Living on a Budget

We all go into studying abroad having some knowledge that it will be expensive. It can be difficult to manage how much you are spending in USD in a different currency. It is also inevitable to avoid certain expenses, such as rent, groceries, and school books. However, there are ways to properly budget and save as much money as you can in certain areas.

Australia, especially in Sydney, is pretty expensive. Life can out of hand with needing to pay high rent, buy food constantly, and paying for transportation, while also trying to have fun and do activities. Here are some tips that have helped me be successful in Australia:

  1. Do not shop for groceries on campus; although very convenient and tempting, they will overcharge for simple food items on campus
  2. Try to avoid carrying your credit card with you places; this prevents you from swiping and not looking at prices
  3. Keep as much cash on hand as you would want to spend for the day
  4. Try not to eat out much, so you can save your money for activities
  5. Share things with friends, so the costs are split
  6. Plan ahead; things are usually cheaper the earlier you plan it
  7. Do not buy a bunch of unnecessary things that will not fit in your bag or things that you could get back in the states
  8. Do trips with friends; usually the more people the cheaper the travel package is
  9. In Australia, OPAL, their transportation system, is capped at $2.80 AUD on Sundays, so try to do long travel trips on Sundays
  10. Keep track of your spending on a weekly/monthly basis with an actual Excel document
  11. Enter free places, like museums, and attend the free events

Prior to coming to Australia, I worked and attempted to save as much as I could to be prepared for all the expenses I would incur once here. However, it is hard to truly prepare because once here, you get caught up in all the cool, expensive events and excursions going on. Especially since I had planned on traveling around this hemisphere, such as to Asia and New Zealand, since it is such a long journey and there are so many beautiful sites to see on this side of the world.

Rent will always be a necessity, so to start you would budget that cost into each month. From there you deduct what you spend on school and food monthly. Then, you can have a better idea of how much you have left over to spend on fun trips and events. Thankfully, there are a lot cool free places I could go into and since I do not mind walking long distances, I have been able to limit my transportation costs. I also do a lot of cooking at home, so I do not spend a lot of money out on food and if I do eat out, I look for different specials or deals the restaurants have.

There are many areas you can save money, in order to have the change to splurge on a few things. But don’t get carried away and make sure you are always up to date and aware of how much has already been spent.

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