How to Manage your Finance as an International Student

Studying abroad can indeed be a life-altering experience for students. An international university empowers students with good contacts, stable employability, and global exposure. Students also experience a high level of lifestyle and a diverse community. However, studying abroad in a foreign country comes with its own set of challenges. Out of them all, this article will focus on the most crucial one – finance.

Money management is an essential part of life for an international student. Dealing with a new currency and unfamiliar prices of things can indeed be nerve-racking. But there are ways to manage your finances as an international student. Let us have a look at some of them.

How to Keep a Check on your Finances

Managing your finances during your university days might be the most important life skill you will ever learn. There are two aspects to money management. First is the long-term aspect which helps students to think ahead and make long-term goals to suit their requirements. The second is short-term money management which students can use in their daily life at the university.

1. Long Term Finance Management

Long-term finance management is something a student should learn on their very first day of university. Here are some effective ways in which you can achieve this goal.

  1. Budgeting – Spending without a budget is probably the worst thing a student can do while studying abroad. It is important to draw a rough budget on your arrival at the university. It might be difficult to get an understanding of the currency system initially. A budget helps you to determine how to allocate money for essential things like accommodation, meals, transport, medical emergencies etc. After that, you can spend some of that remaining money on entertainment activities. Having complete knowledge about your spending limit will allow you to enjoy it wisely and won’t strain your pocket in times of need. Students should invest time in making an approximate budget and can keep adding to it as time progresses.
  2. Online Banking – If your home bank has a local branch in the city then there is no greater advantage. However, such instances are pretty rare overseas. In that case, students have to resort to ATMs to withdraw money for which they again have to pay an extra charge for withdrawal. Hence, online banking is the way to go, with all necessary precautions. Online banking allows you to make transactions without any withdrawal charge. To track your expenses, you can also resort to a debit card. In case you are using a credit card, make sure to keep count of your spending to avoid being broke.
  3. Take up Freelancing – Freelancing is a common practice for international students to manage their finances. Freelance jobs are paid according to the project completed and hence it does not affect your coursework. In addition to that, freelancing is a great way to gain work experience and make contacts. Upwork, and Fiverr are some of the most popular freelancing websites from where you can get gigs. From the second semester onwards, most universities offer paid internships to students to help them earn while learning.
  4. Student Discounts – Student discounts are an excellent way to manage your money effectively. Most cities in the UK, US and Australia offer student discounts at restaurants, transport systems, entertainment parks etc. Make full use of such benefits to ensure maximum savings. Australia and the UK have student cards to avail discounts and unlimited rides on transport like trains and buses. Many countries have student cards for restaurants and pubs. For example, the UK has a TOTUM card. It is an official student card that is used to access discounts, coupons and vouchers on different services with a yearly limit of 500 pounds.

2. Short Term Finance Management

Short-term finance management techniques are something that you can use in your daily life to cut down extra costs. They go a long way in stabilizing your bank balance and teach you essential skills. Students can incorporate all or some of these tips in their day-to-day transactions.

  1. Save on Course materials – Courses in prestigious universities usually have a long list of expensive course materials accompanying them. It is however not required to buy all of them together. Course textbooks and reference materials can be easily procured from the library. If your university library falls short, you can always resort to off-campus libraries. There are digital libraries these days which even save you the cost of printing.
  2. Consider Private Accommodations – Private student accommodation is perhaps the most effective way to manage your expenses. Off-campus student homes are usually located near the major universities. This helps students save time and resources on transport. Private accommodations also cover a plethora of amenities like WiFi, electricity, laundry, on-site maintenance, security all within the rent cost. Shared accommodations are even better. They allow you to divide daily expenses with your flatmates like groceries or other essentials. They are an excellent way to connect with a global and diverse community.
  3. Hone your Culinary Skills – Food shopping is an area where students tend to be a little indulgent. To ensure savings, shop at local grocery stores or visit organic markets. Connect with locals for the best information on such issues. You can also sharpen your culinary skills and make shared meals with flatmates. Be sure to make a go-to lunch every day to avoid eating out in coffee shops or restaurants. In case you opt for takeaways, use student vouchers and coupons to avail discounts.
  4. Communication – Gone are the days when students had to shell out a fortune on international calls just to connect with their family back home. These days, all you need is an effective internet connection. Skype call is the most favourable communication method for international students. It allows you both audio and visual communication at a cheap price.
  5. Timely Bill Payment – In the midst of managing your course work and exploring a new country, bill payment often gets ignored resulting in late fines. This is one thing you must avoid at all costs during your studies abroad. Keep track of utility bills through apps like BillTracker. In case you are living in a shared accommodation, use comparison websites to ensure energy savings.

Armed with all this information, we hope you will manage your finances as an international student with ease. If you need assistance regarding booking private student accommodation, managing forex and international sim, arranging guarantor then check out the University Living website. It is a global student housing marketplace offering a range of services to international students. With it, you will have a smooth onboarding process into your university life abroad.

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