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Italy on a Budget!

April 15, 2019

Let’s talk about money! We all need it to survive in this crazy cash-hungry world. However, as college students, most of us can’t seem to find enough cash in our pockets. This blog post is dedicated to all those frugal warriors that stretch their dollars. Let’s face it, studying abroad is wildly expensive. Even in the best conditions, there are unforeseen expenses and fun opportunities that require the almighty dollar, euro, franc, pound, rupee, peso, yen, etc.

Relying solely on my experience, here is a guide that will help you guys keep a 100 euro a week budget. Please keep in mind that this budget can fluctuate depending on where you choose to study abroad. This is my Italian budget which includes my homestay privileges and expenses! In your study abroad budget, you should consider three major players: food, transportation, and fun.

So what I noticed right off the bat was that due to my homestay expenses, I would have to cut back on spending throughout the week on lunch and dinner. AKA cutting back because I’m broke! My homestay privileges consist of breakfast seven days a week and dinner five nights a week (Monday-Friday). This is a pretty sweet deal because not only do I get to have a delicious homemade Italian meal, but I also get to converse with my host family; this is cultural immersion at its finest. Now, turning to the financial books, what am I responsible for? Well, let’s tackle food first. I need coffee. Like, every day. And Italy is the place to be for espresso. Generally, a cappuccino costs 1.20-1.50 euro. When I have paid more than this, I later realized I was in a tourist bar. Next, there are some great panini and pizza places in the center of Rome that are very reasonably priced. Lunch should be about 5 euro. I would preferably buy lunch every day so it makes up a large expense. Another food expense is dinner on the weekends. I like to ball out on dinner; it’s a great way to help local business and eat great food. I allow for 12 euro for a single dinner on Saturday or Sunday. It’s the weekend, you earned it! Dessert is also important in Italy, but it takes the form of gelato. I like to get gelato 3 times a week and it usually cost between 2.50-3 euro for a small, unless I go to Frigidarium, then it’s 3 euro for medium. (One of my fav places!) Transportation should also be an expense in your budget. Every week, I have to go on field studies that require a metro ticket. Tickets cost 1.50 euro for 100 minutes of use. After all this, I have to take into account how much is left for fun. Personally, I spend my spare coin on day trips. I will never forget traveling to Orvieto by myself for just 16 euro round trip. I saw the most amazing mosaic on the face of the Duomo di Orvieto; I’m pretty sure I left a piece of myself there forever.  

When budgeting, you always want to account for the highest price of items. If I spend less, great! I can reallocate it to another section or simply save it. And if I spend the highest amount, I’m still on budget; it’s a win win. So, let’s tally this up! Coffee at 1.50 euro for 7 days is 10.50 euro. Lunch every day at 5 euro for 7 days is 35 euro. Dinner on the weekends at 12 euro for 2 nights is 24 euro. Gelato at 3 euro for 3 days is 9 euro. Transportation at 1.50 euros for 4 tickets is 6 euro. Finally, this leaves 15.50 euro for fun weekend activities. This amount is perfect for museums, galleries, day trips, etc. Trust me when I say you should make a budget when travelling or studying abroad, this has saved me from going into debt! Nevertheless, one can still have a great time while being fiscally practical. I’m living on 100 euro a week and having the time of my life! Also I would like to dedicate this blog post to my Mom who is my financial guru. Thank you for always being there and giving me advice in every aspect of my life. 

Thanks Julia Cohen (who is my editor and also a baller)

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