Living abroad is usually quite a bit. Due to loneliness it’s easy to fall back on readily-available services like takeout food, sales (any kind), and thrift stores to meet your everyday needs, but these habits can land you in a mess of financial stress while living abroad. Let’s face it, everyone loves a good steal, and we all need a little retail therapy sometimes, but having basic self-reliance skills can help you maintain an abroad budget .
Learn to cook. It’s cheaper (and healthier) to eat from fresh ingredients you cook yourself than to shell out for someone else’s labor every meal. This will especially come in handy (when you need money for study abroad) if you have access to something as simple as a hotplate and a pan. Eating out at restaurants in foreign countries can get very expensive, more so in major cities than in smaller communities. Help out your abroad budget by making an in-home date night and cook dinner at home with friends!
Learn to sew. You shouldn’t have to re-up every time you get an unfashionable tear in your jeans. This can also break you of your thrift store habit, which is essential if there’s no such thing as a second-hand shop where you’re traveling. This is a great little skill to keep in the back pocket of your best travel pants, (not to mention a travel sewing kit could fit there easily, too)!
Learn to navigate. Knowing how to read a map to determine which way is north will save you time (and pricey cab rides) in foreign countries. This goes double for adventurous excursions. We know map reading is regarded as a dying art, but knowing where you’re headed on a random adventure can really save you in a pinch.
What is the exchange rate in your destination? Your dollar may be worth more or less depending on where you go, so remember to save according to what you’ll need in your destination city. This can get complicated. For instance, if you’re studying abroad in Europe, you’ll need a bit more to get by in London, England, where every Pound Sterling is worth $1.66. However, if you study in St. Petersburg, Russia, every dollar gets you over 33 Rubles. Because of the power of exchange rates, you should consider traveling to places that get you more for your dollar — if you’re trying to save, that is!