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Don’t ignore incidental costs of studying overseas

Going over-budget on expenses can hurt, but when this happens in foreign currency it can really cause pain. Here are some easy ways for you to control spending too much on incidental expenses and manage your budget better.

If you think that managing to fund the tuition fee for an overseas education is enough, then think again. There are several incidental costs that you will have to take care of. Some are major expenses like accommodation and food, others are of a lower proportion like travel, study material and lifestyle expenses. 

Unlike tuition, which is fixed and known in advance, most of the other expenses are flexible. This means you can end up spending more than your budget too. Going over-budget on expenses can hurt, but when this happens in foreign currency it can really cause pain. Here are some easy ways for you to control spending too much on incidental expenses and manage your budget better.

Accommodation and food

If you don’t get campus accommodation in your first year, then look for paying guest options in a large house where at least 3-4 other students stay together. You won’t have to spend on any kind of extras like bedding, kitchen utensils and the likes; everything you need to live reasonably is provided for. A house that accommodates more students will have a reasonable rent too. Paying guests get an independent room, with other facilities being common to all. 

Access to a functional kitchen will help manage your food related expenses too. Cooking a few meals once a week will save you a lot of money rather than eating out each meal. You can even make simple sandwiches for lunch and carry to campus. 

Plan your trips back home in advance so that you get the best price on flight tickets, last minute booking can get very expensive at times. 

Travel 

For your daily travel figure out a comfortable walking route. In countries where it doesn’t get too hot, walking is the best means to commute for your daily needs. If you must use motor transport, public transport is the best or else try to share with others if you are taking a taxi. 

Plan your trips back home in advance so that you get the best price on flight tickets, last minute booking can get very expensive at times. 

Books and stationery

Spend time getting to know seniors on campus and use recycled text-books rather than buying new ones. Re-useable stationery is always better than the use and throw kind. For example, minimise your paper use, electronic devices are better for making study notes. 

Lifestyle expenses

This is perhaps the most flexible of the lot and can delight or hurt your budget the most as well. Entertainment with friends, shopping for necessary and unnecessary apparel, shoes and the likes, all this can rake up your monthly spending. The best way to manage this is to have a strict limit on lifestyle spending for every week or month and stick to it. The months you underspend, you can carry forward and use it as splurge money. 

Students overseas may find that the course work itself keeps them engaged enough and some of these lifestyle expenses get controlled. However, if there is some spare time it’s a great idea to get a suitable part time job which will not only ease the monetary load but also help in making more friends locally.  

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