How To Plan Your Study Abroad Budget In 5 Effective Steps

how to plan your study abroad budget


If you are reading this and have decided to study abroad, congratulations on this next chapter in your life!

In this article, we provide you with a simple, step-by-step budget guide to follow. Remember, the actual costs will vary based on the country, the course, and the lifestyle you choose.

All set? Let’s GO!

Decide Your Where, How, And What

before you plan your study abroad budget

The Where, What and How Long To Study impacts your overall budget to study overseas. Thus, you need to know them like the back of your hand before you get into the weeds of money matters.

WHERE Do You Want To Study?

  • The cost will vary based on the country, university, and even the city you choose.
  • It goes without saying that the exchange rate is an important consideration as well, for example, between Australia and the UK.
  • Next, your university choice will also determine the overall cost. Take Australia, for example:
    • A business degree at Curtin University, Perth, will cost about AUD 30K a year. Meanwhile, the University of Melbourne will set you back AUD 45K a year.
    • Living in Perth, you can get by with AUD 1,900 a month, while you may need AUD 2,500 to cover rent and living expenses in Melbourne.

WHAT Do You Want To Study?

  • The type of course you choose will also determine your overall study abroad budget.
  • Science, engineering, and medical courses generally cost more compared to business and creative courses. These courses have longer study durations. Moreover, it takes higher capital investments for the universities to build their facilities.
  • For example, a Business student will pay GBP 31,200 per year to study at University College London (UCL). Another student will fork out GBP 50,300 per year to study MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery). If you look closely, a business course will take 3 years of your time, and an MBBS will take 5 long years.

Pro Tip:
If you have a budget in mind, a professional study abroad consultant is able to help you propose the Where, What, and How Long to fit your budget.

HOW LONG Do You Want To Study?

  • Your duration of study overseas adds up to your total aggregate cost.
  • To save cost, Most Malaysian students will take their pre-university courses, like A-level, SACE, or AUSMAT, in Malaysia before pursuing the degree abroad.
  • But if you decide to begin with the foundation route (as it is generally easier to pass), you need to enrol in the university’s foundation course overseas. As such, this pathway will prolong your study abroad duration. 

Know The Major Cost Components

Study Abroad Budget? Nah

After identifying your Where and What to study, you can now create a more precise budget.

Your study abroad budget can be divided into 5 major components:

i) Course Fees 

The fees involved in your course typically comprise of:

  • Tuition fees
  • Resource fees
  • Study materials/supplies

Study materials and supplies can make up a substantial amount, too. For example, photography students are required to purchase their own cameras. Architectural and fine arts students typically pay for materials as well as visits to unique locations outside campus, such as museums and ateliers.

ii) Accommodation

The next biggest slice of your budget pie consists of your accommodation. When choosing your home, you need to think about

  • Accommodation type
  • Campus proximity
  • Neighbourhood surroundings
  • Nearby amenities

These considerations will greatly affect your rent amount.

Pro Tip:
Do not overlook the conditions of your surrounding neighbourhood, as your safety is important above all else.

iii) Living Expenses

Essential items such as food and transportation must be your priority. Other recurring essential expenses, such as mobile subscriptions and student insurance.

iv) Entertainment

We chose to separate entertainment expenses from daily essential expenses as this component can add up substantially. However, the final amount depends on your lifestyle and activities outside of studies.

While education is the main priority, having enriching activities will help build your character. Allocate some portion of your budget to treat and/or enhance yourself. Be it movie time, a night out with your friends, or to immerse yourself in the local culture, you deserve the occasional splurge.

v) Other Miscellaneous

No financial planning venture is perfect. As such, you need to allocate some money towards unforeseen expenses.

Calculate Your Study Abroad Budget 

I cannot math the sutdy abroad budget

Making things visual makes creating your study plan easier. This step is one of the key decision-makers in your game plan.

We provide you with 2 study-in-Australia scenarios: Nina, who is living a thrifty student life, and Sam, who has a bigger budget to spend.


Nina only wants to focus on sustaining her basic needs.

meet nina. she plans to study abroad

Here, she only spends on necessities, such as food, transportation, and insurance. Thus, her entertainment budget is minimal.

nina's budget to study abroad
here's Nina's Study Abroad Budget


On the other end of the scale, Sam enjoys an active and outgoing lifestyle. She enjoys socialising through a variety of foods and activities.

say hello to Sam who also plans to study abroad

Thus, a lot of the budget will go into living and entertainment expenses, as shown in this table.

this is how Sam's Study Abroad Budget will look like
sam's budget to study abroad

Ultimately, these are just two possible scenarios, and your spending goals will be different. The most important thing is to clearly visualise your expenses before you finalise your study plan.

No matter where you are going, you can use these calculators as a guide before going to the next step, such as

Need A Clearer Breakdown? Consult An Expert

consult a study overseas expert

They can provide you with an estimated budget breakdown depending on where you are studying and the kind of lifestyle you plan to have. Moreover, an expert will bring you out of major

A handy way to reduce your tuition fees is to earn a scholarship. While applying for your course, you can also submit your application for a scholarship!

So, if you want an expert to do all the budgeting research for you, just get in touch with Uni Enrol!

Forgotten Your Scholarship Application?
Get A Study Abroad Consultant Early To Avoid 7 Big Mistakes. They assure you that you will not miss important deadlines and exclusive deals.

Discuss Your Study Plan With Your Parents

Talk To Your Parents About Your Budget

Finally, you must obtain that green light from your parents to kickstart your study plan.

There may be disagreements and negotiations between what you want and what they want for you.  3 things you can do to ease the financial planning process.

  1. Show them your research (provided by Uni Enrol)
  2. Prepare your budget plan and options (prepared by Uni Enrol)
  3. Get them involved in the planning process (with Uni Enrol)

You Will Not Study Overseas Alone
Even though the financial planning process may seem long and lonely, your study abroad consultants are always there to help. Remember, it is okay to ask.

Plus, they can let you in on exclusive deals and the best options for your stay.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *