Tips for managing money while studying and living abroad
As an international student, it can be difficult to manage your finances. However, with some basic planning and understanding, you’ll have enough money not only for utilities and other expenses, but also to reward yourself from time to time.
1. Have a local bank account
First things first. Setting up a bank account in your new country is the first step towards your financial survival. Your IDP advisor can help you with information about the main bank accounts in your destination, so you can make an informed decision. Since the services vary from bank to bank, make sure you choose the one with maximum benefits for students and don’t charge high fees for international wire transfers.
2. Remember, budget it
It is important to know your current financial situation and make a practical budget plan. Be sure to include factors such as monthly rent, utility bills, groceries, transportation, data costs, recreation, study materials, and travel. It is wise to set aside an amount every month for unexpected situations or calamities.
3. Time to get smart
Studying abroad is expensive, but with smart planning you can survive very easily. Understand what you need and what you want, and the best way to do that is to make a priority list. Find ways to save your money and use it wisely. You can also reduce your daily expenses with simple methods such as:
- Share accommodation
- Buy student discount cards
- Buy used books or digital copies
- Join a library
- Buy passes for local transport
- Shopping during the sale
- Shop at community stores
4. Work to support your lifestyle
In most countries you can work up to 20 hours a week and full time during breaks. Just check if your student visa allows you to work and look for a job accordingly. This extra income can help you manage your expenses well, in addition to increasing your staffing skills. Keep in mind that you may have to pay a certain amount of tax on your earnings, so check your new country’s rules for international students beforehand.
5. Use your student status
Purchase a student card as early as possible. With this card you get discounts on restaurants, shops, cinema tickets, transport and various cultural events. There are even many websites that offer great student discounts on events and shopping, check them out!
If you’re moving to Australia, ask your IDP advisor about the IDP ISIC Student benefit card to take advantage of thousands of special offers for full-time international students.
6. Know what to do and where to go
Understand which activities are costing you more than you can make use of. If you’re tight on your budget, limit your shopping or eating at fancy restaurants. Why not call friends over for a game of monopoly instead?
7. Learn to cook
Why not? Use your ‘eat out’ budget and buy fresh ingredients to cook at home. Believe us, you will save about 30% – 50% of your food budget! If you’re short on time, cook in large batches and store in the refrigerator; reheat and eat later, so you don’t have to cook every day.
8. Explore the place
Each destination is packed with great places to explore and have fun, and believe it or not, most of them are free or for a small fee. Find such places, form a group and go exploring!
9. Grab your bike
If your campus is close enough, why not drive there? This saves on money set aside for commuting and is also a much healthier option.