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International Students: 7 Guaranteed Ways to Save money while studying abroad

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As an international student, living abroad can be relatively expensive and so learning ways to manage your situation is key to staying on top of things money-wise. You’re already paying a killin’ in the name of tuition and accommodation fees, so why not save on the other things you actually have full control over?

Here are 7 tips to help you save money while studying abroad.

Take advantage of student discounts


As far as I know, most places offer a percentage off retail prices to students. The discounts are available in some restaurants, clothing shops, grocery shops, fitness and recreational facilities, and even transportation outlets. In some cases, just showing your regular student ID card wouldn’t suffice. You’ll have to apply for special student IDs to be eligible for the discounts. Do your research and find out how it works in your location, it’ll be well worth it.


Budgeting is key. At the start of each term, decide how much you have available to spend weekly and monthly. Write out your essentials like food, transport, utility bills, etc. Assign realistic percentages of the money you have available to each of these. The point of budgeting is to first off ensure the money you have is segmented in a way that works for your lifestyle, and so you’ll have to be intentional about sticking to it as much as possible.

Travel in groups

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Your college years are the best time to travel especially for international students but traveling can be expensive. Consider traveling with a friend or group of friends to cut costs. Renting a room in a hotel just for yourself will most likely cost more than renting a 3 bedroom apartment and sharing the cost with a couple of friends.

Make calls over the internet


Rather than burning phone credit calling home ever so often, use services like WhatsApp, Skype, Google hangout, Telegram, etc. Take advantage of the free wifi in your uni and your student accommodation.

Buy food in bulk (kind of)


It’s more cost-effective to buy groceries in some sort of “bulk” than in little quantities. For instance, if you tend to eat a lot of eggs, buying a box of 6 eggs every 3 days for 3 euros is more expensive than buying a box of 30 eggs for 8 euros every 2 weeks. So in the long run, buying a larger quantity of eggs is more cost-effective. This applies to many other consumable items. But be careful with perishables to avoid waste. Don’t go buying 50 apples because apples are on sale when you really would only be able to eat just 10 of these 50 apples before their expiry date.

Get familiar with the sale seasons

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During my uni days, I never missed the Boxing Day sales. That was when I could purchase winter essentials for a fraction of the retail prices. By a fraction I mean there were times I bought Zara coats that would usually set me back about 150 euros for 50 euros or less. Yup! 200 euro Aldo knee-high boots for 70 euros. The point is, try to leave your shopping till sales season to get the most out of your money.

Buy used books

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Before you go ahead to splurge on brand new textbooks at the bookshop, check amazon or even your uni’s student union office for the used options. A lot of them will be like new, cost significantly less, and contain the same exact information.

Hope this helps.

Let us know in the comments section if you have any more tips for international students.

Featured image: Giphy

Dr Wendy Evans-Uhegbu

The author Dr Wendy Evans-Uhegbu

Dr. Wendy Evans-Uhegbu is a graduate of The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, with experience in Connected Health, Medical Technology, Clinical Research, Medical Education, Medical Communications, and Web Design/Development. She is a part of the Medics Abroad team with the role of Chief Communications Officer. She is also a Medical Writer at 3D4 Medical and runs a Medical Communications and Children's books company (ODR Integrated Services/ ODR Books).  She is the author of the newly published children's book series "The Things Around Me".

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