Three Tips for Managing Your Money as an International Student
Money matters are a major determining factor for many prospective students deciding whether or not university is the right path for them to take. And with the cost of attending college averaging over $35,500 every year in the U.S, the finances involved certainly need to be taken into consideration.
While there’s no getting around the fact that the vast majority of students will graduate with a hefty debt, there are lots of ways you can ease the financial burden during this time. By managing your money better, you will find your loan and any other income goes a lot further, giving you the opportunity to experience university to the fullest, without needing to dread checking your balance. In this guide, we’ll explore three top tips for managing the financial commitment that comes with studying abroad.
Make money part of your decision-making process
You may already have a destination in mind where you’ve always dreamed of carrying out your undergraduate studies. But it’s crucial you don’t rush into making this decision, and instead take the time to carefully plan out all of the implications of your choice.
Money is one of the most important aspects for the vast majority of students when deciding where to study abroad. Some countries will have a lower cost of living, whilst others may be more generous with their scholarship schemes. Carefully consider all of the different financial impacts of your different destination options, to ensure that your choice won’t land you in financial difficulties further down the line.
Give your income a boost
Student loans and any support from family can go a long way to helping you deal with the financial obligations involved with studying abroad. But to give yourself a little extra breathing room, consider taking up a part-time role. Particularly in student towns and cities, there will be plenty of opportunities for employment from local businesses or even on campus, particularly for evening and weekend shifts.
While any employment you get involved in will help with your money management, it’s important not to let this secondary aspect of your university experience overtake your key purpose of being there. Particularly as you enter the final years of your course, you may find you have less and less time available to commit to making some extra money. So it’s recommended to dedicate some of the spare time you will have in the early years of your time at uni to finding a part-time job if this is the route you’d like to take.
Alternatively, there are many more ways you can bolster your bank account whilst at uni. Consider selling any books or learning materials you no longer need, or perhaps auction second-hand clothes or tech on online marketplaces.
Be strict with your spending
One of the most important skills you will need to master in order to stay on top of your finances whilst studying abroad is budgeting. There are so many different aspects to uni life that require a portion of your money. But you will also have a lot of choice over the non-essentials, and this is where budgeting becomes so important.
In order to budget effectively, first set out a list of all your regular expenses. This list will include things such as rent, bills and any loan repayments. Once you have this figured out, you will be able to calculate how much of your income will be left over to spend in other areas. You may find that some months you have less money left over than others, in which case you will need to adjust your lifestyle accordingly. Whether it’s skipping the takeaway for a home-cooked meal, or shopping at a cheaper supermarket, there are always ways you can cut back your spending at university.
It’s one thing setting a budget, it’s a much more difficult task sticking to it. Fortunately, there are lots of simple ways to be strict with your spending as an international student. Firstly, try to avoid impulse purchases. Online shopping and social media are making it easier than ever for us to part with our money for items we don’t really need. Give yourself some time before committing to a large purchase to decide if you actually need the item. You should also be proactive with your money, and move it around into different accounts to keep you on track – try having designated pots in different accounts, to prevent overspending in certain areas.
Money management requires a little extra effort as an international student, as you will have to adjust to a new way of living. But with these tips in mind, you will be able to enjoy the university lifestyle without burdening your future self too much.