Doing a graduate or post-graduate programme overseas can be an exciting proposition for sure. But One Thing That Plays On Your Mind Always Is The Money Aspect. “Is it going to be exorbitant to eat outside?”, “Will I be able to save up any money for going out with friends during weekends or shopping?” are some of the questions that are likely to bother you.
Expenses such as tuition fees, lab fees, library fees, etc, are usually taken care of either by an education loan or a scholarship. But you also need to plan for living expenses which include accommodation, food, entertainment, travel, medical emergencies, etc. However, there’s a smart way to spend money when studying abroad.
Here are some money-saving tips you can put to good use.
1) Find affordable accommodation This is a high-ticket item and easily one of the greatest worries of international students. Ideally, you should be living close to your university. Sharing accommodation helps you divide the rent and provides an opportunity to meet new people and make friends. Some other ways you can save money is by staying in a hostel or a dorm.
Choose your phone service carefully If you are not careful, your phone bill will skyrocket very quickly. While there are apps for free online calling, these require mobile data or Wi-Fi which may not always be available. Choose your service carefully as there are many options available that allow you to choose what you want to pay, so you never go overboard. Opt for prepaid plans that are easy to top up and eliminate monthly contracts that are too binding. This will offer flexibility and help cut down costs.
Avail student discounts Some companies offer discount cards that are recognised by universities the world over. These offer savings on tourist attractions, museums, public trains and metro services, bus and airline transportation, and various other tourist spots. The discounts may even be guaranteed in some cases and even pay your insurance deductibles. Check with your university office for details about such services. Carry your student ID everywhere and do not be embarrassed to ask for a discount from vendors and cashiers.
Shop during Black Friday or garage sales Don’t rush to do all the shopping as soon as you reach your destination. Buying things like furniture or other knickknacks at flea markets or garage sales instead of regular stores will save you tons of money. As for your day-to-day living, buy stuff in bulk at stores like Costco or Walmart. The best option is of course shopping at seasonal sales like Black Friday, Boxing Day, Cyber Monday, etc. You will be amazed to see the kind of deals you can get.
Search for free entertainment options Having fun does not mean that you have to necessarily spend money on movies, parties or clubs. Almost every city offers many types of free entertainment options. It just needs a little bit of work to find. Your go-to option? The internet! Start with websites like timeout.com where you can find all kinds of activities, free of charge. There are many clubs, cinemas and theatres that offer discounts for students. These may not always be advertised so it’s best to just ask. Universities also organise a variety of entertainment options that are easy to afford. Join the students’ club for easy access to such benefits.
Cook your meals This is probably a life hack, not just one that helps you save money while you are a student. It will keep you in good stead not only with your finances but also with your health. Plan in advance, to avoid the daily stress of organising meals. Shop for groceries in bulk to get discounts. Cook in large quantities on weekends to sort out your dinners for the following week.
Buy second-hand goods Another great opportunity to save money is buying used items from graduating students. Spend some time at the charity shops around your university looking for second-hand goods, and you may be surprised at the treasures you find – high-quality clothes, furniture, books, vintage accessories, and interesting little ornaments– all for a bargain price. Don’t be afraid or embarrassed. The staff are usually very friendly and since the money’s going to a good cause, you can spend without feeling guilty.
Draw up a budget Plan for all your expenses like rent, food, and travel expenses. And keep a little buffer. This way you end up saving money which you can then use for any unplanned expenses or medical emergencies that may come up.
Book in advance You may need to travel to universities in other cities for seminars and so on. These are good opportunities to network with people from academia or the industry, which may come in handy later on when you start your job search. Or you may want to travel for sight-seeing. In such cases, book your travel tickets and accommodation well in advance. This will help you get good deals and save money. You can easily book using your Axis Forex card, as it can be used for online transactions.
Choose a credit card wisely Many students are tempted by credit cards to buy now and pay later, but this is an unhealthy habit that may lead to overspending or huge bank debts. But a credit card is a good tool in case of an emergency, provided you pay back in time to avoid interest charges or penalty fees. If you are going to use a card, choose one that rewards you with cash, points, or air miles that you can ultimately redeem for cool offers that help you save money.
Bike or walk around Buying a car is an expensive option. First, there’s the initial purchase cost. Secondly, there are recurring expenses like fuel and maintenance, insurance, and road tax. Hence, we recommend walking or biking. It is good for your health, good for your wallet and will give you a chance to experience things with a new and closer perspective.