How Students Can Manage Their Finances Overseas

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Everything you need to know to start managing your money on your own while studying abroad

Living away from home and country for the very first time could be quite an adventure. Apart from acclimatising to the new surroundings, you’ll be solely responsible for taking care of everything on your own and that means your finances too.

It’s highly probable that you or your folks back home are funding your education abroad which can be very expensive. And it would mean you’ll have to be on a tight budget during your stay overseas to keep your expenses in check. Managing your finances on your own can be a daunting task.

We are sharing a few tips here that’ll help you get started and hope they’ll help build a long term habit.

Make a sound budget

During the first month of your stay abroad, there’ll be a lot of expenses while you settle in your dorm or off-campus accommodation and get your systems in place. There might be unexpected expenses too. But then on, you’ll be able to find your rhythm and get a grip of what your expenses will look like.

To begin with, you’ll have to figure out where your funds will come from–your family, education loan, scholarships, state aid, or extra income from on/off-campus jobs, etc.

Create a tight budget for yourself considering all your expenses including housing, food, daily expenses, transportation, books, entertainment, clothes, and savings.

You can use a spreadsheet or a budgeting app to lay down all your expenses and track them diligently. This will help you to keep track of your financial situation while focussing on your studies and not be overwhelmed with money matters.

Make use of student discounts

Your student ID does more than give you access to the library and dining hall. Students usually get discounts on public transportation, flights, museum entry, movie tickets, shops, and restaurants. 

Dress stylish for less

Living on a budget doesn’t mean you can’t dress up. Many leading clothing stores give discounts of up to 15% on in-store purchases when you show your student ID. Many others need you to register on their websites for a discount coupon code, don’t miss out on them.

Experience the culture

Entertainment doesn’t necessarily have to break your budget. Museums offer students as much as a 50% discount. Many multiplexes offer a small discount too.

Are you a sports enthusiast? Many professional sports teams offer student discounts for watching their games.

Music on the go

Guess what, depending on the country you’re in, Spotify offers up to 50% off on membership for college students.

Amazon student account

Signing up for Amazon Student gives 50% off on the perks of Amazon Prime and even the first six months are free. 

Technology at lower prices

Students buying a laptop or software get a decent discount at most retail outlets. The education version of several softwares that are equivalent to the professional version too are available at a discount.

Save with shared accommodation

Housing forms the biggest chunk of your monthly budget. Opt for shared accommodation with buddies to share your rental and utilities-related expenses in check. While looking for off-campus accommodation, note that the closer they are to the campus, the higher their cost will be. Moreover, farther you live, you’ll have to ensure that there is a convenient transportation facility to your campus and around. 

Cook yourself

The next major expense would be eating out all three meals in a day. Learn a few basic cooking skills and cook along will your flatmates to keep your food expenses on the lower end.

Eat out for less

Your student ID can get you discounts on local restaurants and leading fast-food chains off-campus too.

Use public transportation

Opt for cost-effective public transport whenever possible. Public transportation is usually well connected with student hubs. Check out for monthly passes to keep your costs down. 

Open an account with a local bank

It’s a good idea to open a savings account with a local bank in your host country since you’ll be spending a few years there. Also, when you take up a part-time job in time, it’ll be easier to handle your money in the local currency.

Also, note that beginning of the year, there’ll be a huge number of incoming students and the local banks will be flooded with requests for opening accounts. It may take some time to get your account up and running.

Open an efficient global banking account in India

You’ll begin dealing with international payments right from the time you start preparing for your college admissions–for exam fees, flight bookings, paying for housing, etc. right when you’re in India. It’s recommended to get a bank account that’ll help you deal with payments in foreign currency at the earliest than waiting till the time you’re ready to leave the country.

It’s a major concern for all students studying in universities abroad as to how to pay tuition fees abroad without overpaying on foreign exchange and related charges. There are several options available these days to pay tuition fees abroad, including

  • Debit/credit cards
  • Forex cards
  • Wire transfer
  • Travellers’ cheques

While considering your best option for making payments in international currency you should be aware of the various forex card, debit card, and credit card charges while travelling abroad.

Forex cards are quite popular but they come with limitations and extra charges and may not be the perfect option for you. If you’re looking for the best forex card for Indian student, we have a solution just for you. 

Niyo is trying to make international payments easier for Indian students studying abroad, no matter the country they choose. 

Niyo in partnership with the SBM Bank brings you Niyo Global, an INR-based DIY digital savings account with a ZERO forex markup* international VISA Signature debit card. It has all the benefits of a forex card and much more. 

Benefits of the Niyo Global card
  • ZERO forex markup: Niyo doesn’t charge for foreign currency conversion. Only the VISA rates apply to all your international transactions. So you save on charges (up to 5% of the transaction amount) every time you spend abroad.
  • Load in INR and use in 150+ countries: You don’t have to worry about loading your Niyo Global card in the local currency of your host country. Funds can be added in INR via IMPS/NEFT/RTGS without any charges in a matter of minutes. The Niyo Global account, international VISA Signature card, and the Niyo Global app are linked so your funds are available instantly.

Since the Niyo Global card works on the worldwide VISA network, it works everywhere a VISA card is accepted. It means no matter which country you choose to study in, the Niyo Global card will come in handy. 

  • Earn up to 5% interest* p.a. on savings with a monthly interest payout: The Niyo Global card automatically converts only the INR amount required to make a payment into the local currency abroad and the remaining amount in your account continues to earn interest. The interest is calculated on the daily end of day balance and the interest earned is added to your account on a monthly basis.
  • Complimentary* airport lounge access: The Niyo Global card gives complimentary access to airport lounges in domestic and international terminals across India. Now travel in style with the comfort of airport lounges.

There’s much more to Niyo Global than these benefits. All you need is your PAN, Aadhaar, Passport, and your Aadhaar-linked mobile number to onboard Niyo Global. You can open a Niyo Global account instantly through our 100% digital onboarding process through the app on Android or iOS.

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