No matter which country you are in for New Year’s, chances are there are a number of event going on to celebrate. In the US, for example, bringing in the new year can cost a lot. According to the Mint.com’s New Year’s Analysis, 70% of Americans will celebrate in some way – and 13% of Americans will spend more than $200. This includes attending parties, throwing parties, going out for dinner, and a number of other activities. This doesn’t mean that you have to budget that much – after all, you are a student on a limited budget! Here are some key ways to save money on New Year’s Eve:
1. The Party. Sure, there are epic parties to bring in the new year with ticket prices costing upward of $50 depending on where you live. This is typically just the entrance fee, and may not include drinks or dinner. Think about how you want to celebrate and factor in the total costs:
- Ticket Price
If you are going with a group of people, ask if you can get a group discount. If you want to get New Year’s gear beforehand, you can find cheap goodies at the Dollar Store – or the equivalent nearby.
2. Transportation. If you are going to be celebrating far from home, remember that you’ll need to get there and back. If you are going to use public transportation to get there, will it be running after midnight? If not, consider the cost of a taxi or another alternative as well. Remember, be safe during New Years and don’t drive if you’ve been drinking.
3. Attire. New Years parties are sometimes a formal affair requiring you to wear a tuxedo or dress. Buying a designer outfit can be expensive, but you can rent a tuxedo for a night, or you can find great discounts post-Christmas. Don’t forget, you might have some nice clothes stashed away in your closet already!
4. Drinks. In many places around the world, champagne is the way to bring in the new year. Look for bottles on sale, see if you can purchase them wholesale (if you are throwing the party), and you may even find better deals at liquor stores. If you aren’t sold on champagne, there are delicious cheaper alternatives such as Prosecco, an Italian sparkling wine, that you can find at half the price.
5. Food. You can save a lot of money by eating before and after your party, as opposed to purchasing a ticket with everything included. You can go to a mid-range restaurant, eat your heart out, and then go celebrate. After your party, you can find some good discounted food if you have the munchies. Don’t forget about online discount restaurant coupons that can knock a few extra dollars off your meal.
Exchange rates can mean the difference of losing or making a few dollars with each transaction. When it comes to credit cards, cash, debit cards, wire transfers, and ATM fees, you should expect to pay more for the service of converting one currency to another. Be sure to understand how each of these methods work so that you have the lowest fee and the best exchange rate.
Know The Conversion Rate
With so many methods of payment, it’s important to contact your bank and credit card company to understand exactly how the charges work. Remember, exchange rates vary by the second, but that doesn’t mean that you will get that exact rate. You’ll want to ask:
- What exchange rate do you use?
- Where can I find this exchange rate?
Since the rates fluctuate so often, and in some cases dramatically, you’ll want to check the exchange rate regularly to know what rate you’ll get and when you should make large purchases.
Check For Any Fees
Many credit cards charge an international transaction fee added on to each purchase. The good news is that there are some cards that waive this fee altogether. If you plan to go abroad for a lengthy period of time, consider looking into one of these credit cards and this can certainly save you money in the long-run.
Not all banks are available worldwide and you may be charged a fee by your bank as well as the bank you use to withdraw money. Take some time to investigate the presence of your bank in your host country – do they have ATM’s in your destination country? If not, do they have a partnership with another bank in your destination country? Either way, it’s important to ask how your debit card will work overseas and what the fees are.
Exchanging money is another way that you can get local currency, but try to avoid doing this at the airport, train stations, or over touristed areas since it is typically more expensive. Remember that the rates given by a bank or currency kiosk can vary, and thus you’ll need to evaluate your options. They all will include a fee to convert one currency into another. The best place is typically at a bank, although in some cases you can find favorable rates in hotels.
Overall, credit cards and debit cards are typically the best way to get local currency (that is, if ATM’s are available in your host country) and to make large purchases. Be sure to ask about security on your credit/debit card, however, to make sure you understand the policies in case your cards get lost or stolen.
Want to learn more about exchange rates? See how to make exchange rates work for you.
There are thousands of schools spread throughout the United States that accept international students. With so many options, it can be hard to narrow down the school that’s right for you. After all, there are so many considerations including the program’s reputation, faculty quality, location, cost of school, financial aid package, etc.
So, that hardest question of all, how do you choose what school to attend when factoring in your budget? This is the most important question that will lead to your financial success long-term. Here are 3 factors to consider when choosing your school as an international student:
1. Urban versus Rural
The cost of living varies greatly depending on where you are located. In the US, as it applies around the world, living in a major city is much more expensive than living in a suburb or even a more rural town. While most students look at studying in New York City, Boston, Washington DC, etc., being open to other options may take a load off your wallet. As an international student in a big city you will pay much more for housing, entertainment, transportation, and local purchases. Certainly, your dollar will go farther in a smaller town so you may find that your quality will go up with the same budget. Be sure to weigh your options according to your available funds to find the location that’s most appropriate for your quality and cost of life.
2. Community College versus 4-year Institution
When it comes to choosing your school, the type of college matters. Community college is just a fraction of the cost of a four year institution and can certainly save you thousands of dollars in just one year. Many international students choose to do 1-2 years at the community college level and then transfer to a 4-year institution. This way, international students will get a more affordable degree and will end up graduating with a degree from the 4-year institution.
3. Public versus Private
In the US, there are both public and private colleges and universities. Public colleges are largely supported by state funds whereas private colleges are supported by tuition, endowments, and donations. Overall, private institutions typically have higher tuition than public institutions, however the final amount you will pay depends. Typically, private colleges have more money to spend on financial aid packages and you may find that after the aid is accounted for, you’ll pay less at a private college than a public one. Apply to those schools you are interested, take advantage of any scholarships, and then compare to find the best value.
This week is a very important week in International Higher Education as it is International Education Week – and thus the week in which the Open Doors Report 2013 is released. In this report are facts and figures that show trends and changes with international students.
As we continue to sift through the data, we were of course especially interested to see what are the Primary Sources of Funding in 2013. As it comes to many as no surprised, the overwhelming majority of international students (63%) reported that their financial support was primarily covered by their own savings or with the help of their family. As a distant second, 20.7% of students said that US colleges and universities were their primary financial support.
In reviewing this data compared to last year, however, the majority of the increase in funding is coming from the U.S. and Foreign Governments. For those of you who have their finger on the pulse of international higher education, it comes as no surprise.
Saudi Arabia had a 30 percent increase in the number of international students in the US compared to last year. This brought the grand total of Saudi students to 45,000 in the US during the 2012-2013 academic term. The bulk of these students are finding their financial support through the Saudi government scholarship program which has given many students the opportunity to get their degree in the US.
Also seeing a spike in international students to the US is Kuwait, who has a governmental scholarship program that helped contributed to the 37 percent spike of Kuwaiti students in the US. This makes the grand total of Kuwaiti students at 5,100 – boosting them up to the top 25 sending countries.
That’s not all, Brazil also saw a 20 percent increase compared to last year, where the majority of the 10,900 Brazilian students are being supported on the Brazil Scientific Mobility Program that has also given students the opportunity to pursue their undergraduate degree in the USA.
Interested in seeing the data? Check out the Open Doors Report and let us know your thoughts.
Students who are interested in studying internationally have a lot of decisions to make before they can begin planning. The most important of these decisions is, obviously, what country to study in. A number of factors go into this decision, including area of study and any language barriers that might arise, but one extremely important factor is the issue of cost. As an international student on a budget, you must be very aware of costs such as tuition fees and living expenses in the country in which you are studying.
We will be doing a series on the most expensive places for international students to study, beginning with number one: Australia. According to a recent study by HSBC Bank which compared the combined cost of university fees and living expenses in major countries, Australia is the world’s most expensive country for international students to study. The typical annual cost for international students is $38,516 in Australia, $35,706 in the United States, $30,325 in the United Kingdom, and $26,011 in Canada—all of which are main competitors in international education. Read the rest of this entry »
As an international student in the US, chances are you have to worry more about funding your education in the US than your domestic peers do. Because international students do not qualify for federal loans and often have to pay out of state tuition at state colleges, they generally end up paying more for their education than US students.
This infographic seeks to help international students explore their options when it comes to funding their education in the US. Renata and Cristian are both international students, one at a private university, the other at a community college. Like 63% of international students, each primarily rely on personal and family support to pay for their education. However, when something comes up, they both have to find different ways to support themselves.
We hope that this infographic will prove helpful to you as you learn about your different funding options. With the right combination of financial aid, we are certain that you will be able to afford your US education.
Click the infographic above to zoom in.
If you are going to be studying overseas for the new school year, you are probably getting ready for your upcoming transcontinental flight. With many new airline regulations and low budget carriers, you may find that you are coming out of pocket on additional perks that you never considered you had to pay. We’ve compiled a list of the top 5 ways to save money when flying internationally.
- Shop around. The price of similar flights can vary dramatically between airlines; make sure that you research the prices on as many carriers as possible before purchasing your tickets. You can do this by searching each airline’s website individually, or by utilizing travel sites such as Orbitz, Travelocity, or Kayak. You can also shop around at different airports; the airport closest to your house might not offer the lowest airfare prices, and the difference in price may more than make up for the cost of any additional transportation you need to get to a slightly further airport.
- Know when to buy. Timing is everything when it comes to purchasing airline tickets. Airline rates change daily—sometimes hourly—and it can be hard to know when you should buy. Luckily for you, there are trends in airline prices that you can take advantage of. Generally speaking, fares are highest from eight to ten weeks and two to three weeks in advance. Try to purchase your tickets around four to six weeks before you plan to travel. You should also try to avoid shopping for tickets on the weekends; airlines generally announce sales in the middle of the week, so keep an eye out for good deals on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.
- Know when to fly. The time of year, day of the week, and the time of day all affect the cost of your airline ticket. Flying at the perfect time can actually save you hundreds of dollars. Many destinations have a high season, with elevated visitation and expensive airfare, and a low season, with more moderate visitation and cheaper airfare. Most experts advise travelers to try to book flights for the time period between the two seasons—the shoulder season—when the weather is still nice and the price of tickets has begun to come down. However, as an international student, you don’t have the luxury of a lot of leeway when it comes to the time of your travels; you’re pretty much dictated by the timing of your program. You can, however, choose which day and what time you want to fly out. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday are generally the cheapest days of the week to fly, and you might consider purchasing a ticket for a red-eye flight. These flights take off and land in the early hours of the morning, and are significantly discounted because of the inconvenient time.
- Be aware of baggage fees. More and more airlines are increasing the cost of baggage fees. To avoid these costs, try booking flights with airlines that allow one or two bags free of charge, such as JetBlue or Southwest. If you do have to pay a baggage fee, make sure you don’t pay more than you need to by making sure that your bag meets the size and weight requirements set by the airline. This way, you can avoid overweight and oversized luggage fees. Additionally, try fitting as much as you can into your carry-on luggage (as long as it doesn’t exceed the weight and size limit).
- Research any other fees. When shopping for airline tickets, remember that the first price you see may not be the price you will end up paying. Often you will find that there are a number of taxes and fees that are not reflected in this initial price, so you need to look for any additional charges when you’re researching airfare. Some of these taxes and fees are mandatory and are tacked on to the price of every ticket. However, airlines are not always upfront about these additional costs.
When moving to another country for a semester or year there are always unexpected expenses that arise, but the most important element to studying abroad is knowing where you will be living. The cost of housing while you are abroad will depend on the type of residence you choose and what your available budget is after paying for airfare and your program. When studying abroad one of the most expensive costs can be where you live, so make sure you consider your options and do the budgeting for overseas housing. Normally you have the option to live with a host family, live in student housing, or find your own apartment. In order to appropriately budget for your housing expenses it is important to consider all the possible costs. Here’s a quick guide to help you consider the expenses that come with each option:
Living with a host family
Often times if you choose to live with a host family, it is organized through your study abroad program. If it is organized through the program then you are usually expected to pay this before you arrive as part of the program’s cost of attendance. Taking care of this before you arrive means that you will not have to worry about paying rent on a monthly basis. Generally living with a host family also means that you will be provided with a room and meals. Because you will be receiving meals on a daily basis, buying your own groceries is not an expense that you will need to consider. Normally, families will provide you with breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but any type of snack or special food outside of this will be paid out of your own pocket.
Living in student housing
Living in student housing is similar to living with a host family since you generally pay the amount upfront so monthly rent is not a concern. Student housing can differ from university to university so it is important to find out what type of residence they offer. There are some facilities that provide students with a kitchen and others that do not. Normally housing that does not have kitchens provide access to a campus dining hall. If you are living in student housing without a kitchen your food budget will depend on whether you have the option to purchase a meal plan or pay on a day to day basis. If you have a kitchen then groceries will be an expense. For those who are not quite ready to be chefs in the kitchen, will have to budget for eating out which often times is more expensive.
Finding your own apartment
If your program does not provide either a family stay or residence hall, or if you just prefer to live on your own, moving into a privately owned apartment always comes with more expenses. In some countries, such as Spain, it is common that apartments come furnished. However, in the U.S. this is not the case and apartments that come furnished tend to be quite expensive. It is important to do some research on this, in order to know whether furnishing your apartment with a bed, a desk, etc. will be part of your expenses. Another essential thing to consider is that you budget enough money to be able to pay the first month’s rent and a deposit, which is usually the same amount as the rent. Other expenses can include monthly or bimonthly bills for internet, water, gas, and electric.
>> Want to learn more about apartment costs? Check out Costs to Consider When Changing Apartments
A recent New York Times article announced, “many public institutions that used to get most of their financing from state governments now rely on tuition for more than half their budgets.” It comes as no surprise then that with international students paying out of state tuition – which is higher than the in-state tuition – along with international student fees, that colleges are turning to international students to not only diversify their student body but to also help bridge the funding gap. With that being said, however, there are still schools providing financial aid to international students that show their hard work, dedication, and capability to rise above the challenge.
The U.S. News Report comes out with the list of top 10 schools providing financial aid to international students. This can be quite helpful as studying abroad can be expensive between, travel and tuition, student fees and programming – and after all said and done, the majority of international students are not eligible for federal financial aid programs.
Here are the top 10 schools providing financial aid to international students according to this 2011-2012 report:
|School||State||Average aid awarded to international undergraduates||Number of international undergraduates who received aid|
|University of Chicago||IL||$48,907||58|
According to this list, you’ll notice a lot of big name universities and colleges – and most are located in the Northeast in the United States. While applications can be competitive, and financial aid even more so, having an outstanding college application with strong test scores and high school stats can provide you with the opportunity to stand out among the rest.
The new school year is right around the corner and we want to help you save money! One expense you will run into during the first few weeks of the new semester will be buying books for your classes. It’s amazing how quickly you can spend thousands of dollars just on books for one semester. If you pre-plan, think ahead, and do your research, this could end up saving you thousands of dollars. Check out these 10 tips on how to save money on books for college:
- Find out what books you need early. You are all geared up for the new school year, and you know what classes you are going to take. Check online and in your syllabus to see whether your professor has listed the required books for the semester. Be sure to check that the books listed are for your semester – and not the one prior – to make sure you don’t buy the wrong book or the wrong edition.
- Avoid your school’s bookstore. It’s common fact that the bookstore on campus does not offer the best available rate. While the convenience is appealing, often times there are other stores that will offer their books at a fraction of the cost.
- Buy used. Brand new books can be appealing, but the sticker price isn’t! If you buy a used book – whether online or in the store – you’ll find that books are much more affordable. And really, who cares? You are going to use it for one semester, and likely mark all over it. Many times you can find a version that looks new, but without the price of a new book.
- Buy online. If you have done your homework and already know what books you need, buying online may very well be the best option. Be sure to find out the complete costs that includes any shipping or handling costs. Websites like Amazon, eBay, Chegg, and AbeBooks can help you find the best deal. You can also find it comparison tools that help you find the cheapest textbooks.
- Don’t buy, rent. That’s right, now you can rent your textbooks instead of buying it. As with buying online, make sure that you check the shipping charges to make sure you are getting the best available prices. ValoreBooks, Barnes & Noble’s, and BookRenter are just a few resources that do this.
- What about the library? Depending on the classes you are taking, it’s not impossible to find the books you need at the local library. While they do have a due date and you’ll have to make sure they stay in mint condition, this can be a great place to turn to save some extra $$$.
- Free books online. That’s right, with the World Wide Web you can now find free books right online. Flat World Knowledge allows students to have access to a complete catalog for a low fee – or none at all.
- Reduce, reuse and recycle books. While many courses may want you to purchase the newest version, there may not be a whole lot of difference between the different editions. We recommend contacting your professor to see whether an older edition will work for your class.
- Sharing. This may not be the easiest thing to do, but you can form study groups and share the books you are using. Be aware that this may mean going out of your way to study as a group, but it also means splitting the costs.
- Sell books when you are done. When classes end, many students want to put their class out of their mind. With that, goes the textbooks. Other people like to keep their books as a reference or memento. Keep in mind that the best time to sell a book is right after your class ends to ensure that you don’t have an out-of-date edition as that will reduce the amount of money you’ll get for your books. You can sell them online, use Craigslist or social media to give them to a friend, or sell it back to stores in your town. Be sure to check around to get the best price.