Managing money during your study abroad programme

Studying abroad is a once in a lifetime experience and you will want to say YES to every opportunity. However, finding a balance between making the most of your time and managing money can be one of the most challenging aspects of a year abroad.

Managing your finances can be a daunting task. If done well, it’s an excellent way to mature as an adult and become more independent during your stay.

We’ve have put together 5 tips on how to manage your money. They will help you find a balance between having fun and being sensible with your spending.


managing money
Plan a budget:

Making a budget and sticking to it is perhaps one of the most crucial steps in money management. By creating a daily or weekly budget for yourself, you can help you keep track of your money and make sure there is no unexpected or unnecessary spending. Prioritising your expenses with the essentials you need can make it a lot easier to plan and budget on the things you can use to spend on leisure and fun activities!

Monzo is an excellent banking app that helps you to budget by keeping track of your different kinds of spending. They automatically put your payments into a category like ‘Groceries’ or ‘Transport’. Then in a summary tab, you can see what you’ve spent on each category for the month. Check out more about Monzo here.



Understanding exchange rates:

When moving to any new country you must be familiar with the new currency rates. Understanding what the exchange rates are will help a great deal in keeping on top of your spending and budget. There are lots of apps that can do all the work for you, so take full advantage of those! We recommend XE Currency app, it’s free, easy and works offline!



Student discounts:

Student discount cards and apps are something you should make the most of when you arrive in the UK or Ireland. They can give you discounts on entertainment, food & drink, transport, cultural attractions and services. Some cards take a little while to arrive so have a look at which ones you can apply for and make your order early. Top 3 to consider are NUS cards, Unidays and ISIC (International Student Identity Card).



Travel like a local:

When moving to a new country and faced with a daunting new public transport system, it can be easy to take the most expensive and convenient forms of transport like taxis. But by taking the time to understand and ask about the forms of travel in your new city can help you save lots of money. Ask your host family, HSI student advisor, friends or school – they will be happy to tell you the cheapest ways and routes to take so that you’ll get the hang of it in no time!!



Live within your means:

It can be easy to get carried away with the exciting new surroundings when arriving to a foreign country. Try not to get swayed by the shopping, restaurants and activities and spend excessively in the first few months! Settle in first and steer away from mindless buying.

This will help you to get a better idea of what your weekly spending is like so that you can budget on things to spend on activities and leisure. Ask for recommendations from your host family or friends on the best and most affordable places to eat and shop.

piggy bank
spending money on card
shopping bags
shopping mall


Making the most of every experience during an exchange programme doesn’t mean you have to spend incredible amounts of money! Managing money is something you will get the hang of, it’s about being smart and sensible with your spending and finding a balance and budget that works well for you.

You don’t have to say “no” because you are worried about excessive spending, just be aware of your costs and use your money wisely.

For more Study Abroad Tips click here