Planning Finances: Your First Month in China

Making the choice to pack up your life and move to China to teach English is without a doubt exciting, but before you get on that plane to start your new adventure, the most important aspect to consider is your finances.

That being said, the best way to think about the costs you’ll encounter is by breaking it down into two main categories: pre-arrival expenses and post-arrival expenses.

Now, let’s continue with post-arrival expenses
 

POST-ARRIVAL EXPENSES

Before diving into the specific costs, remember that a good chunk of your cash, the apartment deposit, will be paid back to you at the end of the housing contract. 
SDE also provides a loan option (or can be seen as a salary advance) to teachers that need some extra start-up cash.

For this section, all expenses will be shown in Renminbi ( ¥ RMB). 
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Apartment

Rent (¥2,500-¥3,500)
Currently, the average monthly rent for an apartment could run from ¥2,500 and to $3,500 depending on size and location. Keep in mind that many apartments do already come furnished so you won’t have to do too much furniture shopping unless you really want to! 
Apartment deposit (1-2 months rent)
When finding a renting apartments in China, it is expected the rentee to pay a deposit equal to two months rent. How much you spend will depend on your monthly rent and if you can convince the landlord/landlady to eccept 1 month deposit instead. Don’t worry! You will get your deposit back at the end of the housing contract. 
Internet (¥700-¥1200 )
You’ll definitely need wifi set up at your new apartment. There is an installment feel and you will be given a choice of a few packages of internet speed to have over the course of 6-12 months.
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Further paperwork

You’ve arrived in China with Z visa in hand. However, the visa process is not over yet! You will still need to obtain your residence permit.To do this, you will need to take care of a few more things with guidance of the SDE team.
Health Check (¥450)
In order to receive your residence permit, another health check must be done in mainland China. 
Photos (¥65)
Photos for your social insurance card and residence permit. 
Residence Permit (¥400 reimbursed)
The actual residence permit application will have a fee, but will be reimbursed by SDE once receiving the receipt. 
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Settling in

With all those pesky apartment and residence permit fees out of the way, it’s now time to worry about your next major expense: settling-in costs.

 

Household items (¥500-¥700)
For your household necessities–such as towels, bedsheets, pillows, pots, and pans–these items can be picked up at Wal-Mart or another similar local supermarket. Try to budget at least ¥600 for these things. 
SIM card  (¥200 + ¥60-¥90 monthly)
Getting a SIM card in China will have a setup cost as well as monthly payments thereafter. Monthly payments depend on the plan you select.  
Food and Entertainment (¥2000-¥3000)
Since you will be waiting a little extra time to get your first paycheck, you’ll need somewhere between $300 to $500 for a month of food and entertainment. This may vary on how much you plan to eat out and go exploring. 
Transport card (¥100)
Lastly, let’s not forget about planning for transportation. You will have to put down a deposit on the transportation card (which can be refunded) and put a bit of money to cover around 3 weeks of transport. 
Although relocating can cost a bit of money, the experience and adventure of living in a foreign land is more than worth it.That being said, you can definitely get a good idea about your potential expenses from this list, having extra money on hand is never a bad idea–you just never know what kind of obstacles could pop up.

By the 2nd and 3rd month you’ll already find yourself saving a good chunk of money while haveing fun and not sacrificing too much. 

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