Given that Paris known for being notoriously expensive, these are the mistakes you need to avoid in order to save your precious euros- especially right at the start of your stay.
NAVIGO TOP UPS WHEN YOU ARRIVE
This is the Oystercard equivalent I suppose.
What I did: I arrived and only topped up my Navigo for a week, thinking that the whole Imagine-R thing (student priced oyster) would work out really quickly. This was dumb.
What you should do: The Imagine-R takes ridiculously long, with them sometimes sending your form back to you for “errors” that apparently only their magical eyes can see. You are better off paying for a month Navigo right at the start- and be prepared to potentially pay a second month too.
Ask for an Imagine-R form from your local metro station and fill it out as soon as possible in order to receive it as quickly as you can.
Have I used it since the middle of term 1? No.
Don’t bother- you will always end up getting your notes from a French student anyway! It was nice to put the effort in at first- but it was far too time consuming to do this for every single lecture.
What?! A phone contract?! I know, it’s ridiculous. But had I known that my phone wasn’t unlocked, I wouldn’t have forked out for the contract so early on. I could’ve saved a month’s worth of money…
GAJA/ANY OTHER LAW TEXTBOOK
It’s nice to try, but at the end of the day, a French student’s notes will be hard enough to understand as it is- don’t bother with the books!
They really push for you to buy GAJA for your administrative module, dubbing it the “Bible” of droit administratif. It is occasionally quite useful, but not enough to justify the money*. Find a second hand copy or don’t bother at all.
* My friends have quickly corrected me and said that they’ve used GAJA loads and it was really useful for their commentaires etc.
As much as I do love my apartment and my area, I do think I could’ve saved a lot more money living in a slightly higher numbered arrondissement, and still had just a lovely time.
The BS you are spewed about having to spend more cab money to get home if you live in the 12th or above is just that- BS! You will probably be more conscious of catching the last metro- and cabs aren’t even too expensive here anyways. I’d say be wise and choose a cheaper apartment. Bare in mind that you taking cabs will be rare, but the higher rent is a massive chunk of money leaving your account monthly.