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How I Saved Money to Move Abroad

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How I Saved Money to Move Abroad | YMCA Global Study

The hardest part about moving abroad is the money stress. Working long hours, saving most of your pay check and constantly living that broke life can get old pretty quick. Before I moved abroad to Ireland, I had to save a lot of money in less than six months, here is how I did it without living like a complete peasant and still keeping my social life.


I Had a Strategy

So I’ll tell you my secret to saving enough money without living from pay check to pay check. Saving money doesn’t mean you have to live frugally. For example, say I worked part time for $20 an hour and I would earn $800 a fortnight. I would always make sure I had $500 in my account to pay my bills, rent and social life for the next two weeks. So, I would simply skim the $300 off the top and put it away in an account I can’t touch or spend. You can alter this method for your living situation, but I found $500 was enough for me to live comfortably in Perth. Interested yet? Read more about this method here.


I Took Any Shifts That Came My Way

This one seems like a no brainer, work more shifts = get more money. This is harder said than done when you’re already working as much as you can while balancing social life and studies. But sometimes, you need to go out of your way to get those shifts, even if you really, really don’t feel like taking them. Ask your mates if you can work some of their hours, take the dreaded night time shift and keep reminding your boss that you’re open to any and all hours that pop up. Even if that means giving up your social life for a while.


I Freelanced

While at uni, I started writing for different publications. This was a good way for me to gain a social platform, experience and a bit of side money. If you have any kind of talents such as graphic designing, blog writing, painting or even jewellery making, odds are there is a platform online where you can sell these. Websites like Fiverr and Upwork are good places to start earning some extra cash, plus it feels good to sell your hard work!

Don’t forget to visit the jobs and opportunities page on the YMCA Global Study website to see what employment and freelancing opportunities we have available to students.


I Cancelled My Memberships

Now you don’t have to do this if going to the gym is really important to you, but for me, it was a huge expense coming out of my account that I could learn to live without. I also downgraded my phone plan from $40 a month to $20 a month, which is less GB for me, but I saved $20 a month. This doesn’t seem like a lot, but ended up being $120 over the span of six months. Consider what you can live without and cut it from your life. You can pick it back up again after you get back from your amazing trip.


Student Discounts Were My Best friend

The best part about being a student is the world taking pity on you and giving you all the discounts. Take advantage of this and intentionally seek them out! Clothes, coffee, movie tickets, meals, the possibilities are endless! You’ll be saving yourself a lot of money in the long run, and getting some damn good deals in the meantime. It’s a win-win.


I Sold My Stuff

I can bet you have heaps of clothes in your wardrobe that you don’t use anymore and are keeping “just in case”. Using apps such as Carousell and Poshmark are a great, safe way to sell your clothes online to people in your area. Do a cleanse of your bedroom, things like old stuffed animals, jewellery you don’t wear, shoes and books can all be sold to someone who actually will use them. You gain nothing from being a hoarder – if it hasn’t been in use for the past two years, dump it and make some cash money from it.



I Celebrated the Time I had Left with My Friends

Just because I was saving didn’t mean I had to lock myself up at home. I took every chance to enjoy the time I had left in Australia with my friends, and sure, sometimes that meant having a quiet night while everyone else had a kicked on till the early hours, but I never let my saving for my trip miss out on a friend’s milestone (I guess because I knew that I’d miss enough after I left.



So that’s my foolproof guide to saving a big amount in a small amount of time! Saving money can be frustrating and sometimes financially stressful, but the payoff makes all the months of saving totally worth it! Make a Pinterest board of where you’ll go on your trip to get you excited, or put some photos up at work to keep you motivated. So work hard, have fun and happy travels!


Words by Sophie Nicolas – Sophie Studied a Bachelor of Arts and Edith Cowan University and also studied abroad in Japan

You can read more work from Sophie on her website or on Uni Junkee

Illustration by Aileen, You can find more of her work on Instagram @cartoonsforsanity and @aileenetc

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