Whether it’s to help pay off your student debt, fund a fulfilling travel excursion after your contract has finished, contribute towards putting a deposit on a house or to simply have some savings behind you. Apply a bit of thriftiness during your time teaching abroad and by the end of your contract, you can leave with a considerable amount of savings in the bank! Here are a few ways in which you can save money during your time in China.
I’ve not heard of any schools in China that don’t offer either A. a free apartment or B. a housing allowance, so right from the beginning of your contract you’ll already be making a saving.
Free apartment – The majority of schools in China will provide you with your own apartment which means that from the get-go you will not have to spend a single yuan on monthly rent. You will likely only be required to cover the cost of your utility bills, which are relatively inexpensive in China.
Housing allowance – If you are given a housing allowance instead of an apartment, this will be on top of your salary, so again no need to spend money keeping a roof over your head. There are many nice apartments in China for as little as 1000 yuan a month. A representative from your school will help you secure your apartment with the letting agency or landlord
Food is incredibly cheap in China, especially if you choose to take in the local cuisine and (for the most-part) give fast-food chains a swerve.
Take advantage of school meals – many schools in China offer their teaching staff free breakfasts and lunches, just think, for the majority of your stay in China, you may only have to ponder about what to spend money on for your dinner.
Shop at the local market – In the West we typically pay more money for locally sourced fruit and vegetables. However, in China it is quite the opposite, you can cut the costs of your weekly food shop by frequenting your local wet market where the food is much fresher and far cheaper than it is at the big supermarkets like Walmart and Aeon.
Eat and drink in local cafes and restaurants – In China, you can get a decent meal from your local deli for no more than 10 yuan. Western chains like Starbucks and Pizza Hut charge exactly the same prices for drinks and meals in China as they do in the West, despite the lower cost of living, so if you want to save some money, its best not to go to these places too often.
China is such a highly populated country, that in most cities, that the same amenities are placed all over the area and are easy to get to. Getting around shouldn’t cost you a lot of money.
Walk – Even in China’s smaller cities, shops, restaurants, malls and parks are normally within a reasonable walking distance. You can keep your fitness up and your transport costs low.
Cycle – Another cost-effective way to get around is by bicycle. You can either buy a bike or rent a bike such as a Mobike or an Ofo. These rent-a-bikes are scattered everywhere around the cities and its a very convenient way to get around without paying a lot of money or worrying about your bike getting stolen or damaged.
Stick to local transport – both the metro system and buses are very low cost and it typically costs around 2 yuan to get from one part of the city to another.