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For Students – 10 Tips to Save Money Studying Abroad

July 12, 2015

10 Tips To Help Students Save Money Studying Abroad

Studying abroad can be a life-changing experience. It can also be a wallet-emptying one, piling more debt on top of the average student loan. But there are ways to avoid overspending day-to-day, without living on the fabled student diet of ramen and tins of beans…

You already know not to eat out too much and to avoid taking taxis- we thought we’d track down a few more unusual tips for thrifty students studying abroad!


Study For Cheap

1. Textbooks are a notorious rip-off, and frequently there’s no other option but to buy them.
A few suggestions: wait, if you can, until term has begun to find out if you really need each title on the list. Befriend a few students from the year above and ask which books are essential.
Then there’s the university bookshop, which might have them secondhand, as well as Abebooks and (to a lesser extent) Amazon.

Cheap Student Essentials

2. Student living is a lot like moving out of home, but you’ll find some of the essentials (furniture, a kitchen and -if you’re very lucky- a cleaner) are provided.
But there are bits and pieces you might need to pick up- an iron and kettle, an extra chair or even a bicycle.. For things you don’t mind buying secondhand, it’s worth trying Gumtree, Craigslist or the local Freecycling page. Pick up items for free or a minimal cost, then pass them on at the end of term using the same websites!

Student Technology Tips

3. Get your smartphone unlocked.
Be careful as this can void the warranty, but if you’ve done the research then it’s one to consider. This’ll leave you eligible for a local cheap simcard or cheap temporary or pre-paid phone contract with or OneSimCard. Failing that, there’s always Skype!

4. Take advantage of student discounts.
Now is the time to buy a Macbook (or talk your parents into buying one for you…) as you can take advantage of their famous student discount! Similarly, freshers are usually gifted with a discount card for local cafes, restaurants, shops, gyms and even hairdressers. Don’t lose that card, use it!


Cheap Student Travel

5. Travel cheap.
Another incidence where student cards work in your favour. You can save around 30% on train tickets and buses. If you’re in a big city, it’s also worth looking into bike schemes like London’s Boris Bikes and the Velib system in Paris. You’ll save on transport and get to see the city.

Other Student Money Saving Tips

6. Save Online.
Groupon might be old news, but a wealth of savings sites and apps targeting students has sprung up: and Save the Student are popular, and it’s worth asking around for any local ones.

7. Get an ISIC card!
The International Student Discount Card is also your passport to discounts around the world. Well worth investing in as a one-off, especially if you plan on travelling to multiple spots during your degree. If you’re in Europe, it’s also worth joining the Erasmus Student Network where you’re studying to meet other foreign students.


8. Obscure scholarships are your friend.
This one is worth asking the tutors about, or search or It’s different for every university, but search hard enough and you’ll likely find some kind of bursary you’re eligible for.. (the University of Cambridge, for example, has a prize for the person with the best accent reading Middle English, while a $10,000 Dr Seuss essay bursary also exists…)

9. Beware of cookies.
No, we’re not talking about the ‘Freshman 15’.. when you buy flights home at the end of term, clear your browser cookies and cache before buying. Others have written about how your web history or even your choice of browser can raise the price on flight ticket websites. We’re not saying it’s always the case, but it’s a trick worth trying to see if you can buy for less.

10. Last but not least… if you’re staying longer than a term in your locale, then set up a bank account and use CurrencyFair to transfer money into it and pay university fees! ATM costs add up each time you use them, and frantic currency changing at the airport each time will take a chunk out of your limited student funds.

Are you studying abroad, or did you once upon a time? Let us know your tips in a comment below!

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