We all know you need money to study abroad. And if you’re the one in charge of getting it, the pressure can seem a little daunting – especially when the cost of studying abroad sits at an average of US$6,200 per semester (yikes!). That means you’ll need to save around $119 a week if you have a whole year to save, or $238 if you have six months. It sounds like a lot, but don’t stress – saving up is easier than you think. Here’s the plain English, jargon-talk free explanation of how you can score more funds for your time overseas.
GET AN HIGH-INTEREST BANK ACCOUNT
Studying abroad takes a lot of prep work – at least a year if you’re going through your own university, or several months if you’re going solo. The upside of this is that you’ll have plenty of time to capitalise on your funds in the bank. Look at opening up a high-interest bank account, where your money can earn more money just by sitting there.
ASK FOR MORE SHIFTS AT WORK
It might seem a little obvious, but asking for more hours is one of the easiest ways to ramp up your potential savings without expending too much effort. Plus, it often scores you brownie points with your boss, regardless of whether you end up getting scheduled on.
BONUS: Work at a chain organisation with multiple stores? Then let other store managers know you’d jump at the change to come into work. Just be sure to let your own boss know that you’re asking around, too – you don’t want to get conflicting schedules!
ASK YOUR BOSS HOW YOU CAN EARN MORE MONEY
If you feel comfortable talking to your boss about money, then ask them if there are any pathways you could take to land a little extra dosh on the job. Often times, you’d be surprised to hear the alternatives the big cheese has to offer. Can you take a paid training course or earn a raise? Switch from the morning shift to the midnight shift? Work weekends?
CUT ALL EXPENSES NOT DETREMENTAL TO YOUR LIVELYHOOD
The golden rule for saving is to cut out the non-necessities, cause they’re, y’know… unnecessary. Like those cups of coffee from Starbucks. Or that cute dress you’ve been eyeing up online. Such items may give life that little extra sparkle, but once you cut them out of your life, you’ll find that the dollars will start to pile up.
REAP THE BENEFITS OF STUDENT DISCOUNTS
That movie that you’ve been raving on about forever is FINALLY out in cinemas, so you decide to forgo the idea to cut all expenses (just this once) and fork out a little bit of your funds to go see it with the bestie. A word of advice: wield your student card like the full-price-slasher it is. Seeing that movie for three dollars less doesn’t seem like too much now, but trust me – it all adds up in the end.
LIVE WITH YOUR PARENTS
One of the perks of having parentals is that they often don’t charge for board. So if you’re a little strung for cash, finalise your house lease and move back in with the parents. Just make sure your stay isn’t too long or no one’s going to invite you back!
SELL WHAT YOU DON’T NEED
You’ve got these clear plastic sandals that were the height of fashion… in 2012. Since then, you’ve worn them all of once, even though they cost you a good $26 at the time. The solution to this big ol’ wardrobe waster? Sell them. If you don’t wear them here, you’re not going to wear them there, so you might as well earn a buck or two towards your trip! The easiest thing to do is to just pile everything you won’t need while you’re overseas (or even at home) into the back of your car and sell it all at the weekend market. But if you’re feeling tech-savvy, online sale service websites work just as well.
LOOK OUT FOR BURSARIES OR SCHOLARSHIPS
Flick on the laptop and do a bit of investigating. Most universities (both home and overseas) are great at supporting students who are studying abroad, whether it be through discounts, bursaries or scholarships. Often times there are even “freebies” up for grabs, where the single criteria you have to meet is that you’re an international student (score!).
IF ALL ELSE FAILS… BUDGET
So, you’ve run the math. You’ve got six months to save and you need to put aside $238 a week towards your semester abroad. You earn an average of $450 a week as a casual in a little café, where there’s no chance of getting extra cash. Rent, bills and fuel all add up, and at the end of the month you’re left wondering if the whopping $22.50 left in your bank account is okay. Hint: it is.
Whether it feels like it or not, budgeting is the most basic and successful way to manage your money. It’s tailorable to your own financial needs and makes you aware of what’s going on with your money – all the while ensuring you reach that final goal.