As YES student, you are entitled to receive a monthly stipend. The purpose of this stipend is to allow you to purchase things which you will need to participate in American life and to pay for your own personal expenses. While on program, you will be living with a host family who will provide your meals and housing, which is the largest portion of your living costs. However, there are other expense that will arise while on program that you will need to take responsibility for. The monthly stipend of U.S. $200 will allow you to pay for things such as:
- School supplies
- Toiletries (shampoo, deodorant, etc.)
- Social activities (movies, sports events, other entertainment)
- Meals out with friends, snacks
- Phone cards/your phone bills
- Presents for family back home
Stipends should not be used to pay for expensive electronics or saved to take home.
The stipend check is mailed to the host family. Together you can cash the check. Stipends will be mailed out each month. Therefore, you should receive your stipend during the first week of the following month. Please note the the check expires in 120 days (3 months).
A student should have direct access to their stipend and the host family is not responsible for holding onto or managing the student’s stipend money. If a student is displaying severe budgeting concerns or if you have any other stipend-related concerns, please reach out to your AFS Liaison or Support Coordinator.
For stipend related questions, please contact your YES Participant Support Specialist or at [email protected].
Tips on budgeting: Always think ahead and budget your stipend every month!
Step 1: Set aside the amount you’re saving up to be spent later in the year
There are many end-of-the-year activities at your school that may have costs (prom, yearbooks, graduation), or you might want to buy your sending family gifts to bring back with you, which means you should probably start saving up! Example: Set aside $20 a month and put it in an envelope. This will get you about $200 at the end of the year to be used for-end-of-year activities.
Reminder: The stipend cannot be saved up to buy electronics or bring cash home to your home country. The stipend is to help you participate in school and community events with your friends and family.
Step 2: Set aside fixed expenses
You might be expected to pay for some items every month. Maybe you need to pay monthly for your phone data plan, a Spotify subscription, or you need to purchase your own personal hygiene products. Set aside the amount you think you’ll need to pay for these monthly expenses.
Step 3: Divide up the remaining
Option 1: Weekly allowance – Divide the remaining amount you have into 4 weeks. That is your weekly allowance! You can use this allowance as a guide to see how much you are spending that week. For example, if your remaining is $160, you have about $40 to spend every week on a ticket to go watch your high school’s American football game or to get ice cream with friends.
Option 2: By category – Divide the remaining amount into different categories: Food, Entertainment, Clothes, etc. You can be more specific and have more categories or be broad and have less categories.
Choose the option you think will work the best for you and your style. Whichever option you choose, it will help you manage your stipend better and let you participate in local activities without worrying about going over budget!