Published on May 1, 2015

How to not spend all your money while living abroad

Our top money saving tips

Cook your meals

Even though it can be tempting to eat out all the time while living in a new city, better to save that money for day trips or other fun activities. Figure out how to make some cheap, easy staple meals and stick to eating out on special occasions.


money saving tips


Go to museums on free days

Many public museums will specify days when you can see exhibits for free or at discounted rates. Make a note of when those discount or free days occur on your calendar so you never have to pay full price. Just a little planning ahead of time will allow you to see more of the city for less.


Make a budget

Giving yourself a weekly spending limit is a great way to make sure you don’t spend too much money at any one time. It will make your money last for your entire internship if you make and stick to weekly budgets. Having a spending limit especially helps prevent frivolous purchases.


money saving tips


Invite people over instead of going out

Going out to bars and restaurants to hang out with coworkers or friends is fun, but it can be a lot more costly than hosting an event at your own place. Tell everyone to bring something to eat and drink and make it a house gathering. It will be more comfortable and intimate anyway.


Use Skype and WhatsApp instead of international phone plans

There are so many ways to use the internet to contact people around the world, it might be a waste of money to buy an international phone plan. All housing accommodations come with Wifi, so family and friends are just a Skype call or WhatsApp message away. Viber and Facebook also are effective and free communication tools that just rely on an internet connection.


Look for free cultural events

Many cities host neighborhood or city cultural events that are free, especially in the spring and summer months. Keep an eye out for these on city events calendars or cultural center websites. Usually these events involve an element of local culture, so it’s a great way to better understand local traditions and save a little cash.


money saving tips


Find a good international credit or debit card

Shopping around for a debit or credit card that offers good exchange rate and lets you withdraw internationally for free can really help an intern abroad slash their expenses. Charles Schwab, for example, offers free withdrawals at ATMs internationally for their investor checking clients.


Walk or take public transportation

Taking a cab if there is public transportation available is a huge waste of money. It may not be as pleasant of an experience, but it’s part of living abroad and can be a great opportunity for people watching. Walking to your destination is also a good option. It’s healthy and completely free!


Photo 1. based on Cooking adobo., by Nicole Abalde, CC-by-2.0

Photo 2. based on Money - Savings, by 401(K) 2012, CC-by-2.0

Photo 3. based on Debit, by Ciaran McGuiggan, CC-by-2.0

The author
Elizabeth Trovall
After short stints in Argentina and Belize, Elizabeth is finishing up her third year in Santiago, Chile. Elizabeth writes about international internships, life abroad and professional development for The Intern Group. She also reports on politics, business and culture in Latin America for public radio and print media. An Austin, Texas native, Elizabeth first left home to earn her journalism degree from the Reynolds Institute of Journalism at the University of Missouri. Besides her friends and family, she misses live music and Mexican food the most.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *