2019 Spring Taylor Berkoski Temple Exchange UEA United Kingdom

Budgeting Abroad: They Said To Do It, But I Didn’t

The title says it all.

But, really, even though the title sounds a bit concerning, I’m GOOD (considering that I only have about 12 days left here). I’m just here to give some advice to those who decide to essentially travel the world for five months like I did. And considering that I’m JUST managing to keep up with my expenses (and was originally supposed to be in Europe for an additional four weeks), I’d say tuning in to this post could be a benefit. Everything happens for a reason, right?!

So, here is the first piece of advice I’d like to give: JUST BECAUSE THE FLIGHTS AROUND EUROPE ARE INEXPENSIVE DOESN’T MEAN YOU WON’T BE SPENDING A BUCKET OF CASH TO TRAVEL. It’s so easy to think, ‘Okay, I have the flight and the hostel/Airbnb all booked so I am all set!’ At least that’s what I thought. But in addition to those things, you have transportation costs to and from the airport, sometime even within the city you’re in if you have to go far, museums and exhibitions, tours, and of course…. food. There are a lot of free activities to do in every city/country. But, there are also a lot of sights and activities to do and see that cost money. Like, a lot of money (the London Eye, for instance, was around 40 pounds I believe – but what a view)!

The view from the London Eye was amazing. The price tag on that view was not!

Another piece of advice that I was given by a fellow exchange student from Temple before I left was to spend money on experiences, not things. And man…. they were right. I didn’t go shopping in England often – maybe only three or four times since I’ve been here. But that still adds up, probably to about 300 pounds, at least. Although I’m really happy about wearing my new patterned skirt or sweater to class or for a night out, I’d much rather settle on something I brought originally and use that extra money for a quick weekend trip somewhere. It’s just so hard. I know you’ve worn that shirt about six times to the same class, but WHO CARES. The extra few bucks in your pocket will be worth it.

I decided to save potentially the most important topic for last: monthly budgeting while abroad.

Yikes, I know. It stresses me out too. Even though everyone told me to do it, I just couldn’t bring myself to. I didn’t want to be constantly worrying, or excluding myself from things just because I bought lunch on a whim this week, or because I bought a sweatshirt in Rome to bring home for my sister. I casually chose to live in ignorance and check the damage later. Not smart. Although I made it out alive, I’ve known quite a few exchange students who ended up having some financial troubles, which is a stress that can be completely avoided if you conquer that fear of budgeting and just DO IT.

Because, who knows…. maybe I would have had enough money to squeeze in one last trip before I left instead of buying those few sweaters that I’ll probably outgrow in a few months and throw to the back of my closet. All I can say is — although, I don’t regret anything, at all — I would like to just give a bit of warning to others. Money disappears just as fast as your time abroad does. Be smart with it.

Afternoon tea at Shakespeare’s Globe in London… very calming, for a pretty penny.

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