Financial Friday 64

Location: Skopje [North Macedonia]

Week 64 on the road….

Transportation

Zero. I stayed in town, and walked everywhere.

Accommodation

The AirBnB is running me $14.39 per day. And it’s awesome! A whole family could stay here, and I’ve got it all to myself.

Food

Food this week mostly involved me going to the grocery store. Incidentally, if you don’t want to pay double or more for groceries (at least in North Macedonia), go to the stores. They scan stuff, and can’t mark up the prices without it being super obvious so you end up getting the same price as the locals.

It really hurts for me to say that, because I love markets where a bunch of locals can set up shop, and sell their wares. And in Georgia, you could absolutely do that. Reason #832705307 to go to Georgia.

Other

Travel insurance: $5.57 per day.

VPN: $0.26 per day.

Amazon Prime: $0.33 per day.

This blog: $0.31 per day.

Skype: $0.08 per day.

Chase Sapphire Reserve: $0.41 per day.

On Saturday, I topped up my mobile data again: $30.00. I think this is turning out to be the most overpriced thing I’m buying here. The local SIMs are far cheaper. I guess that’s the price I pay for not having to find a plan? (This would actually be really easy since I’ve seen them at every travel hub, and anyone that works near these hubs speaks English).

Also on Saturday, I went to the local holocaust museum: $1.86. It was really interesting. Only about half of it was dedicated to the 1940s. The rest talked about the Jew’s experiences in the Balkans before World War II. If you’re a big history nerd like me, I highly recommend it.

On Monday, I bought a monthly subscription to Pimsleur’s Russian language course: $0.71 per day for this month. I thought since Macedonian is a Slavic language, I could try to learn Russian from the locals here, but the languages are different enough that that’s not really going to work. What I can say is that Pimsleur’s awesome! If you’re trying to learn another language and you’re a beginner, I highly recommend checking them out; especially since they now have monthly subscription plans. It used to cost $200+ for a bunch of CDs. So it’s far more affordable now.

Summary

Week 64
CategoryFriSatSunMonTueWedThuTotal
Travel00000000
Lodging14.3914.3914.3914.3914.3914.3914.39100.73
Food12.050015.9200.9212.7841.67
Other6.9638.826.967.677.677.677.6783.42
Total33.453.2121.3537.9822.0622.9834.84225.82

So there’s another week down. See you all next week.

Financial Friday 63

Locations: Skopje, Matka [North Macedonia]

Week 63….

Transportation

This was pretty easy. On Saturday, I took a bus to Matka Canyon: $2.79. It’s between 30-60 minutes from Скопjе (Skopje) depending on traffic. I highly recommend it; especially if you like nature and [easy] hiking.

Accommodation

I booked an AirBnB for a month. It’s on the 9th (top) floor of an apartment building, has 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a kitchen, a living room, and a small balcony that looks out over a portion of the city. The best part: it’s only setting me back $14.39 per day! It’s cheaper than my 6 bedroom dorm at the hostel in Θεσσαλονίκη (Thessaloniki), and have it all to myself.

Food

Saturday ended up being relatively expensive since I spent the day eating and drinking with friends. Tuesday cost a bit more because I ate out and got groceries; which made the rest of the week pretty cheap food-wise.

For reference: there’s a restaurant I like to hit up a couple times a week. My favorite meal is liver with fries, a plate full of шопска (shopska) salad (cucumber, tomato, and lots of shredded cheese), and tea. And it costs less than $4. So yeah, you can eat well here if you don’t go to the ‘expensive’, river-front restaurants.

Other

Travel insurance: $5.57 per day.

VPN: $0.26 per day.

Amazon Prime: $0.33 per day.

This blog: $0.31 per day.

Skype: $0.08 per day.

Chase Sapphire Reserve: $0.41 per day.

On Saturday, I took a boat down Matka Canyon to a cave: $7.43. We had to do something super touristy, and the price is fairly cheap for a tourist trap. Incidentally, the only real way to the cave is to take a boat. Unless you feel like walking, and swimming across the river in the canyon (that’s free). Though if you want to do that, I’d recommend trying it during the summer as the water doesn’t get over 10 degrees Celsius. That’s not a problem for Wim Hof fans, but for us non-trained humans, that’s pretty cold.

On Sunday, I bought some Dr. Who content from Amazon. I got the latest new years’ special: normally $5.34; and season 11: normally $27.81. Since I had Amazon credit for taking a survey, it actually cost me $3.15 for both. It pays to take some surveys. Thanks Amazon!

On Monday, I bought a couple expansions for Age of Wonders III. They were discounted to $17.97 for both of them. What can I say, I have a slight video game problem.

Summary

Week 63
CategoryFriSatSunMonTueWedThuTotal
Travel02.79000002.79
Lodging14.3914.3914.3914.3914.3914.3914.39100.73
Food2.4220.221.128.3819.24.84056.18
Other6.9614.4110.1124.936.966.966.9677.29
Total23.7751.8125.6247.740.5526.1921.35236.99

So my first real week in North Macedonia ended up costing about the same as a settled week in Greece. Things are definitely cheaper here. See you all next week.

Financial Friday 62

Locations: Thessaloniki [Greece], Skopje [North Macedonia]

After over 2 months, I left Greece. Let’s see how my wallet felt about this. Week 62….

Transportation

On Tuesday, I took a taxi from the hostel to the Thessaloniki main bus station: $9.14. After wandering around a bit, they told me there wasn’t a bus going to Skopje. However, someone said there was a train so….

I took a taxi from the main bus station to the train station: $7.65. There I was told there wasn’t a train, but a bus left from the train station early the next morning. So I walked back to the hostel….

On Wednesday, I took a taxi from the hostel to the train station: $7.99.

Then, I took a bus to Skopje (North Macedonia): $22.84. I had a few minor issues along the way, but that’s a topic for a separate blog post.

Accommodation

Friday to Monday were the days I planned to be at the hostel in Thessaloniki so it was still [relatively] cheap: $15.19 per night.

I didn’t plan to be in Thessaloniki Tuesday night so the price of the hostel was a little more expensive: $17.70. But it was still pretty good for Greece.

Wednesday and Thursday were spent at a hostel in Skopje: $7.92. As you can see, North Macedonia is significantly cheaper than Greece.

Food

I went a little crazy on Friday and Saturday. Most of that food bill was for alcohol. The lesson here is “don’t drink unless you plan on spending more than your typical budget”.

Other

Travel insurance: $5.57 per day.

VPN: $0.26 per day.

Amazon Prime: $0.33 per day.

This blog: $0.31 per day.

Skype: $0.08 per day.

Chase Sapphire Reserve: $0.41 per day.

On Sunday, I did laundry: $4.00.

On Wednesday, I bought data for North Macedonia: $30.00. Data rates here are more expensive than in the EU. Or at least that’s the case with my carrier; a local SIM might be cheaper.

On Thursday, I took a free walking tour. The guide was really good so I tipped her pretty well (for the Balkans): $9.32.

Summary

Week 62
FriSatSunMonTueWedThuTotal
Travel000016.7930.83047.62
Lodging15.1915.1915.1915.1917.77.927.9294.3
Food17.1325.466.633.433.4311.184.2967.82
Other6.966.9610.966.966.9636.9616.2892.04
Total39.2847.6132.7825.5844.8886.8924.76301.78

So this week turned out a little more expensive than last week. I blame the drinking, and change of cities. And for March….

Mar 19
CategoryWeek 58Week 59Week 60Week 61Week 62Total
Travel00016.79016.79
Lodging93.34107.24106.85106.3345.57459.33
Food40.946.5943.6462.3649.22242.71
Other72.7452.1472.7253.8624.88276.34
Total206.98205.97223.21239.34119.67995.17

I consider under $1,000.00 to be pretty good for Greece. So, winning! See you all next week.