5 Tips To Save Money on New Year’s Eve

December 30th, 2013 by Jennifer Frankel

new years78820594No 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:

  • Dinner
  • Transportation
  • Drinks
  • Ticket Price
  • Lodging

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.

Get the Best Exchange Rate

December 29th, 2013 by Jennifer Frankel

money458058315Exchange 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

Credit Cards
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.

Debit Cards
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 Cash
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.

Passion for Fashion Scholarship

December 27th, 2013 by Jonathan Frankel

Passion for Fashion Scholarship
Deadline: February 06

The Art Institute is once again hosting their Passion for Fashion Scholarship competition. This scholarship can be entered through one of two categories: fashion design or fashion marketing & merchandising and retail management. If you have a love of fashion, make sure you apply for this scholarship to show your original ideas related to fashion.

Each category will have multiple winners on the local level and one on a national level. Local winners will receive a $3,000 tuition scholarship while the national first place winner will receive a $5,000 tuition scholarship and a trip to New York, NY.

Students must plan on attending the Art Institute and submit the necessary items for their category of entry before the deadline. The competition is open to legal residents within the US, Puerto Rico and Canada. Students must have a 2.0 or higher cumulative GPA (on a 4.0 scale) and submit a transcript reflecting this GPA with a postmark on or before February 6th.

Get more information on the Passion for Fashion Scholarship, if you are eligible and how to apply here.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Your School

December 22nd, 2013 by Jennifer Frankel

decision165125803There 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.

Check out InternationalStudentLoan.com’s Infographic on Choosing Your School and article on how to Choose the Right School For Your Budget.

UFAW Animal Welfare Scholarship

December 19th, 2013 by Jonathan Frankel

flying money184673447UFAW Animal Welfare Scholarship
Deadline: February 28

In 1983 the Universities Federation for Animal Welfare (UFAW) established its first student scholarship to enable students to pursue relevant research relating to the welfare of animals. The UFAW Animal Welfare scholarship annually grants twenty students £1600 to use toward the research of improving the welfare of farm, companion, laboratory, zoo or free-living wild animals whose welfare has been compromised by humans. The funds will be distributed over an eight week period in the amount of £170 per week for allowances and £30 per week for project expenses.

This project can be undertaken as part of coursework or simply as a project that is of interest to the applicant. Upon completion of research, scholars are required to create a complete write-up of their findings along with present the information at an annual meeting that will be held at a university within the UK.

Students must be studying at a college or university within the British Isles or at a university with a UFAW link.

You can find more on the UFAW Animal Welfare Scholarship here.

AAUW International Fellowship

December 12th, 2013 by Jonathan Frankel

woman thinking about money179219474AAUW International Fellowship
Deadline: December 1

Since 1917 AAUW has awarded more than 3,300 women around the world funding through an international fellowship. The AAUW International Fellowship grants funds to women who are full-time students and scholars who are not US citizens or residents.

The following will be awarded to its respective fellowship:

  • Master’s/First Professional Degree Fellowship: $18,000
  • Doctoral Fellowship: $20,000
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship: $30,000

Recipients of this award are chosen based upon academic achievement and commitment to women and girls. Women interested in an AAUW International Fellowship will need to submit the following to apply:

  • The application form
  • Filing fee of $30
  • Official transcripts
  • Proof of bachelor’s degree
  • Proof of doctorate degree
  • Official report of TOEFL test scores or request for waiver
  • Letter of admission
  • Acknowledgement postcard

You can find more about these fellowship opportunities and how to apply here.

Win the Swedish Scholarship Challenge

December 5th, 2013 by Jonathan Frankel

swedishflag452532035The Swedish Scholarship Challenge
Deadline: December 11

Don’t forget, you only have a few days left to apply for the Swedish Scholarship Challenge. If you’re a Chinese citizen and are in your last year of earning your bachelor’s degree at a Chinese university or already have your bachelor’s degree from a Chinese university- don’t miss applying for this award!

The Swedish Scholarship Challenge will grant four Chinese students a full tuition waiver to use toward pursuit of their Master’s program at one of two Swedish universities: Chalmers University of Technology or Lund University.

If you’re eligible, you only need to visit the link below and follow these five steps:

  1. Sign up
  2. Take the multiple choice quiz
  3. Choose economics or management engineering track
  4. Answer the case question
  5. Submit your transcript and English test results

You can find more on the Swedish Scholarship Challenge and how to get your Master’s degree in Sweden started here.

Search International Scholarships for Free Money

December 3rd, 2013 by Jennifer Frankel

blackboardwithpiggybank159415722December is here! And before you head off for winter break, it’s important to also think about your finances. Set a few hours each day searching for awards and applying so that you’ll be in good shape in time for the new semester. Our Scholarship Search makes it easy to do, here’s how:

    1. Register
      Create an account to allow you to search, save and apply for the awards of your choice. Totally free, all you need to do is register here.
    1. Search awards
      Once you have registered, now you can search awards based on the name of the award, what you are studying, where you are studying, or where you are from. You will be able to narrow down the awards to those your are eligible for.
  1. Apply
    You will be able to get the information you need to apply for the scholarship. Fill out the appropriate forms and submit the information directly to the organization of your choice.

Not ready to apply? You can also bookmark the awards that you are interested in, and come back later to apply. Yes, it really is that simple!

Scholarships, grants, and fellowships are the perfect award as it is money given to you that is not required to pay back. Depending on the award, you may need to show that you need the money, or it may be based on merit.

If you still need additional help funding your education overseas, then an international student loan can cover the gap. Unlike scholarships, grants, and fellowships, loans require that you pay back the money with interest. Our Comparison Tool will allow you to select your school and citizenship, and find the available loans that will work for you.

Want more information on scholarships? Check out our scholarship blog posts.

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