Budgeting in Buenos AiresBuenos Aires, Spring 2010

IES advises students to create a budget before departing for their four month stay in Buenos Aires. However, no guidelines are given and no estimation of what things cost here. When I arrived, I had set the goal of spending approximately $2000 over the four months. Well, that time has come and gone. Within the first five or six weeks, I had spent nearly $1500. Here I will aim to outline the costs of your stay in Buenos Aires and offer tips on how to save some money. Here is a brief list of things you will definitely have to purchase while in Buenos Aires (currency in dollars): entry fee $130, cell phone $50 (if you purchase the entire phone with SIM card), only the SIM card with a previously unlocked phone $3, minutes for your phone $10/week, criminal record for visa $5, visa $80, bus fare $.30 each way. Listing these things it doesn’t seem like much, but between lunch and trips, it all adds up quite fast. For me, my trips and eating out everyday are what sky rocketed my budget. The bus to Mar del Plata was about $70, to Coronel Pringles another $50. My airfare for my Spring Break trip to Patagonia amounted to about $370, not including all the excursions. If you’d like a save a bit, food shopping is the answer. I can buy two weeks worth of food for about $50, while eating out, I could spend $25 on one meal. However, if you want to eat out one day, El Cuartito pizzeria is the place to go. Located just two blocks from the IES building, they sell great tasting pizza for the equivalent of $1 per slice. A great supermarket is in Palermo, called Jumbo. They have everything you could need there for less and it is great quality. Just take the D line to the Palermo stop and walk a few blocks! Busing throughout the country is definitely a money saver. The bus to Iguazu Falls is about 20 hours, but also half the price of a flight. It is all a matter of measuring your money against your time. However some places you need to fly to, like El Calefate. It’s a good idea to look online on Despegar.com to get an estimate of how much your spring break trip will cost. If you are looking to go to Brazil, know that it is necessary to purchase a visa, no matter the length of your trip. On weekends it is very easy to spend money like water. I can easily spend 100 pesos in a night, which is enough money to feed myself for nearly 2 weeks if I go to the supermarket. When you think about it in dollars, its only about $25, but if you go out two or three nights every week, plus eat out for lunch, it adds up quickly. The biggest challenge is to remember that you cannot live as if you are on vacation for four months if you want to stick to some kind of budget.
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