After the first few months of arrival in a country, foreign students begin to realize how much money was wasted in the first few months of arrival. These are seven practical ways a foreign student can save money in a foreign country.
There are certain choices human beings make based on intuition, but the habit of extravagance must be curtailed especially when in a foreign country as you are far away from home.
It is easy to fall prey to extravagance, especially when you arrive in foreign country. You could easily get carried away by all those carefully displayed shiny items in stores and supermarkets.
I learnt the hard way, learn from my errors and you will not fall prey to the same mistakes.
These seven ways students can save some money by reducing your living expenses in a foreign country.
1. CONVERT THE PRICES OF THINGS YOU WANT TO BUY TO YOUR LOCAL CURRENCY
This is the important habit to develop in a foreign country. You are probably doing it already, as long as your are not earning in the local currency, always convert prices to your home country’s local currency.
If you are conscious of the real cost of items to you, you will commit the error of thinking these items are cheap.
For example, when you buy a pen at the price of $5, you could think it is cheap, but in Nigeria, this same pen retails for 20 Naira (10 cents) in his country but because he might have unconsciously taken the currency as Naira, he would probably think it’s cheap, whereas $5 is 850 Naira when converted.
2. ALWAYS CHECK FOR ALTERNATIVES
Most foreign students fall into the trap of spending more simply because they neglect the fact that there could be cheaper alternatives for their choice of purchase.
For example, instead of spending money on a cab you could just take the school bus to the nearest bus-stop to your house and then walk the rest of the short distance to your house rather than spending more on a taxi.
It is very important to always find out if there are cheaper alternatives before making purchasing decisions.
3. AVOID SPENDING EXCESSIVELY ON LUXURY GOODS
Another common mistake foreign students commit is that they spend excessively on luxury goods.
You are a student, do not buy brands, buy solutions. There is no sense in spending $50 for a golden pen, get a regular pen and save $45.
Students are easily carried away by luxury goods because of social influence and sometimes even sheer excitement and remember what is wasted on luxury goods could be spent on more pressing needs later on.
4. HAGGLING IS ALLOWED
Be informed, haggling is allowed even in foreign countries.
Go with a friend, when shopping during the first few weeks. Local stores will try to extort you by raising prices, since they know newly arrived foreigners are not be familiar with the original price.
Always try to get discounts, ask for a student discount, the store owner could lower prices for you.
5. BILLS! BILLS! BILLS!
In developed countries, Big brother will charge you for everything you use; Light, water, street light, Garbage and any social amenity you make use of.
Cultivate the habit of using only what you need.
- Be efficient in the use of electricity and water
- Switch on light bulbs and electrical appliances only when you need to
- Do not leave the heater on for longer than necessary
- Boil water instead of using water heater
- Switch to energy saving bulbs
It is very important to cultivate this habit if you plan on reducing your costs on bills.
6. NO MONEY, NO FRIENDS
Do not be quick to make new friends.
Ask any fumigator, Bugs are not easy to get rid off. They will dig deep into you and suck you dry.
Keep your circle small, your country man is not your brother, do not catch feelings, you are just from the same country.
If your country has a small society, they can guide you, but do not let anyone become dependent on you, save that benefit for your kids.
7. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF STUDENT BENEFITS
Your school will provide you with some services, take advantage of them
Scholarships, internships, school bus, WiFi, welcome parties, fee sim cards, meal tickets..
Whatever it is friend, take advantage of it, you are entitled to it, I cannot use it, only you can, so it is not free, you already paid for it.
Save some cost by taking advantage of all your student benefits.
These are seven ways you can save money as a foreign student.