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20 Tacky Yet Effective Ways to Save Money While Studying Abroad

UserMark time30 November,2015

All students face financial crunch when they leave their homes to study abroad. Some end up paying too much for daily commodities and then struggle to meet their expenses. They work extra hours in their part-time jobs to meet the daily expenses. In this article, we will give you tacky and cheap yet effective tips to save money as an International student.

How to Save Money

We will cover four aspects in which you can save money –

  • Traveling
  • Laundry
  • Eating
  • Drinking

So let’s get you started with saving those precious Dollars/Pounds/Euros by following these 20 tips:

Traveling

1. Search for low-cost flights

Flights to and from your University country have different airfares. Search for the lowest priced airline that you can afford by sacrificing your ease of travel. Low-cost travel is synonymous with less comfort, but if you can save a considerable amount of money on flights, you can use it to buy other comforts like a softer mattress or a refrigerator.

  • For students in USA, ‘Spirit Airlines,’ ‘JetBlue’ and ‘Allegiant Air’ are satisfactory low-cost airliners.
  • For Australia-based students, ‘Jetstar Airways’ and ‘Tigerair Australia’ are good options for a cheap flight.
  • For students studying in UK, ‘easyJet,’ ‘Flybe’ and ‘Monarch Airlines’ are terrific low budget flight options.

 2. Utilize travel applications on your Smartphone

Apple’s App Store, Google’s Play Store and Microsoft’s Windows Phone Store have revolutionized traveling by introducing applications for almost everything. They have apps for maps, food places, transport, hotels, famous spots and other travel-related aspects. Also, calling apps like ‘Skype’ and ‘Viber’ will reduce your communication expenses. ‘Wi-Fi Finder’ will find any Wi-Fi hotspot that is near to you.

3. Search for known people in an unknown place

If you are traveling to another city in the same country, try to find out whether you have an acquaintance, friend or even relative who is already there. If the people you know are residents of the place that you are traveling to, there can be nothing better than that because it ensures –

  • Low-cost (if not free) staying
  • Low-cost (if not free) food
  • Traveling advice and maybe even free or cheap transport!

4. Board Hop-on Hop-off buses for touring

In most European countries, there are huge open-top buses that are run solely for tourism purposes. These buses offer a general overview of the city rather than a detailed tour of a particular attraction. Usually, they are painted in a bright color like green. Tourists can climb on and get off the bus at any of its stops. These bus services can be availed at very cheap rates (10-15 Euros/pounds for an entire day). Make sure you choose buses that provide a live guided tour.

5. Travel at a time when it is inconvenient for others

The biggest mistake that students make is to travel when it is time for everyone else to travel. Holidays, after-office hours and rush hours are the worst times to travel. Students should always travel when no one else is traveling, like in the off-season when flight fares and transport costs are at their lowest. Being a student with flexible class hours, this will be an easy task. The most important part being that you will be able to save a lot of money by being sensible.

Laundry

6. Use powdered detergents rather than liquid detergents

Most liquid detergents contain endocrine disruptors. These disrupt the hormonal functions of animals (and sometimes even humans) and cause a variety of health issues. They can even change their sexual characteristics. So for all the environmentalist students, use powdered detergents rather than liquid ones because they are less polluting in nature. Also, the most essential difference between powdered and liquid detergent is that powdered ones are much cheaper!

7. Minimize the frequency of laundry

Common sense suggests that if you do not frequently carry out an expensive task, you will save money automatically. Wash your clothes only when they cannot be worn again without washing. Wearing a pair of trousers for 8 hours does not necessarily mean that it has to be washed. If it isn’t soiled, doesn’t smell and looks clean, it can be worn again. Minimizing the frequency of the laundry will not only save money, but also precious time that you can utilize to complete other important tasks.

8. Wash only when you have full loads

If you have followed the above advice, this step is a natural follow-up. Many students do not know that when they use the washing machine with lesser clothes in it, they are using the same amount of electricity that they will use for a fully loaded machine. The dirty clothes can be piled up in a laundry bag till there are enough clothes for the machine to be full. So, students are always advised to wash their clothes when the machine is fully loaded.

9. Wash with cold water rather than warm water

Most of the electricity is consumed by heating the water in which the clothes are to be washed. If you remove that electricity consumption and use cold water instead, you will be saving quite a lot in your laundry expenses. The detergent that you use will remove the dirt and stains as effectively in cold water. You can save the warm water to wash softer and whiter fabrics like towels, bed sheets etc.

10. Dry clothes naturally

The drying process of the washing machine takes a few minutes, but it uses up a lot of electricity. So if you want to save money on that electricity consumption, dry your clothes naturally. Use clotheslines or a drying rack to let Mother Nature dry your clothes without energy usage. Make sure to use up all the space of the drying rack. The more clothes you can fit on it, the better it will be.

Two objectives are served by doing this –

  • You are saving energy in the form of electricity by letting renewable wind energy dry your clothes.
  • You are saving money by not using up electricity.

Eating

11. Cook yourself

This may not seem like the greatest option, but trust us; it is the best way to save money when you are away from home. Yes, it does take considerable skill and practice to cook edible food, but there are food items that you can make without even turning on your stoves. Take the classic sandwich for example.

  • You can also make salads by cutting up fresh vegetables and adding olive oil on top of it.
  • A fruit salad is a great dessert that can be made at home in no time at all. Just cut a variety of fresh fruits in a bowl and add fresh cream and a bit of sugar to it.

Congratulations on becoming an Amateur MasterChef!

12. Buy brands from a wholesale departmental store

At home, we have a habit of buying big brands and food items of leading companies, but those few extra dollars or pounds become a huge amount at the end of the year. When you visit a wholesale departmental store, keep an eye out for the store’s own brand of products. These products cost much less than their more reputed counterparts, but the contents are almost the same and can be easily used as substitutes for each other.

A better tip – Buy these store brand products in bulk. Store the cereals, sugar, salt etc. in containers and the juices and milk in the refrigerator (if you have one).

13. Register for customer loyalty programs and memberships

Every departmental grocery store has a customer loyalty program. They also offer memberships for the store to regular customers. They will give a membership card that will accumulate points as you purchase your products. These accumulated points will then give you free items or even cash back on the next purchase! Do take time out to learn about the incentives and bonuses provided by these memberships. Purchase accordingly to get relevant free products or products at discounted prices. Some stores even give discounts to people who are celebrating an occasion on a particular day – like a birthday or wedding anniversary.

14. Stay away from restaurants

A big part of a region’s culture is its cuisine. This cuisine is mostly found in the local restaurants where the service charge is as high as The Alps! So what do you do if you want to taste the local cuisine but do not want to spend too much? It’s very simple, just find the recipes and make them yourself using the local ingredients. And if that is not possible, try the street food. Street food is the best representation of any region’s cuisine. And do you know what the best part is? Street food is always cheap! So hunt down those hidden vans and gorge on amazing food for bargain prices.

15. Eat at your university cafeteria

Student life can be a bit hectic. When you do not have time to eat out and do not have time to cook even your own food, but cannot attend an early class on an empty stomach, what do you do? You eat at your University cafeteria of course!

  • The cafeteria has the lowest prices for food in your vicinity and is the best place to eat if you are short on time and also want to save some money. Most Universities are government-funded and so offer food at low prices.
  • The cafeteria offers wholesome meals that may even be just as delicious as a restaurant’s food.

Drinking

16. Invest in a water purifier

If you keep on buying bottled water from stores, that $1.70 for 1.5 liters of water will turn into $48 in a week (assuming you have 4 of these bottles in a day) and around $2500 in a year. And if you are living in Australia, the condition is worse. One 1.5 liter bottle of water costs $2.80 which runs up a $4000 bill for just 1 year! You can invest in a good water purifier that will cost you around $1000. Just look at the amount that you can save on drinking water by investing one time in a good water purifier.

17. Make your own coffee/tea (Instant Ones are Good Too)

Continuing with the ‘Do It Yourself’ series of tips, make your own coffee or tea at home. Invest in a coffee-maker if you cannot make these beverages using the stove. If you can, then do not visit coffee shops for your daily fix of brew. Save money and make it yourself. Instant packages are great options as well for a cheap cup of brew. The taste might be a little flat, but you get your brew and also get to save a bit of money. No harm in that, right?

18. Buy brewed drinks from KFC or McDonald’s rather than Starbucks

This tip is very much like the advice to avoid eating out at restaurants. The only difference being that you can go to places that serve your brew at a far lesser price than Starbucks and other coffee houses (we all know that Starbucks serves coffee at an outrageous price). KFC and McDonald’s serve freshly brewed tea and coffee. The great thing is that these taste amazing as well. They also sell these beverages as a breakfast meal. So if one day you feel like having breakfast at these places, you get your hot beverage too at cheap price.

19. Drink at your own place

If you have to go to a pub or a nightclub, you should pre-drink a little bit at your own or any of your friend’s place. This will ensure that you do not spend too much on drinks at the pub or the club. Manage this very carefully because you may get tipsy while driving to the destination. Make the least tipsy or the most experienced person responsible for driving to and from the place.

Additional advice – Do not drink too much. Just enjoy the place, converse with friends in a light mood, enjoy and come back home safely.

20. Happy Hours!

The perfect thing to do if you want to drink is to visit a place that is having its happy hours. You will get 1 bottle/can free with the purchase of one. Save money and enjoy freely.

So, now you know how to save that extra amount of money which you were spending before reading this article. The conventional student ways of saving money like using the students’ ID card as a discount coupon, buying deals etc. should still be followed. The combination of conventional and the above-mentioned tacky ways will help you in saving enough money in a year to fund yourself through the job-finding phase after completing your education.

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