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You can help manage your budget by starting to plan before you leave. Take a realistic look at what you spend in Boulder over the same period of time as you’ll be abroad, and then budget for what you may spend overseas. Develop a plan for how to access additional funds if the amount you initially budget for proves to be insufficient.
Once you arrive, you may wish to alter your budget after you have spent some time at your program site. Make sure to have a plan in case of a larger financial emergency. Where could you draw emergency funds from if you really needed to?

Personal Expenses Overseas

The Program Cost webpage provides an estimate of additional costs not included in your program fee (see “estimated additional costs”). This is an estimate and typically represents the cost for an average or slightly above-average level of spending. Of course, this will vary greatly depending on your lifestyle and travel plans. When developing your budget consider the following expenses:

  • Local transportation in your host city/country
  • Personal travel plans
  • Eating out at restaurants
  • Sightseeing and activities
  • Buying souvenirs and gifts
  • Miscellaneous expenses such as books, cell phones, toiletries, etc.
  • Additional funding in case of emergencies
Pro Tip: Smart spending strategies

While your personal expenses overseas may be different from what you normally spend at home, there are steps you can take to cut down costs. Here are some smart spending strategies to help you maintain a budget while abroad: 
  • Food: cook your own meals, eat street food from local vendor stands, go for a picnic, or find restaurants with lunch specials
  • Shopping: shop around and compare prices. Avoid buying things close to tourist areas. Haggle when appropriate- sometimes prices are negotiable.
  • Other: Take advantage of student discounts. Find free activities and discount nights such as free walking tours, museums with discounted nights, or restaurants with happy hours. 

Cost of Living in Your Host Country
Costs for common items can vary greatly from country to country. While building your budget, it is a good idea to look up the cost of common items in your host country. You can do so using the Worldwide Cost Index.

Exchange Rates and Budgeting

Familiarize yourself with exchange rates and what they can do to your purchasing power in another country. If the U.S. dollar is weaker than the local currency this means that your cost of living will be higher in your host country; if the U.S. dollar is stronger than the local currency, the cost of living will be lower. Exchange rate information is available on websites such as Remember exchange rates may fluctuate. 
Last Updated November 2021