8 Ways to Save Money Whilst Studying Abroad

By StudyLink

Last week was National Student Money Week in the UK. National Student Money Week aims to teach students, the media, politicians and the public about the financial support and advice offered in universities, colleges and students’ unions across the UK. But what if you want to study abroad? Well we’ve come up with eight great ways to save money whilst studying abroad to help.

Insurance
The most boring thing in the world is definitely insurance. Unfortunately, it is also the best way to save money whilst studying abroad. If you lose your laptop, or break your leg, good travel insurance (specific to studying abroad) will cover you. This could end up saving you thousands, and with comparison websites constantly driving the price down, fully comprehensive insurance may be less than you thought. Be sure to read our top tips for health insurance for studying abroad.

Accommodation
When studying abroad, you might be lucky enough to be provided with a room by your institution. If not, you can normally discuss your options with the housing officers at the university who may be able to find you accommodation. Many universities have Halls of Residence, which as a student you would usually be eligible to apply for. If you’re not so lucky, or fancy somewhere a little less ‘studenty’, hunting around for a cheap place to stay is a great way to save some serious cash. If you’re not in a particular town or city for long, hostels and bed & breakfasts might be cheaper than the budget hotels around. If you’re planning on staying for an extended period, it’s worth grabbing a cheap bed for a few nights whilst you work out the where the cheapest places to stay and live are.

Negotiate & Shop smart
If money is tight, ask for discounts or negotiate with sellers for a better price. Students often forget to ask for student discount, which can sometimes be as much as 20% off. That could be a serious saving on more expensive purchases. Sometimes there is no money to be saved in store though, but by going online you open up a whole host of possible savings. Sites like eBay and Amazon are great places to look for old books, sometimes you can save over 90%. They are also great for selling on your old books; you could even earn some money selling your old stuff!

Exchange Rates
If you’re living in a country which uses a different currency, find out the cheapest way to change your money. Your bank will probably charge you to withdraw money from a local ATM if it’s in a foreign currency. Traveller’s cheques offer a safe way of carrying large sums of money in a bid to beat the exchange rates. Alternatively you might be able to set up a local bank account, allowing you to not have to worry about exchange rates. Being savvy with exchange rates might sound dull, but it could save the average student $500 a year!

Transport
It’s easy to think that the cheapest way of travelling from one country to another is by plane. But with trains and buses now running faster and longer, international travel doesn’t have to be on a plane. Countries have different providers but if you shop around, travelling from Amsterdam to London could cost you less than a meal at your favourite restaurant.

Ditch the mobile
It’s important to keep in contact with friends and family when you are studying abroad, but calling or texting them on your mobile is one of the most expensive ways to chat. Sign up for a free service like Skype and tell your friends to as well. That way you can talk all day long for free. Skype also offer some of the cheapest rates for calling foreign mobiles and landlines too. This easy and simple change could save you a small fortune whilst studying abroad.

Food
Food is a necessity, but it doesn’t mean you can’t save money when buying it. Avoid ‘convenience’ food like ready-meals and pre-made pizzas. Although they look like good value, they aren’t. Buying things in bulk can help to reduce the costs but beware of best before dates. Things like rice, potatoes and pasta are great to buy in big bags if you can store them. Bulk your meals out with these ingredients, rather than meat. Restaurants and your favourite fast-food chains should be treated as a luxury item. Wait for special occasions like birthdays or if friends come to visit. It might make you appreciate them and enjoy the food even more!

Budget
Last on our list is budgeting, but it’s arguably the most important. The only way you will know if you are saving money is if you budget. Be generous to begin with, but once you are happy sticking to your budget, it is easier to save even more by reducing certain parts. If you’ve got money left over at the end of the week though, it’s probably worth treating yourself. Save hard during the week, reward yourself at the weekend. You can check out our guide on budgeting whilst studying abroad.
For more information on studying abroad, you can read our study advice pages.

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