7 Easy Money-saving Tips for International Students

Ting · September 9, 2019

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Even though they tend to get charged a lot just to attend school in the United States, international students contribute a lot to the US economy. 

Statistics suggest that international students contribute up to as much as $42 billion to the national economy, which is quite a lot of cash considering how much they’re already paying in tuition and other fees.

As an international student, you’re spending a lot of money, but are you able to save some for yourself? Learning how to save money is going to make your time abroad a lot more fruitful. 

Here are our top seven money-saving tips that can make international student life a lot easier for you.


1. Take Advantage of Student Discounts

Once you get your new student ID card you can begin to enjoy receiving student discounts pretty much anywhere. Take advantage of this! Some of the most popular places where you can receive a student discount range from movie theaters and restaurants to insurance providers and even big tech companies.

Apple, for example, offers a back-to-school discount each year where you can receive educational pricing on top of a $100 Apple Store gift card with the purchase of a Mac. Dell also runs similar promotions.

Car insurance with Geico or Allstate is also cheaper as a student. Museums and public transportation departments offer discounted or free tickets too.


2. Consider Living Off-Campus

Sure, living on-campus as an international student might be easier for you as you’ll have everything you need right at your fingertips. But, living off-campus is usually a whole lot cheaper.

Scholarships for international students sometimes don’t cover room and board, which is one of the biggest expenses at US universities.

So, if you can find a cheap apartment that’s within walking distance of campus and split the rent with a few roommates, you’re going to be able to save a lot more money. And, it’ll be a great way to force you out of your shell and really integrate yourself into the local culture!


3. Buy Used Textbooks

Textbooks in the United States are outrageously expensive. Thankfully, many other college students sell their books back at the end of each year so you can purchase them used for a cheaper price.

If your campus doesn’t sell used textbooks, then check out Chegg. It’s a unique textbook rental service that allows you to rent books instead of buying them. The best part? They usually send along a little gift that’ll make you feel at home. One user said that she received a 5-Hour Energy and a free month of Hulu Plus with her order.

One of our best money-saving tips when it comes to books? Split the costs with classmates. If four of you can go in on one expensive book then you’ll be able to photocopy the pages you need and send them to everybody in the group.


4. Know When to Book Your Flights

As an international student, your flights to and from your home country are probably some of the most expensive things you’ll have to factor into a yearly budget. However, if you’re smart about when you book and fly, you might not have to spend too much.

First, you’ll want to sign up for a travel site that will send you alerts as to when the price of your ideal flight has dropped. Skyscanner is a great site that lets you enter your travel dates and will then monitor prices for you.

Aside from that, it’s important to book in advance. For international flights, try to book no later than about three months away from your travel date. It also might be worth looking into Delta Student Discounts as they offer reduced rates for flights if you’re currently enrolled as a student at any US university.


5. Get a Job on Campus

As an international student, you’re not allowed to work off-campus until six months after you arrive. You can, however, begin to work on-campus immediately.

Jobs on campus are not only a great way to earn extra money, but they’re also a pretty great way for you to integrate yourself into campus life and meet new friends. One student from Hong Kong studying at the University of Florida said he earned enough from his on-campus job to cover his rent.

The biggest plus about on-campus jobs is that they’re, well, on-campus. This means that you don’t have to waste time or money traveling to and from your job site.


6. Sign Up for an International Student Debit Card

You spend a lot of money as an international student. Why not get rewards for spending so much cash? One of the biggest obstacles that international students in the US face is the inability to sign up for a debit card without a social security number. If you don't have a cashback debit card or can't access one without an SSN, then Cheese debit card is here to help. The Cheese debit card is the first of its kind in that it allows international students and non-citizens to easily sign up for a no-fee debit card that's full of benefits, like cashback and high yield checking account!


7. Learn How to Incorporate Money-Saving Tips Into a Budget

Want to know how to save money in college? Learn how to budget!

Download an app to your phone that will help you see where you’re spending your money. Better yet, download an app that communicates with you and lets you know if you’re about to go over budget or if you’ve got the room for a burger and a few drinks tonight.

It helps to use a currency exchange tool to avoid losing lots on cash withdraws and other exchanges. Then, learn how to incorporate money-saving tips into your monthly budget. Allocate a certain amount for textbooks and other school supplies while also making sure to allocate a certain amount for savings.

Here we have a great tool for foreign students who need to withdraw US dollars from a bank account in another currency. Swapsy, a fully-guaranteed and user-verified peer to peer online currency exchange, enables users to exchange currencies using prevailing e-wallets and to receive money within 1 business day. 

Interested in Swapsy? Click here to sign up and enjoy fast, simple and low-cost foreign currency exchange today!