Study Abroad: 5 Money Saving Tips

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I just got back from studying abroad in Seville, Spain and I loved every minute of it.  But one sad reality about study abroad is that it requires MONEY, cash, dinero.  So, all of you gearing up to study abroad this next semester or year, here are my 5 tips to keep in mind about money.

  1. Start SAVING early.  It might be too late for some of you, but those looking to study abroad in the spring or even next year.  Start saving now.  It takes a lot of money to study abroad and there are so many cool things to see and do.  So when you are out at the mall next weekend, maybe hold off on purchasing those new shoes because there might be some cuter ones in Barcelona.  Or maybe skip the Starbucks drink so that you can have an even better cappuccino in Paris.  Trust me, it is worth it.
  2. Start building credit and remember CapitalOne does not have travel fees.  About four weeks before I left for Spain, I realized I needed a credit card.  So I did some research and found that CapitalOne does not have foreign transaction fees.  Little did I know that you need a little something called credit before you can get a credit card.  They don’t just hand those out to anyone, you know.  But no worries, if you do not have enough time to build credit, you can have your parents cosign the card.  You will use a credit card a lot for big purchases like hostels and airfare, so not getting stuck with a bunch of fees will save you a lot of money.
  3. Ask your bank if there is any way you can avoid ATM fees.  You will be frequently taking money out of the ATM so if there is any way to avoid withdrawal fees, you should do it!  I sat down with my bank and switched my account plan so that I could withdraw money without a fee each time.  It is a huge relief to not have to worry about how much money to take out.
  4. Make sure you set up a TRAVEL ALERT with your bank and credit card company.  There is nothing worse than going into a foreign country and trying to use your card and it getting denied because of unusual behavior.  Take five minutes and let your bank know what you are up too.
  5. Just to be on the safe side, make sure you have all the international numbers of your bank and credit card company.  Often times they have certain phone numbers that will not charge international calling fees.  So if you card stops working or is stolen, you can call them without racking up your phone bill.

These are just a few money saving tips that helped me out.  The most important thing to remember is that this amazing opportunity is once in a lifetime.  Enjoy it!  Spend your money on travel and adventures and you won’t regret a penny.  Do you have any money advice to add?  If so, please comment below!  Best of luck to all of you studying abroad!

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