Studying abroad can be expensive and juggling university and working part-time doesn’t always work out! Student Ambassador Dongxie shares with us his money-saving tips for Ireland. Interested? Read on for more information…

Hello! I am Dongxie Zhao from China. I often go by ‘Alvin’ and I am doing my Bachelor Degree in Early Childhood Care and Education at Munster Technological University (MTU). As an international student, I would like a memorable study experience in a high-standard learning environment. On the other hand, it’s necessary to consider the expenses because it’s usually not cheap studying abroad. Therefore, here are a few money-saving tips I found useful if you’d like to cut down your costs.  

  1. Cook more often 

Yummy food (photo: Dongxie)

For a student from mainland China, food can be regarded as very expensive in Ireland. However, it largely depends on your eating habits. For example, a normal meal could range from €8 to €15 if you order from a restaurant. But the price could be much lower if you buy the ingredients and cook at home. I practise this money-saving strategy and it works very well. Usually, I will go grocery shopping with my housemates once a week. Each of us takes turns cooking for everyone and we all eat lunch and dinner together. Each of us spends only around €25 per week on groceries for meals.  

There are many grocery stores in Ireland, such as Tesco, Dunnes, Lidl and Aldi…Lidl is the one I shop at most often because the price is usually cheaper but the quality is very good. You can get some vouchers every week by downloading the ‘Lidl Plus’ app.  I can even find a variety of Asian ingredients from the grocery stores to cook Asian dishes here in Ireland. Don’t worry if you are not good at cooking. Practice makes perfect, there are loads of cooking videos on YouTube for you to watch and learn anytime.  


2. Accommodation  

Dongxie’s accommodation (photo: Dongxie)

Accommodation is one of the largest expenses. The average accommodation fees in Ireland could range from €300 to over €1,000 per month. However, you can lower the price by finding a friend as your roommate. Living with a friend is also an effective way to reduce the level of loneliness. As for the electricity and internet bills, they might or might not be included in your rental fees – remember to find out all the relevant information before you make any decisions. Remember to turn off appliances such as the air-conditioner and heater when you go out. Otherwise, you will be surprised by the electricity bills. 


3. Things to do during leisure time 

An Irish rainbow (photo: Dongxie)



Are you a shopaholic? Are you a cinemagoer? Do you know you could save a lot of money from shopping or movies by changing the ways of entertainment? Ireland is a unique country, it is famous for stunning scenery, historical sites and a relaxing lifestyle. There are so many fun things you can try rather than just shopping, going to the cinema or staying at home watching Netflix. Ireland is known as the ‘Emerald Isle’, it means green island because it rains a lot here. As such, you will see a lot of beautiful foliage wherever you go. Another way of spending your free time when you have a short vacation is to travel. Travelling within Ireland won’t take you a lot of money, but it will be very fun! 


4. Make extra income   

All international students in Ireland are allowed to find a part-time job and work up to 20 hours per week (40 hours per week during holiday). It is an interesting experience to find a part-time job and this also gives you the chance to make friends with local people in workplaces. A restaurant, a coffee shop or even a bar could be a perfect workplace for you to know this wonderful country from another perspective and earn some pocket money. But don’t forget, as a student, the main goal is to work hard and study well. Therefore, it is important to find a balance between study and work. Oh, almost forgot to mention, you can also get a chance to get scholarships if you do well in your academic performance. So, while you may make some pocket money working, you could possibly reduce your fees significantly if you spend that time studying instead.  


These are four money-saving tips for you to live in Ireland. I hope you have a wonderful adventure on the ‘Emerald Isle’! If you have any other tips for saving money or have any questions, please leave your comments here. Thanks a million!  

Dongxie is studying Early Childhood Education & Care at Munster Technological University