***Very late post, but I like to have these for reference in the future!
Before I started traveling, I never knew how much cheaper life abroad could be. I’ve grown up in the San Francisco/Bay Area, and it’s not a cheap place to live. It’s only become worse with the tech boom, making it impossible to imagine settling down where my roots are. When I went to college in Fresno, California, I realized how much further my money could stretch in other places, and that was just 3 hours away from home.
I like to keep budgets of my life abroad, so that I know where my money goes. Plus, I just like to write lists and plan out my spending. It doesn’t always go according to plan. I usually eat out often and in Prague I would buy more beer than I budgeted for, but I typically stay within a good range of my budget so as to not be super irresponsible. Here’s a breakdown of my budget in Prague, living as an English teacher with no previous experience in 2013/2014.
Salary per month: 26,000 koruna/crowns (kc).
Rent: 6,200kc/month. Included gas, water, garbage, wifi and other utilities. Laundry was extra. There was a communal machine downstairs, which was about 30 kc per use.
Transportation: 550 kc for my Open Card, which granted me one month of unlimited rides on the metro, trams, or buses. The public transportation was excellent in my opinion, and it was worth buying the Open Card since there are plain-clothes officers who get on board to give fines to those who do not have a valid proof of payment. I’ve seen it happen too often to knowingly risk getting caught riding without paying as some people choose to do.
Groceries: Averaged about 500-800kc/week, so about 2,000-3,200 kc per month. This highly varied, of course. I would usually buy chicken breast or whole chickens to bake, vegetables like zucchini, bell peppers, carrots, and onions, fruits like bananas and apples, milk, yogurt, cheese, and biscuits to have with my tea.
Insurance: This was required for me to have a zivno business license/visa. I think I paid about 2,000kc/month, roughly $90 USD.
Phone: I had a very old Nokia phone. One of those brick style ones that I had once had in 7th grade. I bought a SIM card which was pretty cheap. I used it just for calls and texting work and friends. I would add credit as I go and I didn’t keep track of how often that was. I had another phone, a smart phone, with no SIM. I would just connect to local wifi and use that to communicate on messenger apps.
Nightlife: Beer is so inexpensive, and Czech beer is the best I’ve ever tried. I found myself drinking at least one beer everyday; after work, when meeting up with friends, even at home watching TV. Cold winter months? Beer still sounded good, but if I wanted a change, the mulled wine was a nice winter treat. My favorite spots for a drink were the beer gardens of course, like Riegrovy Sady, Letna park, and Strosmorayovo park. As for bars, cafes, and clubs, I enjoyed Popo Petal, Usudu, M1 Lounge, Lucerna, Cafe Ve Lesse, Yes club, Radost FX, Beer Museum, Chapeau Rouge, Roxy, Retro, and Dejavu for an awesome daily happy hour. Clearly, there are a lot of places to drink in Prague, so this can burn through your wallet and body if you’re not careful!
As for my personal expenses, depended on my mood and budget for the month, but I paid for the following:
Waxing: I prefer getting waxes over shaving, so I would go to the Sweet Epil Waxing salon almost every month, and depending on how many services I wanted, I’d pay between 230kc – 1000 kc.
Haircuts: I had long hair and I didn’t dye it, so I would just get a wash, cut and blow dry on occasion. I went to Beautyshape Salon and had great results each time! I think I paid roughly 800 crowns for the service and I left a tip.
I didn’t save too much, but when I did have some money leftover I took short trips around Europe. I visited Berlin, Budapest, Slovakia, and even made a trip out to England. Now with more experience under my belt, and the option of teaching online, I wonder if I could make even more of a lifestyle in Prague, but with the complicated and expensive visa process for an American to work in Prague, I’ve decided I should accept that it was a great year, and move on to other countries. More budget blogs to come!