While money can be seen as a giant brick wall standing in between you and studying abroad, it doesn’t have to be if you plan ahead in order to save money while studying abroad! This may be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to spend this much time in a foreign country, so it’s time to start saving now. Follow these simple steps below to find out how to start saving money early and afford studying abroad.

Plan Ahead

Although studying abroad may be quarters away for some of you, your time here in Barcelona will come sooner than you think. In other words, you should start saving now! Skip that venti white chocolate mocha from Starbucks tomorrow morning and make coffee at home. Download apps like Poshmark where you can sell clothes you don’t wear anymore. Every little bit helps! There are a lot of easy and simple ways that you can cut back on spending and you’ll be glad you did once you experience what life is like abroad.

Find Scholarships

The reason why people overlook scholarships is because they don’t take the time to search for them online. The amount of scholarships available for students and especially study abroad students is endless. Talk to your advisor, visit the financial aid office at your school, and search for them on Google. Putting in the work to find and apply for scholarships pays off more than you know. The ALBA website offers financial aid opportunities, nevertheless, if you’re still worried about not having enough money, try crowdfunding options such as FundMyTravel.

Shop Locally in Barcelona

Once you are abroad, shop at the local grocery store. With the endless food options here in Barcelona, it may be a struggle to turn down a meal out with your friends. However, eating out for every meal is unrealistic and almost impossible to afford. One great thing that Barcelona has are vegetable and fruit markets on almost every corner. They are extremely affordable and will help you maintain a healthy diet while studying abroad in Barcelona!

Take Advantage of Public Transportation

Barcelona is known for its efficient and easy-to-use metro system. The metro saves time, money and allows you to fully embrace the culture here in Barcelona. Not only that, but opting to metro, bus or even walk instead of taxi also helps you learn your way around the city quicker and blend in with the locals.

Book Weekend Trips in Advance

While some of the most memorable mid-semester trips are planned at the last minute, you shouldn’t overpay for the sake of spontaneity. Planning at least three weekend trips before you leave will be beneficial for you because flights will be dirt cheap. Looking at websites such as Skyscanner and Student Universe are helpful because they compare different airlines in order to find the cheapest flight. This way, you’ll save hundreds of dollars and the stress of last minute planning.

Create a Budget Spreadsheet

Spreadsheets are your new best friend; you’ll spend less time stressing and more time sticking to your budget.

Planning your finances for abroad is more than just finding the money for a plane ticket, tuition cost and insurance. You will need a study abroad budget in order to determine how much money you want to spend while you’re here. Keep in mind you’ll want to be diligent and realistic. Make sure you have a back-up savings in case of an emergency such as losing your phone on the beach, getting stranded on a weekend trip to Rome, or having your wallet or purse stolen in Lisbon.

Having a weekly budget for groceries, meals out, transportation, and more will allow you to know exactly how much money you’re spending so that you can plan accordingly. Make sure your study abroad budget is in euros, not dollars. Do your research on the exchange rate at the time that you’ll be here in Barcelona!

Example of weekly expenses:
Cost per Week in Euros
Going Out20
Extras (shopping, coffee, etc.)30
Total Euros Spent per Week105

Leave Your Old Credit Card at Home

Talk to your bank and sign up for a credit or debit card that doesn’t have international fees. You’ll be surprised at how much those little fees add up every time you swipe if you don’t. There’s nothing worse than looking back on your bank statement realizing that you could have saved a couple hundred bucks by signing up for an international credit card.

Studying abroad is one investment you’ll never regret. Money will be the hardest part of studying abroad, but once you plan ahead and remember to follow these steps, you’ll be able to save money while studying abroad and have the adventure of a lifetime!