Photo by me.
Today I'm writing about a topic that affects me every day here on exchange: budgeting.
I've read all the articles online about how our generation spends too much and needs to start saving for the future and making plans. However, this article about budgeting abroad, to make sure you don't run out of money while visiting a foreign country.
There a few things you can do if you're not a master budgeter (is that even a word?). So I'm sharing with you the 4 tips that I use myself to budget abroad.
1. Before you leave (or at the beginning of your trip if you have left already), make a tentative budget based on what you want to do abroad.
I know this is tricky since it is hard to know exactly where you'll be in a few weeks. Heck, I don't even know what I want to do tomorrow. But I am sure you have places that you want to go or want to see, even if you don't have exact dates in mind, it is still helpful to make a tentative budget for your travels.
This tentative budget should also include your monthly expenditures, like rent, phone bills, food, and other purchases. It will give you an initial idea of how much money you will be spending a month and will help you keep your budget in line. It should also be updated as you go along, so make sure you keep track of all your expenses.
2. Use an app to keep track of all expenses.
The easiest way for our generation to keep track of our lives is with the help of our smart phone. So budgeting should be no different. Use any app that you want, however, I personally use Trail Wallet to track my expenses. A friend recommended it to me and I love it. You can set the dates of your trip/exchange and set a total budget and a daily budget and the app will let you know if you well on track or are overspending. You can download it for free in the app store :) However, after 25 entries you must pay a fee to continue on. This gives you enough time to figure out if you the like the app or not and see for yourself if you want to invest in it.
3. Use cash as much as possible.
This tip also applies to every day life. When you spend cash you realize much quicker what you are actually spending. If you make most of your purchases with cash, then you will have a good idea of what you are spending and seeing all that cash disappear may entice you to spend less ;)
4. Only buy what you need.
I know this seems like a given, but you would be surprised at the things people buy. Remember, if you are gone for a long time like me, you have the impression that your departure is so far that it doesn't exist, but it does. Remember that everything you buy you'll probably want to bring back with you. However, your suitcase can only take so much. It would be a shame to leave your favorite sweater behind to leave room for that extra purse you just NEEDED to buy, am I right? You can't bring everything back with you, so before you make any purchases, think about whether or not you really need that item.
So there you have it. Those are the budgeting tips that I follow every day to keep myself in line with my budget. I hope they help you make the best of your exchange without busting the bank!