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The basics
THE USA: Before you leave

Insights: Living on a student budget in the U.S.

Making plans to study abroad means you'll have to consider your budget. Get some insights from a student expert in the U.S. on how to live on a student budget.

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Talking about money and budgeting isn’t the easiest to do, but it’s a critical element of any successful study abroad journey. Working out how much money you’ll need to study overseas and how to get the most for your cash is essential. We went in search of some advice on keeping costs under control in the U.S. from a student advisor based in New York City. 


Student living costs US

Student location in the U.S. is key


One of the most important elements when it comes to budgeting for your studies is where your chosen institution is located. The cost of living varies quite considerably in America, with larger more well-known cities, like New York and Boston, putting more strain on your wallet. One of the challenges you may face in these contexts is the plethora of options and activities on offer. In a city like New York there is so much to see and do that you may find yourself eating out or going to events more than you can afford to.  


Naturally you will want to hang out with new friends and experience your new environment, but you will need to keep a close check on this. A top tip is to search for as many student discounts as possible and find the free events that happen all over cities, like museum nights and music shows.  It can also help to search for entertainment outside of the more expensive city centres, where you’ll likely find better prices. In addition, if you’re staying in a major U.S. city long term getting hold of a student transport pass, which will give you significant discounts on trips, is a definite must to aid your financial health. 


Student budget US

Cost of food in the U.S.


One way that your bank balance can be quickly drained is by eating out. It’s generally quite expensive to eat out in the U.S. and should rather be reserved for special occasions. Cooking your own meals, or eating the meals prepared by your university accommodation, is the best way to keep your costs down and can also be the healthier option.  It’s much easier to budget for a weekly grocery shop than a luxury meal at a restaurant. 



Student budget US


Cost of clothing in the U.S. 


One of the key pieces of advice we got from our resident U.S. expert is that you should try to bring as much clothing as possible with you if you’re bound for America. Clothing tends to be quite expensive to buy in the U.S. and having to find the money to fund a new wardrobe or keep up with fashion trends is likely to be to your detriment. Try to plan accordingly, if you will be in the U.S. for the colder months of the year for example, see if you can purchase some warmer clothes at home prior to your arrival. It’ll probably save you some critical cash.  By keeping a close watch on your spending and taking into account some of the tips above, you’ll be able to enjoy your student experience in the U.S. and avoid the stress of money worries. 


Student cost of living US

Study in the USA


'Study in the USA' eBook

Enjoy what you’ve read? We’ve condensed the above popular topics about studying in the USA into one handy digital book.

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