budget

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Before your stay, How-to Guides

How Much to Budget for Living in China

So you want to come to China for an internship! But now you may be wondering, “How much money should I budget for daily life in China?”
The good news is, your money can go a long way in China. Many interns eat out for about 10-15 RMB per meal, and spend 60 RMB when they want to really splurge! Even drinks can be cheap, with beers and cocktails generally from 15-30 RMB. Some bars even sell Qingdao beer for as low as 5 RMB in efforts to draw in more customers. There is no sales tax in China, so the price you see is the price you pay. However, make sure to haggle down the price in market streets or small shops where haggling is accepted!

What is the RMB exchange rate?

For the current exchange rates, please see here.

1 GBP = 8.866 RMB
1 EURO = 7.615 RMB
1 USD = 6.69 RMB
1 AUD = 4.807 RMB
1 CAD = 5.08
1 NZD = 4.609
**Exchange rates as of 27/02/2019

What kind of budget in China is right for me?

There are two main factors that may determine your kind of budget:

  • Accommodation Choice – Homestay families provide breakfast and dinner as already included in the programme package.
  • Individual Lifestyle – Your budget in China will vary depending on what transportation you decide to take, personal dining preferences, nightlife, and more.

Weekly/Monthly Budget Estimates

Below, we have put together some budget estimates of your expenses in daily life during your time with InternChina. In general, many interns live on a low budget and are still able to live quite well. For those looking to spend a little more, there are also medium and high budget estimates. See which budget is right for you

BUDGET BREAKDOWN

For those looking to save money while still having fun and trying new thingsApartment:
Transport – walking or taking bus 4-8 rmb per day = 15-30 rmb / week
Food – 10-20 rmb lunch, average 10-20 rmb dinner, 5-10 rmb breakfast/snacks = 250-350 rmb / week
Treats – one night out per week including a few drinks and a taxi home = 75-125 rmb / week
Events – Attending IC events every weekend (optional) = 100-150 rmb / week

Total amount (average) =  2200 rmb per month (Approx. 290 EUR, 250 GBP,  330 USD, 460 AUD, 430 CAD, 480 NZD )

Homestay:
Transport – walking or taking bus 4-8 rmb per day = 15-30 rmb / week
Food – 10-20 rmb lunch/snacks = 70-140 rmb / week
Treats – one night out per week including a few drinks and a taxi home = 75-125 rmb / week
Events – attending IC events every weekend (optional) = 100-150 rmb / week

Total amount (average) = 1400 rmb per month (Approx. 185 EUR, 160 GBP, 210 USD, 290 AUD, 275 CAD, 300 NZD)For those who go to the gym, eat more western food or spend more in other ways:Apartment:
Transport – taxis, 20 rmb, 3 times a week, Bus 4 rmb per day = 80 rmb / week
Food – 25 rmb lunch/day, average 30 rmb dinner/day, 15 breakfast & snacks/day = 490 rmb / week
Treats – gym, occasional spa/massage, nights out with reasonable priced drinks, travelling to places within the region = 475 rmb / week
Events – attending IC events every weekend (optional) = 300 rmb / week

Total amount (average) = 5000 rmb per month (Approx. 655 EUR, 565 GBP, 750 USD, 1040 AUD, 980 CAD, 1080 NZD)

Homestay:
Transport – taxis, 20 rmb, 3 times a week, Bus 4 rmb per day = 80 rmb / week
Food – 25 rmb lunch/snacks = 150 rmb / week
Treats – gym, occasional spa/massage, nights out with reasonable priced drinks, travelling to places within the region = 475 rmb / week
Events – attending IC events every weekend (optional) = 300 rmb / week

Total amount (average) = 3500 rmb per month (Approx. 460 EUR, 395 GBP, 520 USD, 730 AUD, 690 CAD, 760 NZD)For those who would like to spend more on cocktail bars, taxis or foreign imports:Apartment:
Transport – taxis every day, 20-40 rmb average per day = 200 rmb / week
Food – 40 rmb lunch, average 60 rmb dinner, 25 breakfast/snacks = 875 rmb / week
Treats – lots of going out / drinking (cocktail bars/classy foreign places), buying foreign goods/western imports, etc travelling around China, gym membership = 750 / week
Events – attending IC events every weekend (optional) = 350-450 rmb / week

Total amount (average) = 8000 rmb per month (Approx. 1050 EUR, 900 GBP, 1200 USD, 1665 AUD, 1575 CAD, 1735 NZD)

Homestay:
Transport – taxis every day, 20-40 rmb average per day = 200 rmb / week
Food – 40 rmb lunch/snacks = 280 rmb / week
Treats – lots of going out / drinking (cocktail bars/classy foreign places), buying foreign goods/western imports, etc travelling around China, gym membership = 750 / week
Events – attending IC events every weekend (optional) = 350-450 rmb / week

Total amount (average) = 6500 rmb per month (Approx. 850 EUR, 730 GBP, 970 USD, 1350 AUD, 1280 CAD, 1410 NZD)

As you can see, you don’t need too much money in China to have a good time, while alternatively spending a bit more will make you feel like royalty. Be careful when you have a craving to buy a cup of Starbucks coffee (35 RMB) or the newest iPhone (7000 RMB), as not everything is cheaper in China. All in all, however, you should find that your monthly budget in China is significantly less than it is back at home!

For international payments, we always recommend using TransferWise. They’re cheaper than the banks, because they always use the real exchange rate – which you can see on Google – and charge a very small fee. They’re also safe and trusted by over 2 million people around the world. You can sign up here.

How-to Guides

How to budget for living in Taipei

By now, you’ve almost certainly heard that InternChina have started offering yearlong internship placements in Taiwan’s capital city, Taipei. You might have even started the application process already! In either case, before you set off on your adventure to this East Asian hub of culture, business and trade, it’s vital to get the answers to a few important questions: is Taipei expensive? What are my average living costs? Will I be able to afford a penthouse in Taipei 101? (Spoiler – probably not!)
The good news for you is, we’ve put together a handy guide to help you budget for living in Taipei, along with some need-to-know money saving tips.

 

taipei skyline

Getting Started

It’s important to bear in mind that Taiwan’s currency is not the same as in Mainland China, and that prices aren’t the same either. Interns can expect to eat out at an inexpensive restaurant in Taipei for around 100-120 NTD per meal, and around 200-350 NTD when they really want to splurge! Like in many capital cities, going out for drinks at a bar can be quite expensive, with a bottle of imported beer or glass of wine costing around 150-200 NTD, and cocktails generally starting at 250 NTD.

Getting confused by all these numbers? The current exchange rates for the NTD (National Taiwan Dollar) are as follows:

£1 GBP = 40 NTD

€1 EURO = 35 NTD

$ 1 CAD = 23 NTD

 

*Exchange rates as of 01/09/2018. To follow any changes, click here.

How much can I expect to spend per week/month?

Not everyone will have the same budget or spending habits. Some of you may be living on a shoestring, others more willing to spend money on home comforts, while some of you may simply find that once you land in Taipei, you just cannot resist going on weekly trips to Beitou Hot Springs or a cup of bubble tea every morning. Read on to see which budget is right for you!

Low Budget for those looking to save money while still having fun and trying new things:

Middle Budget for those who treat themselves to weekly nights out, often come on trips and perhaps buy more western foods:


High Budget for those who aren’t afraid to spend more on cocktail bars, frequent taxis and other luxury items:

Bear in mind that the figures above are all estimates, and the amount each intern spends will vary depending on their personal requirements. It might be reassuring to know, however, that medical care in Taiwan is incredibly cheap – with an ARC (Alien Resident Card), you can see a doctor or dentist for just 150 NTD!

Money Saving Tips ! 

Maybe you’re saving up for that trip to Taroko National Park, making sure you can afford the flight home, or maybe you just need to cut back after one too many trips to the spa. Whatever the case, it can be useful to know where you can draw in the expenditures and save a few extra pennies:

1. Buy a bicycle! For interns living and working in a city as flat and compact as Taipei, the value of having a bike cannot be overstated enough. When you could spend upwards of 1400 NTD per month on metro and bus rides, buying a bicycle early on (used ones can be bought for just 1000 NTD) is a solid investment that will save you loads in the long run.

2. Alternatively, if you don’t want to commit to buying your own bike, or simply don’t have the space to store it, Taipei’s YouBike rental bicycles cost just 10 NTD for every 30 minutes. With a sprawling network of bicycle parking stations spread across the city and close to all the major tourist sites and metro stops, YouBikes are a great, low-cost way to get around.

Images via YouBike and GuideToTaipei

3. Become acquainted with the 便當 biàndāng (literally ‘lunchbox’)! Don’t let its simplicity fool you, this meal of rice, four vegetables and one portion of meat or fish of your choice is served up canteen-style and is great for filling up at a reasonable price! Classic vegetable options include fried aubergine (茄子 qiézi), dried tofu (豆乾 dòugān) and egg-fried tomato (番茄炒蛋 fānqié chǎodàn), and you can expect to pay somewhere in the range of 60 to 80 NTD. For an extra discount, bring your own reusable lunchbox and the cooks typically give you another portion for free (Plus, you can earn some environmental points at the same time)!

mixed cooked vegetables in red lunchbox
Taiwan’s version of the ‘Bento Box’. Image via Formosa

Well, we hope this guide has proved useful! Taipei is a fast-paced, dynamic and multicultural city that rewards those who choose to settle down longer than the average traveller. A new culinary delight can be discovered daily on Taipei’s street corners and there are enough creative, trendy boutiques to satisfy any seasoned shopper, but with any luck, using the guidelines we’ve laid out here, you won’t go breaking the bank just yet.

To discover more about InternChina’s exciting new programme in Taipei, click here.

For more information about life in Taiwan’s bustling capital city, click here.

Articles en français, Avant le depart

Quel budget vous faut-il pour vivre en Chine

L’idée d’un stage en Chine vous tente, ou vous êtes déjà sur le point de partir? C’est alors que tout un tas de questions subviennent! Concernant le cout de la vie en Chine voici un article pour vous aider à planifier votre budget!
Bonne nouvelle! Ce n’est normalement pas en Chine que vous allez vous ruiner! Laissez-moi vous convaincre. Pour un repas classique, comptez en général 15RMB – à peine 2€, mais si vous êtes tenté par une pizza par exemple comptons 60RMB, soit environ 8€! Coté boisson, on se croirait en happy hour tout le temps! En effet la pinte de bière vous reviendra à 2 euros, et dans les bars un bon cocktail pourra vous couter 5 euros peut être ? Afin d’attirer plus de clients, certains bars n’hésitent pas sur les promos! Une bière Tsingtao pour 5RMB (0,60 centimes d’euros), qui dit mieux ? Il n’y a pas de TVA en Chine, donc le prix affiché est le prix que vous devrez payer. Mais il n’est pas rare de marchander en Chine, dans certains marchés c’est fortement conseillé! Tant qu’il n’y a pas d’étiquette avec un prix fixe, tentez votre chance, car le prix indiqué aura été pensé comme “étranger = riche”.

Quel est le taux de change du RMB?

Afin d’avoir les taux les plus actualisés suivez ce lien ici.

1 GBP = 8.90 RMB
1 EURO = 7.82 RMB
1 USD = 6.61 RMB
**taux de change au 30/11/2017

Comment déterminer votre budget pour la Chine?

Il y a deux facteurs important à prendre en considération dans votre budget

  • Type d’hébergement: Si vous choisissez une famille d’accueil, vos petits déjeunés et diners seront fournis par la famille
  • Votre rythme de vie: Si vous prenez souvent le taxi, si vous diner uniquement dans des restaurants européens, et si vous sortez boire un verre tous les jours, votre budget sera bien sur plus conséquent que si vous utilisez le bus, mangez chinois et sortez modérément!

Estimation d’un budget par semaine, et par mois

Si dessous, nous avons essayé de faire quelques estimations utiles pour vous aider à imaginer votre budget pour votre séjour en Chine. Si la plupart de nos stagiaires, vivent avec un petit budget en Chine, cela ne signifie pas non plus qu’ils se privent de tout ! Si vous souhaitez dépenser plus, nous avons fait trois estimations de budget. A vous de choisir !

Petit Budget pour ceux qui veulent faire des économies tout en profitant et découvrant de nouvelles choses :
Petit Budget pour ceux qui veulent faire des économies tout en profitant et découvrant de nouvelles choses :
Budget Moyen pour ceux qui voudraient se faire un peu plaisir
Budget Moyen pour ceux qui voudraient se faire un peu plaisir
Gros Budget pour ceux qui voudront dépenser dans les bars, taxis et produits importés
Gros Budget pour ceux qui voudront dépenser dans les bars, taxis et produits importés

Ceci n’est qu’une estimation, et bien sur cela peut varier en fonction de la ville de votre choix! Mais en restant raisonnable on peut se faire plaisir ici! Bien sur, un café chez Starbuck vous coutera 35 RMB soit à peine 5 euros, mais le dernier Iphone lui sera à 7000 RMB soit presque 900 euros! Il y a donc de tous les prix en Chine, à vous de faire votre choix! Dans tous les cas, le budget moyen par mois en Chine, reste bien moins conséquent que votre budget moyen mensuel en France! Alors n’hésitez plus et rejoignez nous!

Before your stay, Eating out in Zhuhai, Events in Zhuhai, Languages, Things To Do in Zhuhai, Travel, Zhuhai Blogs, Zhuhai InternChina Events, Zhuhai Nightlife

Shopping in Zhuhai

When I traveled to China I was only allowed to take a suitcase no heavier than 21 kg with me and a hand luggage of 5 kg. For guys, no problem. For girls, “What the heck am I gonna take with me?? *completely desperate*”. For my trip to Korea last year I took half my closet – which was not a good idea because shopping there is just SO awesome: underground market here (mostly at the metro stations), street market there, shopping e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e!

InternChina - How do you pack your suitcase for China?
InternChina – How do you pack your suitcase for China?

So before I started my journey to China I thought deeply about what to take with me. What is really necessary? What can I buy there? I asked some of my Chinese friends, they told me that shopping is really nice and affordable in China. So I made up my mind and only packed what I really needed. I ended up with exactly 21.2 kg for my suitcase and 5.7 kg for my hand luggage (including my laptop which is exempt from the check-in’s weight restrictions). Still I had a bad feeling about it. What if I forget something? I checked my packing list at least ten times and asked friends to read it through and tell me if they thought I had forgotten anything.

Now I’ve been in Zhuhai for one and a half months and I am glad I didn’t bring more. In the underground market you can find whatever you need, to dress for whatever event; clothes, shoes, underwear, make-up, jewelry, nail polish, accessories… and much more. You can even go for a manicure and pedicure. For food, there are a lot of different restaurants, and if you dare you can get a tattoo. The best thing is, everything is so cheap. <3

InternChina - Crazy clothes
InternChina – Crazy clothes

 

So what’s the catch? Actually, there are quite a few catches. But the drawbacks depends on your body measurements etc. The worst catch I guess, is that most clothes they offer are all one size. If you are too tall you will have problems finding fitting clothes. Also often you are not allowed to try on the clothes you intend to purchase. You can only guess if they will fit and if they suit you well. Also having shoe size 40 (EU)/9 (US) or bigger as a woman it may be hard to find fitting shoes. A final catch is that you usually cannot pay by credit card in the underground or on the street market, cash is king.

The worst catch for me? Too much choice! I could spend days and hundreds of Euros in these shops. Last weekend I spent around three hours in the Zhuhai underground market – close to the Macau border. Because of my company I was forced to keep it to a minimum. I ended up with 5 new dresses, a pair of shoes, 2 trousers and just a bit less than 500 RMB poorer (58 EUR/80 USD). Yes, girls, already feeling the need to jump off your chair and come over?

In the end I will eventually have another problem, I guess… How will I ever be able to take all those clothes back home with me? Well, I did some thinking about that and my solution is: I will have to fly business class, as I’m allowed double the amount of luggage and having a comfortable seat on the plane. Sounds good to me. I could also just buy another suitcase, but … after saving so much money shopping here I think it is okay to spend some more on the flight. 😀

Oh, one more thing. Don’t forget to find yourself a suitable shopping mate. Nothing is better than spending a day in the underground together: clothes hunting, bargaining with broken Chinese-English, giggling about strange people and gossiping, sipping coffee, eating sushi, going for manicures or pedicures (or both), and afterwards going to the Spa to relax from the exhausting day to feel fresh again. Ready to enjoy the nightlife in your new clothes.

InternChina - Two awesome shopping mates
InternChina – Two awesome shopping mates

I think I need to go shopping again next weekend. Writing this blog made me hungry for more…

 

See you and 再见,

Gianna aka Gini aka 吉娜