As an international student studying in the US, you may face innumerable financial challenges. From paying for tuition and housing to navigating the cost of living in a new country, managing your finances can be stressful. Fortunately, with smart money-saving strategies, you can stretch your budget further and make the most of your time.
How to Save Money as an International Student
Let’s dive into five practical money-saving tips for international students, so you can enjoy studying abroad without breaking the bank.
- Use Student Discounts
Instead of paying the full price for everything, find out if there are any student discounts to save money on food, clothing, and movie tickets, to name a few. Student discounts are out there, but they’re not always obvious. Check the internet for these deals, or ask your university’s student office if they know of any.
Numerous places offer student discounts:
- Phone companies (for your cell phone bill)
- Retail stores
- Movie theaters
- Online subscriptions
- And more
Check out UNiDAYS for current and ongoing student specials!
- Buy Used Textbooks
Buying used textbooks is one of the best ways to save money. Why spend a fortune on books you’ll only need for a semester? Check second-hand sites like Chegg to secure school textbooks for a fraction of the retail price. Be sure to check the reviews and ratings on each book before renting or buying it. There are plenty of books in like-new condition! Alternatively, browse Facebook Marketplace for school textbooks. You’ll find other students selling their books for cheap prices to offload them.
- Get a Part-Time Job
Getting a part-time job is an easy way to make some extra cash. Your options are plentiful:
- Get a paid internship in your desired field
- Work at a retail store or restaurant
- Secure an on-campus job (dining hall, library, bookstore, resident assistant)
- Open an Etsy store to sell handmade physical or digital goods
- Start a freelance business to sell your skills
Not only will working part-time help offset college expenses, but you’ll also gain valuable work experience and meet new people.
- Avoid Unnecessary Spending
When studying abroad, it may be tempting to splurge on the newest electronics, fancy clothes, and coffee every day. But these unnecessary purchases add up fast. Focus your budget on the necessities like rent, food, transportation, and school fees. It’s a good idea to tuck away extra money each month to cover emergencies or travel. Being mindful of your spending habits can help you build a strong financial future beyond college.
- Cook Meals at Home
For students on a tight budget, cooking at home is a fantastic way to save money. Buy ingredients and make several portions of your favorite meals. You’ll avoid spending too much money dining out and have food ready in the fridge at all times—even on a busy day.
Some ingredients worth buying in bulk to save money include non-perishables like rice and pasta. Fresh produce like fruits and veggies have a shorter lifespan, so it’s best to buy these as you need them. If you can’t make frequent grocery store visits, consider purchasing these from the frozen section. They’re just as nutritious and you can use them in smoothies and home-cooked meals!
Enjoy Studying Abroad Without Worrying About Money
International students have unique financial challenges to navigate—and it doesn’t help that the US is an expensive place to live and study. But by following our money-saving tips for international students, it’s possible to manage your finances and make the most of your time in school. From cooking meals at home and cutting expenses to getting a part-time job and leveraging student discounts, you can make every dollar count!