Tips on How to Save Money as a Student Studying Abroad
Studying abroad can be expensive. Tuition fees, books, eating out, entertainment costs – all add up quickly. At the same time, college is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and you wouldn’t want money woes to spoil the experience. However, if you are clever and disciplined, you can easily stay on top of your finances. Here are some tips to help you along.
1) Set your budget: A month or so after the initial euphoria fades, make a plan for your monthly budget. By then you would have a fair idea of the essential items you need, the price of goods and services in the vicinity, cost of transport, etc. Make sure to earmark funds for insurance, contingencies, and of course exploring the new country.
2) Pick the right phone plan: You will have to pick a new plan with a new service provider when you are studying abroad. Assess your call, text, and data needs and choose accordingly. You don’t want to pay for services you don’t use.
3) Use public transport: It’s best to stick with the metro or bus for day-to-day travel and opt for private transport only when absolutely necessary. If you live close to campus and don’t have to move around much, you can either walk or cycle to your college – free workouts!
4) Learn to cook: Apart from catering to nostalgia and dietary quirks, cooking at home will always be a lot more economical and healthy. For a good bargain, look to buy produce from weekly farmers’ markets or discounted chain stores.
5) Ask for a student’s discount: You may be pleasantly surprised by the number of stores and establishments that offer discounts or freebies to students. Always keep your ID card on you. You could end up saving anything from 5% to 20% in many places.
6) Party smart: Let’s be honest; your inclination to party and soak in the local culture can be as strong as the good grades you’re pursuing. However, if you’re not prudent, a single night out can burn a hole in your monthly budget. Keep an eye out for a local scene that is easy on the pocket, with free entry and cheap drinks. As you make more friends, house parties are the best way to make epic memories.
7) Befriend your smartphone: Today the world is literally available at your fingertips. Use your smartphone to maximise the experience. Apart from the usual social media and navigation apps, explore those that teach you a new language, or get you free or discounted e-books. Currency converters and budgeting apps keep your spending in check, and there are others that get you updates on the local weather, sales, schedules for public transport, etc.
8) Safety in numbers: When it comes to things as diverse as accommodation, groceries, or car-pooling, having flatmates can surely help in taking care of the part of the financial burden. If you are going out to dinner or exploring the countryside, having a bunch of friends can help you negotiate better deals and literally keep you safe in a group.
9) Pick a part-time/freelance gig: If pinching pennies isn’t working out well for you, consider putting a skill or hobby to good use. Depending on your interest and proficiency, you could teach coding, dance, music, a language, or a speciality subject – the list is endless. Usually, there would be part-time jobs available in the local sales and service industry. But check the country’s workplace policies and visa regulations first.
10) Open a local bank account: The convenience charges and conversion fees that you pay on every transaction at an ATM will add up to a considerable amount. So, open a local bank account. Transferring funds quarterly into this account should save you quite a bit on exchange rates. Look for banks that offer special accounts for students.
Alternatively, you can also opt for HDFC Bank ISIC Student ForexPlus Card, that is designed for students studying abroad. It gives you wide range of discounts on travel, food, accommodation, etc, apart from providing additional benefits like free insurance coverage, emergency cash, easy and instant reloads. Check out ISIC Forex Card benefits that you must know.
These tips should go a long way in doing away with the ‘perpetually broke student’ cliché and make your college experience more memorable.
To apply for the HDFC Bank ISIC Student ForexPlus Card, click here now.
* Terms & conditions apply. Forex Card approvals are at sole discretion of HDFC Bank Ltd. The information provided in this article is generic in nature and for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for specific advice in your own circumstances.