Money-Saving Tips for International Students
Money-saving tips for international students who are having to adapt to a new culture, learn English in the U.S.A, and meet people from different cultures can really help the newcomer get off on to a solid start. You should pretty much know from the start what your budget is for the period you are studying abroad. Staying within budget is essential for your peace of mind. Pay attention to costs and how to cut them. That way, you are going to have enough for those extras like travel. Here are a few money-saving tips for international students that are really useful to know before you come to the USA to learn English.
Budgeting Do’s and Don’ts
- Buy an International Student Card valid in the USA (ISIC)
- Be a comparison shopper – cheaper alternatives are around, and the United States is a mecca for bargain shoppers.
- Use the library, for books, dvd’s and newspapers.
- As an international student, make sure you are familiar with the currency and know the exchange rate of your native country.
- Withdraw money direct from an ATM instead of exchanging currency at currency exchanges at the airport and in prime tourist locations. These places pack on the fees, and ATM’s are less expensive. Comparison-shop fees at ATMs for international withdrawals.
- Get tips and advice from your host family or local inhabitants about good shopping habits and value-for-money stores.
- Look for seasonal/holiday discounts (before/after Christmas sales, Black Friday and similar BIG holiday sales.)
- Go to shopping outlets or discount clothing, shoes, bookstores and home stores such as Marshall’s and Ross. Visit charity shops or thrift stores. The savings are unbelievable and, besides, it’s good fun.
- Leave your credit cards at home and use cash. This will help you avoid the temptation of buying stuff.
- Don’t buy things on impulse .
- Sell things you no longer need. Combine with other students and have in a yard sale.
- Buy things like text books and bicycles used instead of new when possible.
- Trade old books, DVDs, CD with others online instead of buying new ones.
- Try generic brands of items you buy often. They are cheaper and usually the same as known brands.
- Entertain at home – rent a DVD, host a dinner where everyone brings a dish.
- Make your own coffee. This is no minor money saving tip for international students! You will be astonished at how much money you save.
- Bring/buy machine washable clothes requiring minimal maintenance. No ‘dry-clean-only’ garments!
A big money-saving tip for international students is to avoid using expensive forms of transport such as taxis. Use public transport, or better, still, join a bike-share program or buy a used bike!
The best part of being an international student is having the freedom and opportunities to experience your new culture to the max. This becomes far more possible if the basics of living are organized and simple, and that budget is well under control.