I rarely take more than a few days off at a time so when I travel for longer than a long weekend I like to maximise my time away. When I started planning my trip to Budapest, I had a look at the most interesting and easily accessible cities to it and settled on Vienna. It also happened to be on my must-see list so I was happy! Now you might recall that I splurged a little in Budapest so I needed to keep Vienna as frugal as possible. I had no idea where to start but got a good idea of prices and an itinerary from On the Luce’s “Visiting Vienna on a budget” article.
I’ve been buzzing this week about my 8 day long holiday – the longest time off I’ve had since last November – which I started in Budapest last weekend. I have no idea what I was expecting of Budapest but I didn’t expect it to be quite so
modern, western European, I don’t know. It seemed rather London-y. Maybe all of Europe is similar. It’s a city that’s been on my must-see list for years but I never quite got round to it until now and boy, was it worth the wait?!
Stunning Vajdahunyad castle within the City park
I know I only just reviewed June but while I was at it, I remembered that reviewing June meant that I was halfway through 2017. At the start of the year, I wrote down several goals (2017: The year of the saver) that can be summarised within 4 categories
- Financial – including things like maxing out my baby emergency fund, supporting family and being able to invest properly in the stock markets by the end of the year
- Health – Change lifestyle gradually and permanently so that I never have to make another weight-related New Year’s resolution. Sleep more.
- Professional – make money using 9-5 skills, learn new skill, become go-to person at work for something.
- De-clutter – Intentional ownership. Sell, donate, or throw away stuff that doesn’t provide joy
I know, I know. We’re nearly a third of the way through July and I’ve only just got round to figuring out how much I spent in June. This should have been a half-year review too but I’m doing this at an airport because I was too cheap to pay for a night at an Airbnb following a post-midnight arrival. I don’t know how terrible this decision will prove to be but although sleeping on airport benches is proving not to be my thing, it turns out that early morning calculation isn’t either!
Moving used to be a super stressful event for me financially. Scraping together a month’s rent in advance as well as a 6 week deposit has always been challenging. This time round, I’ve not only got my rent and 6 week deposit ready, I have also got enough cash lying around to cover (one of) my housemate’s deposit which will then be returned to me via the tenancy deposit scheme where we’ve got the deposit for our current place. That’s a total of nearly £3 000 and I haven’t touched any of my proper savings accounts.
I’m going to miss a private garden but I’m not going to miss maintaining it
This spell of my life isn’t the first time that I’ve tried to cut back on my spending. I’ve been in tons of debt since 2010 and made various attempts at sorting out my lavish spending from 2011 till 2016. Since I didn’t know that my day-to-day spending was my biggest issue, I tried to do the sensible thing and made an effort at reducing my fixed spending – rent and transport.
- In 2012, I moved out of my £1200* room in a 2-bed Canary Wharf house that I lived in mostly alone, to share a 4-bed house with some mates near Turnpike lane. This saved me £500 a month in rent and bills.
- In 2013, I let my girlfriend move in with me. She paid me £250 a month for her share of the rent and bills. She was also a keen cyclist so I started cycling about 80% of the time, saving a total of around £300 a month on rent, bills and transport for a few months.
- In 2015, I made some radical (at the time) changes. I moved out of London into the cheapest place I could find for £400 a month including bills. It was also 3 miles / a 15 minute bus ride / an hour’s walk to work. I was certain this would be the move that allowed me to kill debt fast. IT ALL WENT SO WRONG!
One of the highlights of my year is my trip to Paris with my football team. We take part in a weekend-long tournament that usually involves a lot of singing, dancing, drinking, playing football and generally having a blast. I suppose this weekend could rightly be compared to Spring break, a hen/stag do, or other such lads/ladies on tour situation. Last year, my Paris trip was the straw before the straw that broke the camel’s back. I somehow managed to spend three or four hundred pounds more than I planned to and it had the most disastrous impact on my financial situation.
View from Hotel de Ville
Early views for my 5.40am train
The fanciest registration venue ever for a football tournament