Tips for saving money abroad

Elizabeth Thies
December 31, 2019
Local Produce

Study abroad is not a cheap experience, but that does not mean it has to break the bank completely. Budgeting is a necessity to make it through all four months and the two biggest chunk of your funds will go towards food and travel. If you plan ahead and are smart about it, you can budget well enough to still enjoy your experience to its fullest.


Here are a few tips on how to save money while studying abroad.


  1. Think about what you will need for your room. Your program should give you a list of items you will be provided upon arrival. Take a look at that list and if you have any extra room in your luggage to bring over the necessities that you may need in order to keep you from spending money on them when you arrive. Things like a blanket and towel may be a good idea.
  2. Pack wisely. Living abroad for more than four months is a long time and requires you to bring a lot of stuff, particularly clothes. If you pack wisely in regards to your clothes than you can prevent yourself from spending too much money at the shopping malls and boutiques. It is best to back a variety of basic pieces for all weather seasons, that way you can mix and match your wardrobe while simultaneously avoiding repeat outfits as much as possible.
  3. Shop for local produce. Cities abroad generally have great little markets. The food is not only fresher but also cheaper than buying from a supermarket.
  4. Invest in Tupperware. Eating out is a great way to get to know your new home. Immersing yourself into the culture and cuisine is great, but can add up in costs really fast. The best way to avoid this is the meal prep at least one or two meals a day. Go to the store buy some Tupperware and make food for the week. If you eat at least one meal a day at home that can save you a ton!
  5. Use coupons from local magazines. Your new apartment or dorm should have a mailbox for you. Check your mail for local newspapers and magazines. These are often filled with coupons for restaurants, grocery stores, and shopping. For those who are living in a homestay ask your family if there is anything like this that you can use.
  6. Bring your Student ID. Your student ID from your home institution is still valid abroad. Many places give discounts to students. This includes restaurants, clothing stores, movie tickets, entrance into museums, and more!
  7. Keep an eye out for travel deals. Travel sites sometimes have great deals of flight and hotel packages which can make your trips a little bit cheaper. If you have the ability to do so, look around before picking a city to travel to that weekend. Keep your options open and see where is cheapest. Also, sometimes the regional buses like FlixBus are a great direct form of transportation that can be extremely cheap.
  8. Utilize public transportation. It’s common for the trams, bikes, metros, and local buses to have really great monthly passes (which you can probably get a student discount price for too) for the city you are living in. When you are traveling, these options are still much better than getting taxis or an Uber (if available). Not only do you get to save money but you get to experience what transportation is like for a local!


Adapt and apply as many of these tricks to your individual living situation and you will be sure to save some money. It’s all about being smart and savvy!

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Elizabeth Thies

<p>My name is Elizabeth Thies and I am originally from Medina, Ohio but I now live in Washington, D.C. as a rising senior at George Washington University studying International Affairs. I am passionate about traveling and learning foreign languages as I speak English and Spanish while learning Russian and German. I also really love staying active and am on GW's Women's Club Volleyball team and am an avid SCUBA diver. Spending time with animals (dogs are my favorite) never fails to make my day! Lastly, I am a huge book geek and am constantly reading my favorite genre of historical non-fiction.</p>

2019 Fall
Home University:
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Medina, OH
International Affairs
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