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5 Tips for students to budget while living in the U.S.

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college studentsBudgeting in the U.S. is no different than making a budget plan at home.  Students studying at US Universities must manage money, just as carefully as at home, in order to pay for tuition, living expenses and fun extracurricular activities.  For some students, however, the temptation to buy big money items gets them into trouble.  We have had students who, for example,  bought big screen TVs, expensive electronics, or cars, and then didn't have enough money pay their tuition.  If students don't pay tuition, they risk expulsion, which then puts them out of status.  So, keeping a budget is essential.

Here are some tips for budgeting and finding ways to save money in a university situation:

1. Develop a monthly budget:

Determine what your expenses will be every month for tuition and fees, rent, utilities, phone service, Internet service and transportation. These are your essentials.  Whatever balance you have left can be used for "fun" money.

2. Find ways to reduce costs:

There are many ways to help reduce some of your monthly expenses.  For example:

3. Free is good: 

University campuses know students are on tight budgets, so they may have programs and offerings which are free or are covered by tuition. There are also school partners who may have free offerings for students.  Seek these programs and offerings out to help keep your budget balanced.

4. Discounts everywhere: 

Businesses in university cities and towns often support students by offering student discounts for meals, services, and sale purchases. These discounts can come in handy, especially helping to trim costs for fun, social activities that can quickly reduce funds needed for the monthly budget.  Ask the international officer at your school for suggestions on places you can go to get student discounts. 

5. Search and apply for third party scholarships

There are many organizations which have small scholarships available for international students.  It is worth the time to search and apply for many of these.  Often times, because the scholarships are so small, ($500-$1000) many students won't even bother to apply.  So there is no competition for many, many scholarships.   Check out these great sites below or you may just want to do your own internet search to find scholarships that fit your criteria.

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