Managing your finances while studying in a foreign country like Thailand can be difficult. Other than catering to the cost of tuition and accommodation, you also need to address the added costs that come with exploring this exotic nation such as organising sightseeing trips, calling back home and commuting. Hence, it is crucial that you create a budget to ensure you get the best out of the experience.
Plan out your expenses
Although it may sound boring and arduous and you may not want to analyze where your money goes, drawing a budget is one of the best ways to save money while studying abroad. It is crucial that you create a budget based on your income and expenses as it helps you to find a balance between spending and saving.
Start by dividing your expenses into essential and non-essential items. The essential expenses include accommodation costs, food, transportation among other key things. Non-essential items include a night out with friends, buying trendy clothes or getaways. Work out your income and expenses over a certain period, preferably a month. If by the end of your budgeting you realise that you spend more than you earn, go back to your expenses, starting with the non-essentials to see what you can cut back or out completely. Make sure to set aside some emergency funds.
Look for a part-time job
The Thai law clearly stipulates that you cannot do any salaried work without a work permit issued by the Royal Ministry of Labor. In this case, salaried work means a job where you sign a work contract to get an agreed upon salary.
Therefore, if you are studying on an education visa, you can make some money tutoring English or your mother tongue for a few hours. You can also look for other local universities looking for participants to take part in studies. Look for those willing to pay you to answer long surveys or to do simple tasks. This income will be of much importance to your budget planning.
Although studying abroad is expensive, smart planning can help you survive quite easily. Start by creating a priority list to help you understand your needs, wants and the best way to get them. Find ways that you can use your money smartly and save some of it. For instance, when you study abroad, chances are you will meet many new friends and may need to pay for a few drinks as you get to mingle. However, nights out with friends is one of the biggest sinkholes you will face while studying in Thailand.
To prevent yourself from falling into it, think of different ways you can reduce the money you spend to party with friends by hosting them at your place or researching street festivals, free museum days, open-air cinemas and other fun but cheap ways to get outdoors with friends while getting a dose of the Thai culture without breaking the bank. The same applies to textbooks. The costs of getting new textbooks each semester can quickly add up. You can buy second-hand textbooks or try to find them online. Once you are done with them, you can sell them or swap them for other books for the next semester.
Transportation takes up a large part of your expenses while studying abroad. Understanding how to minimise this cost is important as it will make a big difference to your budget. There are many ways you can save money on travelling. One effective way is by buying a bike.
Bikes provide one of the most affordable ways to commute from school to your residence and explore the city or town you are living in. What's more, they are quite affordable. You can also take advantage of student fare offers and book in advance to get the best deals.
While studying in Thailand can be an exciting experience, the reality is that money will always be limited. Therefore, be realistic about what you can afford, what you need and what you can do without. If you want to really save money, you need to be willing and ready to make some sacrifices so that you go through your studies without having to worry about your finances.