A lot of people are asking me, is it too expensive traveling around the world, do you have enough money or you have to work 24h a day? Well, no 🙂 I work the usual working hours and get an average salary. The short answer what helps me manage my budget — being frugal.
Frugal is the term to describe a process or a life-style when you spend the money wisely.
Frugal doesn’t mean to be cheap and limit yourself from buying the stuff. Of course, if the stuff is not necessary and brings you only momentum happiness — please, think twice.
To figure out, whether you are living frugally, you have to find what are your biggest costs per month. For e.g. these are my TOP4 expense categories:
It’s not worth saving every cent if your expenses if this category are not in your TOP categories list. You need to optimize the biggest costs.
As I mentioned, rent is the biggest cost for me. And what I’ve figured out — being a digital nomad helps to optimize the necessary monthly costs. For instance, traveling to the destinations, where the accommodation and food are not expensive (e.g. Bulgaria or Thailand) can help you keep your expenses low.
In other words, living in Barcelona I’d spend around 600€/month and 200€/month for food. So in 6 months, the total expense would be 4800€. Living in Thailand a condo costs 250€ and 150€ for food, plus the roundtrip from Europe 1200€. The total expense of the trip to Thailand for 6 months would be 3600€. In half a year you are saving 1200€. This is called geoarbitrage.
Eating out or cooking at home?
In my list of the expenses, I’ve split eating out and buying groceries into separate categories. This is because cooking at home usually helps you save money. Additionally, you cook in the way you want, you control, which ingredients are using, etc.
Restaurants are always more expensive than you would be cooking yourself. You may ask — what about my time spending cooking, it should be also evaluated as paid work? Nonsense, your time is spent in all the cases — either you are cooking yourself, or you are waiting in the restaurant.
Let’s say one restaurant meal would cost you 5-10€ (including the drink that you probably wouldn’t have at home), and at home, it can cost 3€ (especially cooking for a few times at ones). Assuming you eat two bigger meals per day, you could save around 100€-150€ per month.
Is it frugal to have a car?
Cars and daily transportation can be also a big contributor to why you are not saving enough. And I’ve never had a car, and I don’t feel like I need it. Firstly, it’s not only the gas, but it’s also the insurance, yearly maintenance and the possible mortgage that you have to pay for. You should just stop using the car. I hear a lot of comments about it:
My reply: staying in the traffic jams, you mean?
My reply: use a bicycle or a kick scooter
Just don’t be lazy or ask someone to help you. You’ll be fit, without going to the gym 🙂
Stay at home or use the umbrella
All these are lame excuses, my friends 🙂 A lot of people in Scandinavia or Western Europe are doing this, change the mentality and you’ll feel it in the wallet.
Are you addicted to smoking? Well, you know, that it’s bad for your health, but it’s especially bad for your wallet. Spending every day 3€ for a pack of cigarettes equals to 90€ per month. This goes to the other similar bad habits, like buying coffee at Starbucks every day (you’d never pay such a price for sugar if you’d make it at home, or even better — drinking for free at work).
Other expenses that you can avoid — buying unnecessary clothes, get a new smartphone every year.
- Take the advantage of Geoarbitrage
- Cook at home
- Quit bad habits
- Walk, ride the bicycle or kick scooter, or use public transport