Saving money on your year abroad

Whilst abroad students have to think more carefully about spending money. All of a sudden, the commonly used overdraft is not always an option. So here are some tips to help save money when spending a year or semester abroad:

  • Visit the local bank
    – One of the first things a student should do when moving to another country, particularly for year long placements, is open a bank account. This typically takes less than half an hour to complete and you can walk out of the bank with a ready-to-use current account. This will help save money as you can avoid charges when drawing money out at ATMs, or when paying for things by card.     – If, however, you do not want to set up a bank account, another way to save money is by withdrawing large amounts of money so that you only get charged once for taking money out of a British account.
  • Don’t rely on your EHIC card!
    – In many European countries it is so easy to get access to the local healthcare that it is not worth risking having to pay for non-emergency treatment. For example, to be enrolled in the local healthcare system in Spain, all you need is your identification and a quick visit to the town hall to state that you are a town citizen. Once you have your card from the doctors’ surgery you can make appointments and get prescriptions as easily as a local for much less money.
  • Get connected
    -Obviously we all want to be able to keep in contact with our friends and family whilst we are out of the country. However, if you keep your English SIM card, texting and calling will leave you with a very large bill. The best thing to do is research which phone companies offer the best and cheapest SIM card deals. Before you leave, it’s a good idea to get your phone unlocked so that you are ready to use your new foreign SIM as soon as you get it.
  • Accommodation
    -As students most of us live in shared houses/flats as this is the cheapest option. So why not continue the trend in another country? If you are studying abroad the likelihood is that there will be a Lenton-style student village nearby which offers the cheapest housing in the areas. Facebook groups are very useful for finding other Erasmus students with whom to live.
  •  Student discounts
    -Finally, often if you are on a study abroad placement you will be issued with a student card for your foreign university. Major high street shops commonly offer student discounts, so always ask!

Before you start your year abroad the best thing to do is to research the currency and the economic situation of the country to which you are going in order to budget and prepare yourself.

Hannah Kitching 

Featured Image by Images Money via Flickr 

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