Studying abroad is an experience that really teaches you to be more independent. Living far away from your relatives and friends means you have to learn how to budget your finances on your own. Here are a few tips on how to budget your expenses while studying abroad.
Know the Cost of Living
Before anything else, plan for and know what the cost of living is in the place you are going to. Some cities are cheaper than others even if they’re in the same state or province. This tip is best done early so you can prepare yourself. If you have an idea of what your expenses would be, you can start saving for your expected daily needs or make budget-friendly choices such as living nearer to campus.
Learn to Cook
Since you will be staying in a foreign country, you might be tempted to eat out as much as you can, but doing so can eat away at your finances fast. What you can do is plan the days when you eat out and then cook your meals the rest of the time. Meal prepping is also an effective way of saving your food budget because cooking in bulk is cheaper and takes less time.
Master Public Transportation
Get to know the trains, buses, and other forms of mass transportation available in your host country. Both local and international students tend to live within the campus during their first year of college.
But if you plan to rent a space off-campus, then you need to learn which is the cheapest form of transportation. This is also a great tip if you wish to explore your area during your downtime.
Allot Money for Travel
Part of the international experience is being able to visit the wonderful destinations that your host country has to offer. Don’t miss out on some cultural experience and include a portion of your budget for travel or sightseeing. Not only will traveling make your study abroad more fun, but it will also enhance your time and give you a unique experience.
Appreciate Free Fun
International students need time to unwind and sometimes you won’t be able to travel back home to relax. What you can do is find activities around you that are more economical such as hiking, strolling through a park, or visiting a museum. You can even go on road trips with your local friends and split costs with them.
Consider Health Insurance
For many countries like Canada and the United States, international students are required to get health insurance. It may seem like added cost at first, but the stress of school can take a toll on your health. Health insurance is a good fallback plan for you. Some health plans also cover mental health services.
As a foreign student, you may find budgeting to be an overwhelming task but, luckily, some universities employ staff specifically assigned to assist international students. They know the local modes of transportation, cheap accommodations, and other information you may need for your life abroad.