Tips: Living on a student budget in Bulgaria

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Tips: Living on a student budget in Bulgaria

Tips to live on a student budget in Bulgaria

If you are an international student in Bulgaria, it is very likely that your parents help you with the financial side of your education and stay abroad. However, there are several ways to reduce the expenses you have in Bulgaria:

1. Keep a ”diary” for your daily expenses

You have just spent some cash on food or on a taxi? Write it down. Write down every time you spend money on something – how much it costs and what you spend the money for. Why? The truth hurts. And we are sure it might hurt you once you see your daily expenses written down in details (saved as ”notes” on your smartphone or in a notebook). This way it is more likely that you think twice next time you decide to spend money on something that you don’t actually need.

2. Rent a flat in Bulgaria – choose wisely

Most international students want to live right next to the University and this is how they end up spending over 350 EUR or even more for rent per month (this does not include bills!). However, if you choose to apply for a room in a student dormitory, your rent won’t cost more than 50 EUR per month. Of course, most students prefer to go for a private or shared flat, as the dormitories are often located far away from the University and the furniture is not brand new. If you decide to go for a private apartment, you can also check out neighborhoods that are not right in the city centre – this way you will be able to find something for a cheaper price. Public transport in the biggest cities is also very good so of course, you will be able to reach the University – it will just take you a bit more time.

Last but not least, you can also consider sharing a flat with someone – this way you will split bills and the money you spend on rent.

3. Use public transportation or walk more often

We know that the taxi service in Bulgaria is way cheaper in comparison to other countries in Europe. Still, as you can guess, public transport is even cheaper. For instance, a student transport card for a whole month for all lines in Sofia costs around 22 leva (11 EUR). This means you do not have to spend over 5 EUR for taxi every time you go out – just plan your day in advance and save time for travelling via public transportation.

Of course, if you live in the city centre, you can also go walking more often – it is healthy and it will definitely help you save some cash on taxi service.

3. Use student discounts

Did you know that your student book will get your ticket for the museum or for the cinema for a lower price? Student discounts in Bulgaria are almost everywhere – the only thing you need to do is bring your student book as a proof that you are a student.

4. Take advantage of sales

Just like everywhere, shops in Bulgaria have sales (usually after winter and summer) so you don’t need to buy that fancy coat at the peak of the season. Ask yourself first: do I really need this or can I wait for a few months?

Also, many supermarkets have different discounts and sales every week – for instance, at the ”Billa” supermarket you can get a Billa card that gives you a discount for meals or food they offer (you just have to look for the yellow label with ”Billa card” on it). 

5. Shared travelling

If you want to go somewhere (to the airport or another city in Bulgaria), ask your friends first – maybe someone is catching the same flight or wants to join you! This way you will be able to split the costs and you won’t spend a fortune on taxi services.

Furthermore, there are many Facebook pages where people offer shared travelling so you can also take advantage of this opportunity!

6. Save on energy

The bills in Bulgaria are not very high but still there are several ways to save on energy (and live eco-friendly!). To start with, turn off the air conditioner if you are going out and take shorter showers (you really don’t need to spend an hour in the bathroom). Also, turn off the tap while you are brushing your teeth. Furthermore, keep in mind that clothes dryers consume a lot of electricity! Washing your clothes with cold water also saves energy.

Of course, other tips include closing doors when the heater/cooler is on, turning off the light when you leave a room and unplugging unused electronics.

7. Prepare food in advance

If you know that you are going to spend the whole day in the University because of lectures and seminars, you might want to prepare some food and water the night before. This way you don’t need to spend money during the day on small things like croissants or sweets from stores close to the university that might be even overpriced.

This habit can also help you eat healthier – a lot of people prepare fruits and vegetables in their ”food basket”. And it is definitely less likely that you buy such food outside after a stressful exam or tiring lessons. 

8. Calculate your weekly budget

Decide how much money you ”allow” yourself to spend per week. Also, create categories – decide in advance how much money you are willing to spend on different things like food, going out, etc. Don’t forget to leave out a category ”Other things/Not planned expenses”, so that if you need to spend some cash on medicine or something else you didn’t plan in advance, you don’t have to sacrifice the money you have saved for the other categories.

Keeping such a ”diary” will also help you understand what you spend most money on and compare your expenses from week to week.

9. Plan your night out

Going to a party or simply going out at night is not super cheap. Hence, there are two main things you can do and the main point is: plan the night in advance. Firstly, we recommend eating before you go out or taking some snacks with you just in case. This way you won’t need to spend cash if you end up hungry in the middle of the night.

Also, check out social media channels for different events and happy hours – there are plenty of bars and clubs that have no entry fee, so you don’t need to spend money on that too!

10. Find a job

There are two reasons why we mention this. Firstly, of course, finding a job in Bulgaria will help you earn some extra cash!

Secondly, working will help you realize whether you use your money wisely and how much you actually appreciate every single penny you have. As a result, you will definitely think twice before you buy something you don’t really need and you will definitely impress your friends and family!

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