Imagine waking up tomorrow and having one of your wildest dreams come true: You'd be on a plane, flying to a country of your choice—the States, the U.K., France, Japan, or Korea, perhaps—where you'll study, live on your own, and enjoy the experience of a lifetime. Cool, right?
But dreams, if and when they come true, are hardly ever exactly what we imagine. Studying abroad can come with a unique set of challenges, too, especially for students without any prior experience of living alone and away from home.
Take for example the challenge of managing money. It's one of the most difficult things that a fledgling international student must face, and you can bet that it will sometimes feel daunting.
However, like every part of the international study experience, the challenge of managing your own money is a learning opportunity, too. Think of it as a taste of what life will be like after graduation, when the real #adulting starts. You need to be able to allocate enough money for your needs, while still leaving enough so you can truly enjoy your time abroad.
If you're determined to rise to that challenge—and, who are we kidding, of course you are—here are a few tips that might help you get the hang of managing your money.
Consider living off-campus
First thing's first: your living arrangements. The default option is to live on campus, but don't rush to pick the lowest-hanging fruit. Which is to say: consider other options, too. Do you have family who live nearby? Are there cheaper housing options outside of campus, factoring other costs like utilities and internet access? Do you know anyone with whom you can room and split costs? Before anything else, take these questions into account, and speak with your parents about them if you can.
Plot a weekly budget, and stick to it
Next, the matter of your living expenses. If your parents send you an allowance, or if they've allocated a certain amount of money to send per semester, you're going to want to break that down into a budget that ensures your survival, week to week. Use a free budgeting app like Mint, or even just Google Sheets. Then account for all your needs—rent, groceries, transportation, flights home—and leave a buffer in case of overspending. Once your budget is set, stick to it.
Find a part-time job
After you're settled into your day-to-day life on campus, you can also consider getting a part-time job at nearby establishments. Waiting tables or manning shops—anything for a source of income on top of your allowance. Plus, juggling your studies with a part-time job can also be an invaluable learning experience. New life skills, check; extra money for shopping, check!
Buy secondhand textbooks
Necessary student expenses can be pretty costly. Cut down by buying (or borrowing) secondhand textbooks instead of new ones. Try looking in neighborhood book stores, or asking upperclassmen friends.
Student discounts are ~life~
Cities with large student populations often have a bunch of establishments with student discounts. They're not all museums and cinemas, too. (Although you should definitely take advantage of the student discounts there.) Even food establishments and book stores may offer student discounts. Keep your eyes peeled for these small savings, which ultimately add up.
Keep your cash extra safe (or just go cashless)
International students in big cities tend to be easy targets for snatchers and scammers. Always be alert and do your best to steer clear of these undesirable elements, but also, be prepared—pepper spray and dummy phones or dummy wallets can go a long way. Plus, carry as little cash and as few coins as possible, relying on cashless payment methods instead.
Control your shopping impulses
This last one is obvious, but constant reminders are never not helpful: Keep your shopping impulses in check! Learn to always ask yourself: Do I really need this? Will I regret this purchase? Is there not an alternative, with better value for money? These questions are key to saving money, not just when you're a student, but for life.
Together, all of these tips can help you learn to manage your money like the strong, independent adult you are. It can be tempting, when you're a student abroad, to spend with abandon, because hey, it's the experience of a lifetime, and you aren't young forever! But if you can learn to reel it in, you may yet find ways to enjoy your money even better.
Sign up to be a Qatar Airways Student Club member
Another way to manage your money better is to join a special airline membership program, like the Qatar Airways Student Club. Students aged 18 to 30 may join, and members enjoy a bunch of great privileges, all specifically designed so international students can get more value for money.
Save more with every booking
Students who are part of the Qatar Airways Student Club may enjoy 10% off of their first booking. After their first flight, members will receive a second promo code for 15% off, followed by a third promo code for 20% off for their third booking. Considering that you'll be flying back and forth relatively frequently, the savings stack up!
A special graduation gift: Privilege Club membership
Travel at least once a year as a Student Club member and receive a Privilege Club tier upgrade when you graduate. For context, there are four tiers: Burgundy, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. Each has a bunch of special traveling privileges, so you'll be ready to live a jetsetting life after grad.
Companion passes for friends and family
Qatar Airways knows that studying abroad can sometimes feel lonely, and that it's always nice to have friends and family over. That's why you can share your Student Club benefits with them, by inviting them to be one of your three Student Companions, or by pre-selecting them from your list of family members. Companions are eligible for special fare offers and one complimentary date change.
Earn 5,000 Qmiles as a referral incentive
Invite your fellow students to join the Qatar Airways Student Club before December 31, 2021, and earn 5,000 Qmiles. Simply log into your membership account and share the invite link from your dashboard.
On top of these great perks, members of the Qatar Airways Student Club also enjoy additional baggage allowance, free super-fast WiFi, and enhanced booking flexibility. All in all, you stand to get so much value for money through this club.
Sign up for the Qatar Airways Student Club today. Registration only takes a minute!
Qatar Airways is a multiple award-winning airline. It was recently named Airline of the Year by the international air transport rating organization Skytrax for the sixth time (2011, 2012, 2015, 2017, 2019, and now, 2021). It also secured five additional awards, including World’s Best Business Class, World’s Best Business Class Airline Lounge, World’s Best Business Class Airline Seat, World’s Best Business Class Onboard Catering and Best Airline in the Middle East.
Qatar Airways is currently flying to over 140 destinations worldwide from the Philippines with a stopover in Doha, Qatar. There are 14 weekly flights from Manila, seven weekly flights from Cebu, and five weekly flights from Clark. Qatar Airways also offers flexible booking policies. This means unlimited changes in travel dates and destinations, extended ticket validity, and fee-free refunds for travel completed by May 31, 2022.
As part of a special promotion, Mastercard cardholders can avail of a discount of up to 10% when booking online through the Qatar Airways official website, using the promo code MASTERCARD for flights departing from the Philippines. Offer is valid until November 20, 2021 for travel until June 30, 2022. Terms and conditions apply. Learn more here.
Qatar Airways adheres to strict safety measures, both at Hamad International Airport and onboard the aircraft, so you can rest assured of safe travels.