How to spend less money while living independently abroad

Time management is important as a student. But financial management is also essential.

Living abroad can be a challenge for some people. And of course new environment, new culture, new ways of living can be very exciting! This time I want to share my thoughts about how to live independently abroad while still being able to manage money wisely and live life to the fullest. 

Prioritize your need
Once you move to a new country, you will realize that you need lots of things. Make a list and prioritize your need. It will be great if you can also make a plan when to buy these stuffs. Do your homework as a researcher as well! ;) What I meant is search for as much information as you need before purchasing. Join buy and sell group or an international student group on Facebook, find a second-hand shop or a second-hand forum. You might find what you need there for a better price, even for free! Recycling and upcycling is one of a sustainable way of living, so why not start with the way you shop? If you need to buy new stuffs, most Swedish business has their website where you can check their products and prices.

Put your cooking apron on
Eating in a restaurant in Sweden can be quite expensive if you eat out every day. Use this situation to improve your cooking skills. Swedish shops and supermarkets have almost everything you need. And of course, you can start from something really easy like grilled cheese or microwave omelette. Look for a 10 minutes recipes online, nowadays you can find them very easily. From my experience, you can make your own lunch for 15 SEK per portion. While when you buy a sandwich from a shop you would spend at least 30 SEK. Average price for lunch meal is 40 - 100 SEK depends on the restaurant you go to. Of course it is okay to eat out especially when you have no time to cook. It was a big change for my habit in the beginning, because even though I like cooking, I rarely cook every day during my bachelor years because food at school was very cheap. Now I have to manage my time even better to spare some time to prepare my own meals.

Try to do new things
There are so many ways to make extra allowance these days. If you have a talent in arts, you can try to sell your artworks. Or you can find a fun job in a new environment such as a dog walker. In this international environment, you can always look for a remote part time job. I just started to work as a citizen journalist in one of the television in Indonesia, and it is so much fun that I can work remotely from Gothenburg and report cool stuffs from here. Other thing you can try is to invent business ideas with friends. You are surrounded with brilliant people at Chalmers. Spend some time together, brainstorm, and poof! You might be the next awesome entrepreneur of the future.

Card is king, take a good care of it
I know how exciting it is to get your own credit card especially if you are a fan of online shopping, music and movies, premium apps, and online membership. Be sure that you always check your automatic debit payment for these subscriptions as you don't want to wonder where your money disappeared and turned out one of your unused smartphone app had an automatic monthly payment. Keep checking your subscription invoices, list these things up in your private note and you'll be fine. 

Be involved in students and voluntary activities
There are many student activities you can join at school and outside school. When big events like music festivals and international conferences are held, usually the organizer would recruit volunteer workers to help out with the event. You can actually sign up and be involved actively in those activities. You will get a chance to meet new people, get new knowledge, or even meet your future employer. These voluntary works are not always paid, but at least you will get an opportunity to widen your network. Sometimes the organizer provide food during the event as well, so you can actually save some food expenses during these days. Other than voluntary works, lunch meetings and seminars are also common. Keep yourself updated so you won't miss the chance to learn something new while saving money at the same time.

Enjoy the ride and give yourself a treat
At the end of the day, you really need to enjoy every single time you spend in your journey. Life is about living it gratefully and being happy is what matters. So don't forget to give yourself a good pad in the back and be happy for every step you take. It is okay to give yourself a treat once in a while. A good slice of chocolate fudge cake and good coffee, perhaps? Or a trip to the north to see the northern lights?

Finally, thank you for reading and I hope this blog can be useful for you! Have a very great day :)

Page manager Published: Tue 12 Feb 2019.