Come Spendere Tutti i Tuoi Soldi or How to Spend All Your Money

Tesoro Irlandese: Day -47 (August 15, 2021)

Budgeting has to be one of the most boring, yet stressful, parts of moving away from your home-country. 

Luckily for me, I have no currency exchanges between Ireland (Irlanda) and Italy (Italia), with both countries using the Euro, but I still find myself struggling to figure out (per capire) how much I am likely to spend on any given month when I’m away. And so, my research began… (la mia ricerca è iniziata)

After a good long wander through countless blogs and websites (i siti web) about Rome pricing and expenses, I have compiled separate lists for budgeting which might be of use to you, whether you’re moving to Italy or any other country (qualsiasi altro paese). 

They are, as follows: 

  • Transport Costs 
  • Site and Entertainment Costs 
  • Monthly Expenditure (worst cases) 
  • One-off Expenses and Process Costs 
  • The Rough Weekly Budget 

So, first up, Transport Costs:

One way ticket (75 min valid) €1.50
Reg monthly pass€35
Reg annual pass €280
Taxi starting fare€4
Taxi fare per km€1.30
Taxi from airport to city Roughly €30-€50 (€30 from airport to Aurelian Walls)

So, what you decide to do about getting around Rome is another blog post in and of itself. However, suffice to say now that having a car is a complete waste of time and money (un perdita di tempo e denaro). Especially if you’re not leaving the city centre much, like I am. So, you’re gonna have to get comfortable with public transport (il trasporto pubblico).

Luckily for you and me, Rome is fairly well connected by Metro line and by buses, though the buses are somewhat notorious (famigorati) for being long, winding and messy. According to a few online sources, the Vatican bus (64) is known for its frequently reported pick-pocket and bag-robbing incidents, but it’s common sense (il buonsenso) to just have your wits about you regardless of what number bus you are on. Rome is known for its thieves. 

Compared to Dublin, where a bus ride of 45-minutes will cost you €3 at least, Rome is far cheaper to get around. It becomes even cheaper should you avail of the annual or monthly travel pass. It would be useful (sarebbe utile) also to look into the Roma Pass if you’re coming to Rome for just a weekend or a few days. This pass will get you into a good few museums and sites as well as giving you unlimited (illimatato) public transport access.

The Metro trains typically run from 5.30am until 11.30pm. There is limited service outside of these hours. 

And get comfortable walking (a passeggio). You will be walking a WHOLE lot. 

‘Metropolitana di Roma’ by Pom’ on Flickr

Next up… Site and Entertainment Costs:

PantheonFree
Appian Way WalkFree (unless you rent bike)
Saint Peter’s BasilicaFree (€5 to climb the dome)
Museo Nazionale Romano (combi ticket)€14
Museo Nazionale Etruscodi Villa Giulia€10
Basilica di San Clemente€10
Domus Aurea & Parco Archeologico del colosseo€12
Mausoleo di Augusto €4 
Ara Pacis (Can be seen for free from outside)€10.50
Trajan’s Column Free
Centrale Montemartini €10
Trevi FountainFree
Piazza NavonaFree 
Piazza di Santa Maria, TrastevereFree
Colosseum & Roman Forum (also includes Palatine Hill)€12
Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel€16
Basilica of St. John LateranFree (cloisters – €8)
Capitoline Museum€15
La Galleria Nazionale€10 or maybe free? Unsure 
Galleria Borghese€11
Galleria Nazionale Barberini€10 or €2 for EU citizens (18-25)
Walking toursFree (but tip) or paid tours (€25-€40+)
Bike tour€35-€45
Basilica di Santa PrassedeFree
Il Cimitero Acattolico €5 min. contribution
Basilica of St. John LateranFree
Keats and Shelley’s House€6
Casa di Goethe€6
Monastery of the Friars Minor Capuchin of Via Veneto€8.50
Caserma dell’AeronauticaFree
Triumphs and LamentsFree
Ex Mira Lanza Museum Free
M. U. Ro Walking Tour €10

Here’s a short list of some of my favourite Roman sites. Some are more pricey (più costosi) than others, but these prices are excluding (escludendo) the reduced entrance fee available for students, children and the elderly. A good handful are free, and incredible, so if you find yourself absolutely broke and bored, there is still plenty to see in Rome. 

It might be worth your while, whether you’re going to live in Rome or whether you’re going for a quick city break, to get a Roma Pass. A 3-day pass is €36 and the 48-hour pass is €28. Both (entrambi) passes include unlimited travel on Roman public transport. 

Another useful thing to know is that state-run museums are free every 1st Sunday of the month between October and March (outside of the typical tourist seasons). Vatican museums are free (gratis) every last Sunday of the month. 

‘Vatican’ by Andrew Baldwin on Flickr

The Monthly Expenditure – Worst Case Scenarios

Groceries€200
Transport Pass€28 (280/10)
Cell Phone€10 
Misc. Emergency Money€50
Trips & Entertainment€25-€35
Eating/Drinking Out€320 (20×16)
TOTAL (excluding rent)€638

So, during my research, most expat and tourist websites came back saying that your rough living costs in Rome with rent excluded is roughly €800 p/m. To me, this seems extortionate (esorbitante), especially considering the fact that I don’t drink alcohol (non bevo alcolici), don’t really go on wild spending sprees, and don’t do a whole load of girly-girl maintenance things like nails, tan etc. that might spike up my prices. 

The budget list above is how much I roughly imagine I’d be spending at my absolute worst: eating out excessively, being wasteful (essere uno spreco) about my groceries, spending my emergency/essential cash each month frivolously, going to sites and expensive events every month. Because my rent is fairly high, I imagine I’ll be scrimping and saving every single cent I possibly can, so this figure prepares me to have a little cash ready for the bad months. Plan for the worst and do better, I always say. 

‘Monumental Nightlife’ by Cameron Adams on Flickr

Once-Off Expenses and Process Costs:

X-Stage Lite Pole €715 (Chrome) 
Shipping on pole€240 
Cleaning Supplies & Household Items€150
Taxi to and from Airport €50 each way (overestimate)
Medicine Stockpile €200 (rough est.)
Permesso Kit processing payment€50
Marca da Bollo sticker from Tabbacheria€16
Assicurata Postale (immig. tax)€30
Printing of permesso di soggiorno€30.46 
Total for Permesso di Soggiorno €126.46
TOTAL €1,331.46

So, this list is going to look very different for everyone (diverso per tutti). If you’re NOT interested in buying an expensive stage-pole to continue your wildly fun fitness dreams, then you can probably lob a hefty €955 off this expenses list for yourself. And if you’ve rented an unfurnished place in Rome, then you’re going to have to add a WHOLE load of extra sums to this table (But, be smart and use Facebook marketplace for freebies!). Take it as more of a reminder that moving countries involves a whole lot of extra expenses that I know I’d otherwise forget about. 

However, I decided I wouldn’t move impulsively (impulsivamente) to a completely different country on the back-wind of a complete mental breakdown (that is for a WHOLE different post lol) if I didn’t have at least my once-off expenses saved up and covered for, as well as my first month’s rent. For me, knowing these kind of ‘hidden’ costs is super important and I wanted to have the first few awful once-off things covered before I even get there, like knowing exactly how much is needed for the permit of residence (permesso di soggiorno) or certificate of residence (certificate di residenza)*. If you haven’t already planned out when you’re coming, you might need to add a margin for flight tickets and transport, and the hidden costs that sometimes crop up for travel (overweight check-in bags, last minute passport application etc.)

Sarah Jessica Parker’ by Shane Adams on Flickr 

* I will do a blogpost on the difference between both of these things and the absolute stress of trying to get them in Rome once I make it to the country. However, in the meantime, if you are like me and try your best to be incredibly organised, make contact with your home-countries Italian embassy and begin to make tracks for your tax code (codice fiscale). I will also be putting up a post about the Italian health service and travel insurance, so watch this space! 

And finally, The Rough Weekly Budget…

Coffee and pastry (breakfast)€5 x3 a week€15
Lunch (Groceries) (5 days)€15 a week €15
Lunch Out (2 days)€10-€15 a week (sit down fancyish)€5-€10 for ‘flying’ lunch€20-30
Dinner (Groceries) (nights)€20 a week€20
Dinner Out (2 nights) (not fancy)€15-25 x2 a week€30-€50
Gelato/Yummy Snacks out €2.50-5 x 2 a week€5-€10
Remainder Grocery Cash (personal care items etc.)€15 a week€15
A paid historic site/museum visit/cinema€5-€15 week x1€5-€15
TOTALBest Behaviour: €94 Worst Behaviour: €170

I wish I could say that this is a wholly inaccurate account of my day-to-day life, but before the pandemic (la pandemia) shoved us all into our homes, I spent most of my money here in Dublin on food (sul cibo). What isn’t spent on essentials goes straight into my mouth. In a city like Rome, where beautiful food is everywhere, I don’t fancy my chances of becoming any different. So, I must prepare for the worst case scenario (lo scenario peggiore). The answer to this blogtitle, how to spend all your money, is found here: Roman food. 

So I have made two possible totals: one where I’m on my best behaviour (sul mio miglior comportamento), making myself breakfast every day from scratch, eating lunch out at cheap places and having one modest dinner in a pizzeria. This comes to roughly under €100 with groceries and other self-care items factored in. If I’m being very bold and CBA to cook, going out three times a week, having breakfast out on occasion and eating lunch with friends (pranzare con gli amici), this weekly total sky rockets to €170. It is highly unlikely that I will be living this kind of life, however, if I DO decide to have a spoiler week, I know at least how much I should be walking away with at the end. 

‘La Scaletta’ by Yun Huang Yon on Flickr

And that’s the T on my Roman budgeting! 

I hope this has been somewhat useful to you in your plans to travel to or move to Rome. When I settle down in Rome, I will update this blog on my lived experience of budgets and expenses in Rome and try to catch for you all the hidden costs that may not be so obvious! 

Alla prossima, 

Ciara O’Síoráin (chi desidera diventare la bella donna figa come gli italiani)

My Top Tips for SHMONEY:

  • Know Thy Self A.K.A. check your statements. If you have Revolut, they give you a handy breakdown of where you spend your money most. This is invaluable information about yourself! It might even give you the good slap on the wrist you need to start eliminating frivolous money expenditure and pad your savings account. That stage-pole isn’t gonna save up for itself, and perhaps it is actually NOT in your weekly budget to excessively drink coffee in town whenever you feel like it… Hard truths, but worth gold. Literally. 
  • No matter where you’re moving to, you can BET there are a number of ‘hidden’ costs involved. Whether it be a processing cost, a price for printing a medical form or a city-tax, you will want to be able to budget for these things too, and not be caught off guard (or fined further money!) Read up on ex-pat blogs, visitor pages, tourist information and the country’s own governmental websites regarding these costs. It is also a great idea to make contact with your country’s embassy in that country, where possible, and tell them of your plans and ask for their guidance through extra costs. This is even more important if you’re a non-EU resident looking to move into the EU. It is an absolute head wreck.

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