1-5: Finances

by Jon SenderBack to Guide

Back when you did your cost analysis, you came up with a pretty good idea of whether or not this whole excursion would be affordable. And don’t forget we said that chances are, it may cost you less to go abroad than to stay at home, depending on your program.

Now it’s time to actually get your finances in order, which means pulling exact costs—tuition, housing, airfare. etc.—from online or making projections, and culling them into a budget. You should be able to find most of these numbers between your home university’s website, your abroad university’s website, Expedia, and other relevant places.

This is also a good time to figure out your arrangement with your parents, i.e. who is paying for what. Mine agreed to cover tuition and food (a scholarship covered housing), and I picked up the tab for any and all of my adventures. Figure out how much you are even willing to spend, because unlike when you’re at home and behaving like a broke college student, when overseas you’ll have all sorts of outings and entertainment to cover. Up until I went abroad, I worked part time during semesters and full time during summers, saving a lot of that money for something just like this.

While you’re away, you’ll want a way to keep track of your spending to monitor how you’re doing budget-wise. I saved receipts from each purchase and ATM withdrawal, entering them into my budget at the end of each week. The key to not going overboard is simply watching your expenses as you go. By doing that, I managed to come home within $300 of my budget, and I’m confident you can, too.

For help planning and managing finances, use the Study Abroad Master Plan Template. The “Finances” tab is for making major cost predictions, while the “Main $,” “Travel $,” and “BUDGET” tabs are for tracking and projecting your spending. Main $ is for spending in your main country, Travel $ is for spending when plane-hopping, and BUDGET shows you an overview of both.

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