Studying in USA is a dream come true and a lifetime experience for many students. Although there are plenty of benefits of studying in the USA, there is one thing that worries almost every student – How to save money while studying in USA? It is a known fact that studying and living in the USA is an expensive affair. It includes the cost of program, accommodation, traveling, books, food and several other expenses. Therefore, it becomes imperative to budget and keep a tab on your expenses. If you save money, you’ll be able to do every activity that comes along with a foreign study like sightseeing, entertainment, shopping and more.
Here are a few tips to save money while studying in the USA. We guarantee if you follow these ways, your savings will stack up. You’ll be able to take care of your wallet while having an awesome study experience in the USA.
Ways To Save Money While Studying In USA
1. Keep track of the Exchange Rate
When you arrive in US, you can buy or exchange your currency into American dollars at the airport. Watch the rate before changing the money. See if the exchange rate benefits you and you may get a bit more money.
2. Open an account in US bank
If you are going to stay in USA for a long time, it is wise to open an account with a American bank. Before opening an account, contact your university as many universities have tie-ups with US banks, so opening an account will be easy and hassle-free. Analyze what student offers are available on the account. Also, open an account with a bank that possesses a broad network with ATMs accessible from where you stay and study.
By opening an account with USA bank, you are entitled to benefits like-
• Withdrawing money without transaction charges from bank ATMs.
• Student incentives like discount on shopping, entertainment, travel, etc.
If opening a bank account in the USA is taking time, withdraw cash in a lump sum to minimize the transaction charges. Also, check if your Indian bank has a partner bank in the USA, in that case, you can withdraw for free.
3. Make the most of the student offers and discounts
Many places in USA offer multiple student discounts. Many stores and establishments provide discounts on entertainment, meal, transportation, purchase of books, groceries and other services. All you need to do is show your student ID. The universities in the USA provide a student ID to each of its students and this ID carries a lot of deals too. Use your student ID and save money while studying!
4. Apply for Scholarships and Grants
Another method to beat the financial blues and save money is scholarships and grants. Most US universities provide full or partial scholarships and grants to students to help them cover their study and living expenses.
5. Stay at On-campus accommodation
The accommodation cost at university dorm is somewhat affordable and comes with all the necessary amenities and facilities, as compared to off-campus accommodation. The on-campus accommodation reduces the travel and other living expenses that are incurred if you live off-campus.
6. Use the Subway
The best and economical way to get around is Subway. You will reach your destination much faster than the cabs/taxis and your whole journey will definitely not burn a hole in your pocket.
Another way to get around is to buy a bicycle. The benefits of cycling are aplenty – you get some exercise, it’s inexpensive, it’s easy to get around your locality or campus and it’s great for the environment too. You will be able to save big bucks!
7. Work while studying
International students are allowed to work part-time during studies. It’s a good way to earn extra money to pay for your sundry expenses.
Note: International students in their first year are not allowed to work off-campus on F1 and M1 visas. You can work on-campus as librarians, assistants, etc. In the second and successive years of study, international students can work off-campus under CPT (Curricular Practical Training), and OPT (Optional Practical Training).
8. Slash down your phone expenses
When you are away from home, it is natural to miss your family and friends. Instead of making international calls, it’s always better to make calls via the internet. Use Skype, Google Hangout, FaceTime or Facebook to make a video or phone call from your computer.
9. Make a Budget
Create a budget and follow it to the core. Prepare a list of essential things and the cost associated with it. Whenever you exceed the set budget, point out that additional expense and take measures to cut it down. Here are a few tips to keep your budget intact-
• Do not invest in dry-cleaning. Rather go for clothes that can be easily washed.
• Avoid eating out. Cook food at home; it is good for your health and also light on your pocket.
• If staying off-campus, share an apartment with fellow students and go for car-pooling; this will save money while studying in usa.
• Textbooks are costly, so rent from campus libraries, buy a second-hand version of the book, or purchase at affordable price from online sites like Amazon, Chegg and AbeBooks. Make a library card and get access to book at a nominal library fee. Many libraries in the United States are technologically advanced with everything just a one-click away. Log in to your account and get access to e-books.
• Shop wisely for everything – be it clothes, grocery, or anything else. Make use of online discount codes and coupons and your student ID to save money while studying.
• Go easy on entertainment.
• Cut on gas and electricity bills.
• Make use of calling cards for international calls. Choose the plan that suits your pocket.
• Choose the best and reasonably-internet service. Free WiFi is available at many places, take advantage of it.
Some basic tips
Haggle wherever possible. Look out for freebies and grab it. Use price comparison sites and then buy from retailers.
Live within your means! Be prudent and planned, as studying abroad in USA is once in a lifetime opportunity!
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