Managing The Costs Of Studying Abroad
In my eBook “The Ultimate Study Abroad Guide”, I included a section about the realities associated with banking while you’re studying abroad. While I hope you find it helpful, I also wanted to let you know about two other options I’ve come across that can make managing your finances abroad a lot easier.
Removing the stigma of the “cash gift” one Facebook post at a time
Let’s face it, if you’re going to be abroad, you’re going to need some cash. While I have no problem asking for it, for some reason friends and relatives are always hesitant to give cash as a gift, I guess because they think it isn’t personal enough (even though we blatantly tell them it’s the most useful thing they could possibly give).
Well fear not, I’ve come across a solution – myTab. So what is myTab? In short, it’s a Travel Gift Registry – a cool new concept in the travel search industry. It’s the first travel site to integrate “social gifting” & the only site with a full travel cycle: gift/save -> plan -> book.
It’s actually really easy and this is all you have to do:
1. Create a free myTab.co account & import your Facebook friends.
2. Go to myTab.co/GiftMe and write something on your Facebook wall like “Heading abroad for the semester. Birthday’s coming up so instead of gifts, can you just put it on myTab.!”
3. Go to myTab.co/myAccount and create your vanity url e.g. myTab.co/MyStudyAbroad.
4. Save travel cash, if you can, on myTab also and set up your travel destination on myTab.co/myTrips
5. Either book travel on myTab (through Expedia) or let them ‘Match myCash’ – where they email you flights that match your destination to the amount in your myTab account. Then you can thank everyone who helped chip in.
You can use myTab to book your flight to and from your study abroad destination, or any of the awesome trips you’ll be taking while you’re abroad. To top it off, you can even create group accounts so you don’t have to worry about coordinating travel arrangements with 7 other people.
Yeah, the whole “put in on myTab” phrase may be a little cheesy, but you know what’s not cheesy? Getting cash.
Outsmarting your bank and the ATM while you’re abroad
One night in London after some friends and I had just finished a bomb pizza dinner, we decided we wanted to go have a few casual beers. My friend Andrew said he liked to pay with cash and since he was a member of Bank of America (which has an agreement with Barclays Bank not to charge exchange and withdrawal fees) we headed to the nearest Barclays ATM.
Andrew fumbled around the ATM for about 5 minutes before finally coming to the miserable conclusion that his account was frozen, and therefore, his cash flow hit a road block. It was a Friday night, he couldn’t get in touch with his bank, and he was without cash for a good few days.
Want to know how to avoid this mess? Check out ATMCash. It’s a money transfer system, and it’s a fantastic alternate to traditional banking. Here’s how it goes:
1. Sign up online or by phone and they’ll walk you through the sign up process.
2. ATMCASH will send you a reloadable prepaid ATMCASH card via FedEx and separately mail you a secure PIN code.
3. You can then use the ATMCASH card to withdraw money from over 1.5 million ATM locations worldwide.
It’s basically a bank-less checking account, and you know the best part? Money can be sent to your card 24/7! Whether you’re transferring $100 or $1,000, the transfer fee is only $5, a ridiculously low rate compared to other transfer services. And while I was paying $4.00 ATM withdrawal fees in Scotland (because I hadn’t learned about this yet), the standard ATM withdrawal fee for ATMCash is only $1.50 no matter where you are in the world, or what ATM you use.
I can tell you from experience, the last thing you want to have to worry about while studying or traveling abroad is a frozen or empty bank account.
The key to not blowing every penny you or your parents have in savings is sticking to a smart, well planned budget. Check out these two options if you want some help sticking to that budget.