Anyone who knows me well knows that I am the worst at budgeting money.  For those of you who have this same problem, I highly recommend studying abroad. It wasn’t until I went abroad that I learned how to watch my spending.  When I turned 18, I was officially a legal adult, but I didn’t start feeling like one until I moved into my apartment here in Florence and had more responsibility than I could have imagined. In my opinion, budgeting money doesn’t become a real issue until you are completely on your own. At college, I didn’t need to worry about where and when I was going to eat when I had a meal plan. I also didn’t need to worry about buying textbooks when I could sell them back to the school after the semester was over. Before coming to Italy, I never cooked for myself, and I certainly never spent more than $30 on food at the grocery store. Now, food shopping has put a dent in my wallet every week.

I actually didn’t run into trouble with money until I started traveling.  One of the first major mistakes I made was keeping all of my money on my credit cards. Once when I went food shopping with my roommate, I was standing at the cash register and realized that I spent more than I had. Thankfully my roommate covered me, but I was mortified. It’s not a good situation to be in when you can’t pay for yourself. An even scarier situation was when I ran into this same problem while I was in Germany. Although mobile banking is a new convenient feature, I was too preoccupied having the time of my life to check my account. Instead of waiting patiently for Wi-Fi to check my banking, I was taking pictures and enjoying myself.  Before leaving for a trip at the beginning of the semester, I had a bad habit of taking out some of my money for the weekend in cash and keeping most of it on cards.

I also ran into trouble with my cards when I was in Munich for Oktoberfest with my friends. Not only did I forget to tell my bank that I was traveling, but I also lost track of my spending. Most of the cash that I had taken out was spent on transportation into the city from our hotel room. If there is anything frustrating about traveling in Europe, it is the cost of transportation. Cabs and even Ubers were very expensive in Germany because of Oktoberfest. My two friends and I split the fare and, even then, the cost was $30 each.  Late at night after Oktoberfest, I had lost my friends because there were so many people. All three of us paid over 70 euros, equivalent to the cost of $80 to get back to our hotel. Germany has a subway system, but the trains couldn’t drop us off at our hotel. Despite how confusing it may have been, we probably would have been better off taking the trains. With that said, I definitely recommend researching the public transportation systems wherever you go to save yourself the money and the headache.

Being in a new country can be exciting and stressful because there is so much you want to see and do. However, it’s very important to be able to get yourself there and back by keeping track of what’s in your wallet. Since I’ve been traveling abroad, I’ve noticed that most of my spending comes not from shopping sprees, but from getting dinner with friends, transportation and buying tickets to various attractions. When you travel, prepare yourself for emergencies. You don’t want to be that person who loses their passport, doesn’t have enough money to make it home or forgets to call their bank while traveling. It’s a waste to spend your time there worrying about where your money went. Take it from me — budgeting isn’t easy if you learned late like I did, but it’s nothing to be ashamed of. After all, it’s a responsibility that you will likely never take for granted again.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.