I’ve talked about the ‘hidden’ finances of a year abroad, but now it’s time to talk about the costs that you know are coming.
A lot of people wince at the thought of creating a budget. I’m the weird one that gets excited by it. It’s always quite a sting whenever I see the final number, but the process is fun for me. This is probably because I’m just a teeny bit of a control freak who likes knowing exactly what’s happening a lot of the time.
This can be a challenge with a budget for a year abroad, as there are a lot of variables that are often out of your control. Add in exchange rates and you’ve got yourself quite the task! I currently have a perpetually open Excel document that features every possible expense I could incur, plus a section for contingency. It’s a thing of beauty really.
Here are some of the major things you need to consider when making your budget:
- Food/Meal plan
- Books and academic materials
- Bedding and household items
- Country-specific mobile phone
There are things that you can find out before you pay for them, such as your flights and housing. However, there are things you’ll likely have to guess on, like travel costs to your destination once you arrive in the country. Unless you’re located right next to the transport hub you came into, you’ll have to use some form of transport to get to your final destination. This may involve some guesswork as you might not know the local transport system or currency. In this case, I find it’s often best to over-inflate this figure.
This of course isn’t a complete list, as there may be things you’ll need that aren’t on the list, or perhaps things are on the list that you won’t need.
There are ways other than getting a job to pay for your year abroad. Are there any scholarships you can apply for? Any charities you can appeal to? A new trend is to start a crowdfunding page, although I’m not sure if I’m a fan of this one. But if it works for you then go for it! Explore as many channels as possible, as the worst they can say is no.
For a year abroad, you tend to get a higher amount of student finance, to account for increased costs of living abroad and other expenses. Look into if this applies to you, as it’s often dependent on household income.
Do you have any tips for becoming besties with your budget? Share them in the comments below, or drop me a message!