Daily Budgeting

The ways I have learned how to save money in Europe everyday have come to me through honest-to-goodness trial and error.  It’s been a process, but I’m becoming an expert and love to share my learnings.  At first I found it very difficult to stay on my right budget but everyday found new ways to “pinch my euros,” starting with analyzing the true value of what I wanted or needed and beginning to adhere to a “take this not that” mentality.  To travel long term, you have to get creative while remembering a few simple concepts.

  1. Priorities.  What’s most important to you?  That dinner out or another two nights in that city you love?
  2. Ability.  Are you able to pay less for “x” or not?  If so, always find the cheaper way.  Ie. Taking a train or bus versus flying.
  3. Minimalism.  Be a minimalist to the best of your ability.  This is SO different for everyone.  My minimalist self may seem the opposite to an experienced backpacker, while it may look bareboned to the average passerby.  We all define minimalism differently, but the point remains the same.  Live the good life longer… by living on less.  

Following these daily strategies has helped me keep to my daily budget of $50 or less.

  • Grocery Shop   IMG_2968-0
  • Take public transit IMG_0982
  • Walk…everywhere. IMG_0863
  • Shop at flee markets
    • You can find shirts for 2-5 euro and pants for 5-10 euro.  Can’t beat that!  When traveling, it’s all about practicality- not style- so save money and just buy the clothes that will work for you.
  • Find all the freebies- museum days, etc. 

    Free visit to The Palacio de Cristal in Madrid
    Free visit to The Palacio de Cristal in Madrid
  • Don’t be afraid to go down alley ways.
    • The places off the beaten path are where you’ll find the “hidden gems,” as I like to call them, of restaurants and cafes.  Usually more authentic food for half the price.

      Full lunch with white wine for less than 10 euro in Barcelona
      Full lunch with white wine for less than 10 euro in Barcelona, Spain.

Some good general rules:

  • Never eat where there are street vendors selling selfie sticks (and please don’t buy a selfie stick), because this means you are in a very touristic area where prices are bound to be higher.
  • Grocery shop at large groceries stores instead of small specialty shops and save yourself at least 25% of the cost.
  • When going out to eat, walk at least 15 minutes away from a major square or tourist attraction.
  • Instead of paying for the bathroom (yes in Europe you have to pay to pee), go into a coffee shop and buy a coffee or something and use the bathroom for free while getting yourself a treat.  Double win.
  • Book hotels/ hostels directly when you can versus using a booking site.  This can sometimes save you up to 15% of the cost for accommodation.

There are so many other tips and tricks I am learning as I go and I look forward to sharing them along the journey.  Long term travel is an adventure everyday, and if you want the dream to last, it always comes down to how many dollars (or euros) you have left.  Pinch your euros and keep the wandering lifestyle as long as possible- at least that’s what I am trying to do!