So, you’ve set your sights on teaching in Poland, and now you want to know how much money you’ll be able to save. Well, you’ve come to the right place. When you first arrive in a foreign country, it can be easy to spend more money than you initially planned, but we are here to keep you on track. To help you make every złoty count, we’ve put together our top 5 tips on how to save money during your teaching placement in Poland.
Accept the Unavoidable Costs
Maybe you forgot to pack your favourite jumper? Or your best socks just got holes in them? Time to discover your local shopping mall. Unfortunately, these costs are unavoidable, as even the best of packers will need to buy things such as sheets, duvets etc (and if it’s winter in Poland, you will need to buy a very warm coat!). The other big expenses to factor in, especially in your first month, are on socialising and exploring. If you plan on saving money in Poland, it is best to consider some form of budgeting but make sure to set aside some cash for the essentials.
Make Allowances Whilst You Settle In
It’s easy to think your first month is an adjustment period, so you can spoil yourself by spending more than you usually would. Undoubtedly, there will also be some not-so-exciting costs, like buying essentials and paying rent until you receive your first pay-check at the end of the month. This will also include paying your deposit to a landlord, buying things for your new home, and figuring out how to get around. Don’t beat yourself up about this, as you have just made a big change and you’ll feel settled in no time! Just try not to let the ‘it’s the first month’ excuse spill over to the next – trust us, it’s a slippery slope.
Get Familiar with the Bus
Transportation can be a big financial blackhole, you know, like spoiling yourself with Uber rides everywhere you go, ‘cause you’re settling in’. Don’t let this become a habit, as an easy way to save money is to opt for affordable public transport options, whether that’s trains, the metro, trams, buses or even walking! Buying tickets for the metro, tram or bus couldn’t be easier, as you can do it on your phone (on a very handy app called Jakdojade, which allows you to buy tickets and tells you which route to take to reach your destination). It is also easy to buy your ticket at larger tram/bus stops, or on the machine onboard. These tickets are available to buy based on time periods and ‘zones’ for Warszawa. The tickets for the metro, trams and buses are available for either 20 or 75 minutes, with both options costing less than 1GBP.
Whilst Uber is cheaper in Poland than the U.K., you will find it still adds up quickly, especially when you’re travelling to work, to visit friends, to train stations etc, so if saving is your goal, try to make the most of the accessible public transport options. Another easy mistake to make is to be enticed by those bright green scooters that are popular in Poland. Whilst these are convenient, you’ll find you pay about the same amount for a 10-minute Uber as you do for a 10-minute scooter ride, which might not sound like much, but it adds up quickly. Trains are slightly different, as you will have to book these tickets either at the station or on a website (intercity.pl); however, these are much (much!) cheaper than trains in the U.K., and you can travel from one end of the country to the other for around £25 (with many other cheaper journeys in between), so this is good news if you want to save money whilst still seeing all that Poland has to offer.
Be Flexible when Flat-Hunting
Saving money also means you might want to sacrifice a few of your creature comforts when looking for accommodation, as this will most likely be your biggest monthly cost. It can be helpful to think about what you’re willing to sacrifice, for instance, do you mind travelling a little further to get to the centre? Do you mind having a sofa instead of a bed? Although it is important you enjoy living wherever you decide to rent, you might find that things you thought were important are not such a big deal. Maybe you don’t want to live without an en suite, or with 8 other people in a flat share, but it could end up being one of the best choices you made whilst living abroad. Housing is much more affordable in Poland, but it is easy to forget that you’ll be on a lower income as a result of the lower cost of living, so it somewhat balances itself out.
Find a Routine that Works for You
The daily cost of living in Poland can vary massively depending on your lifestyle. If saving is your priority, it’s best to stick to daily routines you have at home. Would you buy your lunch and evening meal out at a restaurant every day whilst at home? Probably not. Try and keep this mentality when in Poland, even if the affordable restaurants are tempting. You don’t want the shock of seeing how much you’ve spent on UberEats on your bank statement at the end of the month, trust us!
Groceries are relatively cheap in Poland, especially snacks, sweets and dried foods, whilst familiar foods such as bread and vegetables match the price of their counterparts in Aldi or Lidl in the U.K. Other items such as toiletries are often cheaper than in the U.K., or sometimes around the same price. Unfortunately, these are essentials and there are not too many options for cutting costs here, but things like bulk-buying promotional offers could be helpful with saving money in the long run. After you have settled and developed a routine that works for you, you’ll be able to identify where you are spending the most money. Once you’ve figured this out, trying to reduce your spending in this area can make a big difference to your savings.
How much you’re able to save during your placement in Poland will depend on your mindset. If you can set a target for how much you want to save, you should be able to budget according to this. However, it is important to enjoy your time out there too, and don’t stress too much if one week is over budget. Remember: money comes and goes, but the memories you’ll make in Poland will be irreplaceable.
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