How to live in Prague on a student budget?

Prague is not as pricey comparing to London or New York, but can you live comfortably here on a student budget? The answer is yes, and these tips will help you avoid asking your parents for more pocket money. Please keep in mind that living costs may vary depending on your accommodation choices, lifestyle, and spending habits, but with careful planning and price comparison, you can make the most of your Prague experience and still have plenty of crowns left for extras like shopping and fancy dinners out.

Tips for UNYP's freshmen

Currency exchange
The Czech Republic uses the Czech crown (CZK) as its currency. Tip number one: Don't change money at the airport. The bureau de change at Politických vězňů 915/14 offers one of the best rates in town. Alternatively, you can pay with an international bank card or credit card. 

Student Card
Never be afraid to tell people you're a student – it may get you discounts where you least expect it! The ISIC (International Student Identity Card) card can be very beneficial for the students, as it allows cardholders to get student discounts for transport, restaurants, cinemas, museums, exhibitions, and concerts. You can apply for the ISIC card on the official website before coming to Prague.  

UNYP Benefits Program

Your UNYP ID Card is an excellent addition to the ISIC Card. The card is issued free of charge to all students, valid for the current academic year and should be extended during the entire period of your study. It gives you discounts at more than 100 local businesses, from fitness centers, language courses and insurance companies to various restaurants, shops, museums, and student banking.

Check out this page with information on new special offers. We update it throughout the year! 

Accommodation
If you live in the University of New York in Prague residences, you’ll pay a modest CZK7,300 (about US$330) to CZK11,400 (around US$517) per month; expect to spend a lot more if living off-campus. You should allow for CZK100,000 to CZK150,000 (US$4,500 to US$6,800) per year for other living costs, including food, leisure, transportation, and personal items, depending on how extravagantly you plan to live.​

Commute
One of the great things about the University of New York in Prague is how easy it is to get where you need to go from our campus. Prague’s state-of-the-art public transportation system is efficient and inexpensive and includes metro, tram, public bus, and taxis. You can cross Prague from end to end for less than you'd pay for a cup of coffee, comfortably and safely. However, the ultimate money-saving tip is the Student Pass, which gives full-time students between 19 and 26 years old a reduced fare. Follow this link for more details. 

If you're serious about saving money in Prague, get a Rekola bike-sharing membership. For just 1199CZK you can get a whole year's worth of access to public bicycles across the city. 

Food
Deciding what to eat every day could be the significant factor between surviving and going broke. Save money and dive into the local culture.
- Look for a special lunch menu. 
- Make sure the restaurant or cafe serves free tap water.
- In addition to great coffee, some local coffee shops also offer reasonably priced lunches during the day.
- Download the Prague Foodie Map.
- Eat at the UNYP Café, located on floor -1
- Don't eat in the old town unless you have checked prices online. 
- Consider cooking some of your meals at home. Follow the link to check out a few simple recipes you might want to try. 
- Choose your grocery store wisely. Hypernova and Albert offer the most competitive prices, closely followed by Tesco. Billa has slightly higher rates, but better quality vegetables; don't forget to get their free membership card to receive exclusive deals throughout the year. Also, don't forget to check out your local butcher, and the nearby farmers market on Jiřího z Poděbrad square. 

Travel
Studying abroad is the perfect time to travel with your university friends and discover new places. The Czech Republic is more than just Prague! Take a day trip to Cesky Krumlov, explore the Bohemian Switzerland National Park, visit one of the UNESCO-listed 13th-century mining towns of Kutna Hora, make a trip to Karlstejn Castle. You can enjoy your Czech sightseeing cheaply (and even go outside the country too) if you travel with RegioJet.

Part-time job
Working as an English teacher, a nanny or a dog-walker are all valid ways to earn some cash. More creative options can be found through the UpWork portal and even the Airbnb Experiences section. 

The conditions for working in the Czech Republic depend on the student’s country of origin. If you are a non-EU citizen in the Czech Republic on a student visa, remember that paid work cannot be your primary occupation during your stay here. To be able to get a job, as a full-time student from a non-EU country, you need to register at the Public Employment Office (Úřad Práce). To find out about this process, you can get free legal advice from one of the integration centers in Prague: Integration Centre Prague and Association for Integration and Migration.

Experiencing Prague is why everyone moves here! Being a student, the opportunities to explore and enjoy this city are countless. Your most memorable experiences will come from crazy nights at house parties, finding extraordinary hidden corners in the town, traveling around Europe with new friends. The city of Prague will become your unique personal journey – you can’t put a price on that. 

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