Spending a semester studying abroad in Paris, Rio, or Shanghai might seem nearly impossible on a student budget. But – take it from me – there are plenty of small ways to save that could add up big if you start early! Put these simple practices to use and before you know it, you’ll be on your way to a once-in-a-lifetime experience!
- Keep your eye out for student discounts. One of the best things about being a student is having a student ID. Take advantage of all the student discount opportunities that are available to you! Don’t be shy – pull out that ID at bookstores, clothing stores, museums, restaurants - everywhere you spend money. A 10-15% discount could mean hundreds in savings that you can put toward studying abroad.
- Sell old clothes, books, etc. Old shirts you never actually wear? Sell them at a local consignment store. Books you’ll never re-read? Sell them at a used bookstore. Review your possessions and part with those that aren’t meaningful. You can sell your items on Facebook Market or try apps like Letgo, OfferUp, and Poshmark. Alternatively, you and your friends can pool your items and throw a yard sale together. I was part of a neighborhood yard sale and made over $300 by selling old clothes, jewelry, books, DVDs, electronics, and furniture!
- Use apps to track flight prices. What is the best day to buy a plane ticket? When is it cheapest to fly? Download Jetradar, Skyscanner, Hopper, or Kiwi - all available on Apple and Android devices - and find out. These apps allow you to save your destinations and travel dates, and then send you notifications when the ticket prices are the lowest.
- Avoid on-demand transportation. It may be convenient, but those five-dollar Uber rides really add up! Seriously, I stopped using Uber for three months and saved over $250 on short trips. How about walking or biking to your next destination? You could also carpool with others and when possible, take public transportation. It’s good for the environment and good for your study abroad fund!
- Try a side hustle. Aside from part-time or summer jobs, ask your parents or neighbors if they know of someone that needs a baby/pet/house-sitter. If they leave you hanging, register for care.com or sittercity.com for local opportunities. Also, take advantage of the odd jobs and chores that you never wanted to do when you were younger, like mowing lawns or walking dogs. TaskRabbit is a great way to get paid for helping others – you could earn up to $20 an hour just for helping people move furniture!
- Get cash-back for everything. Did you know you could be getting cash-back on all of your purchases, even groceries? The average college student spends $150 on groceries a month and you could make that back in three months. Keep your receipts and download apps like Ibotta, FetchRewards, and Receipt Hog. All you have to do is scan your receipts and watch the points add up. You can redeem them for gift cards or cash them out to your bank account.
- Eat out less, make coffee more. Think about how much money you spend on a meal or a cup of coffee. Then multiply that for a week. Then a month. It may seem inconvenient not to eat on the go, especially with a busy schedule, but imagine how good those meals will taste once you’re abroad. Just making coffee at home saved me $80 in one month!
- Save your change. Get a jar and throw your change in every day. You’ll be amazed watching it accumulate. I know someone who saved $400 in change in six months! If you don’t use cash often, use the Acorns app (free for college students), which invests in your spare change by rounding up to the nearest dollars for every credit card purchase. It all makes a difference.
- Find free activities. Limit the amount of times you go to the movies or concerts, and find events that are open to the public. Use Facebook events or read your local paper to see what festivals, museums, shows, and other activities are free, especially on your college campus.
If you’re serious about studying abroad, start saving now! In one year, you can save $2,500 or more toward studying abroad if you follow these practices and budget! And don’t forget, you can always apply to CIEE scholarships and grants in your application. CIEE offers more than $8 million every year for participants.
Plan and start saving now!