So, you want to be a savvy saver to be able to make studying abroad a reality.
While traveling and studying abroad will be expensive and you probably will hit some unexpected costs, there are ways to save money now for your travel later.
In this blog post, we show you how to become a well-informed traveler (the best kind of traveler) and give you tips that will keep your money in your pocket.
What is travel without a little planning? Preparing for your trip beforehand will not only save you money but you will have a better peace of mind when you reach your new home. So, to start: plan, research and then plan some more.
Get to know your new city. Scroll through news sites, travel forums and your new school’s website.
Create an “Adventure” savings account and with every paycheque until your trip, pay yourself first. Make sure the account can’t be touched with your debit card, that way spending won’t happen.
While you’re at it, create an emergency or a “just in case” fund. The same as your abroad account, pay yourself every paycheque. This money will allow you to feel more comfortable heading overseas because most likely something will come up and having an emergency fund will save you from going into debt.
Tip: Check online to see if you’re eligible for study abroad scholarships, grants or loans. These could be a good way of saving some money.
On top of paying yourself, you need to create a budget, stick to it and review it regularly. There are going to be unexpected costs when you’re traveling and living abroad. Educate yourself on the many costs associated with travel and put them together to create a travel budget.
Sit down with someone to talk about your options to save the most money. Don’t forget that your bills in your home country won’t stop just because you’re living abroad.
Tip: Tell your banks and credit card companies that you will be abroad. Talk to them about fees associated with using your card overseas. Telling your banks you will be abroad will also allow them not to freeze your accounts for fraudulent activity, which could leave you stranded with no money.
The plan is to have enough money in your bank account when you head abroad. If you’re realistic and smart with your money, it’s possible.
BE SMART WITH YOUR MONEY
There are many ways to slowly chip away at your current travel price tag/budget, bringing it down to a more reasonable number.
One of your biggest ticketed items will be your plane fare. You’re going to want to compare airplane costs to make sure you are getting the best deal.
Tip: Always clear your cache and browse in incognito mode to get the best prices every time you use a travel site.
The other big item you’re going to be saving for is your schooling. Choosing a school abroad is a big decision. To save money, pick a school that includes all of the essentials like room and board, meals, internet services, laundry, etc.
Tip: Keats School in Kunming offers all of these services along with several different study plans at different price points. More than 10,000 students have picked Keats as their school abroad.
After those two large expenses, there are smaller ways to save money too.
Learn how to cook! If you’re not going to be attending a school that includes meals, learn how to prepare healthy, hearty meals. It will be easy to fall back on readily-available services like take out food, but by cooking your own food, you will save a lot of money.
Learn to navigate! Transit can be expensive and taking a cab is more money of out your pocket. To save some cash, learn how to read a map and start walking more.
Tip: You can even use Google Maps to navigate offline, just remember to download map areas while connected to WiFi.
Start saying no to luxuries now while you’re saving for your trip. If you don’t have money for travel now, you probably won’t have it later when you’re there studying and not working.
UNDERSTAND THE COST OF YOUR NEW COUNTRY
The cost of living in every city is different. Putting in the time to research the average costs of items and living will allow you to prepare for your new home.
Take into consideration the exchange rate when saving and spending money. Ask and learn about the gratuity in your new country. Do they tip? If so, how much? And for which services?
And, don’t forget… you’re in bartering culture. Don’t end up paying far more above a reasonable price. Get comfortable bartering for goods.
Understanding these basics will allow you to feel more “at home” when you arrive.
SAVE NOW, ENJOY LATER
Cha-Ching! Your comfort level abroad will depend on how much you plan and prepare while you’re home. Keep an eye on your daily expenses and learn as much as possible about your new country before jet setting.
Lastly, live like a local and you will get the real experience. You won’t get stuck in any tourist money traps and you will be thankful later when you’re calculating how much money you spent (and saved) studying abroad in China.