How to save money when you’re studying abroad in Europe

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Living abroad, whether it is for a month or a semester it can be quite stressful and an expensive process. It’s very tough to find the right balance of saving money when you have several places to explore within a short period of time. Hence, it’s important to be strategic in the way you spend your pennies. Here we have a few suggestions to follow when studying abroad in Europe.

1-    Grocery shopping all the way:

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As much as it might be very tempting to eat out and try new places every day, the cost really adds up here. Your best bet is buying prepacked meals and meal deals, instead of going out to eat Nandos every day for lunch. Buying fresh fruits, rice cakes, power bars, cereal, bread, etc. and other snacks will save you when you’re on the go. It’s best to shop from groceries such as Lidl, Aldi, Asda, etc. as these stores tend to be a lot more affordable and their fresh produce quality is great. Also following a weekly meal plan helps when you’re on a budget. It might also be a good idea to take some food back with you from the breakfast spread.

We also have this horrible habit of going for quick coffee runs a couple of times a day. As much as this seems harmless and cheap, the cost builds up over time – keeping this at the minimal would be ideal for your pocket.  Also, always carry a bottle of water even though tap water is free around Europe. It’s just a good idea to have your water bottle with you at all times and you can then refill it wherever you are. 

2-    Spending minimum on fashion retailer shopping:

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Let’s face it, we all know there’s not much of a difference between clothes shopping in L.A versus Europe. There’s nothing unique or different about the clothing and you’ll get the same outfits, styles and fabric here too for a lower price point. So if you are spending money on clothing, make sure it’s only the essentials or these are attires you don’t get back home. In that case, make Primark (fashion retailer) your best friend. They mostly tend to have great quality clothing for a very affordable price point.

3-    Do more things for free

Europe is full of free events, festivals, markets, museums and monuments you can check out. Make use of these opportunities, it’ll be a great place to meet friends and socialize without having to burn a hole in your wallet.

4-    Cut back on transportation

This is a tough one to budget as transportation, in general, can be quite expensive in Europe. You are given a transportation pass at the start of this trip, make sure you make the most of it. Try avoiding Uber or using taxis as much as possible. Although, rideshare apps such as uber, taxify are cheaper options but do your research before getting them.

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The public transportation system is pretty efficient in Europe, hence make use of this facility by using trains, trams, buses as much as you can. If you’re in a group, and it’s late at night use public transportation. Make sure to check bus/train timings and schedule wherever you are. Another way to go around shorter distances would be to rent out bikes, these are mostly inexpensive and will get you from point A to B.

5-    Make use of student discounts

Europe is very good to their students and provides student discounts in several places, whether it’s shopping, transportation, flight tickets, memberships, etc., you name it. Be aware and take note of these student discounts and make use of it as much as possible. You’ll need your USC student ID to access/use them, hence make sure you carry them wherever you go.

 6-    Discounted apps is your answer to everything

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Europe has several discounted or affordable apps such as Groupon, Gumtree, Tastecard, NUS extra, Skyscanner, etc., with several deals on various categories, you are sure to find whatever you’re looking for. Download these apps and check them regularly to get the best deals.

7- Free City Tours

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Europe is big on city tours, especially free ones. It’s the best way to explore the city on feet whilst meeting new people. You get to tour the city for free and make new friends while at it. Here are a few free walking tours company suggestions for you:

SANDEMANs New Europe Tours

Free Walking Tours Budapest

- The Original Free Berlin Tour

Finally, it all depends on where your interest lies, if you are someone who prefers to eat out rather than travel places, then ensure to balance your budget accordingly. Remember, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity and you want to make sure you make the most of what you have.