10 Tips on Saving Money during Your ESL Program

savings483045989Embarking on your English Language Program is a priceless investment and an experience of a lifetime. You will gain the skills that will help you rise to the upper echelons of careers you’ve always dreamed of. While your ESL program is a valuable venture, it’s wise to keep in mind some of the top ways to save money during your trip abroad. Check out these 10 tips on saving money during your ESL Program:

1. Budget, budget, budget
It’s easy to get carried away with your spending. The first thing you should do before you even begin your ESL program is to lay out your expected expenses and estimate how much you will need for each area on the list.

Include the following:

  • Tuition
  • Housing/Rent
  • Fees
  • Health insurance
  • Books
  • Utilities
  • Transportation
  • Utilities
  • Personal/family expenses
  • Recreation/travel

2. Track your Expenses
Now that you’ve made your budget, make sure you stick to it. Track your expenses during each month and make sure you are staying below or close to the number you estimated for each of the above items. Making a chart would be helpful for tracking each expense!

3. Refrain from Making Big/Impulsive Buys
During your ESL program, you may need something more expensive, for example, a printer. Instead of rushing out and buying the first one you see, shop around and get familiar with the rate of exchange in the country you are staying. Try not to buy big budget items unless you absolutely need them, and when you do need them, make sure you find the best deal.

4. Adapt a Frugal Lifestyle
You may be accustomed to living frugally already, but in case you aren’t, it’s important to actively live a pennywise lifestyle. You can do this by asking yourself if you really need to go see the new movie or buy that new pair of shoes. Remember that your experience abroad is way more valuable than any material item that you could buy!

5. Cook for Yourself
Instead of dining out, utilize a small grocery list and plan meals that will last to make leftovers. Scout out local markets and buy fresh produce for the week instead of going to the café each day. This will save you tons and help you master cooking the local cuisine.

6. Split Costs with Friends
Splitting costs with friends can greatly reduce the amount that you spend. Consider splitting grocery costs with flat-mates and splitting taxis or travel fares as you adventure together. This will be mutually beneficial to both of your finances.

7. Use Public Transportation, Biking, or Walking
Speaking of going places, think about taking the extra time to use a bus route, bike to class, or walk to where you need to go. It may take extra time but could save you money on taxis or transportation. It will also provide good exercise and more time to check out the local sights!

8. Save on Utilities:

  • Turn off the lights when you are out of the room and open the blinds during the daytime – no need to waste electricity
  • Don’t turn on the heat or cooling unless you really need it, instead open a window for fresh air in the heat or put on a few sweaters in the cold
  • Instead of using the dishwasher, take out some dish soap and wash your dishes by hand. Taking quick showers will also conserve water much more than bubble baths.

9. Bring Your Student ID With You
Your student ID can be used around the world to give you discount entry. There is also an ISIC card that can also save you money on food, travel, sightseeing, exchanging money, and more. Don’t be afraid to ask whether there is a student discount, you never know until you ask!

10. Use Skype to Communicate with Family and Friends
Skype is free and can be used to call and video chat anyone else who has the program. It’s easy to download, and unlike long distance phone bills, it’s free.

Saving money may seem like a daunting chore, but stick to these tips and you will be sure to save money while still having a great time during your ESL program!