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Living Overseas On A Student Budget

Written by Razali, March 2018

Studying overseas is a huge investment – there are tuition fees to consider along with expenses such as rent and transportation. So it is important to plan ahead and budget your finances for your entire duration of studies. Living on a student budget will be tricky especially when you are new to the country and the environment. More so for first-year students, is not encouraged to work part-time as you should use your first semester to adapt to your new surroundings. This limits your income however here are some useful budgeting tips for you to consider.

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Plan Your Finances

It’s important to always be aware of how much you have and how much you will need. Keep track of your spending by setting a budget each month and list all your expenses – Rent, utilities, mobile etc. The essentials should always top your list, followed by your wants such as shopping or entertainment expenses. This way, you’ll always be sure to clear your rent and have a roof over your head, because the last thing you want is to be evicted out of your home. 

Use Your Student Discounts

The benefit of being a student is the existence of student deals, so be aware of it and use it freely. These discounts usually apply to all meals on campus or outside of campus, ranging from entertainment such as movies to meals. Never be afraid to ask if the merchant has student deals, you will be surprised the amount of money you will be able to save through these deals. 

Supermarket Deals

Grocery shopping will be a huge part of a student life. You will visit it at least once a week. Supermarkets will always have daily deals, so look out for them to save a whole lot of money. Be mindful of the deals, you wouldn’t want to be spending a whole lot of money on perishable goods (goods with an expiry) just because they’re on sale only to realise you cannot use it before the expiry! Also, deals aside, be weary that as a student your expenditure is based on the budget that you have. 

Cook Your Meals

Cooking your own meals is obviously cheaper than buying your meals. You can plan your meals for the week and prepare them over the weekend (prepare not cook!). Bringing your own lunch will save you a great deal of money. On the plus side, you’ll be a great cook at the end of your studies too!

Think Thrifty

Spend on second-hand items. This can be in the form of textbooks or furniture. Most of the universities would have a second-hand bookshop store to recycle the textbooks that past students no longer need. Plus, you could sell the textbook again once you are done with the module. Living in a student community gives you access to second-hand furniture too. There is no shame in getting a second-hand furniture that still serves its function!

Get Active

Transport may cost quite a bit. Especially if you need to travel to school on a daily basis. If you stay near campus, always try to save by either walking or riding a bike to school. It may require more effort as you will need to leave earlier. But it eases the pocket and gives you a great workout. 

Be Realistic And Willing To Make Sacrifices

As a student, money is going to be limited, so be realistic about what you can afford. Think of your needs before your wants. It takes a little (or a lot) of sacrifices. On the bright side, your student years won’t last forever. You will be able to earn and spend a lot more when you work full time. Hopefully sooner rather than later!

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