One of the benefits of living in China is the extremely low cost of living, especially compared to a lot of western countries. An average meal out can cost anywhere between ¥20-¥40 RMB ($3-$6 USD); a 30-minute taxi might run you about ¥70 RMB ($10 USD). But let's be honest, what might seem like spending a little here and there can add up quick. You're out here, living your best life until that casual bank account check; and then it's like a fatal punch to the gut. So here are a few insider tips on how to stop yourself from suffering that rough reality check.
It's easy and convenient to own an e-bike in China for quick transportation; but for places that are a little too far for comfort, taking the bus is a super cheap alternative. A bus ride anywhere will range between ¥1 and ¥3 (14¢-41¢), whereas a taxi could easily be 10x this, and then some if you're traveling during rush hour. It's the perfect way to spend all that spare change without putting a dent in your bank account.
China is notorious for being a bargain. Feel free to barter with sellers at any of the local markets for clothes, food, electronics, etc. Chances are that venders will try to upcharge whoever they perceive to be naïve tourists. Take advantage of the culture and bargain your way to a decent price.
Speaking of buying food, although eating out in China is cheap, doing it all the time can rack up quite the bill. Spend ¥150 (about $20) a week at your local market on some noodles rice, snacks, meat, fruits and vegetables. You'll eat healthier, spend way less money, and have food at home for when you get the midnight munchies.
Something you'll learn living in China is that Chinese people are obsessed with fresh air. The age-old belief that outdoor air has a magic; healing quality will likely never die. Year round, you'll see open windows; both in the dead of summer and the cold of winter. You can also find wet laundry billowing in the wind, and scented plumes of smoke coming off the stovetop. You'll even find that a lot of apartment balconies serve as the laundry/ kitchen area. During summer, your electric bill can skyrocket before your eyes; you can save a ton of money by embracing the culture and letting the breeze flow through your house.
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