Studying abroad can be quite an expensive affair. The tuition fees is one factor, but once you begin your course there are many other expenses that you will need to factor in. The cost of living abroad can be considerably higher. Money management is a very critical part of a student’s life in a foreign country. Money management will help a student in their future endeavours and is a good opportunity to learn how to spend money in a prudent fashion. Given below are some useful tips for money management while studying abroad.
Budgeting while Studying Abroad:
Making a budget is possibly the most important factor in money management. You should know how much money you have at your disposal and how long you will need to spread that over. It is imperative that you understand what will be necessary expenses, such as, rent and utilities, and keep money aside for these, that way you will always have a roof over your head. As you are in a new financial system using a new currency it can be difficult to gauge how much money you will need for miscellaneous expenses, such as, transport, healthcare, books, etc. but it is important to keep a specified amount aside for this, otherwise you may end up spending more than you can afford. Once you have a specified amount you have budgeted for all these expenses, you will be able to determine how much you have left for entertainment and other social activities. Knowing the different between what you need and what you want will determine your spending habits and the level of comfort you enjoy financially. It is important to clear all your fixed expenses first, as that will leave you with the amount you have to allocate between the other expenses.
The first thing to do is to check if you home bank has a local branch in the city you are residing in or a partner bank with which they work, and under what terms do they have a partnership with the local bank. If your bank does not operate in the city you reside in you will need to use ATMs to access your funds, which are operated by other financial institutions. In case you are using ATMs you will be charged a withdrawal fee and a percentage of the sum you have withdrawn, therefore, it would work out less expensive to open a local bank account and have your funds transferred to it. Using online banking can help you keep an account of your transactions and the balance in your account. Online banking will allow you to transfer funds without any additional fees. In case you are using a debit card try to withdraw money and use hard cash, as it is easier to track your sending. If you are using a credit card, it is important to enquire about the additional fees applicable with the bank and inform them that you will be using the card in a foreign country, as some banks have a warning system for frauds on purchases made in foreign countries and this may lead to your card being blocked by the bank. Some merchants may offer to charge you in your home currency for purchases, but they usually use a higher conversion rate, so it will work out more expensive at the end of the day and is better to decline such offers.
While you are stay abroad it will take you some time to get used to the manner in which various merchants carry out business. For example if you are residing in the Middle East you will be able to bargain and negotiate over the prices of goods, as the prices are not static here. But in western countries this is not possible as the prices of most goods are fixed and non-negotiable. Get in touch with a local to find out where to get the best deals. Large shopping centres and malls are usually more expensive than the local market. Lots of places organize flea markets which have locally produced goods, these are relatively cheap and you will be able to find good deals on apparel and other interesting products.
Managing Social Activities:
As you are in a new country you will be tempted to go out and meet new people, this can be a big expense if you are not careful. You should plan out your social activities and have a fixed amount set aside for entertainment. Most entertainment and social activities are unplanned and unpredictable, therefore, it is hard to determine how much to keep aside for them, but it is prudent to keep aside a certain amount for a fixed period of time and try to stay within it. Sometimes, rather than going out to meet people, you can invite them to your house, which will work out cheaper.
Set up a source of Income:
Many students take up part time jobs during their course to cover any additional expenses. These jobs are usually available as soon as you begin your course as many of the graduating students would have quit them to move elsewhere in search of more permanent jobs. These are usually simple jobs that do not take up much of your time, as your main concern will be your course. Most countries have a maximum number of hours you can work a month as a foreign student, it is important that you inform yourself about such rules, as a violation of these rules can have some serious repercussions. You can also opt to freelance jobs, which will pay you on a project basis. This will allow you to work at your leisure and will not affect your studies. Usually, after your second semester you will be able to apply for paid internships which is also a good way to make some money to take care of your expenses.
Use Student Discounts:
The primary attribute you carry is that you are a student. A lot of countries have student discounts on various things that can greatly bring down your expenses. Usually there are discounts provided to students on public transport and other public utilities. To find out more about these discounts you should contact your university.
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