In this article, we share some advice on how to save money while you’re studying abroad, and how you can make some extra cash, too. When you’re preparing to live or study abroad, remember that your expenses will not only be tuition. You’ll also have living expenses like rent, food, and travel. But this doesn’t have to be a reason to decide not to study abroad in 2019, something SchoolApply can help you accomplish. SchoolApply can also help you research what scholarships are available so you can start school with some financial assistance. So, add “create a budget” to the top of your to-do list, right after converting your CGPA to GPA, and let’s see how many ways there are to save and earn money while you’re abroad.


How to save money while studying abroad

1. Create a budget

First things first: budget. The word itself probably makes you want to yawn, but it doesn’t have to be emotionally taxing. All you need to do is create a simple plan starting with the amount you will start with at the beginning of the school year, term or month. Then subtract all your required expenses, like tuition and rent. Create categories for all the things you think you’ll spend money on – groceries, going out, school supplies – and how much you think you’ll need to dedicate to each of these categories. Planning ahead will be a huge benefit!

The national charity Brightside has developed an International Student Calculator to help you work out what money comes in, and what goes out. You might want to consider the 50/20/30 rule, where you spend 30% of your budget on enjoying your host city while also budgeting for the essentials and saving for the future.

2. Dine in and save

Unless you can afford to eat out every day, you will need to cook regular meals. Don’t worry if your culinary skills are limited – there are tons of student recipes online to get you started.

Pinterest is a popular source of inspiration for discovering new cuisines and helping you step outside your comfort zone. Some students opt to go vegetarian or vegan while studying abroad to boost their health and save money they would otherwise spend on meat and/or animal products.

3.  Find the free gems

Clubs and societies at your university will organize various events on campus – art shows, movie nights, concerts. Not only are these great opportunities to meet new friends, but you will broaden your cultural and intellectual horizons, and you might even get some free food. Take a look around your city and dive into the local culture. Sometimes museums and theaters offer reduced entry fees on certain days of the months. And free walking tours are a great way to explore your new host city.

4. Hunt for discounts and sales

There are few things that feel better than when you get some new favorite clothes… and they’re on sale! When you’re living on a budget, the sales rack will be your go-to spot whenever you go shopping. Discounts at the grocery store are also quite easy to come by. Some products you can buy in multi-packs to save money, and other products – like household items – you can find coupons for in local newspapers or magazines. Keep an eye out for those coupons and take full advantage of them when you go shopping.

5. Find low-cost accommodation  

Though it can be exciting to live in your first official apartment off-campus, it’s hard to beat the convenience of living in an on-campus dorm. Students who prefer to live on campus after their freshman year but don’t want to break the bank can look into becoming dorm resident advisors, or RAs.

As an RA, you’ll be responsible for enforcing housing rules, providing support to other residents, and acting as an experienced resource for peers on anything from classwork to social life. In most cases, RAs have their room and board paid for by the university so the cost is virtually nothing. Even better? It’s a great opportunity for some resume-building experience!

If you happen to have a family member that lives near your campus, living with them could be a convenient and affordable way to go. For some, this option can feel like a step backward. After all, isn’t a huge part of college going out on your own and gaining independence? But if your budget is tight, this might be an option for you to consider.

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6. Take advantage of student discounts 

Shopping online: Use your school email address and sign up on UNiDAYS, a website that offers discounts for clothing, electronics, dining, health and beauty items for students from US and UK. The site carries brands like Forever 21, Adidas, McDonald’s, and Apple among many others. Unfortunately for students in the UAE, discount websites have yet to become more popular, but you can always be on the lookout for flash deals online or consider buying and selling pre-loved items through a newly launched app called Shedd. Don’t forget to search for online promo codes before you place your order!

Phone bills: For an international student, staying connected with not only the people in your classes but as well as family and friends back home is important. While instant messaging applications like Skype and WhatsApp have successfully connected people around the world for free, you may still need to pay for a cellphone plan to secure a way to communicate with the world 24/7. In the US, telecommunication companies like AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile all offer special discounts for students from participating institutions. Students from the UK may also be qualified for a 10% discount on monthly bundles offered by Vodafone. Just be sure to use your active school email address to sign up on websites.

Electronics and software: Academic Superstore is an online website that sells tablets and computers, softwares, and electronic accessories at a discounted price for K-12, higher education, and even homeschooled students in the United States if you verify your eligibility by sending a copy of your student ID, class schedule, registration receipt, letter of enrollment, or report card. Microsoft’s Education Store also offers at least a 10% discount on selected products to higher education students from selected institutions across all 50 states. For students in the UK, HP’s Student Store also offers exclusive savings and deals on a wide range of selected HP products available to customers of at least 16 years of age studying at a recognized further or higher educational institution in the country.

Travel and group-buying discounts: Plan your activities in advance and save money by looking out for deals on group-buying websites, the most popular of which is Groupon, serving more than 500 cities globally including the US, UK, and the UAE. Another great way to be exposed to diversity is by visiting new places. Traveling is made easier and more affordable with StudentUniverse, a website that negotiates with over 75 airlines worldwide to provide special prices to students between the ages of 18 to 25. Also look out for flash sales and deals available to young individuals under the age of 26 in STA Travel. If you are going back home for the holidays, plan your trip as early as six to eight weeks in advance. FareCompare's data shows that Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays are the cheapest days to fly.

Need help financing your education abroad? SchoolApply will help you explore the best options 

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How to earn money while studying abroad

1. Get into freelancing

The greatest benefit of being a freelancer is the flexibility, it allows you to work according to your schedule, but it also helps you get some real work experience under your belt before you've graduated. You can also earn a small income while you study.

Freelancing comes in many forms. If you're good with image editing, then taking on some commercial design projects may just be up your alley! Or for those with a knack for languages, translating and writing is a good path to take.

Before you get started, make sure you check out the local laws on working for yourself as this can differ from country to country. The next step is to set up profiles on platforms like Upwork or PeoplePerHour which connect freelancers to just about anyone who needs help with a project!

2. Find a local part-time job

Having a part-time job is an excellent way to earn some extra cash when you’re not studying and improve your language skills at the same time! 

As its a local job, speaking at least the basics of the local language will be a requirement. This might be a struggle in the beginning, but it gets easier with time. To find a local business to work for, we recommend asking your classmates for insider tips as they'll have similar jobs.

Part-time jobs usually require you to commit between 6 to 10 hours per week, which shouldn't be too hard to add between your studies. Remember to be transparent with your boss about your schedule so they can be flexible with your hours during exams.

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 3. Become a tutor

When you're moving to another country where the education is different from your own, you'll come across subjects that you might be stronger in compared to local students. Ask your teachers if they have a tutoring scheme at your university that you can sign up for, or better yet, ask them if they need any teaching assistants.

4. Do some babysitting

Babysitting is another easy job to secure and maintain – if you like kids, that is. It also tends to pay well! Parents often offer a relatively high hourly wage and you may even get some free snacks on the side. Check local job boards and Facebook groups to see if there's anyone requiring babysitting services.

5. Do some dog walking

If your an animal lover and babysitting doesn't sound appealing then you could try your hand at dog walking. It doesn't generally pay as well as babysitting, but it's a great way to get in some exercise, explore your new city and earn money at the same time! Try putting your details on local job boards or Facebook groups to advertise your services to your community.

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6. Sell your old books

 Another option to earn some extra money is to sell your old school books. If you take good care of your books, then they will still be in good condition after you have used them. These kinds of school books are often costly and are therefore worth quite some money. There are always students that are looking for school books, and they also would like to save some money by buying second-hand books.

Final tips

  • Never buy on impulse
  • Sign up for coupons and vouchers
  • Monitor currency exchange rates
  • Top up when you need to
  • Start saving now

With all of these tips, you’ll be able to save money and earn some extra cash while you’re abroad. It’s worth looking for opportunities before you move so you know the options that are open to you. SchoolApply will guide you throughout this entire process while you apply to universities abroad. However, after your arrival, you’ll get help from your classmates when it comes to finding a suitable job.

But before that, you need to send your application to a university. Let SchoolApply help you find the school and program that’s right for you and get ready to experience a life-changing journey abroad.