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6 Tips and Tricks to save money as an international student

Written by Namrata Sharma, UC Research Counselor

Starting a new educational adventure in a different country as an international student can be both an exhilarating and financially challenging experience. But fret not! You can overcome your financial obstacles and enjoy your time as a student without breaking the bank with a little bit of time management, imagination, careful preparation, and resourcefulness. As an international student, use this tried-and-true advice to thrive, save money, and unleash your inner pocket-saving ninja.

  1. For one, Master the Art of Budgeting!

As rightly stated by Dave Ramsey, budgeting is telling your money where to go instead of wondering where it went. Your first step towards financial freedom is to create a budget. List your financial sources (like side employment or parental help). Next, list all of your monthly costs ( rent, food, travel, or utilities). Be aware of your extra expenses like dining out, shopping, and watching movies. You can use tools like PocketGuard to track your spending or use a good old journaling method. A well-planned budget gives you control over your money and enables you to make wise spending choices. Find more in the expert Session, Money Management: Tips & Tricks, taken up by one of our partners, GyanDhan, during UC Pre-University Orientation 2022.

  1. Now let’s hunt those good old Student Discounts.

Whether you’re shopping for textbooks, clothing, electronics, or even traveling, always ask if there’s a student discount available. Keep an eye out for special promotions, join student discount programs, and download apps like UNiDAYS and StudentBeans to unlock additional savings. Remember, every dollar saved adds up to a brighter financial future. 😉

  1. Cooking is a stress buster.

Cook food at home, and embrace the art of cooking. It is healthy and all the more it’s a fantastic way to save money. Plan your meals, create a shopping list, and buy groceries from a wholesale market,  join cooking communities to discover tasty yet budget-friendly dishes, and more. You can even host potluck dinners with friends or even better cook together as a group. Take turns.

  1. The finest things in life are free-Coco Chanel

Finding delight in low-cost or free activities is essential while living on limited funds. Seek out chances to explore and have fun without spending a fortune. Visit parks and wildlife preserves, take advantage of reduced museum days in your area, go to free concerts and events, or plan game evenings with your friends. Take that bus, walk, and explore, reduce your carbon footprint, and get that student bus/train pass. Utilize the Power of Secondhand and look into local groups, internet marketplaces, and thrift shops to find gently used clothes, gadgets, books, and furniture at much-reduced costs. You’ll not only minimize waste and give things a second opportunity, but you’ll also save money in the process.

  1. Maximize Your Student Benefits.

Get that free access to campus facilities or even free entry to local attractions, museums, theaters, and events. Always inquire about student rates. Embrace Cashback and Reward Programs. I love free Wifi (be safe though). Take advantage of free Wi-Fi hotspots on your campus or public areas for internet access.  Use free online resources like Coursera,  MIT OpenCourseWare, the university library, a collection of e-books, research databases, and academic publications to increase your knowledge and learn new skills.

  1. Sharing is caring indeed!

Share living expenses with roommates. Splitting rent, utilities, and groceries can significantly reduce your monthly costs. Now communication is the key here, share openly about financial expectations and establish clear agreements to ensure a harmonious living arrangement. Besides the financial benefits, sharing expenses can also foster friendships and create a supportive community during your time abroad.

Saving money as an international student requires self-control, resourcefulness, and a positive outlook. Read what Smiti Patni, UC Alumni shares about key things that you should know about in your sophomore year at the university. Remember, every small step toward financial stability brings you closer to achieving your dreams and we at UC believe in empowering dreams. Reach out to an Orange Counselor today for more such tips. Happy saving!

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