The cost of living abroad can sometimes be more expensive than at CMU. Budgeting on-site may take a little time while you become accustomed to the local currency and its value in relation to the dollar. Past program participants have reported that they sometimes ran out of money a month before the end of their program because they did not carefully budget. Here are some tips that may help you:
Make a daily and weekly budget and stick to it! Expenses may include travel within your city, food, books, laundry, toiletries, internet/phone access, entertainment, independent travel and souvenirs/gifts.
Learn the "value" of the money as quickly as possible. In the beginning, it may be helpful to create a cheat sheet to keep in your purse or wallet that lists the exchange rate in common increments (i.e. $10 U.S. dollars = 7 Euros).
Watch for student rates that may be available. Your ISIC also offers a variety of discounts around the world.
Be conservative - don't eat out at restaurants for every meal when you can cook in your apartment for a fraction of the price. Your school may also have a cafeteria that offers lunch at a subsidized price.
Shop around - prices are often cheaper in areas not frequently visited by tourists.
Take advantage of special offers for entertainment both on and off campus. Many museums offer free admission one day per week or month; with careful planning, you can experience a variety of things at minimal cost.
Be sure to safeguard your credit cards, ATM cards, traveler's checks, and cash. Loss of personal possessions is upsetting at any time, but even more troubling and inconvenient abroad. Also remember that pick-pocketing is common in some areas, especially near tourist attractions.