International Students' Guide to Managing Finances
6 min

International Students' Guide to Managing Finances

6 min
Uploaded on
Feb 10, 2022
Last updated on
Mar 10, 2023
Uploaded on
Feb 10, 2022
Last updated on
Mar 10, 2023
A young woman looking at her laptop
Keep calm & save money

As an international student, managing finances can certainly be challenging. However, with sufficient preparation and knowledge, you will not only have enough funds for electricity and other basic necessities, but you will also be able to treat yourself every now and then. 

Why does money management matter?

With so many other elements to consider, such as telegraphic transfer fees, bank fees and so on, figuring out the right way to pay your payments can be quite stressful. If you depend on your parents for financial support, you’ll need to find out the most cost-effective way for them to give you money without incurring significant bank charges. 

To stop being scammed or stolen, managing finances in a safe and stable way while still making your money public is necessary. It can be difficult if you’ve never had to deal with managing finances before. It can get a little hectic as well, but with a bit of practice and direction, you’ll soon be a self-sufficient citizen who can handle their expenses as well as extensive financial obligations, including paying tuition fees and rent.

Things to remember when managing finances

Here are some things to remember when managing finances during your stay abroad:

tips for managing finances

1. Remember, budget it out

It’s essential to assess and understand the current financial situation in order to build a realistic and workable budget strategy. Make sure to take into account all kinds of expenses when estimating your expenditure, including annual rent, maintenance costs, groceries, housing, data charges, entertainment, research materials, and travel. When managing finances, it’s a good idea to set aside some money per month for unforeseen circumstances or emergencies. If there are any birthdays coming up, be sure to include an estimated cost of what you plan on spending for that as well. 

If you juggle a lump amount of money for the whole semester, you’ll need to create a weekly budget to ensure you don’t go overboard when spending. It can be impossible to predict costs during the first semester, but you can still make a rough estimate and tweak it later. If your dorm doesn’t have a dining or meal schedule, you’ll need to find out how much you can spend on food and shopping and whether it’s easier to cook at home more often. Once you’ve budgeted for books and school supplies, food, rent, bills, and personal products, you’ll know how much money you have left over for non-essential expenses like vacations and movies. It’s still a brilliant idea to set aside enough money for savings in case of an emergency.

2. Increase your income

One of the first steps of budgeting is calculating your income. If your expected expenses exceed your income, you’re in danger of dropping into the reds. If you’re not big on debt or cutting down on comfort, you might want to look for ways to increase your income. If you’re having trouble making ends meet, it’s a positive sign that it might be time to look for a part-time career. All you need to get a part-time job is a well-made resume and a go-getter attitude. Working while studying abroad increases your chances to interact with your new environment while putting a little more in your pocket. You could try your hand at tutoring or if you’d prefer having flexibility in your timings, you could always go for freelancing.

Make sure you’re aware of any limitations there might be for working during your stay abroad. Some colleges in America even offer on-campus jobs, so that students can earn a buck or two while also working towards their degree. If you find yourself too tired to go to work after a long day studying, don’t worry! We’ve got just the thing for you. With the internet bringing food, friends, and news to your fingertips, jobs were never far behind. With money-earning apps, you can earn from the comfort of your couch. 

3. Get yourself a local bank account

First and foremost, the primary step in ensuring your financial survival in your new country is opening a bank account. You can consult with amber, and we will provide you with details on the most common bank accounts in your destination be it Australia, America, or the United Kingdom, allowing you to make an educated decision. Since programs differ by the bank, make sure you pick one that offers the most benefits to students and does not charge high fees for foreign bank transactions. Many international students are tempted to get a credit card, but whether you do or not depends on the individual circumstances.‍

4. Get hacking with money management 

Studying abroad is costly, but with careful preparation and a few money management hacks, you can quickly make it through. Understand what you require and need, and the easiest way to do so is to create a goal list. Find opportunities to save money and put it to good use. You can easily save money buying groceries which is certain to cut down your monthly expenses significantly. You will also save money regularly by following these basic steps:

  • Sharing accommodation
  • Get a student discount card
  • Join a library
  • Buy used books or get a digital copy
  • Get passes for local transport

5. Keep an eye out for student discounts

Obtain a student ID card as soon as possible. You may use this pass to get discounts at hotels, stores, movie theatres, public transit, and cultural activities. In times of online living, a plethora of websites provide excellent student discounts on events and shopping whether you’re in the UK or Australia; take a look!

If you’re going overseas, you can always ask your Amber Counselor about the Student Benefit Card, which gives you access to thousands of exclusive deals for full-time international students in every country provided by us.

6. Paying your bills

If you live off-campus, you will be responsible for paying the deposit. That’s why you have to be sure you have a lease from the landlord or housing administration office. Some leases also cover student contents insurance which protects your personal belongings from loss, theft or damage. Also, try taking notice of the lease’s terms and conditions and make sure you’ll be able to make the payments when they’re due. For example, few leases require annual fees, and others only require weekly payments.

When it comes to payment systems, others require a check, while some require a direct bank transfer. Avoid paying any deposits or rents in cash, regardless of the appropriate payment form, since this may indicate that the landlord uses illegal methods. We guarantee if you choose Amber, we will not let you face any issues regarding the rents or the leases and take care of your needs.

7. Adapt your lifestyle

If your total expenses shocked you, maybe it’s time to update your lifestyle! Cutting down on your expenses might sound straightforward but doing this without any flexibility can make the whole process quite tiring and easy for you to abandon once you’ve reached your limit. Sure, being economical can have its limits but nobody said you can’t have fun while saving some money. All you’ve got to do is settle on a budget and plan accordingly! You can even decorate your room on a budget. A fun trick when decorating during the festive season is getting creative making the decorations yourself instead of buying them from the store. 

We hope we’ve helped you get a better idea on managing finances. Remember, budgeting isn’t a one-and-done thing. You need to check in on your income and expenses every now and make sure they match up. The budgeting strategy you worked out at the start might not have the same effect as your lifestyle changes so feel free to alter it by cutting down on your costs or increasing your income as need be. 

Budgeting Strategies For Students

With inflation at its highest in over 40 years and the present cost of living crisis, budgeting tips and tricks have never been more welcome! Studying abroad can bring several challenges, including managing your money on a budget. There are plenty of ways to enjoy yourself on a budget, so here are 5 of our favourite top tips to ensure you easily make it through your University experience.

Planning and Preparation

It may seem obvious, but a little planning goes a long way. Tools like reminders and calendar apps can help make and maintain budgets. It can be really easy to give in to peer pressure when it comes to things like nights out or popping into town for a cheeky Nando’s so try picking which days you can afford to spend a little extra and account for those ‘big nights out’. Marking these days out can really help you to budget.

Do Things as a Group

One big advantage of being at university is that most of you will be lucky enough to be living under the same roof as other students in the same position as yourself. Doing things together, whether as simple as cooking a meal for the house or having a movie night on Netflix, is a great way to have fun without breaking the budget. 

Join a Club or Society

One great thing about being at university is the sheer number of like-minded people surrounding you. Consider joining a society related to something in which you are interested. It’s a great way to network and meet people with whom you might otherwise never cross paths. Most societies have weekly meetings, and there are also plenty of other extracurricular activities to get involved in, usually all at no cost, so it’s a fantastic way to laugh with your mates while doing something productive. You may learn something new along the way!

 Make Use of Student Discounts and Student Offers

Companies such as UNiDAYS, Student Beans and NUS all work alongside other businesses and services to offer great discounts for all your needs ranging from retailers to restaurants and everything in between. 

Too Good To Go is another great way to get more from your budget. By downloading their free app you can get great offers on food from local restaurants. You can order a ‘magic bag’ of surplus food at a discounted price which can be collected during a set time frame. 

Make Money to Save Money

We understand that not everyone may have the means to work while being at university. However, there are a lot more opportunities than ever before, and some are not as time consuming as you may think. ‘Paid To’ sites such as Swagbucks offer cash rewards for doing things such as completing surveys or watching videos, and they can be done from the comfort of your room. Likewise, paid searches, reviewing products, and becoming a mystery shopper are all alternative ways to give you something extra. 

However, our favourite idea is to work directly for your university. Yes, you read it right, most universities will have various roles available, focusing on tasks related to the administration or assisting residence staff. This is a great way of making money without having set foot off campus and is usually very flexible with timings to ensure you don’t miss any of your lectures! 

Join an Affiliate Programme

Affiliate programmes offer a revenue stream from recommending products to your followers & friends via a tracked hyperlink. Sites such as Amazon have their own Affiliate Programme, however if you’re moving to Uni soon you can take the hassle out of buying and transporting your Uni bedding and kitchen items by pre-ordering from our friends at UniKitOut. Your Kit will then be pre-delivered directly to your residence, so it is there ready and waiting for you in your room when you arrive, leaving you to settle into your new and exciting environment quickly. Once you’ve ordered, you’ll be sent a custom link to tell your friends and if they buy anything off the UniKitOut website, the sale will automatically be tracked to your account, and you’ll receive a 5% commission (averaging £6-7) for each friend that places an order.