The Balance Between “YOLO” and Your Budget

Jessie Williams is a student at the College of Saint Rose and an ISA Featured Blogger. Jessie is currently studying abroad with ISA in Barcelona, Spain.

Yummy Cambridge, England pastries are always a good thing to splurge a few euros on
Yummy Cambridge, England pastries are always a good thing to splurge a few euros on

Nearly everyone who speaks in the English language has undeniably used or heard the phrase “YOLO“. For those of you that haven’t, it stands for “You only live once“. People often use it to justify doing something they might not under normal conditions. When you’re studying abroad, it becomes so easy to be overwhelmed by everything that you want to do and finding enough money to do it all.

For the duration of my vacation in London, I have experienced this several times. 30£ for the London Eye, another 18£ for the Tower of London, 29£ for the Harry Potter Studio Tour, not to mention train tickets and underground costs. Everyone keeps reminding me, “another plane ticket here will cost more than seeing the attraction!” Well, this may be true, but when I move on, I’m going to be severely broke. And, what about all the other places I want to buy train tickets to? With some lint and memories in pocket, will my YOLO experience be truly worth it?

My best advice to those who are about to or are currently encountering this issue is prior planning.  The honest truth is everything is a trade off. I’ve had to learn to budget my money from the beginning, thinking ahead of the costs associated with each attraction that has caught my eye. From that list I have had to cross off certain things, coining them as “too similar” or reconsidering after reading the reviews. Come with a budget, and do your best to stick to it. I, myself have been trying to push myself to see how much I can even have left over.

Another amazing resource for me has been my ISIC card. This card works as my prepaid MasterCard as well as my international student ID. Let me tell you, it is LIFESAVER. Most places have discounts for students and don’t even advertise it. 10% here, 15% there, a few pounds off an attraction saves you a lot of money at the end of the day. When I went to London this past Tuesday, my card paid for itself and then more. I saved a few pounds on the Tower of London, and most museum entries ending up being completely free (my new favorite word).

My biggest YOLO moment in Europe: Meeting Daniel Radcliffe!
My biggest YOLO moment in Europe: Meeting Daniel Radcliffe!

2 thoughts

  1. It sounds like you’re having a great time. I really enjoyed reading this! Wish I would’ve stuck to a budget while in London, but paying for it when I got home was well worth it!

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