by Andrea Palacios



As an international student, chances are, you could do with extra cash! You are all studying abroad to ultimately have fun and be happy but if you’re not careful with your spending, living expenses can take a psychological toll. So, we’ve put together the top 10 brilliant money saving tips for international students.

1. Invest in travel cards. Chances are, the city you are in has travel cards. In our hometown of Melbourne, we have Myki. Depending on how frequently you may travel, you may be able to get away with paying less. Sometimes determining which travel card plan is the best for you may get confusing, don’t be afraid to contact travel card providers directly for information. Travel cards can also be handy when deciding between public transport and taxis.

2. Cook for yourself and buy in bulk. It can be tempting to eat out, but you should consider locating your closest supermarket to save on cash. In Australia, bulk providers include Aldi and Costco. You should also try the markets for cheap, fresh produce eg Queen Victoria Market. You will be surprised by what you can create for yourself and how much you can also save! Here are some quick student recipes to get you started.

3. Ask for discounts. If you don’t ask, you will never know! It is worthwhile carrying around your student card as you may be entitled to discounts and certain concessions. Also, it is worth mentioning making use of specialist student money saving and discount sites. In Australia, Student Edge is the major provider of discounts, jobs and entertainment ideas on what’s on specifically for students.

4. Work where you shop. Majority of employees get job perks like staff discounts, free food etc. Make your perks count by working where you shop. Perhaps this could be a job in a retail store that you really enjoy shopping at or a job at the markets, who knows you may end up with free fresh produce to last you for the entire week!

5. Buy a printer. This may not be an obvious one but just think of the number of times you’ve had to make a midnight dash to your local printing place or when you’ve had to print at the university or post office. If you add up each of those printing costs, it will far outweigh the cost of printers these days. Just take a look at the prices, and if it’s too technical, here is an explanation of the different printers and costs.

6. Find things you want cheaper or free! Do you need a couch? TV? bed? fridge? bed? laptop? printer? Chances are you do. Before you rush into buying and paying full retail price. Try Craigslist, ebay,  Gumtree, Trading Post, Student Bees and other student portals and notice boards offered by your local city, universities, schools. If you don’t know where these are located, ask! These sites, student portals and notice boards are also a great way to sell your old textbooks and anything else that you no longer need.

7. Budget. Sometimes in the excitement of moving in to a new city, the fun can cause a blur on expenses. It is good to keep track of expenses so it doesn’t get out of control. So here are a few Iphone and Android apps that can aid things financially. Some budgeting apps are explained here, and I would also recommend Mint if you are in America, and if you are in Australia, try  Pocketbook.

8. Shared accommodation. Through shared accommodation, you have the advantage of better quality accommodation, in a better location, for substantially less than the cost of living alone. Apart from the rental reduction other cost savings include sharing gas, electricity, food and maintenance. In many cases the accommodation will be fully or mostly furnished and offer the opportunity to share the cost of appliances and furniture if they are required. Depending on the number of occupants, living expenses can easily be substantially reduced. You may find shared accommodation through any of the sites, student portals and notice boards mentioned in point 6. You may also search for any sites specific to finding flat mates or those who are looking for flat mates such as Flat Mate and Flat Mates.

Have you got any money saving tips that you think should be included in the list? Please suggest in a comment below.

Andrea Palacios

Andrea Palacios

Andrea Palacios arrived in Australia from Colombia in 2001 as an international student. She studied Diploma of Business Marketing before going on to study Bachelor of Business at Swinburne University followed by a graduate Certificate in Australian Immigration Law at Victoria University. Following the completion of her studies, Andrea went on to start her own company in early 2006 – Blue Studies International, a student recruitment agency assisting students that want to live, study, work in Australia, USA, UK, Canada and New Zealand.