Budgeting in Buenos Aires: Tips & Tricks for Saving Money While Studying Abroad

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Preparing to study abroad involves some counting. Counting the pairs of shoes you’ll pack, counting the course credits you need to transfer, and, of course, counting down the days until your flight takes off! However, when it comes to counting your funds, things might seem hazy. How do you budget for the little (and big) unknowns?

While studying abroad in Argentina, IES Abroad Ambassador Jessie Duska learned how to budget for her semester, and also how to save money in a variety of ways. Read on for Jessie's tips and tricks for saving money on food, travel, and more.

Plan Your Food Budget Thoughtfully

Buenos Aires made it a little tricky for me when it came to financing. For one, the food. As a student you don't get lunch or food on the weekends, and you can't cook in your homestay (for most). If you are willing to grocery shop and make food, do it! However, definitely budget more for lunch/weekend food just in case!

Tips for saving money on food:

  • Groceries are by far cheaper than eating out! If you enjoy sandwiches, salads, yogurt, and other snacks, your host parents will almost always allow you room in the fridge or cabinets. And the IES Abroad Center has a microwave.
  • While traveling, hostels are cheap and often include breakfast. This is also one of the few times you can buy groceries and cook, which saves so much, especially with a group!
  • Go to all the IES Abroad events (they always have free food)! They are looking out for you so join student council (if you are inclined and excited about it), and go to all the talks because they always bring lunch along at least.

Food in Argentina

Prioritize Your Travel Plans

I definitely recommend planning to travel as close to the beginning as possible - prioritize your top trips and then solidify what you can so you know how much you have for other adventures. Flights will be cheaper for the places you need to fly to early on, so you will save money and have a better idea of how to spend for the future.

Three ways to save money on travel:

  • Ask for a student discount wherever you go! We got a hostel from $35 a night down to $15. People are super accommodating sometimes, especially if you schmooze!
  • Take buses. They are much cheaper than planes if you can, and I've had my best night’s sleep on the Argentine bus systems! If you book in the bus station instead of online they give student/group discounts, you just have to ask.
  • Find the free activities! Buenos Aires has literally one million free activities and festivals every weekend. There is always something to do, and almost all museums have free days, too. When you travel, there are free tours, free walking tours, and many other free things you just have to scope a little!

Street art in Buenos Aires

Set Aside Funds for the Little Things

I didn't budget much for shopping/extra things, but you will definitely want to put aside a little something for laundry at least, if not small gifts.

Notes on budgeting the little things:

  • Doing laundry once a week only cost about $5 USD, but it does add up.
  • You also might need to buy more toiletries (and other things that don't immediately come to mind), so have a little extra wiggle room in your budget for the things you forgot.
  • Do as much shopping as you can in the North of Argentina or in other South American countries. Peru and Ecuador have much cheaper gifts to bring home to the fam!

Souvenirs from Salta and Jujuy trip

Did you know that we commit $5 million in scholarships and financial aid to IES Abroad students? Learn more about financing your study abroad or internship adventure on our Scholarship & Aid page.

Jessica DuskaJessie Duska, IES Abroad Ambassador

IES Abroad Buenos Aires, Fall 2017 | University of Virginia

Jessie is a fourth year student from Charlottesville, Virginia, studying Religious Studies at the University of Virginia. She studied abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina, learning about Latin American societies and cultures. She says about her experience, “Studying abroad in my last year at UVA was definitely atypical for a UVA student and unexpected even for me, but when you’re in a place as incredible as Argentina (or wherever your adventure takes you), you don’t think twice about what you might be missing back home.” Read more from Jessie's experiences in Argentina on her IES Abroad Blog.

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