Best Tips on how to Save Money while Studying Abroad

Published 2020-08-29 14:55:43
Designed by freepic.diller / Freepik

Being low on money is definitely one of the worst university experiences.

For many young people, it's a great cause of extreme fear of missing out on the wonderful experience of having fun in a foreign country. Instead of going out and hanging out with their new friends, they stress out over having enough money for books, clothes, rent, food, bills, and commute.

Not to mention the cost of studying. In the Netherlands, for example, the tuition fees are rising amid plans to reduce the number of grants for foreign students. Many other European Economic Area countries are following suit.

So, anyone looking to get education abroad should get really good at saving. Fast.

In this article, we’re going to share five best tips to help you:

  • Pay less for bills
  • Reduce bank fees
  • Pay less for rent
  • Worry less about your financial situation :)

Here’s how to be a smarter spender and keep more of what you earn.

Tips to Save Money for International Students

1. Open a Local Bank Account

International students often bring and use credit cards from home countries. This is a bad idea because their accounts are likely to be charged with fees and commissions from local banks when they make purchases.

While these fees seem to be insignificant - in fact they vary between 0.5 percent and 3 percent - combine their amount after a few months and you’ll be amazed by how much you’re losing. For example, if you’re a U.S. citizen using a card issued by an American bank, you’ll face a foreign transaction fee around 3 percent.

To avoid that, consider opening an account in a local bank, but definitely ask the locals for some recommendations.

To give you an idea of what to expect, here’s a great guide to banking in the Netherlands.

2. Make Use of ISIC Card

Being able to take advantage of student discounts is one of the biggest reasons why you applied for the International Student Identity Card (ISIC). Now, it’s time to make that happen. Student discounts are a huge part of the budget living in a foreign country, and you should seek them out.

For example, you can use them to pay less in restaurants, cafes, shops, and other businesses.

According to the official website of ISIC, international students in Belgium, for example, can get 10 percent discounts on selected hotels, which is cool for travel fans, get free bowling games, and attend the amazing Antwerp Philarmonic Orchestra for more than 50 percent off.

Sounds great, right? Use the ISIC student benefits generator to see what kinds of perks you can get in the country/city where you study.

3. Have a ‘No-Spend” Day Once a Week

Yes, the idea is to exercise some self-restraint and don’t spend anything once a week (this excludes commute fees, but keep in mind that walking is also an option). This is a good start to practice saving without a drastic effect on your budget and a way to teach yourself this unbelievably valuable skill for the future.

Tell your friends about this project, too, so they don’t plan any parties and events when you’re expected to pay for stuff,” recommends Diana Adjadj, a personal finance writer at TrustMyPaper.When I was a student, Wednesday was my “no-spend” day, which gradually became my intense-learning day, too.

4. Use a Coupons App to Pay Less for Food

Wouldn’t it be great if you could get notified when local stores host sales and provide discounts? Now it’s possible, and you should definitely take advantage of this. Here’s how it works.

  • Every popular chain supermarket has an app that notifies users about sales and promotions. For example, REWE, a German supermarket chain, often shares coupons with their customers through an app for Android and iOS.
  • In most countries, you can download a dedicated app for getting coupons in a wide range of shops. In Poland, for example, it’s called Qpony, and it provides information about discounts in numerous businesses.

Qpony is one of the top-rated apps in Poland and has tens of thousands of positive reviews (many of which come from foreigners).

So you get the idea. Try to find something similar in the country you’re studying and pay less for daily purchases like food and entertainment.

5. Avoid Costly Pitfalls of the Rental Process

Rent is the largest spending area for international students, so let’s try to see how we can reduce your spending there.

The first way is to use student housing search websites like Erasmusu. There, you can find landlords who are willing to charge less and accept students in their apartments. Also, there’s a roommate search feature, which is another way to reduce monthly rent amount.

The next way is to good old haggling. If you like a place, why not contact the owner and ask them to lower the price a little bit? To convince them to give you a better deal, make sure to describe yourself.

For example, if you’re exactly what they’re looking for - a non-smoker with no pets, willing to sign a one-year lease, for example - definitely mention this in your message. Quite often, landlords are willing to give up a certain amount as long as the agreement is for a year, so why not let them know about this, right?

Of course, haggling doesn’t guarantee that you’ll get a lower rent rate, but it’s still worth trying.

Make the Best out of Your Studying Experience

It’s really easy to become stressed out by the financial situation if you’re an international student, but remember that there are many things you can do to avoid that. These tips will help to cut some unnecessary spending and become an awesome money saver, so keep them in mind.

And one more thing: don’t stress out too much. It’s not a natural part of being a student, it’s a sign that there’s something wrong. Be smart about your spending and you’ll see that you don’t have to worry about many things that others still are.

About the author

Nicole D.Garrison is a content strategist, writer, and contributor at Supreme Dissertations and a number of platforms for marketing specialists. She is a dedicated and experienced author who pays particular attention to quality research. At her free time, Nicole is a passionate runner and a curious beekeeper. Moreover, she runs her own blog LiveInspiredMagazine.

Share your experience, participate in the discussion and leave comments in our forum HERE.


Author: Nicole Garrison
Content strategist and writer.

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