Guest post: Top tips for sticking to your study abroad budget from Unibaggage.com, the student shipping experts.
We all know studying abroad can be expensive. That being said, it’s one investment that you’re pretty much guaranteed to never regret. Not only will it give you a world of experience (literally), but it could look really attractive on your resume to any future employers.
Where money is concerned, it’s a lot more than just gathering enough dough for your plane ticket, tuition fees and accommodation fees. You need to factor in the cost of living, and everything that comes along with it (y’know, like actually having some fun every once in a while).
Without a doubt, it all sounds incredibly daunting. But believe it or not, it is actually possible to create and stick to a budget when you’re on your year abroad. So if you’re worried about making your money stretch and don’t have a clue where to start, don’t panic. From working with thousands of students travelling abroad, here are a few of our top tips to help you stick to your study abroad budget to see you through one of the most exciting experiences of your life.
1. Manage your money wisely – avoid foreign transaction fees.
If you’re going overseas for less than a year, it makes sense to keep your UK bank account. However, you don’t want to see your money go to waste by getting charged an abundance of foreign transaction fees.
To avoid this, ask your bank if they partner with any banks in your destination city. By doing so, you could save yourself a mountain of pennies with free withdrawals.
Alternatively, you could consider investing in a multi-currency prepaid card, which you can load up with Sterling and use anywhere in the world – meaning you’ll avoid those nasty transaction fees. A FairFX Currency Card can play a huge role in helping you stick to your study abroad budget. It includes highly competitive exchange rates, and can be used in over 200+ countries worldwide.
2. Tailor your budget to you.
Before you go, it’s necessary to sit down and figure out how much money you can afford to spend while you’re abroad. Remember to take into consideration any expenses you might have while you’re travelling, too.
However, when working out your study abroad budget, it’s important to tailor it to you. Once you have considered your expenses, think about other things you’d like spend money on. Whether it be tickets for a day trip, a night out, or a fancy meal – work it in so that you can also enjoy the things you really want to do. After all, studying abroad is a unique experience, no two students will ever follow the same budget.
3. Take advantage of student discounts and services.
Although there are many perks to being a student, one of the best is of course being entitled to student discounts. You could take advantage of offers on travel, shopping, accommodation, food, entertainment, transport and more! So be sure to keep your student ID with you at all times in a bid to save some pennies.
As well as that, there are numerous services out there tailored to students and particularly for those going off to study overseas. For example, you can avoid nasty airline baggage fees by shipping your luggage to your destination country with Uni Baggage. We’re the student shipping experts, and can deliver your belongings anywhere in the world for less than you think!
4. Prepare yourself for ‘worst case’ scenarios.
When you’re living independently in new and unfamiliar surroundings, it’s so important to always be proactive. The last thing you want is to be stranded in a different country with little or no money, so always prepare yourself for the very worst case scenarios. The likelihood is that they will never arise, but you can never be too prepared.
For example, take out insurance. If you’re not already covered by your host university’s policy, take out your own. Also make sure you have a plan so that if you run out of money in an emergency situation, you have a way to have funds transferred.
5. Stay alert and avoid scams.
Stay safe and avoid scams that could end up putting you in an emergency situation. Always be cautious and if you feel unsure about something, someone or a certain situation, follow your instinct and walk away. Try to get a sense for what is normal and what is not normal in your host country as quickly as you can.
Common scams include taxi fares – taxi drivers around the world can be notorious for taking the most expensive route, and you could be none-the-wiser. Avoid this by checking for reputable local cab firms before you travel, and establishing a price beforehand. As well as that, avoid accepting gifts from strangers – as they are often not what they seem. It can be as simple as extortion, or even a cover for pick pocketing. Politely but firmly say no and move away.
That being said, there’s no need to allow paranoia to ruin your time abroad. Simply stay alert, and always follow your gut.
6. Find a job if you’re there for an extended period of time.
If you’re going to be abroad for an extended period of time, getting a job will give you the opportunity to have more wiggle-room within your budget to comfortably cover essential expenses and allow you to have some fun, too.
Not only that, but it will look great on your CV. You’ll also get the opportunity to really get to know your host city, practice your language skills, and meet different people.
7. Check your budget often.
While it’s important to work out a budget before you go, it’s just as important to check your budget often to make sure you’re still on track with your finances. Do this by keeping a record of everything you spend. Compare your weekly and monthly expenses to your budget predictions to see how you’re doing and whether it needs adjusting. That way, if you’re staying on track, you shouldn’t face any nasty surprises.
About the author
Katy Mairs is the blog editor at Unibaggage.com. Unibaggage.com are the student shipping experts, and can deliver your belongings anywhere in the world for less than you think!