As with living anywhere the cost of living in France will depend on your lifestyle. If you want to go out more often to eat or for entertainment than it will cost more than staying in. However, the following will give you some things to keep in mind for keeping your costs of living in France under control. 

Tips for Living in France on a Budget

  1. Consider living somewhere other than Paris. There is as much as a €700 difference in rent between Paris and other cities and towns. Additionally, the cost of living, in general, is higher in Paris compared to other parts of France.
  2. No matter where you live the simpler the apartment the less you will have to pay. This is particularly relevant for the size as the maintenance fees are often calculated as a set rate per square foot. If you will be living there long-term consider buying versus renting. 
  3. Try to get a package deal for phone, internet, and tv as the bundle will cost you less than paying for each individually. 
  4. Consider doing at least some of your shopping at supermarkets or at least being strategic with what you purchase markets- remember that some might be more geared towards tourists. However, markets can be a great place to find good deals on fresh fruits and veggies especially if you stick to what is in season.
  5. If you are near Paris, save big purchases or splurges for during “Solde”, which are city-wide annual sales held in January and July. A large number of stores participate in these sales, so do not be afraid to ask your favorite store if they participate. 
  6. Consider making lunch your main meal of the day. Many restaurants will have similar menus for both lunch and dinner, but the prices are more expensive at dinner time. 
  7. Depending on where you live consider using a Metro pass, the train, the bus, or a combination as opposed to driving. This is especially true if you are having to go into a city center where parking rates are normally higher. 
  8. If you have recently moved to France but have been there at least 3 months make sure that you are signed up for the free health care plan that can cover up to 70% of your costs – you will already be paying into this so make sure to take advantage. 
  9. Once on the healthcare plan make sure that you go to a sector 1 doctor with reasonable rates that will be eligible for the healthcare reimbursement. 

Temptations to Watch Out For

  1. France has a mandatory 35-hour workweek which means that you may have some free time on your hands. Try not to go crazy with entertainment, but instead focus on taking advantage of the natural beauty of France and free or discounted options nearby.
  2. As with most countries in Europe, living in France makes it easy to travel to other countries. When trying to save money when traveling, consider all transportation options (bus, train, driving, or flying), go in an off-season if possible, and do not be afraid to grab last-minute deals. 
  3. France has some of the finest restaurants around including multiple that are Michelin star ranked, so it may be tempting to try them all. Try to make sure that you are eating in more than you are eating out. When eating out as previously mentioned try to stick to lunch as it is cheaper. Also, stick to ordering the house wine- you are in France all the wine is good quality, and avoid ordering name brand sodas as you may end up paying a premium. 

As with living anywhere, France has its expenses and ways to save money. By following some of the tips listed above you can help yourself live in France on a budget. 

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