Published on: 17 January 2020
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Managing your budget
It’s important to plan your budget thoroughly when moving to a new city. Read about the expenses of everyday life you will have to take into account. These vary according to your city.
What should I plan in my budget?
Your biggest expense: the rent
A large part of your budget is allocated to paying rent, which is paid monthly in most cases. Many factors influence the rent, so it’s difficult to give a precise estimate. Your rent depends on the type of accommodation you’re occupying and the city you’re in. A studio is on average 30% more expensive than a shared flat and 40% more expensive than a room in a homestay. For an individual apartment in the private rental stock, the most common option, the average rent is around:
- €850 in Paris
- €750 in Lyon
- €700 in Ivry and more generally in Paris' very close suburbs.
- €650 in Massy and more generally in the close Parisian suburbs
- €600 in Nice and Bordeaux
- €550 in Toulouse, Lille and Nantes
- €500 in Marseille, Montpellier and Rennes
- €450 in Grenoble
- €400 and less for smaller provincial cities
Food: an important part of your budget
Food can get expensive, and treating yourself to a nice dinner in a restaurant can dig a pit in your savings in no time. And cooking in a small apartment with a single cooking plate isn’t always what you feel like after a long day of class or work.
There are ways of taking care of your budget and digestive system at the same time, though. No need to pretend like you’re Gordon Ramsay. You can eat nice fresh meals with just as little as a pan, a pot, a strainer and basic ingredients. Buying fresh fruits and vegetables with a bit of meat, pasta or rice actually turns out cheaper than a Pasta Box or McDonald’s. Chief’s trick: freeze your meals or keep them in Tupperwares for a several-day supply!
Try the CROUS canteens: they offer a full, balanced meal for €3,25 only. The price of a pack of Kit Kat Balls! And besides, we’ve heard it’s not that bad. They have a variety of options, so you may very well go there just for a quick breakfast or snack.
Cost of transportation
You’re probably going to use public transportation on a daily basis. There are several options for public transportation: the subway in large cities, the tramway in smaller cities and bus in almost any city. Some cities are encouraging green mobility and invested in electric scooters and bike available to urbanites. These means of transport also require a season ticket.
The cost of public transportation varies from one city to another since the quality of the network and diversity of means of transports differs greatly from one city to another.
Students can benefit from discounts on fares on unlimited travel passes; Here is an idea of annual prices by city:
- €350 for a student Navigo Pass in Paris and the Ile-de-France region
- €310 for a Pass in Lyon (which includes a funicular)
- €364 for a Student Pass in Marseille (which even includes the ferry!)
- €270 for a Student Pass in Bordeaux
Feel free to learn more about different offers for your city. You may not need all means of transport: be sure to take out a subscription that best suits your needs.
Extras, to live life to the fullest
You can allocate part of your budget to various activities, such as:
- a gym membership
- a subscription to the cinema, theatre, etc.
- a subscription to access monuments and museums at reduced prices
- extras of all kinds (parties, restaurants, shopping...)
Amounts you will pay in advance
The expenses mentioned above are repeated periodically: every month for rent, every day for food, etc. However, to manage your student budget, you must also take into account expenses taking place before the beginning of your rental, like :
Tips on managing your budget
Checking your bank account on a regular basis
You will surely open a bank account upon your arrival in France in order to make payments. Your transactions are listed on the account, so you can check the status of your budget regularly. It’s a good way to avoid being overdrawn and paying overdraft charges, who vary depending on your bank’s fees.
It may be useful to list recurring payments: rent, subscriptions, etc. This will allow you to know by how much your monthly budget will be cut. Depending on the budget you have left. This will allow you to adjust your expenses for food and extras.
Here’s what you could do to reduce your expenses:
- Be on the lookout for good deals: in-store promotions, restaurant discounts, etc.
- Go for economical solutions: if you don't have time to cook, turn to the university restaurant rather than restaurants
- Save money each month to keep a safety margin
- Regularly check your accounts to manage your budget and identify any abnormal debits.
- Apply for housing allowances as soon as you can!
- Find a source of income: if you have the time, you can give private lessons or find a student job.
How can Studapart help you in budget planning?
The Studapart resource centre: a mine of information
The list of expenses for a rental is long. You can take a look at articles in the Studapart resource centre. This will give you a better idea of what will cost you money, how much you will have to spend and how to optimize your budget.
Une équipe de support disponible 6 jours sur 7
Do you feel lost in managing your budget? Are you in doubt about what you have to pay during your rental? Feel free to email us or give us a call. Our team of experts speaks several languages and is available 6/7 days for support and guidance.