As a young Erasmus student abroad, you surely have to deal with your finances at some point. Yes, the university gives you a scholarship to cover part of your travel and stay expenses (e.g. flight, renting of a room, sending personal stuffs), but independently from the fact that the amount of the scholarship depends on the combination of departure+destination country, we all know that this amount won’t be ever enough to enjoy your Erasmus at the most.
During a semester abroad (or two for the luckiest ones!) you do not only need a room and daily food: you want to go out every night, have a couple (…) of drinks with your new international friends, visit the city but also travel around the country. So hell no, the Erasmus scholarship won’t ever be enough for it!
A good idea, therefore, is to learn how to save money while abroad. That’s why we have listed for you some “Erasmus Saving Tips”.
P.S.: All the following tips (except from Nº 4) actually apply to any situation and person who is temporarily living abroad with a small budget. So you can put them into practice also in your daily life at your home country, in order to save money to spend in something that you really love!
1. RESET YOUR WAY TO GROCERY SHOPPING
The cost of life can differ a lot depending on the country or even city where you’ll go to. Sometimes prices at the supermarket will be cheaper, sometimes more expensive than in your home country, so you have to reset and learn how to grocery shop from the beginning. Take some time to understand price differences and variety of products, and you’ll be able to save some money.
2. PREPARE YOUR MEALS AT HOME
Having lunch or dinner outside everyday is a quite unaffordable option for anyone and at any latitude of the world. Preparing your daily meals at home and reserving 1-2 meals per week outside will be of big help. You don’t need to convert yourself into a starred cook, search for some simple and tasty but healthy recipes and that’s it! Moreover, you’ll enjoy international dinners made up by friends cooking their typical dishes.
3. PREPARE YOUR DRINKS AT HOME
Here we don’t want to encourage the consumption of alcohol, but let’s be honest: there is no Erasmus party without beer, sangria or cocktails. And to be even more honest: in some countries alcohol is not that cheap, especially for penniless students. So a more convenient option – that also allows you to control the quality and quantity of the alcohol you consume – is to enjoy a dinner at home with friends and to have some home-made drinks before going out, avoiding to drink at pubs/discos.
4. GET YOUR ESN CARD
The ESNcard is the membership card of the Erasmus Student Network (ESN). It gives you access to all the services offered by ESN and all its partners. With the ESNcard, you will enjoy plenty of discounts – housing, sport, food, bars, etc.- all over Europe. Discover here how the ESNcard works and all the discounts available with it.
5. SHARE THE ACCOMMODATION
If you are one of those students who spend many hours attending lessons or studying at the university library and who use the room just overnight, sharing a room (and not only the flat) could be a valid option. Yes, it may not be for everyone, but if you are a bit flexible it is a good opportunity to save money and to build some special friendship.
6. AKS LOCAL PEOPLE FOR SUGGESTIONS
The cheapest places to have dinner or a beer? Where to find good deals at shopping? The best way to reach the nearby city? Days of free entry at museums? Shops offering discounts to students? Where to buy a second-hand bike? These and many other questions can find answers among local people. Who better than them can give you useful suggestions about everything?!