As a student, it’s always a good idea to budget your money but in the end, for me anyway, it never goes to plan and I usually run out. Each term I start, I’m determined to better manage my money and each term it never actually happens. While being in Italy, this has become ever more true.
Milan is quite an expensive place to live. Even though being on Erasmus means that Student finance gave me a bit more money to spend, the price of things easily takes away that privilege.
As we were late sorting out our accommodation, we couldn’t get the most affordable apartment; we instead got the better of the worst. So it’s quite expensive for a small apartment. However I will say it does have a good location and is quite modern so it’s not all doom and gloom. But we have to pay our rent on the first of every month, so this is my main priority. I make sure that I have enough money to pay my rent each month up until the next student loan. This is quite difficult when your balance is getting lower and lower and you start to worry because you still have another two months of high rent to pay.
Secondly is food shopping. Here, the supermarkets are quite expensive. As an example, my weekly shop here was hitting €30/35 just for myself. So I decided to try and buy smarter, like frozen foods in bulk and mixed foods (such as salad and vegetables) instead of separate products. This lowered my spending but just slightly. This was until I found a Lidl. Even though it is more expensive than Lidl at home, it has still lowered my weekly shop to about €20, which is around the amount I spend when living at university in the U.K. So that’s how I’ve budgeted food wise. Lidl and buying mixed foods, not separate.
The next thing I needed to budget better was the socializing part of my experience, mainly clubbing. Here in Milan, the entrance fee of nightclubs is €10 which also gives you two drinks. This means if you go clubbing 3 times a week like I did at the start, that’s €30 just for clubbing. I realised this was a ridiculous amount when I was looking at traveling and I could spend that €30 on a return flight to places like Romania. So after that shocking discovery, I decided I would stick to one night a week clubbing.
I also find it easier to budget my money when I’ve paid things like subscriptions in one – so I don’t have to worry about keeping enough money for it per month. So I joined the gym when I arrived in Italy and paid my (VERY EXPENSIVE) membership in 3 sums, instead of monthly. Now I’m covered for the year and none of my budgeting has to be focused on that.
But here’s my list of what I have to think of every month:
I also stopped buying lunch at university and instead took some with me. Even this helps towards my budgeting, it’s also helping with my “eat healthier” goal, even if that isn’t going completely to plan (not even close…).
I also managed to get myself a job whilst out here, helping a 9 year old with his English homework and just getting him to practice speaking in English. This gives me an extra €30 a week which puts less stress on my budgeting needs.
So in general, even though Milan is expensive which is REALLY annoying, it’s actually teaching me a lot about managing my money a lot more than I already was. Even if I do still have ridiculously low funds just before my next loan comes in, it’s not as bad as before. So it’s improving.