Studying abroad is a great experience. Don’t let money hassle you and end up turning this incredible experience into the “Regret Game”. I hate this game. The only rule is to spend way too much that day or week and instantly get that sinking feeling in your stomach known as “buyer’s remorse”…DING DING DING…we haaaaave a winner, extra flare points for adding on the stress. It doesn’t have to be this way. Studying abroad is a new experience but you can use old techniques to help save your money.
1. Math is fun!
Find out the amount if time you’re going to be at your destination before hand. Divide it into days, or if longer, weeks. Figure out how much you plan on spending each day or each week, and add maybe another $100 or so on top for some leeway spending. For example, let’s say you’re going for 5 weeks. Hmmm, I think I can manage $100 a week, so that’s $600 total for the entire time, $700 just to be safe. This way you’re not bringing too much extra money and you’re not tempted to spend it so frequently.
2. Budget, heard that before, right?
That’s right, BUDGET! What’s the point of having this week by week plan and not sticking within it’s borders right? Discover the things you NEED and the things you just WANT. When saving, the needs should always take priority. Sure, that’s a nice novelty shirt in that window, but you brought 20 along with you and you’re already pushing the weight limit for the plane’s baggage allowance. Your suitcase is already filled to,the brim as it is. I’ll take a nice dinner for the same price though.
3. Take care of yourself and your belongings!
If you get too sick, that’s money you may have to spend on medicine or, oh no, hospital visits. Take care of yourself! Also, if you break your camera, you may have to shell out 100 or so dollars for a new one. That’s money down the drain. I wanted to visit that water park too, but now I have to replace my camera 😦
4. Don’t stretch yourself too thin.
You’re going to want to spend, it’s okay. You’re in a new place, there’s new trinkets you haven’t seen, it’s fine. Budget accordingly. You can make a dollar go a long way but it’s easier when you have 2. Let yourself have fun. Bring enough with you to where you’re comfortable spending it. Go there with money that you have already accounted for as “gone” that way, when you spend it, you’re not losing anything at all.
The underlying message of this entire thing is just to plan ahead. “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”…I forget who said that…Studying abroad is a great experience and one you will remember forever. Don’t go on a game show while there though. You don’t want to hear Bob Barker telling you to, “Come on dooooown” into the “Regret Game”.
Written by John Mack, Social Media Journalist