Living on a Budget

While the Summer Work/Travel program gives you an opportunity to earn money while traveling in the U.S., you will still need to budget wisely. For example, it may take a few weeks before you get your first paycheck so plan to bring at least enough money to live for one month (approximately $800 to $1,000 USD) with you on the airplane. Do NOT pack this in your checked luggage. Plan in advance, to ensure that you always have money set aside to pay for housing, meals, and any other expenses. If you want to save money for traveling or to take home with you, it’s best to try to save a certain amount from each paycheck. See our budget worksheet here!


Open a bank account as soon as possible. This will allow you to cash and deposit your paychecks, receive money from overseas, and obtain an ATM or Debit Card. Your employer can help you identify a good bank in your area. When you go to open an account, be sure to bring various forms of identification, including your passport and social security number.

Most bank accounts provide bankcards that can be used at 24-hour automated teller machines (ATMs) or cashpoints. These are called ATM or Debit cards. Speak to your bank to find out how to use your card. A “PIN”, or Personal Identification Number, is provided for your Debit card. This number should be a secret that only you know. Memorize this number and then destroy any written copies of it. If someone else has your Debit card and your PIN number, they can take money from your account. If you lose this card, notify your bank immediately. Do not share this PIN with anyone, even your close friends or roommates.

Credit Cards

You may be able to use your credit card from home while you are in the United States. Most major retailers accept Visa, MasterCard, Discover Card, and American Express. Be sure to check with your credit card provider before using your card abroad; some companies charge international transactions fees. It is also important to let your credit card companies and banks know about your travel to the United States, otherwise your cards may not work in the USA.

Traveler’s Checks

Traveler’s checks are used less now than in the past. They are a safe and convenient way to carry funds with you. They can be purchased at any bank and are fully refundable if lost or stolen.

Need Money in a Hurry? – Western Union

Western Union is a popular money transfer company in the United States and worldwide. This service makes it possible to transfer money from your home country to anywhere in the United States within 15 minutes, on any day of the week. In the U.S., you can call 1-800-325-6000 or visit to find the Western Union office nearest to you and the office nearest to the person sending money to you.

To see more detailed information – please download the student handbook