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By on June 2nd, 2017

Budget Tips for International Students

If you’re one of the thousands of international students who will be coming to the United States this year, make sure you plan a budget out beforehand using the following tips.

Prepare Well in Advance and in Detail

Most international students spend weeks or even months planning their time in a new country. Unfortunately, they don’t always do the best job of really digging into the details of their budget. They give themselves monthly amounts or, at best, weekly and because it looks like a lot on paper, they assume it will cover them.

In reality, it would be far better to think about the purchases that you’ll need to make and get their exact prices, so there aren’t any surprises later. Some examples would include:

  • Mobile phone and/or mobile phone plan
  • Prescription drugs
  • Bank charges

We’ll talk about some others in more detail in just a moment, but the point is that you don’t want to leave anything to chance. Don’t “hope” your budget will be enough; make sure it is beforehand.

Try to Eat at Home as Much as Possible

While you may not have a huge kitchen in your dorm or off-campus housing, make the most of it by buying and making your own food as much as possible.

Although eating your bodyweight in pizza is a rite of passage in college, it can be very expensive and it’s not very good for you. Learn a few simple recipes that include plenty of fruits, vegetables, and lean meats. Salads are great for this, as are soups.

Chicken is an extremely versatile menu item. Learn how to prepare it multiple ways and there’s no end to the different nutritious dishes you can make.

The more you eat at home, the more money you’ll save. However, the other great reason to go this route is because you’ll simply feel better, too. Don’t let your health falter in college or your time as an international student will suffer.

Figure Out the Cheapest Ways to Get Around

When you’re living in a new place, it’s extremely easy to simply grab a cab or call an Uber every time you have to get around. While these options have their place, you’ll save a lot of money if you learn how to get around by using public transport.

Depending on where you’re going to school in the United States, you may have all kinds of options including buses, trains, and subways. They can quickly cover large distances and do so for pennies a trip.

Also, don’t be afraid to walk when it’s possible. This is another way you can save money by keeping healthy. Furthermore, walking around will give you a better lay of the land and help you appreciate what your new home city has to offer.

Learn About Bargains from Your American Classmates

There are all kinds of reasons you should make an effort to befriend your American classmates, but one of them is because they can clue you into the local bargains you’d otherwise not know about.

For example, many stores run specials on a given day of the week or even month. Your classmates can also warn you about the types of deals that sound good but are really a waste of money.

Review and Revise Constantly

Lastly, don’t forget to look over your budget and spending at least once a month. Just because you’ve made a budget and committed to it doesn’t mean you’re actually doing that. To avoid a nasty shock later, do regular reviews and make changes as necessary.

International students have a lot to look forward to when they come to the U.S. for school, but to make the most of their time here, they should put together a budget keeping the above in mind.