When I arrived in Scotland, I remember thinking to myself with glee, “wow things are cheap!”.
Hi, my name is Audrey, and I was wrong. I was really wrong.
For every Scottish £1 I spent, I was subsequently spending $1.88 CAD (our dollar has since gone down, however it was between 1.88 and 1.9 throughout my entire trip). Therefore, at the end of every grocery bill and every phone bill I accumulated, I thought I was making hella savings. Essentially, I was spending almost twice as much for every Scottish £1 I spent. After receiving my first VISA bill converted to the Canadian dollar, I quickly changed my spending habits. Just for you, I have accumulated a little list of my top 3 tips for saving money and sticking to a budget below. Take it as, “I have suffered, so that you don’t have too”. Enjoy!
- Eating out: I encourage this. Eating out was one of the highlights of my time abroad. Try all the new things, eat all the haggis your body can withstand. Gain a couple pounds (I did, and I have zero regrets)! Don’t limit your palate, instead limit your small trips. I found that eating out for meals with friends was ten times more fun and more worth it than ordering yourself pizza on the nights where your roommates are studying in their rooms. Eat out for meals, eat with the new people you meet, grocery shop for snacks. Granola bars were my life. It sounds stupid, but when you’re hungry a granola bar really does it. Refer to a picture below of an incredible meal I shared with friends in Greece.
- Transit: I wish I had known about this little life hack before I made it halfway through the semester. Little trick for ya, a taxi is often cheaper than public transportation in Europe. Granted, this only truly applies when you are in a group of 3+. But! But… you will be with your roommates and your new friends a lot more than you’d think. In fact, I was almost strictly always with at least 3 people when I would go out. Split the fare, you will save tons doing this!
- Student Card: When I arrived in Scotland, I was given a student ID the very first day of classes. I took this student ID with me through all of Europe, and used it in 8 different countries. Discounts on discounts. Flash it everywhere you go. Look up student prices for museums. Tourist attractions are notorious for having a student price. Though the savings might not seem like much at first (often tax is removed, or a mere few pounds are taken off the total), it adds up quickly. Flash that baby.