How to live with low budget as a volunteer?

Hej, it’s me again, Valeria.

In the previous article I’ve explained what I’m doing here in Sweden. Now I want to talk about an important topic for all the volunteers… and guess what is it…? Money!

First of all, regarding the money I should tell you that all the volunteers doing a project with European Solidarity Corps get a ”salary” each month, this is made up of two parts, one of them is money for food and the rest it is for your personal use during your free time (like for sport activities or going to the cinema, for example). The amount of money you get each month is fixed and it’s stated in the contract that you sign before starting the project.

You don’t have to worry about the house because you will get it for free from the host organization, in my case from Globala Kronoberg. Also, the travel tickets to and from your host country are refunded up to a certain amount depending on the distance between your home and host country. Usually, this amount of money is fine to cover all your travel expenses if you book them with enough time. Remember that in most cases, trips made by car are not refunded. Keep that in mind when you’re organizing your trip to the host country.

Regarding every day transports in the city where you will be living, usually the host organization can provide you a bike and a transport ticket depending on the distance between the house and your workplace. If you have any questions, just ask your host organization.

I’m so glad to have a bike, there’s a lot to explore here. Everywhere I go there is a lake and a forest 🙂
Stay tuned, I’ll write an article about travelling as a volunteer!

The monthly allowance you get is not a lot, but it is enough if you don’t buy unneeded stuff all the time. I like to buy only things that I really need and that’s for sure useful while volunteering.

Here some tips on how to save some money while doing a volunteer project or at any low budget time of your life:

  • As I said before, don’t buy unneeded stuff. Think twice (is that enough?!) before you make the purchase.
  • Be careful when you buy online, it’s sooooo easy to add things to your chart from the computer or, even worse, from the mobile phone!
  • Before purchasing anything, ask your (volunteer) friends (or other people) if they have what you would like to buy. Maybe they could lend it to you for a little while.
  • Do you need new clothes? Why don’t you organise a swap party with other people. It’s a great occasion to get rid of clothes you don’t need anymore and get new items in your wardrobe. All this for free 🙂
  • Regarding food shopping, avoid to waste food. Among all, it’s better for your pockets!
  • Cook homemade meals. If you have to buy pre made meals from the supermarket or eat out all the time, you won’t reach the end of the month happily. Instead, you can improve your cooking skills. With my friends, also volunteers, on the weekends we organise internationals dinners at home. Every time one of us is cooking a recipe from his home country, it’s funny and we get to know some specialities from abroad.
Here in Sweden is really hard to do it, but try to keep low on the numbers of fikas. At least try to make homemade desserts.
  • Last but not least, keep low on the drinking (you know what I mean 🙂 ), or find a way to do it cheaply. Your body will be grateful too!

I really liked sharing with you these tips.

I want to leave you with these: I didn’t come here for the money, so I don’t pretend to be rich after this year. If you are planning to do so, then I would advise you to look for a different type of project. With ESC you are enriching yourself with other things, not money 🙂

Vi ses snart, 

All the best