Last Updated: August 26, 2021
Saving Money While Studying Abroad
Candidates who opt to study abroad will be for the most part focusing on the expenses that will be incurred during the duration of the course. While choosing a university, candidates often look for institutions situated in cities with lower living expenses. It is an important factor along with the cost of attendance of the course candidates are applying for. The locality the candidate is in will decide most financial aspects of their stay in the country they have chosen.
The most common expenses incurred by students who travel abroad for education are that of tuition, rent, transportation, food, basic amenities, healthcare, etc. Candidates will have to research the expenses they will have in the particular city they are living in since it is subject to variation from country to country and city to city.
While candidates will not be able to save money by cutting down college/university expenses, they will be able to create a budget for themselves and always earn extra money to cover their expenses. By making serious lifestyle changes, candidates will be able to save enough money and lead a decent life in the country they are studying in.
General Areas of Expenditure
The expenses that candidates have to research before moving to a different country for higher education start from the cost of attendance of the course they are attending. While most candidates will apply for financial aid along with their college application, they should realistically calculate the amount of money they will require which will fall outside the scope of the financial aid.
- University expenses: Other than the tuition fee, universities and colleges will often have additional expenses apart from the cost of attendance depending on the league of institution the candidate is applying to. The additional costs will be higher if the candidate has chosen private universities. The extra fee can be a mandatory campus fee, lab fee, equipment fee, or sports fee.
- Housing expenses: Finding a place to live can be hard for international students who have no kith and kin in the country they are moving to. Students admitted to universities will be able to get on-campus accommodation for which they will have to pay a nominal fee. On the other hand, candidates who cannot receive on-campus accommodation often share an apartment with other college students at a location close to the college they go to.
- Living expenses: Living expenses incurred by the student will be in the form of food, clothing, basic amenities, and other miscellaneous activities the student may be part of. The expenses that the candidate will have while moving to a new location will be higher when compared to the monthly expenses they will eventually have. It will be ideal for students to have supplies like lamps, vacuum, refrigerator, etc. if they plan to reduce their subsequent expenses. In their first month of stay, they can find cheap stores for clothes and grocery items within the locality instead of opting for malls and similar spaces.
- Transportation expenses: Depending on the location the student is staying they will have to spend a minimum amount on their daily commute. If the locality they are in is bike-friendly and doesn’t require them to traverse through high traffic, it will be ideal to invest in a decent bike that will last the entire duration of their stay in the country. Students who live extremely close by to their college will also have the option of walking to the institution. If the student has to take more than one form of transportation to reach their institution, they will also be able to walk the shorter distance to save whatever money they can. Transportation expenses, though small in number, will add up to a substantial amount at the end of the month.
- Book Expenses: Depending on the course the student has taken they will have to spend an estimated amount of at least $1,200 on books and other stationery. The books they will have to buy will range from the different textbooks they have to invest in and the notebooks they will require to study. Students will always have the option of finding cheaper options for both these books. They can opt for second-hand books or even borrow books from libraries if it is available. Sometimes, students will also find that their colleges are e-book friendly which will let them use the soft copies of the books without having to purchase the book.
- Insurance expenses: Many countries require that international students have health insurance before being issued a student visa. This measure prevents the students from seemingly large health bills and covers them in case of emergencies. Students need to make sure that they can meet the insurance costs. Most often, students will try to choose the cheaper options among insurance policies. But cheaper options will often not cover the medical expenses they might incur in the duration of a year and hence it is always advisable to go for options suggested by the university and research thoroughly before taking it.
- Entertainment expenses: Though highly underestimated, students might end up spending a substantial sum on movies or theaters or hanging out with friends. Students need to have room for entertainment expenses in their budget. The expenses in this category can range from watching a favorite movie to traveling in the country. While students may feel that spending a minimal amount now and then is harmless, it is essential that they choose cheaper options to do the same so that the amount doesn’t add up.
While the exact amount spent on these aspects will differ from person to person, students will be able to substantially reduce their living expenses if they create a budget for the same.
Managing Finances through Budgeting
Creating a budget might seem to be the easiest option for students who have not previously taken a vested interest in saving money. Budget creation starts from having an awareness of the expenses one might have, including an approximate amount one spends every month for the necessities and extra expenses one usually incurs. Students can keep an online or offline journal to jot down their main expenses for the month along with the income they receive every month. The income can be in the form of an allowance or in the form of financial aid/salary they receive every month. The amount they spent should be drastically cut down to match their income.
While adding the amount they have to spend, students should ensure that apart from the fixed costs they have, they should keep a monthly allowance for health emergencies and other activities they might have to be part of while socializing and traveling within the country. The amount that has been set aside for extra expenses must be carefully charted out and should always have a percent that will go towards savings. If the amount they have to spent monthly exceeds the amount they earn, students should either look for other sources of income or cut down their expenses by knowing what they can live without.
Getting a Source of Steady Income
Most students will ideally have access to financial aid even if the aid does not cover a large part of their educational expenses. Every scholarship or grant a student can receive will ultimately count toward the total income the student will have per month. While most scholarships cover only the cost of attendance, some others will also provide candidates with a stipend that will help with their living expenses.
Applying for internships
Irrespective of the course the student is doing, they will always be able to find internships options. Doing an internship will not only provide candidates with a source of income but they will also be able to showcase the internship as part of their work experience. Some internships provide candidates with credits or points they will require as part of their course apart from the salary they provided.
Taking up assistantships
Candidates who are doing a graduate program in universities will be able to take up assistantships in their respective universities. This will provide them with teaching experience and lab research experience depending on the course they do. While assistantships provide students with experience, it also pays the students well, depending on the field of study they have chosen.
Taking up job opportunities on-campus
Taking up smaller jobs on campus is a great way for international students to dip their toes in the job market in a new country. Some countries require that the students can only work on-campus. Even if the job is low-paying, it gives the student a chance to acclimate well with their university, work without worrying about transportation costs, and work in the safety net of the university. This is an ideal option for the first semester.
Taking up part-time jobs
Depending upon the country the student is going to, they can take up part-time jobs. Students need to be well aware of the work restrictions imposed on their visas. Not following these rules can result in termination of the visa and deportation. Most countries offer candidates a set number of hours they can work every month and the base salary they will be able to receive while doing any job. These jobs needn’t pertain to the field of study the candidate has chosen. While candidates should look for jobs that can aid them in their future career prospects, any job they can find will be able to help them pay their bills on time as long as they don’t clash with their study schedule.
Tips for Saving Money
While saving money can seem to be a hard task due to the unfamiliarity associated with it, students will still be able to start saving by keeping a journal and recording their possible expenses. Categorizing the needs and wants one might have and spending thoughtfully are a few of the methods that can help students in this endeavor.
Some other tips that can help students are-
- Textbooks can be very expensive and a major drawback in a tight budget. Go for used textbooks that can be rented from the campus library, online sites, or from seniors. Students can also get the necessary books to be sent to them from their country if it is cheaper.
- Make a budget chart and stick to it. Students will be able to track their expenses through online apps made for this purpose and also notice when they exceed the limit that they have set for themselves.
- Students who plan to live outside the campus will have to start by looking for close-by locations that will reduce their duration of commute and have a reduced amount of rent.
- Sharing apartments and carpooling can dramatically reduce the cost of living.
- Cut down electricity and water bills. While electricity charges are quite cheap, every little bit will count.
- Avoid eating out at expensive places on a large scale. Home-cooked food is not only cheaper but also good for health.
- Try to not keep cash in hand and instead save the cash electronically. It is safe and prevents splurging.
- Don't invest in dry-cleaning. Go for clothes that can be easily washed.
- Downplay impulsive shopping sprees. Buy only what is absolutely required.
- Opt for free entertainment and services in the form of DVDs and books available from the campus library, free gym memberships in the University, and free sports activities. Make maximum use of these advantages.
- Buy all the necessities in bulk. This will save money in the longer run. Also, look for discount coupons, they will make grocery purchases a lot cheaper.