You may be among those asking this question: why study abroad? Simply because you feel you don’t have enough money to study abroad.
There are many benefits of studying abroad; even though you might not have the study abroad opportunities other rich men kids have. Getting admission into American universities is not hard, if you have the requirements for the program you would like to study.
Scholarships to study abroad for undergraduates are also available, but the scholarships for international students are hard to come by. If you have funding from home country, how to manage the finances is always hard.
Managing finances is the hardest things if you are studying abroad. You have a new overall economy, with new currency and other pricing methods. If you think that living and studying abroad is the next step closer of becoming an adult, then you should perceive money management as your initiation process in that direction.
It involves self-awareness, persistence and a great deal of personal restraint. So, we have provided these 5 top ways on how to improve your money management when studying abroad and avoid distressful situations like borrowing money or sitting at home with no plans for weekend due to lack of money.
1. Make a Budget
This is probably the most important thing when you’re a students studying abroad. You need to know how much money you’ve got over a time period. Include everything that one could think of simply because this will reduce the chances of unexpected spending.
First, you will have to become accustomed with the local currency and the exchange rates. Do not compare your domestic prices using the prices abroad. Rather, try knowing the general standard in the city you are residing and convert the currency in your head. If everything becomes easier for you, you could make a subscription plan that shows the equivalence relating to the 2 currencies (for example 10 USD =? 10 euro =?)
This is necessary while studying abroad because at first spending money won’t feel like “real money” in your head. This is true especially during the time of inflation is very big and you happen to keep bills of hundreds and even thousands around you.
For instance, $10 is equivalent to 3,600 Nigerian Naira. Spending this amount doesn’t seem like spending $10, therefore it’s simple to get carried away because as a student studying abroad, you not used to the actual value of the foreign money yet.
Once you get used to the actual value of the money, you can proceed with the budget planning I mentioned above earlier. Prioritize your expenses and make a noticeable difference between what exactly you need and what you want. First, you should pay your rent and utilities. So, no matter what happens, you will have where to live.
Other expenses can include food and meals, health care insurance, books, transportation, clothes, personal expenses, recreation and travel. You have to keep all these in mind while spending your money during your study abroad student programs.
Knowing what you need will help you anticipate the amount of money that would be necessary for the next month. By using this method, you’ll even have the ability to save more money for the following month. By knowing what you would like, you should be able to include money for leisure and fun, without compromising the remains of the budget.
2. Smart Banking
First, check if your bank has a local branch or a partner and which are the conditions they work with each other. If your financial institution doesn’t have one, you will need to deal with ATMs, which most times belong to private companies or any other local financial institution banks. In this instance, along with a withdrawal fee, the ATM may also impose a fee on the portion of the money which you have withdrawn.
To avoid that, you must open a local bank account and have your hard earned money transferred directly to it. It’s also advisable to use online banking. It helps you stick to the money transactions along with your balance. You will also able to transfer money without any additional fees.
When you have debit cards, try using it as little as possible. The reason is because you aren’t dealing with real bills and it hard to keep an eye on your spending; especially the undergraduate study abroad students.
If you have a debit card you must research on any extra fee that has to be charged by your credit card card company. It is also advisable to warn the credit card money about your travels. Otherwise, purchases made from a foreign country may trigger the warning system for frauds and the card may get frozen.
It’s possible for merchants to impose a fee for the percentage of money by using your credit cards in abroad. Make sure to ask about these fees before making your first purchase.
In addition, if some merchants offer to charge you a fee from your home currency, it is usually the best to say no to it, since they use higher rate of conversion, and it doesn’t necessarily negate the foreign exchange fees of your credit card.
3. Spend Like a Local Student
Just an expat has its own advantages, but one of the biggest downsides is getting ripped off by local merchants. Different regions have different buy-sell culture so it is important to get acquainted with these traditions for effective management of your money while studying abroad.
For instance, if you are studying in Canada, it will be a great deal of negotiating and bargaining. The reason is because many merchants put prices on their items, which are not static. It is up to the customer to ascertain the value of the goods and think about when the prices are reasonable or not.
So, get acquainted having a local person and ask him/her about preferred local shops and services located away from big malls and shops. Check for any open markets for vegetables and fruit.
In the United States of America; supermarkets like Walmart, HEB and Costco usually have great deals and they offer their products and services at reduced prices. Thrift shops are another great way to find clothes and fascinating items that could be useful.
You could save a lot of money on travel costs by checking for transportation options in your university website. There is a section on many schools’ website, you can check for local deals. Get yourself a prepaid voucher Sim for the phone because generally you don’t require a fancy contract offering internet, free minutes, and many other features. You just need to be able to call and receive calls.
If you sign two years contract for a cell phone plan, the phone company will charge you a regular monthly fee and may include features that aren’t necessarily important to you. It will also be harder to monitor how much you talk or spend on phone calls.
It is wise to spend as little as you can in the first month of your stay, so that you can even see how much money you may get by. It is also highly recommended that you apply some self-observation in order to gain perspective in your own spending habits.
4. Managing Social Activities
The scourge of your life while studying abroad will be managing your social interactions and miscellaneous adventures (from financial point of view, of course).
A lot of the relationship is totally unpredictable and you would have to deal with many different new information, unexpected adventures and random interactions with friends. For that reason it is tough to keep track of your spending. It’s even harder to try to anticipate how much money you will need to start with.
In the beginning, try to reduce eating out such as going to the restaurants, expensive bars and cafes at any time possible. Rather than going out to the restaurants, you may cook for yourself to save a portion of the money, which you would have spent going to the restaurant. This way, you’ll have some to spend when you get invited by colleagues.
If you feel like socializing but you don’t have money to get it done – invite people over or go to their place. You can set up total budget for groceries for your evening, where each of you will contribute a little amount. Then visit a local supermarket like Walmart. You could be surprised how many food items you could prepare with a minimum investment.
5. Organize an Additional Income
If you are good with basic Economics, you might convert your savings into investments or put them into a bank-account and gain interest. You can also get yourself a part-time job. It should not be something fancy or ambitious since your priority will be your studies.
Most universities often have established programs for international students where you can land yourself a part time job in the university’s body (such as the library, campus, administrative work etc.) The part time jobs wouldn’t pay much, but the wise thing about is that it’s coordinated together with your studies. You plan your work schedule to go with your school course schedules.
Another choice would be to have a freelance project. There are tons of effective sites, like iwriter.com and upwork.com, offering numerous possibilities in several categories; such as Web & Software development, IT & Networking, Writing & Translating, Sales & Marketing, Legal, Accounting. Usually, after your second year of university, you should be eligible to enroll in paid internships and trainee-ships.
In conclusion, make the most from your student status as this is most of your attribute and may help you with money management while studying abroad. Ask everywhere you think there should be any special discounts for college kids, beginning with your university. Your university should be able to find basic information of just about everything in the city you’re doing the international abroad programs.
Proper budgeting is important when you’re studying abroad; however, try not to get too much involved with the financial aspect. The process can regulate your funds, but it may also decrease the price of your stay, so plan and spend wisely.
Money management definitely helps you reduce unnecessary expenses everyone need to apply the above-mentioned tips in their student life abroad. Also, you should not miss other available opportunities of financial assistance like scholarships because they will greatly reduce your financial burden. Make use of our great resources available at Nigeriamessageboard.com and make sure you don’t miss any scholarship opportunity.
Studying abroad can have a substantial long-term impact on your career path, with about 68% of employers approving that it has a positive impact on a CV and students do not have to break the bank to study abroad.