Budgeting can get tough sometimes especially without job. With no income I am forced to figure out how much to spend on food, fun, laundry, and traveling. Buenos Aires is a lot more expensive than I thought it would be. There is inflation and the exchange rate isn’t the best. One way to save money is to use Xoom to get out pesos instead of the ATM. At the ATM’s the exchange rate is 4.6 even though the dollar is worth more than that. When you Xoom yourself money you get an exchange rate very close to 6. It’s also very easy. All you have to do is pay 3% of the amount that you send to yourself and then go and pick up the money from a place that is not far from the academic center. It also keeps you from paying five dollars every time you use an ATM.
One thing that makes Buenos Aires expensive is buying lunch every day. While some people are able to use the kitchen in their homestays others can’t or don’t want to use them. There is the option of buying things for sandwiches and salads or even bringing soup, but that gets old pretty quickly. The good thing is, there are options for eating near the school that are the equivalent of five dollars. Empanadas, pasta, choripan, soup etc. are some of the lunch options available. There are other places that cost around 10 dollars if you want to splurge. It is also necessary to buy dinner on Saturdays. This can get pricey depending on how nice of a dinner you want. Dinner is usually between 10-20 dollars. Spending $10 dollars on lunch and $20 on dinner once a week is almost $100 on food alone. Not to mention buying snacks to keep from being hungry in between lunch and dinner that is no sooner than 8 and often times around 9 or 10 at night. Eating out every day is only possible if you eat cheaply, otherwise you need to go grocery shopping a few times. Nobody wants to spend $1500 on food for a semester abroad.
Shopping for clothes is expensive here so try to bring everything you need. You also have to pay to drop off your laundry which is around five dollars per load. Don’t be afraid to wear things a few times and choose wisely what you wear to the club because smoking in clubs is still allowed here. Drink prices vary depending on where you go so try to find a place that has inexpensive drinks. I also recommend getting to clubs early in order to avoid paying a cover charge.
My biggest expense here is food so once you learn where to go to get a lot of food for 25 pesos or less instead of 40 pesos saves a lot of pesos.