This is the most common question I get when I travel and it’s the toughest one to answer. I am very fortunate and blessed to be a Bonner Scholar. Through the program, a large portion of my tuition, housing, and meals are covered for. There is a small portion, that according to my financial aid, I still have to pay. For that small portion, I have taken a subsidized loan and then paid the remaining off.
For the scholarship, I have many requirements to complete like the hours of voluntary service every semester and summer. However, it is VERY REWARDING! Along with the stipends and scholarship, I have to be very smart and plan how I will travel and use my money.
Still people say there is no way you can do this…BUT IT IS POSSIBLE. While at Berry I worked the maximum allowed hours per week (32 per fortnight). I worked online and taught English classes. Before leaving for travelling, I worked three different jobs and was also tutoring. I saved money in every way possible.
Yes, I did it, now how can you?
This is that time of year where every study abroad or exchange student is looking in there pocket for change to pay for things. If you follow these simple tips and tricks whether saving for a trip or currently abroad, you will see improvements in your wallet.
- Know how much you can spend per week and how much you have to spend per week. Set aside money for standard things like bills, rent, groceries. Whatever is remaining, split your spendings (food, drinks, train card) and travelling (excursions, weekend trips). Write this budget plan down and put it in your bag, on your phone, in your email, on your door, on your mirror, and even in your grocery bags.
- Create a balance and spending sheet in the “Notes”. This will be where you report per week how much you have for the “Spendings”. Use that and each time you make a purchase, note what you purchased, date, and the cost. This constant act of putting it in your phone will make you aware of how much you have spent.
- While budget planning and reporting your weekly expenses, you might notice that you do not have enough to spend. Begin looking for a job on campus, online, in the city, or anywhere you can work. Have a copy of your resume and hours of availability on you at all times. PLEASE NOTE THE HOURS YOU ARE ELIGIBLE TO WORK ACCORDING TO YOUR VISA! SOME RESTRICTIONS MAY APPLY.
- If you are on a meal plan at your school, make an effort to go to each meal. Look at the cost of your meal plan and how much you are spending on food. You will save a lot of money by doing this! Currently, the school I am attending does not have a cafeteria or meal plan, so I realized and learned the hard way about what I was missing out on! If you have a set stipend and have to make your own dinners, make yourself a lunch/dinner plan and grocery shop for those ingredients. Making your own dinners is a fun way to hang out with your flatmates and learn some new recipes.
- Food for Thought: 2-Minute Noodles are cheap, affordable, and anyone can survive on them. When you haven’t budgeted correctly for the week or over spend earlier on in the week, then turn to the noodles to save the dinner. 🙂
- Prioritize your travel spendings and know what is most essential for you.
- Have an emergency fund. This is essential if you are travelling for any period of time. Your emergency fund will come in handy if anything happens or if there are any unexpected expenses. Going out at night is NOT an emergency expense and buying another dress is NOT an essential expense either. However if you lose your travel documents or miss a flight, then the emergency fund can come in handy.
- Buying travel insurance is crucial. For both of my trips, I have been insured by Travelex Insurance Volunteer Card. On my trip, I lost my phone and had to visit the hospital to remove glass from my foot. Both of these expenses I had to pay for initially, but afterwards I filed for the insurance claims and got my money back. (Keep receipts and all forms of documentation. Read your insurance company policies thoroughly before departure.) This is a tip that will save you tons of money for a small price.
- Time management can also influence your budget. If you are skipping meals and eating later, you will be more likely to spend more money at restaurants rather than eating a full proper meal before going anywhere. Create a schedule for your week of classes, lectures, tutorials, internships, and jobs. Place your meals within the schedule to ensure you are eating in those times.
This app can also do the math quicker for anyone who does not want to use the notes to input what they are spending. Putting it on the app, you can quickly figure out what you have left. (I do not use the daily budget feature on the app, because I know the weekly amount I can spend. I input my spending till I get to that amount.)