Career Strategy Fellowships Study Abroad Summer Session MyCIPE

Budgeting

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Tips for Creating a Study Abroad Budget

As you take time to consider the program that most fits your interests and goals, remember to also consider how you will pay for your study abroad experience. Review the following questions and suggestions, and use the budget calculator to plan ahead. 

How much money will ​you need?

  • Ask your study abroad program for a current budget. This can likely be found on their website.
  • Consider not only the cost of the program, but expenses not included in the program fees, such as personal travel, entertainment, laundry, postage, toiletries, phone, and internet.
  • Ask your program for a sample budget of personal expenses, or an indication of how prices in your host country compare to those at home.
  • Separate your “wants” from your “needs”. How much money will you need for food and transportation, and how much money do you want to spend on entertainment and travel?

How much money will you have?

  • Whether you’re using Yale financial aid, outside funding, or paying for the costs on your own, you need to know exactly how much money you will have available.
  • Talk with your family and/or Student Financial Services to get a clear picture of what you can afford.
  • Consider the exchange rate when determining what your financial resources will be. When you change funds to the local currency, the exchange rate can work in your favor, or against it. Click here to see exchange rates: www.xe.com.

Calculate your budget.

  • Use this budget calculator to get a picture of your overall costs.
  • Estimate high when calculating any variable expenses, such as public transportation and food. It’s better to have money left over than to fall short before the end of your program.
  • Remember that you will likely buy souvenirs before you leave, so plan to spend a little more money than usual during your last weeks abroad.

Manage your budget.

  • Once you choose a program, it’s important to create a budget and stick to it. Determine a set amount of money that you will need each week for “needs”, such as food and transportation, and then see what you will have left over for “wants”, such as entertainment and travel.
  • Keep track of your spending by saving receipts and adding up expenses throughout the semester. A simple Excel sheet can be an easy tool to track your spending.
  • Review your spending habits every week/month to help you stay on track. Where did you overspend? Where did you save? What can you do differently next week/month?

Other tips:

  • Read Program Reports for advice from study abroad alums about their spending habits.
  • If you are studying in a major city, keep in mind that prices will likely be higher, especially in areas popular with tourists.
  • Shop where the locals shop. Avoid touristy areas and higher-priced restaurants.
  • Ask your bank if they have partners abroad, and what the ATM and credit card fees will be.
  • Keep track of the fluctuations in the exchange rate. If you plan to withdraw a large sum of cash or make a big purchase, check the daily exchange rate first.
  • Take advantage of student discounts. Keep your student ID card with you and considering buying the International Student Identity Card. As a student, you can often get discounts at museums, when buying train tickets, and at hostels.

After reviewing the questions on the left, get an estimate of your expenses for studying abroad.