Money-management for volunteers: 5 tips
Updated: Oct 20, 2021
Here you are, in your new home abroad (or for national volunteers: starting a new life), ready for some meaningful and wonderful months to spend with the European Solidarity Corps.
Problem (which is actually a challenge!) : you are not sure about how to spend the allowance you receive each month in a smart way.
Let me tell you there is not one best way to spend your money. Finances are most of the times an individual and a personal matter. It is up to you and only you how to deal with it.
What is important is to find your motivation for implementing better money-management in your life; because it requires some time, effort, and anticipation.
Are you looking for security? freedom and more opportunities?
For developing your sense of responsibilities?
For having more time to focus on other things in your life?
For some people, money can also be a cause of stress or shame in a friendship: managing finances can be a way of avoiding too big money differences between friends and the activities spent together.
Hopefully, in this article, you will learn about how better:
…thanks to the following tips:
1. If you can, set up a local bank account in the country of your volunteering…
Find information about how to open an account, and what administrative papers it requires. Get used to the app if the bank has one or to its website.
2. …or/and take an option in the bank account you have in your home country.
This can allow you to take some cash or to pay directly with your card without paying some fees, something to check before leaving, mostly if you will live outside the Euro Zone.
3. Check regularly your expenses.
Are you overspending? Money-management is about finding a balance, and consistency in a long-term approach. It is calling your sense of reality: for example, it is normal to maybe spend more money the first month of your volunteering: you need to take the time to shop around different places and to compare the prices; you may also to put some grocery food aside for the following months (for example, food like rice, pasta, beans etc).
Check the app of your bank if it has one, or its website ; you can also check more in details the bills of your different expenses.
4. Plan budget, that includes building an emergency fund.
It can be useful for long-term projects and goals, such as trips. It is also a way for you to save some money to use when you return home.
5. Think about money-management in groups as well.
If you are living in a community, you particularly do not want money to be a factor of conflict between you and your friends. Apps like Tricount can be a solution: it allows you to have a clear and precise vision of “who owes what amount of money to whom”. Therefore, it is a great help when it comes to buying common products in the daily life. It makes it easier as well to do some transfers of money to your friends.
To conclude: money-management can seem hard to implement sometimes; but volunteering abroad is an opportunity for you to learn more about it and to save you some time and stress in your future.
Thanks for reading and feel free to leave some tips from your own experience in the comments below!
(French and European volunteer in Asociatia AUM, Sighisoara, Romania)