Opt out of bottle service tonight and save that money to go skiing in the Alps.
Before I studied abroad, a mentor of mine gave me one piece of advice: come home in debt. He rationalized that the $1000 I might need to borrow would be paid back a lifetime before the memories would be forgotten. I headed his advice and never second-guessed about taking the trip that I wanted to take or eating at the restaurant that I had read about in my Frommer’s. I came back from that semester with a notebook full of favorite restaurants and meals, a hard-drive worth of pictures and videos from my travels and $27 in my checking account.
This week, my advice to you is to budget your dough. I’m sure you slaved all summer to make what little money you brought with you abroad. I’d say you’re crazy if you didn’t try to spend it all while you are here. You worked, now it is time to play. But don’t get confuse my message here – I, unlike my mentor, don’t advocate going into debt unless you must and I certainly am not telling you to blow all your money on a bottle service at Opium three nights a week. Rather, I am saying its time for you to rank the things your study abroad bucket list and make the most important ones a reality.
As scary as it is to say, we’re closing in on the halfway point of this semester. So, if your number one priority is to travel and you haven’t booked your fall break, that ski trip to Interlaken, or those weekends to the Christmas Markets in Austria and Germany, I would say it is about time. Here’s why.
With a finite amount of money and time, it is best to plan and book your most important and biggest expenditures first to insure that you will get to experience them. I love a good party as much as the next guy but I’d gladly cut back on the amount of Blueberry Steaks I eat at Aqua al 2 if it means I can see the Christmas Markets in Salzburg or the Lennon Wall in Prague.
If you have been flying by the seat of your pants so far this semester, I say that its time to sit down and look at your finances, decide what is most important to you and make that happen. From there you can work backwards and see how much money you will have left in your budget for meals, drinking and shopping. In the end, you’ll be grateful that you spent a couple more nights in your apartment eating pasta working on your blog because you will never forget the day you went skydiving in Interlaken, but you may forget your 3rd leather jacket you bought from Massimo at the market.
If you need help working on a budget or figuring out how best to allocate you money in these remaining months, feel free to ask me for some help. (but I’ll let you in on another one of my insider secrets now: Mint.com – the best budgeting tool in the world)
Until next week – safe travels,
This article was written by Tony Ubertaccio.