Next month I begin my fourth year in Paris. I wanted to use the milestone to share some reflections on how I have changed and ongoing tips on how to make the move yourself. This is the third in a series of four. You can find the first one here and the second one here.
People are always a bit shocked when I say it’s “not that expensive” to live here. I say that because I am thinking of places like NYC, SF, Tokyo, Hong Kong, London, etc. where it really is shockingly expensive to live. Paris isn’t, and rather than just tell you my “feelings” I have put together a spreadsheet for you based on my basic expenses across the last 3 years (I have not included weekend trips/vacations because that really varies per person).
|Category||Year 1 (2014)||Years 2-3 (2015-2016)||Comments|
|Rent||8 m^2, 650€/mo||39 m^2, 1350€/mo||both apartments furnished|
|Location||17eme||2eme||I don’t see the point of living in the suburbs; Paris is worth paying for.|
|Taxe d’habitation||n/a||80€/mo||once you switch to a working visa you are fully responsible for this|
|Utilities & internet||40€/mo||80€/mo||sometimes these are included|
|Food||100€/mo||200€/mo||in Year 1 that was 90% canned, whereas now it’s 100% fresh|
|Cellphone||70€/mo||70€/mo||I’ve never skimped on this because I make a lot of calls to the US and travel in Europe a lot. This package comes with unlimited calls to the USA and 20 gigs of data which I can use anywhere in Europe AND the USA.|
|Health Insurance||35€/mo||70€/mo||I now participate in the French Health care system so those payments are quite a bit more than my “foreigner’s insurance” (roughly double) but it means I am fully covered.|
|Renter’s Insurance||20€/mo||22€/mo||some landlords don’t require this, but the prefecture almost always does.|
|Metro||25€/mo||75€/mo||In my first year I just tried to make do with the occasional ticket purchase, but it’s just too much nuisance. I don’t use the metro all the time, but the annual pass gives me access to all of Ile de France for free on the weekends|
|Legal and Accounting||100€/mo||100€/mo||Unless you possess a very special set of skills you will need help filing your French tax return as well as dealing with specific questions on your dossier for the prefecture|
|Etc||100€/mo||200€/mo||this is for haircuts or clothing or spending money and varies per person. I’m a single male in my 30s with strong minimalist tendencies, so keep that in mind.|
|Monthly Totals||1140€/mo||2197€/mo||you can see that as a visitor, it’s not a big burden if you’re willing to sacrifice (e.g. canned food), but when you’ve decided to settle in here, it’s going to cost a lot more.|
|Annual Totals||13680€/year||26364€/year||The French government will require access to more than 13k€ per year for the long term stay visa. I’m just pointing out you won’t actually need more.|
What are some expenses you didn’t plan for? Feel free to share in the comments below.