How to Budget for Studying Abroad

Studying abroad is one of the best opportunities you can take advantage of while in college – but it does come at a price. While some universities have programs that cost the same amount for studying abroad as they do at the home campus, many study abroad programs exceed the normal cost for tuition. In addition to tuition costs, travel expenses and costs while studying abroad can quickly add up. Here are some ways to budget so you are able to study abroad without stressing about the cost!

Cut Unnecessary Costs

In the moment, that pumpkin spice frappuccino from Starbucks and your Hulu account you use to catch up on your shows with might seem like dire needs, but getting rid of extra expenses like these is an easy way to start saving your money.

Before setting out on the daunting journey of budgeting, download Mint to track your expenses. The free app and website groups your expenses into categories, allowing you to easily visualize where your money is going and plan ahead for saving. Once you know where you are spending the most, start to reduce your costs in those categories.

Give up your go-to coffee and muffin purchase by making your own goodies. Do not eat out – or if you do, make sure not to splurge for appetizers and drinks to accompany your meal. Even cutting out a portion of what you normally spend can still save you a few bucks here and there. If you have your own place or your dorm room has a kitchen, challenge yourself to use all your groceries before you purchase anymore or go out to eat. It can be tempting if you are on a college dining plan to eat out when the campus food gets repetitive, but the food you are eating on campus has already been paid for – so don’t spend money on more food that you don’t technically need! See how you can jazz up the dining hall meals to avoid any additional spending on food. If it seems too harsh to fully cut treats out, make a plan to limit them significantly.

Cancel your monthly subscription boxes, streaming services, and any memberships that you aren’t using. Although these monthly fees can be as low as $10 per each subscription, it is still one of the biggest money suckers. The ease of these fees being automatically charged each month makes it feel like you are not really spending the money, which is what makes them so dangerous on your bank account. Whether or not you are manually paying for the services – the money is still being drawn from your account to pay for them! Missing a few months of monthly treats won’t seem like such a bad thing once you are spending your time abroad – where you won’t even need your precious subscriptions!

Cut down on your transportation costs by biking around when possible! You will save money and get in better shape at the same time! If your student ID allows you to take public transportation for free, utilize this when you are traveling somewhere that is too far on bike.

Be on the prowl for items you regularly purchase to go on sale and buy them while they are cheaper. Keep a stash of coupons handy because you never know when you might need them. Most stores now offer online coupons, so if you know you need to go shopping at a certain store, head to their website before hand to download or have their coupon sent to your email. Take advantage of your student ID by getting discounted or free items.  Having a plan for what you need to buy before hitting the stores will also keep you from making any impulse purchases. If you look at an item and it takes you more than three seconds to confirm as a need or something you truly love, put it back on the shelf and think about it for a while.

Make Extra Money

Once you’ve mastered the art of cutting down costs, the fun part is finding ways to make even more money. As a full-time student, it can be challenging to squeeze in work around a full course load, but odd-end jobs can help you make money without having to devote too much time from your schedule.

Dedicate a day to cleaning out your closet for any clothes you haven’t worn in the last six months. Turn your clothes in to cash by selling them on ThredUp. You will receive a “Clean Out Kit” in the mail then just pack up your unwanted items and mail the kit back. If you have old textbooks no longer being used or have upgraded your gadgets, sell back your books and electronics. Large, sought after textbooks can sell for a lot, and since you will have already used that money for academic purposes before – don’t think twice about using the money you receive from your books towards your study abroad fund.

Pick up dog-sitting gigs through Rover. Puppy therapy and easy money? Sounds like the right kind of job. Offer your babysitting services on Sittercity or Care. Side jobs like these are easy to do occasionally as they fit your schedule, or pack on when you need extra cash. Once you have a small business going, you can even advertise with flyers around campus, plus you are sure to secure repeat business from previous clients.

Make a habit of saving any money you receive unexpectedly – birthday cards, money in the laundry room, rebates and refunds. Any money you hadn’t already allocated for can just be considered extra money – so be sure to drop it in your savings account before you think twice about it.

If you are really looking for some big bucks – go bigger. While you are traveling abroad, your car will be wasting away back home, so why not sell it? This is probably one of the easiest ways to make money off something you won’t need while you’re gone – and will be a bigger chunk of money upfront. Making these financial priorities will ensure your study abroad costs are covered – and may leave you with spending money for your trip!

About the Author:

Jayson is a strong believer that you don’t have to be wealthy to live a rich and full life and wants to share tips on how to do exactly this.  Whether its saving money tips, smart everyday hacks, or budget travel, he hopes to inspire others to do more with less.

Connect with him on LinkedIn and Instagram.



  1. Very helpful advice in this particular post! It’s the little changes that make the largest changes. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Gonna download that Mint app, this is what I need in my life, I have never known where is my money gone 🙁 Thank you for sharing the tips!

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