Study Abroad in Korea: How to Save Money!

If you read the last post, you’re probably scared as hell to study abroad now. Like, how could you possibly save $5,000 dollars on top of trying to pay for your own college tuition while you’re here AND while you’re abroad? Trust me, it’s rough. I’m not gonna be one of those out-of-touch people who say “Just save money! Get a job! Stop drinking at Starbucks!” because sometimes you still can’t afford to save even if you don’t do any of those things. So as lightly as possible, let me give you some real tips on getting up to that amount you need to survive while abroad. Assuming you already have an estimated goal, consider doing these steps.

Find a source of income

Note how I made that title a bit vague. I’m telling you to find your own way of getting access to a stream of income. Whether you’re gung-ho about scholarships, the monarch of part-time jobs, a full-ride dreamer, or something else, you do you. I did a mixture of scholarships and working part-time at a job for $10 an hour for around 20 hours a week for a few months, but obviously not everyone has access to that. So whatever’s doable with your schedule, go for it. There are loads of jobs around that offer more than minimum wage; you just have to do your homework (Craigslist is a good starting place!).

Open a new savings account

You need to have a spot to dump all of your new money into so that you don’t accidentally touch it. My regular savings and checking accounts served their own purposes, meaning I often dipped into my savings account, so I made a new Higher Yield Savings account within my existing bank account (for no cost at that!) and reserved that as a “Korea Fund.”

Get an account on Mint.com

No seriously, if you don’t already, GET IT. Are you weary of your information getting stolen? Mint is made by the people behind TurboTax and Quickbooks, so you have virtually nothing to worry about. It helps you keep track of your saving goals, budgets, weekly spending habits, and even reminds you of bills. There’s an app for Android and iOS, but the desktop version is king. Do yourself a favor and link your new dedicated savings account to a goal to save up. Seeing your monthly progress will make everything worthwhile!

Do it “for Korea”

The year before I left for Korea was one of the hardest times of my life, right in front of college applications and paying for the first year of college. It was during this time that I was taking a bunch of classes on top of working, pulling 14-18 hour days, losing sleep, getting stressed out from impending deadlines and not having enough of time, skipping out on social plans because of my awful schedule…you get the gist. But wow, was 5 months of life in Korea was completely worth all of the stress. So don’t feel bad if you have to make some sacrifices for a while because if going to Korea is something you really want to do, it will all be worth it.

Okay let’s be real, this should really be called “How to Save Money for Literally Anything” but since this was my method for funding my trip, I thought I’d share. Let me know if any of these tips worked for you 🙂

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