One of the first questions people ask me when it comes to the whole study abroad subject matter is how I saved up enough money to do everything that I did. If you were to spend some time creepin’ on my Instagram, you would probably take note of just how much Rob and I did and saw during our semester in Europe.
A little disclaimer though, this isn’t in any way a “how-to” post about saving up an extreme amount of money. I’m just writing about my personal experience saving money, and if it helps no people or 1,000 people then that’s cool with me.
It’s quite obvious that studying abroad costs money. Think about it, you are traveling the world, and living in a different country for four months. Living anywhere can be expensive, but starting fresh in a completely different country is a bit different. Prices will most likely be different than what you are normally used to (I found certain countries to be crazy expensive, and drastically different than what I am used to), and most students try to travel during the weekends or when they are off from school. The combination of these expenses adds up a lot quicker than you’d think.
Rob and I knew that we wanted to study abroad the summer before we actually left. Because of this, we had time to figure out how to get the funds we needed. We spent a lot of time creating a plan and budget for ourselves based on what we wanted to see and do during our time abroad.
It can be tedious, but taking some time to plan out and budget can go a long way. We determined how much money we needed while overseas by first figuring out how much traveling we wanted to do during our semester. Like a lot of people, Rob and I wanted to travel most of the time that we didn’t have school. Our mindset for our time abroad was to basically go “all out”… with caution. I had never been to Europe prior to our trip, and I was ready to see everything I had always heard about. Rob and I both knew that we wouldn’t be able to do something like this for quite some time, so we decided to sensibly live it up as much as we could.
GET A JOB:
Living a fancy lifestyle with a “no limits” mentality is obviously a bit pricey. Our mindsets were more like hello bougie four months in Europe, hello 2 jobs this summer ha … h a
The biggest way that I earned enough money to live in Europe for four months was picking up another summer job. I worked almost every day, and most of the days I worked mornings at my first job and nights at my other job. This combination left me with 10 extra pounds (PSA: bagels for breakfast every day and sundaes for dinner do not mix well) and a ton of money to frolic comfortably around Europe with.
I also made a good amount of money from the combination of my blog and social media outlets. I collaborated with a few brands and did a few sponsorships as well. If you are looking to learn about monetizing your blog or social media outlet in any way click here or here.
CUT OUT UNNECESSARY SPENDING:
Rob and I saved a ton of money by beginning to live what we like to call a: ~peasant~ lifestyle. We barely went out to eat and kept our celebrations and date nights as cheap as possible. Yes, this was lame while it was occurring but in the end cutting back on our usual spending habits together paid off our plane tickets to Dublin and Italy.
This newly acquired lifestyle also included a minimal amount of spending on materialistic items that I would purchase every once in a while. I’m normally a pretty frugal type of person, but I do have a few things that I like to splurge on every now and then. With small choices to live more simply, these things did add up in the long run. I began to paint my nails on my own, and cut out unnecessary spending habits, like going to the mall every other week to pick up one or two things, and my trips to Target which never really end well when it comes to my bank account.
You WANT to go see the world and have a fantastic time studying abroad. So passing up a movie night with friends or date with your boyfriend/girlfriend isn’t a necessity. If having a “no limits” attitude while studying abroad is a priority for you, then make sure to treat it like one when it comes to spending. If you know that traveling is a priority for you, then don’t forget it! Spending money on materialistic things can be tempting, but think about what you could be spending that money on when you’re actually abroad. Like skydiving or plane tickets.
I also utilized apps like Poshmark and Mercari when it came down to the wire. I took a look through my closet and organized my clothes by what I had and hadn’t worn in the past month. Everything that didn’t fall into the “worn” category got uploaded to both Poshmark and Mercari. Lil’ pro tip: Mercari has different, cheaper shipping methods than Poshmark and takes a lower percentage out of your earnings!
I ended up making a few hundred on these apps. Although I didn’t get full price for the clothing items that I sold, what I did get quickly added up.
I think the easiest way to earn money before such a long trip like studying abroad is to save saves save. Also, get creative! About two or three weeks before leaving Rob and I began making and selling choker necklaces (you can probably guess who’s idea this was) through social media. These days, it’s so easy to get creative and set up some sort of online business. With the help of Venmo and Paypal we easily made transactions with people who were miles and miles away from us.
Although studying abroad cleared out a good chunk of my bank account, it was totally worth every penny. Living in a different country for four months is a once in a lifetime thing for most people, why limit yourself when you’re there?
Have you ever saved up for something very expensive? Do you have any tips or tricks to help?