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International Center

University of Missouri

How to manage money abroad

by Erin S.

As my work day comes to an end and my spring break starts tomorrow, I thought it would be a good time to write a piece about managing money while abroad. It can be tempting (and so easy) to spend money on anything that catches your eye when you’re abroad. It’s a new experience after all, so you should want to try as many new things as possible. But those Instagram-worthy coffee creations and funky foods can add up and seriously hurt your budget in the long run. Here are some tips to keep your money managed well while abroad:

1. Go to the grocery store.

Go to the cheapest place you can find, but make sure it doesn’t take three bus transfers and a 15 minute walk to get there. You’re going to be carrying your groceries, so make sure that the store isn’t too far from your apartment. Go grocery shopping to save money on breakfast everyday and keep snacks handy to tie you over before meals. I also try to make dinner as much as possible in my flat and pack a lunch to work. This will give you more money to spend on nice meals every once in a while. Saving money on food will allow you to try those spots you’ve seen on everyone’s feed.

2. Look for student discounts at museums and theaters.

Many museums and businesses offer discounts for students with a valid ID, so take advantage of them. In London, many museums are actually free and only ask for a donation. Scout out the places with the lowest entry fee and explore.

3. Enter ticket lotteries for shows.

Here in London the theater scene is huge. I always make it a point to enter a ticket lottery everyday using the TodayTix app. It’s super easy and you have the chance to score tickets worth over £100 for less than £30! I actually won the lottery to see “All About Eve” starring Gillian Anderson and Lily James for only £25 and got to sit in the front row. It was amazing and I saved a ton of money on a show worth way more.

4. Download a budgeting app.

I use TrailWallet in order to stick to my daily and monthly budget. If I don’t spend the amount I budgeted for the day, then I have it to use the next day or save it for something that may cost more that I really want to do. For example, I knew that I wanted to do the Harry Potter Studio tour before I even came to London, so I booked it right away. I budgeted for it originally, but you could also break it up and subtract amounts from each monthly budget to make up for it.

Sticking to a budget can be easy if you have the right tools and mindset. Get to saving so you can spend your money on the things that really matter to you!

Two girls holding up playbills of with a woman's face on them.

My friend Grace and I front row at “All About Eve” at the Noel Coward Theatre in London.



About the blogger

Erin S. is studying abroad on the Journalism: London Internship program in London, United Kingdom.

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