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6 financial tips for international students

Thierry Gabadou
International Banking

It’s that time of year: Summer vacation is almost over, your bags are packed, and you are ready to move to the U.S. to begin your life as an international student. Sounds exciting, right? Of course! What’s there not to love about being an independent student in a new country with much to discover?

Group of international students sitting on the grass, discussing what is on their tablets.However, with all of the excitement in the air, there’s a good chance no one has addressed the topic of becoming financially savvy in the U.S. Here are six tips that I adapted from an international student intern’s insights on how to make wise financial decisions upon your arrival.

1. Make sure you are budgeting for all the essentials before treating yourself to luxuries – living in the U.S. can be expensive.

2. Always try to carry at least $10-20 in cash. There are many places near college campuses (particularly restaurants) that won’t take card payments or will charge a card fee.

3. Make sure you use ATM machines from your own bank. Unlike in other countries, you might be charged a fee for using other banks’ ATMs.

4. Avoid using a foreign credit card where possible – they charge transaction fees often on top of foreign currency fees.

5. Set up recurring or automatic payments for any monthly expenses (such as rent!) to make sure you do not forget these payments. Always know what margin you have in your budget to spend on other things.

6. If you’re bank doesn’t already offer it, download a money transfer app to your phone — this makes paying back friends very easy as you don’t have to settle-up in cash and small change.

And remember, life is all about the journey, not the destination. So enjoy your journey and good luck during the upcoming school year.

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