Anna Grace Rackley is a student at Kansas State University and an ISA Featured Blogger. She studied abroad with ISA in Prague, Czech Republic.
Let’s be real, we’re all ballin’ on a budget to some degree. Some students get money from their parents while others worked two jobs all summer and saved in order to be able to study abroad. It doesn’t matter where it came from, and in the end, we all have to be somewhat smart with our money. One day you have $1,000 in your bank account, and then you book your flights and hostels for a weekend trip, and already a fourth of it is gone, and you haven’t even left your host city yet. It all adds up. Food, souvenirs, lodging, transportation, tours, all the little extras.
So, here are some tips so that you don’t have too many meltdowns, calling your parents begging for money.
Some people have hopes to stay in their host city while others want to explore and travel on their own. Using your weekends to travel is great, but if you know you’re going to be home for three or more days, go grocery shopping instead of eating out. It’s a lot cheaper than going out, even if you’re just grabbing a sandwich. During my time in Prague, I have found a few staples that have helped me save money. Pasta is very cheap in Prague, and it goes great with chicken, which can also be added to salads. Prague is already a pretty cheap city, compared to other European cities at least, so it’s not hard to buy a solid amount for groceries for $20. While going to Tesco at 6 pm with everyone else and their mom can be hectic, I really enjoy getting out and seeing all of the Praguers grocery shopping and feeling like this is my home too.
Recently I discovered that clothes are more expensive over here than in the U.S. I’m not exactly sure why, but I know that H&M costs more here than it does in France, and everything is expensive in France. So while you may want to go for a more European look, hold off until you’re back in the States. But if you are in a store that has the most adorable dress and you know for a fact you cannot get it in the States, buy it. That way, when everyone asks where they can buy one too, you can say, “Oh you can’t, it’s only sold in Prague.”
Hydrate or “Diedrate”
This is one of my favorite phrases and one that I try to live by. As you may have heard before, beer is cheaper than water in Prague. Yes, that is the truth. We take water very much for granted in America, and now I never will again. My advice is to always have a bottle of water with you that you reuse and fill with tap water. Keep it in your purse so that when you go to a restaurant, you do not have to pay for a drink and you can sneak sips when the staff isn’t watching. It’s quite fun actually.
Practice Self Control
Sometimes you are going to have to deny yourself temporary pleasures, such as coffee or one more drink at a club. That’s reality. You are in for a rude awakening if you do not believe me. Be smart, be disciplined, and you will survive.
The world awaits…discover it.