One of the challenges of studying abroad is living on a budget. As international students, the excitement of a new environment, culture, and lifestyle can easily distract one from the realities of handling money responsibly. But if you are resourceful enough, you will find that the internet is actually full of money-saving websites that can help you spend wisely. Here are some ways to take advantage of them.

Spend Less With Group-Buying and Travel Discount Sites

As the old adage goes, ‘all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’. While the purpose of an international education is to provide students with academic benefits, it is also a great opportunity to socialise with people from different cultures and experience the local lifestyle. However, dining out, entertainment, and recreational expenses can be challenging for any student on a budget, but not impossible. 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. Additionally, avoid price hikes by going incognito. According to an article in Business Insider a web application developer confirmed that cookie tracking can be used to analyze demands for flights in order to adjust prices, a practice called 'dynamic pricing'.

Save More By Shopping Online Wisely

The rise of online commerce has made the act of physically scouting one store after another just to find the perfect product no longer seem like a practical idea. Today, customers are more than willing to trade shipping fees for convenience. However, online shopping has not only made lives easier, but also made many a wiser shopper. For students, take advantage of your institution e-mail by signing up to UNiDAYS, a website that offers discounts for clothing, electronics, dining, health and beauty items for students from US and UK carrying 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. Additionally, a good tip for anyone shopping online is to search the web for any existing promo code for the store before checking out. If you found nothing and you are shopping for something not urgently needed, try leaving the items in your online cart for a few days and you just might receive an email with a promo code for a discount!

Buy Discounted Electronics and Softwares

While technology hasn’t completely replaced traditional pen and paper, computers continue to be a valuable tool for an increasingly paperless world. In fact, more courses today require students to utilise computers for studying and producing work. 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.

Use Your .edu E-mail to Save on Cellphone 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 institution e-mail to sign-up to websites. 

Managing expenses surely requires discipline and maturity, but millennials have the advantage of using the internet ingeniously. The websites listed above are just a few of the many other ways you can save money online and you can expect more with the current trends continuously driving the marketplace to become more competitive in addressing students’ wants and needs.