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Studying Overseas in 2019 | A Quick Guide on Personal Budgeting

2 min read

A Giant Leap Forward

You’ve done your research, you’ve filed your paperwork and now, finally, it’s time to fulfil your life-long dream of studying overseas. Perhaps you’ve seen the countless Instagram stories of your peers having the adventure of their lifetime & you wonder… “when will my turn arrive?”.

I could go on & on about the different life experiences or the different opportunities that you’d be exposed to – but, let’s get down to business.

We’re here to talk about managing your personal finances abroad.

TL;DR: My Top 4 Expenses to lookout for

There are probably a 101 things you’d be worrying about when deciding to study overseas. On that note, I’ve broken them down into the top 4 costs that you should look out for & how you can manage them!

1. Flight Tickets

While seemingly the most obvious, people tend to overlook this crucial step. Thus far, the most common consensus would be to book round-trip tickets. Here lies the caveat: Academic term start and end dates tend to vary across different universities. Add country or state variation to the mix & the equation becomes even more complicated.

Here are some prices from Singapore to Melbourne & Singapore to London, Heathrow for February 2019 (to) and June 2019 (from) as an approximate gauge:

 

(Prices as of 27 November 2018)

(Prices as of 27 November 2018)

My personal tip – Always book flexible dates! Here are situations that may effect your travel plans:

  • Failing an examination (You may apply for re-examination within the same period*)
  • Accomodation Issues
  • Medical Reasons
  • Spontaneous inter-state or cross-border holidays with friends

Booking early is also always a must where prices for flight tickets can multiply as much as 2 times if you’re buying a month before or even during the month itself.

*Dependent on University policy & circumstances surrounding the reason for failure.

2. Accomodation

No doubt, you would have come across a plethora of public, private and student accomodations by now. As with rentals everywhere, prices are dependent on a couple of factors. Here are some that you should take note of before making your choice!

  • Shared or Private apartments/rooms
  • Onsuite bathrooms
  • Availability of public utilities (Washing Machine/Dryer)
  • Distance to & from major universities
  • Distance to & from major cities
  • Security

From students past & present – “Your choice of living would undeniably affect your student life for the next 6 months, 1 year or duration of study, so think carefully!”.

3. Daily Necessities

Never had to buy your own groceries or pay your own bills? Well, buckle up, because it’s about to get bumpy! Okay… I kid, it’s not as tough as it sounds.

Here’s a handy guide for you to fall back on:

Utility ExpensesTelecom Expenses Groceries
1) Water & Electricity maybe included in your monthly rent.

2) Clarify with your landlord on the payment amount & date.

3) Save $ by opting for E-invoices.
1) Check for student promotions or time-sensitive bundles.

2) Lookout for zero penalty cancellation clauses.
1) Apply for supermarket memberships.

2) Keep an eye out for promotions. They can go as high as 50% off!!

Being kiasu never felt so good before.

As an overseas student, your daily cuppa easily amounts to approximately $100 a month. Multiply that 12 fold, that’s $1200 a year. Include in other miscellaneous spending and you’ll find yourself in the red soon enough.

Remember, the little things do add up.

4. Expense Tracking

Here’s a brief look at my personal expenses in a month! (I studied in Australia, at the University of Melbourne.)

Expense TypeApril
Breakfast$26.90
Lunch$268.05
Dinner$312.80
Groceries$319.38
Stationary$34.15
Transportation$30.00
General Shopping$459.01
Apartment Rental (Wifi & Utility Inclusive)$1,790.00
Laundry$32.00
Total$3,272.29

Scary right? My parents thought so too.

It’s Accrual World

The good news is, studying abroad doesn’t necessarily have to revolve around controlling your finances all the time. A simple expenditure tracking system is all you need to keep your finances in check.

If necessary, check out some of the overseas student loans you maybe applicable for here! Working part-time is also a handy way of earning additional side income! Just be sure of your student employability rights including minimum wage requirements and maximum working hours.

All in all, it’s a whole new world out there! Be brave, be bold & most importantly, enjoy yourself! The world is about to get a whole lot bigger for you.


And yes. This does happen. On a daily basis.

Bon Voyage!

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