1. Cook for yourself
A week’s worth of groceries can end up being the equivalent of two meals eaten out. An
additional idea is to cook with friends. Not only is it more fun, but also each person can buy a few ingredients instead of all of them. Cooking for one person is difficult anyway (ex: how do you eat an entire bag of carrots by yourself before they go bad [unless you eat carrots all day every day]?)
2. Start with free activities
This doesn’t necessarily help if you’re being spontaneous, or if your abroad program doesn’t
provide you with important dates from the start (ex: finals). BUT, as much as you can — plan
ahead. Airfare can be significantly cheaper. Even smaller things like renting bikes, or going on a tour can cost less if you buy ahead of time, usually online, instead of once you get there.
3. Plan ahead
It will probably take longer than you expect. Especially in some cities like London, where 99% of the museums are free, you’ll be kept busy and save money. Even if you’re in a location where museums and exhibits cost a pretty penny, get outdoors! Have a picnic, explore a different neighborhood, walk around a park — the possibilities are endless. Of course, don’t miss out on something you really want to do because it isn’t free, but know that if you’re on a tight budget, you won’t be sitting around doing nothing all day.
4. Have an arsenal of discount/deal websites at your disposal
Sky Scanner, Expedia, Google Flights, and Airbnb will be your best friends. There are also websites for discounted tours, entrance tickets, etc., but I find the biggest expenses are getting from Point A to Point B, and housing once you’ve arrived at Point B. I realize Airbnb isn’t necessarily a discount site, but my friends and I used it for almost every trip and, honestly, it usually ends up being cheaper (and nicer) than a hostel. Highly recommend.
5. Spend money on experiences
Something I made a priority for myself, and also something instilled in me by my mom (she’s a wise woman), is to spend money on experiences rather than souvenirs/possessions. Your taste in clothing will change over time, that keychain you HAD to have will sit in a drawer, and will you REALLY use that ceramic plate of the cat in an “I <3 (insert city here)” t-shirt? That being said, certain things are cheaper in different countries, so if you do want to splurge on an item you’ve had your eye on, check if it’s less expensive in the country you’re visiting.