There are a number of financial responsibilities to manage when you are living abroad as an international student. These can range from accommodation payments to tuition fees and smaller things like clothes, meals, and academic books and supplies. It is therefore crucial that you create a budget and handle your money responsibly so that you always have enough to cover your expenses and some in case of an emergency.

Create a Weekly or Monthly Spending Budget

First, be honest about your spending habits. Whether you splurge on food, night outs or clothes, understanding your purchases allows you to figure out where to cut costs. Calculating a limit per week, or month also helps to curb spending; so that hopefully at the end of the week/month you will have some extra money to splurge and spend. Also don’t be afraid to tell your friends what your spending limit is, so that they can point out when you go over the limit!

Never Buy on Impulse

Countless students are guilty of this, they set out to the shops with an estimate of what they need to buy for groceries. But inside the store, it’s a completely different story. We tend to get distracted by everything: crisps, ice cream or even frozen pizza. These small items eventually pile up and the total bill is three times what you originally planned. Instead, think about the recipes you’re going to cook for the week and write down all the ingredients you’ll need. Now when you go to the shop, exercise restraint and stick to your list.

Sign up for Coupons/Vouchers

Collecting coupons can save you a lot of money, so always keep an eye out for discount vouchers! Each country has their own system of discount vouchers. Most stores in the US advertise their coupons either through local newspapers or through the mail. Stores in the UK have their own customer loyalty schemes that you can sign up for. Discounts are a great way to reduce your spending costs without actually having to drastically  cut down purchases. If you’re unsure, just ask the store about any special promotions.

Monitor Currency Exchange Rates

The value of a particular currency may fluctuate due to a number of global factors, but the most important thing is to keep track of the exchange rate. Although most currency rates are relatively stable, you can never predict when one will fluctuate. Depending on the rate, if your home currency weakens against the currency of the country you are studying in then your cost of living will increase. You will be paying more euros, dollars, or pounds for daily expenses.

By keeping a track on the exchange rate, you can convert larger amounts when your home currency is relatively stronger, and vice versa; you can save by converting smaller amounts when your home currency is weaker.

Top Up When You Need To

We all wish that the money we have will always be enough to cover our expenses, but sometimes it just isn’t enough. For those cases, be ready to earn and save some extra cash. Student jobs are great because they are flexible enough to fit around a student’s schedule. They pay well, don’t take too much time away from your studies and are on campus. It’s perfect for those students who need a little extra cash but can’t commit to long shifts elsewhere. They are also great for help in building a resume because you will have future references.

For more helpful advice related to studying abroad, check out our blogs.

About the Author: Sadia Sajjad is an English graduate from Brunel University London. She’s always had a strong affinity for the arts and is never far away from her pen and paper. She is currently interning in Dubai.