(The Free Press Journal publishes articles by study abroad consultants, Consulates, foreign universities, international students, and much more every Saturday to give its readers a glimpse of the world of overseas education.)
When you decide to study overseas, one of the more daunting tasks is managing finances. It’s thus necessary to consider one's expenses when you’re an international student studying abroad. Yes, working part-time can supplement your income and help with your expenses, but it doesn’t always work out! Here are a few tips to manage your finances while studying in Ireland:
1. Cook more often
Eating out is not sustainable in the long run. Food and dining out are generally regarded as expensive in Ireland. For example, a normal meal could range from €8 to €18 if you order from a restaurant. But the price could be much lower if you buy the ingredients and cook at home. Hence, learn to cook. It will help you save a lot of money.
Accommodation is one of the more substantial expenses for a student. The average accommodation rent in Ireland could range from €400 to over €1,500 per month. One of the best and easiest ways to lower your housing costs is by getting a roommate or sharing your accommodation. This especially helps in combating the initial feelings of loneliness you will experience. Utilities such as electricity and internet are normally included in the rent, but it is advisable to check this when you sign a contract with the landlord. Remember to turn off appliances such as the air-conditioner and heater when you go out in case you don't want to be taken aback by your electricity bills.
3. Recreational expenses
Do you love to shop? Do you watch movies often? Doing these things regularly can be expensive. But don’t worry as you have options. For one, as a student, you will get a discount in many shops. There are loads of grocery stores in Ireland, such as Tesco, Dunnes, Lidl, and Aldi. Lidl is the one I shop at most often because the prices are usually cheaper but the quality is very good. You can get some vouchers every week by downloading the ‘Lidl Plus’ app. As for what to do on the weekends, Ireland is a beautiful country, and very scenic. So go out on the weekends and explore. Travelling within Ireland won’t cost you a lot of money, but it will be very fun and memorable.
4. Part-time work
All international students in Ireland are allowed to find a part-time job and work up to 20 hours per week (40 hours per week during holidays). The minimum wage is €11.30. You can work in the retail or hospitality sectors. You will get paid weekly and this can help supplement your living expenses. Besides making money, a part-time job gives you the chance to make friends with local people in workplaces and get some experience working in a new culture and environment. But please don’t forget that you are a student first and foremost, and the main goal is to study hard and make the most of that experience. Therefore, it is important to find a balance between study and work.
5. Save Money on Shopping (Groceries & Essentials)
You can save money on shopping essentials in various ways. Make a list of weekly groceries that you require. Buying in bulk could get you discounts rather than buying a single item. Additionally, you can collect all the discount coupons and vouchers that are on offer at grocery stores or online. Remember to use your student ID card during check-out. It gives you discounts most of the time. Another place to get good discounts and fresh produce is at Farmers' markets – visit those on weekends. Avoid random shopping for things you don’t need at supermarkets.
These are some practical money-saving tips for you to live in Ireland. It will help you save money for the occasional splurge of your liking every once in a while! Enjoy your journey in Ireland and make the most of your student life there.
The author is Senior Vice President, India & South Asia - Enterprise Ireland.
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