If you’re a student living and studying in France, it’s important to find effective ways of managing your budget. The last thing you want is to find yourself in a situation where you’re trying to focus on your studies with massive money issues looming over your head.
In this article, we’ll take a look at some tips to help you define and manage your study abroad budget so as to avoid burning through it. You will discover ways to make your money go further without sacrificing on having a fun and fulfilling time at university.
But before we get to the tips, here’s a quick look at the average cost of living in France, as well as other costs to keep in mind when creating and managing your budget.
The Cost of Living in France
When determining your budget, it’s important to have an idea of the average cost of living in France. Although Paris, Lyon, Bordeaux, and other major cities are by far the most expensive city, there are a lot of smaller and much more affordable options available to you, including Strasbourg, Rennes, Montpellier, and many others.
With regard to the cost of living, the first thing to consider is you need to consider is the rent. This will vary greatly depending on a number of factors, such as the neighborhood you choose to stay in, the type of accommodation, and whether or not you choose to share with someone else.
In addition to your rent, you’ll also have to consider things like food, transportation, clothing, and entertainment. These are also factors that vary depending on your unique individual needs and wants.
Additional Costs to Consider For Students in France
As an international student living in France, you need to be able to prove that you have medical insurance. If your current insurance will cover you overseas, then it’s one less thing for you to worry about. Another cost you need to consider is taking French language classes. While it’s not mandatory, this is something that can greatly improve your overall experience in the country.
Yet another cost to consider involves your recreational pursuits. Whatever it is you love doing for fun, make sure you keep that in mind as you craft your budget so that you leave yourself a bit of wiggle room to enjoy some of the things you absolutely love to do.
So, without further ado, here are 8 tips to help you survive your time spent studying abroad:
Key To Manage Your Budget Successfully
Plan Your Budget
You won’t be able to effectively plan and manage your finances if you don’t know what state your budget is in. That’s why it’s essential to know exactly what you’re working with every day, week, month, or year. There are numerous resources online to help you plan your budget effectively and ensure everything stays balanced according to the amount you have available to spend. Pick and app, download it, and use it to record all your money transactions.
Find Cost-Efficient Accommodation
As previously stated, some of the larger cities are more expensive to live in than smaller ones. This is something you need to take into consideration when choosing where you’ll stay during your study abroad trip. Also, it’s vital to consider cheaper living arrangements, such as accommodation in a neighborhood that is a little further from the university but easily connected via public transport. You might also consider getting a roommate to share the expense of rent, utilities, furnishings, and so on.
Find Smarter Ways to Travel
Next on our list is transportation. You need to weigh the cost of higher rent closer to your campus against the cost of transportation from a cheaper neighborhood to determine which will be cheaper. If you’re driving, you’ll have to consider petrol and parking costs, as well. For most students, the best way to travel is by use of public transport like railcards which offers student deals and discounts.
Hunt for Student Discounts Everywhere You Can
While studying abroad, you will come across a variety of student discounts ranging from museums and movie theaters to books, clothes, groceries, restaurant meals, and much more. Make sure you always carry your student ID so you will be able to take advantage of them whenever the opportunity arises. There are many other discounts you can get online, including airfare and local travel. Always ask about student discounts because, well, you never know!
Avoid Transaction Fees
Whether you’re withdrawing funds from the ATM or receiving money from home through your bank, there are always fees associated with each transaction. Make sure you research the best ways of receiving money overseas so you can save on the cost. Also, if you regularly need to withdraw cash, try to do so in lump sums so that you don’t incur unnecessary charges at the ATM.
Find the Best Shopping Options
Whether for food, clothes, furniture, education, or entertainment, where you shop will have a massive impact on your budget. For instance, don’t just hop over to the closest grocery store for your weekly shopping. You need to do your homework to find the absolute best place to shop so you can save as much as possible. Find the nearest place where you can get quality foods at discount prices. Even better, look for a local shop or market that offers student discounts.
Search for Free Entertainment
A major part of your experience abroad will involve visiting attractions and attending fairs, festivals, and much more. Most major cities in France have their share of them. You’ll probably also find yourself at quite a few epic house parties! Use your student association, university student boards, or Facebook groups to keep up with all the latest activities so you can fill up your social calendar with these free events.
Avoid Unnecessary Expenses
This sounds like obvious advice, but it’s worth saying anyway. If you take a good, honest look at your budget, you’re likely to find that many of your current expenses are unnecessary. For instance, do you really need to eat out five or six times a week? Why not learn to cook and eat in most days? Could you quit smoking and put that money toward a trip or something else you would love? If you’re living alone, couldn’t you find a roommate to help pay the bills and give you a little more breathing room, financially?
The Bottom Line
The most important thing to do is to set your budget and stick to it. Review your spending periodically to ensure that you’re still on track and make adjustments as necessary. By doing this, you will make it more likely that you’ll not only have enough to live on, but that you have a fun and memorable time while you study abroad in France.