possible. Befriend a local and acquaint yourself with the cheapest grocery and stationery shops. Try and spend as less as possible in the first few months so you could understand how much it takes for you to just get by. It would do you good to gain some perspective on your spending practices.
Observe the locals’ shopping behaviors. Plus, befriend a few locals, and introduce yourself to the cheapest shops (i.e. groceries, stationery, etc.). Spend as less as possible in the first few months, so you can understand how much it costs to get by.
5. Look for an extra income
For students, opting for part-time jobs such as freelance assignments and joining paid survey website will help you have a side income which they can put to good use, like paying for tuition and buying academic materials. Earning an income can also boost your confidence and allow you to have some fun within the limits of their paycheck. You can also utilize the money for paying back student loans.
As a student, you can take up part-time work, but make sure it doesn’t overshadow your studies. Most colleges offer on-campus jobs so check with the university office to find out any openings. You can also take up freelance projects, or look into investing your savings so you can build an additional source of income.
6. Live Smartly
Studying abroad is expensive, but smart planning can help you survive very easily. Understand what your need and what you want, and the best way to do that is by making a priority list. Find ways to save your money and use it smartly. You can also reduce your daily expenditure with simple ways like:
- Sharing accommodation
- Get student discount cards
- Buy used books or digital copies
- Join a library
- Get passes for local transport
- Shop during sales
- Purchase from community stores
Studying abroad is expensive, but going about your expenses the right way can make sure you have a fulfilling and comfortable university experience. Financial management should not be left on the back burner, when it comes to funding your schooling, as well as your living arrangements and essentials. Following the above said tips can help you to avoid the trouble.
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