Personal finance 101: Making ends meet as full time student, without a scholarship (part I)

You’ve decided you want to apply for KI. It’s an exciting time, as it should be – you’ll try your best to write the best application, and if everything goes according to plan, in less than a year you’ll move to Stockholm and attend classes at one of the best Universities in the world! Very exciting, indeed.

However, the excitement wears off a little when you find out you might not be eligible for a scholarship, you can’t access financial aid and, since you’re going to be a fulltime student with little knowledge of Swedish, the chance of getting a job are relatively slim. So, what’s next?

The good news is that it’s doable. The “not-so-good” news is that you will need to do a little research and planning before coming to Sweden. You’re not the first, nor the last student to be in the situation – a lot of students go through this and fortunately, there are plenty of resources to help you. For starters, here are some of my tips on how to navigate the move to Sweden without breaking the bank:

  1. Start saving.

Regardless of where you’re from, chances are you’ve got a job, which means you have some sort of income. Once you’ve decided that Sweden is the next destination for you, the best thing you can do is adjust your monthly budget and put some money aside, every month. Just know that Stockholm is not the cheapest place in Sweden, and Sweden sure isn’t the cheapest country in the world, for the cost of living. You can get an idea about a student’s monthly expenses here. Worst case scenario (if you don’t get accepted to your programme of choice), you’ll have some money saved up that you can use later, however you see fit.

  1. Start looking for accommodation as soon as possible

Finding affordable housing in Stockholm is no walk in the park, but it’s not impossible. Once you get the green light from you uni, start searching – go on websites and social media groups, compare prices and figure out what would work best for you. To start off, KI Accommodation has put together a list of options, which you can check out here.

  1. Affordable plane tickets. Yes, they exist.

If you are familiar with travelling by plane, you’ll know that airfares depend heavily on the time you book the ticket (how much in advance), the day of the week you choose to fly (weekend flights tend to be more expensive than weekday ones), the company, whether you have any layovers, and the list goes on and on. To get a better idea of what you’ll have to spend, check out different websites and pick a suitable option for your schedule. Websites like Skyscanner allow you to see which is the cheapest month or day of the month.

The series on personal finance will continue with some tips on surviving (and enjoying) your stay in Sweden, but until then, hej dĂĄ!

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