May 2nd, 2018, 12:00 PM

How to be Frugal in Paris

By Cassandra Ovalle
Photocredit: Twitter / @WomensHumor
Save while you spend in the City of Lights.

Living in Paris can seriously take a toll on a student's wallet. Between eating, going out, paying rent, buying basic necessities, and occasionally splurging, one can really rack up a bill. Who needs all those apératifs and coffees on a terrace - better yet, who eats lunch anyway? As the weather gets nicer students crave spending time outside and in shops, which means spending more money. Not to mention the exchange rate from USD to Euros has also decreased within a year, from 0.94 to a whopping 0.81 Euros per US dollar. This has all the fellow Americans who use their US bank cards sweating as they insert their cards at any establishment (because, of course, their Société Générale cards are in the negatives)  just to hopefully give a sigh of relief when paiement accepté pops-up on the screen.

But, as the great Tennessee Williams once said, "you can be young without money, but you can't be old without it." So, as young, able-bodied students with the world ahead of us, we have to learn how to save our money now in order to enjoy more of it later on. In the process, however, we can't stop living our best lives; we just have to be cautious of our purchases, focus on the necessities, use those Franprix and Monoprix coupons if possible, and look for places with student discounts in Paris. 

Photocredit: Cassandra Ovalle

In regards to shopping, summer weather inevitably brings the need for new clothes. Every student should know about Kilo Shops. With multiple locations throughout the city, this chain is one of the best thrift shopping experiences for beginners and for anyone that wants to know what they will be paying in advance. The stores have a color-coded system; depending on the color attached to each article there is already a set price starting at 10 euros, increasing depending on material and style of the clothing. Great pieces for any style can be found, so locate the nearest Kilo Shop and save money on your summer wardrobe. Besides the Kilo Shop, Le Marais has an abundance of thrift stores that students could can spend a whole day digging through.

With every new wardrobe comes the need for a "new do". As one of the lesser best-known salons in Paris, Madame Messieurs has student discounts. A hair cut and complete color costs 120 euros, which is the same (low) price as American salons. This is not something students need to do very often, but if you're looking for a change in your look this salon is well worth it. Professional work at a discounted price is hard to find in Paris, and student discounts should be taken advantage of. Having English speaking stylists is definitely a plus, and the head massage is to die for -  they'll also keep you company with good conversation, provide drinks or snacks, and you can describe exactly what cut you want (to minimize the risk of botched cuts or wild colors). Appointments at Madame Messieurs can be made by telephone or online, and they can be reached by lines 8, 9, 4, 5, 11, or the 3 to République, Temple, or Réaumur-Sébastopol.

Photocredit: Taku Sekine / @takdersou

Hungry after all that shopping and hair care? Well, many students recommend Raviolis Chinois Nord-Est , an amazing dumpling place located in Belleville. My friends and I call her Ravioli Grandma, but the owner of this French dumpling establishment is the sweetest woman out there and a boss at what she does - one would have to go and experience it to understand. These dumplings are only five euros for a set of 10. They're well-sized and stuffed( with a variety of stuffings to choose from), can be ordered as grilled or boiled, and are accompanied by other low-priced sides on the menu. The ravioli shop's prime location makes it a great place to get take-out on a nice day and have a dumpling picnic at neighboring Parc Buttes-Chaumont.

A great perk to living in Paris is meeting French friends who show you the best cafés for cheap drinks. Le Reveil Matin is one of these cafés. Imagine delicious five euro mojitos with the flavoring of your choice. Mojito pitchers are also available and can save you a bit more than buying individual drinks if with friends. This is a great place for those who don't enjoy cheap beer, or who search for low-priced drinks outside of happy hour. The café is located at Les Gobelins off of line 7.

Photocredit: Hubsy Cafe / @hubsycafe

Although we easily forget that we are in Paris to study, homework must be done and deadlines must be met. Bored of working at the library all day or distracted by all the things you shouldn't be doing during finals week? Hubsy is right for you. This study café has two locations - one situated at République and the other at Arts et Métiers. Students can stay here for four hours or more for only 20 euros. The price includes WiFi, all you can eat snacks, coffee and other drinks. The interior is cozy and pretty quiet; a group of two or three friends would be ideal if you don't want to work alone. There is also a printing service available for anyone who needs it, and it is possible to reserve private rooms (perfect for bigger group projects).

After a long day, a little pick-me-up can be found at Little Extra. Essentially, this shop was the Tiger Copenhagen before Tiger even opened up in Paris. Shoppers can find anything from small quirky gifts to snacks, kitchenware to bathroom objects, stationary to plants. Anything you may need (that you didn't think you did) can be found at a reasonable price. Of course, Tiger provides a more pleasant shopping experience with their systematic layout and childlike ambiance, but Little Extra is the closest you'll get if you're too lazy to travel to Rue Rambuteau. Little Extra is a chain so there are multiple locations throughout the city; the closest to the AUP campus is on Rue Linois at Beaugrenelle.

Being on a student budget can be rough at times, but it is do-able, and great practice for when the going gets tough. It builds us into self-sustainable adults who know how to save money (one would at least hope so). Yet, Paris has an abundance of places and activities that are free or low-cost that can be found with the right research or through word-of-mouth. Thankfully, we already have museums with free or discounted entries, but they don't always provide the intellectual break we deserve. Our student status shouldn't stop us from having fun and enjoying our time here while we still have it, so grab a friend and explore the Parisian streets.