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.

Financial Friday 61

Locations: Thessaloniki, Pella [Greece]

Week 61 of travel….

Transportation

On Friday, I took a day trip to Pella. We started to walk to the main bus station in Thessaloniki, but gave up half way through and caught a taxi: $2.00 for my half. We then took a bus to the ancient home of Alexander the Great: $9.37 to go there and back. We got back in the late afternoon (rush hour) so the cab back to the hostel was a little more expensive than expected: $5.42 for my half.

Accommodation

I haven’t paid yet, so I’m putting in the worst case scenario: $17.81. I’m 90% sure it’ll be cheaper than that when I actually get the bill due to staying here for a longer time period. If you know you’re going to be somewhere for a while, you can usually get a discount for booking it all together rather than paying as you go.

Food

I haven’t done any grocery shopping so there have been food expenses every day. How much I spend generally depends on whether I’m with someone. The cheaper times are when I’m by myself and get some cheap take-out. Whereas the more expensive days are from when I went out to a sit-down restaurant with new friends.

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 Tuesday, bought a couple notebooks: $5.14. I lost the one I’d been using so all my Greek notes from this trip are gone. It’s not a big deal, but a little annoying. I’ll be like: “What was that word I studied? I’ll look it up…. Oh wait, I can’t because I lost my notebook.” So it takes me a couple seconds longer to look it up. The issues of learning other languages….

Summary

Week 61
CategoryFriSatSunMonTueWedThuTotal
Travel16.7900000016.79
Lodging17.8117.8117.8117.8117.8117.8117.81124.67
Food13.73.4312.563.435.717.5415.9962.36
Other6.966.966.966.9612.16.966.9653.86
Total55.2628.237.3328.235.6232.3140.76257.68

So that’s not too bad. Even with the day trip, it wasn’t too crazy. See you all next week….

Financial Friday 60

Location: Thessaloniki [Greece]

Week 60….

Transportation

Zero! I win!

Accommodation

On Monday, I paid for 12 days of my stay at the hostel. It ended up coming to $15.32 per night. So I went back and adjusted my spreadsheet.

I’m not sure what it will end up being going forward, and I don’t want to assume I’ll get another discount. So, I’m putting in the standard $17.81 per night. It will probably end up being quite a bit less than that, but estimating high never hurt anyone.

Food

I went a little crazy on Wednesday. I bought a round or two of drinks for some new friends, and went out to a restaurant. It wasn’t so great for the budget, but it was fantastic in the ‘new friends’ department.

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 Tuesday, I refilled my mobile data: $20.00.

On Wednesday, I did laundry: $4.00.

Summary

Week 60
CategoryFriSatSunMonTueWedThuTotal
Travel00000000
Lodging15.3215.3215.3215.3217.8117.8117.81114.71
Food2.866.286.287.2017.593.4343.64
Other6.966.966.966.9626.9610.966.9672.72
Total25.1428.5628.5629.4844.7746.3628.2231.07

That’s actually better than I expected it to be. Winning? Catch you all next week.

Financial Friday 59

Location: Thessaloniki [Greece]

Week 59….

Transportation

Zero. This is why you travel slowly.

Accommodation

It’s probably going to be less than this, but for now, I’m going with the standard $17.81 per night at the hostel. It’s not the cheapest, but it comes with free breakfast!

Food

I’ve been getting over a cold this week so a lot of the days involve me ordering something from the cafe that’s run by the hostel. I’m too lazy to go out, and I can stay warm if I don’t go anywhere. It also tends to keep the food bill relatively reasonable.

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 Monday, I went sightseeing with some friends. We visited the Rotunda along with a few other monuments. Admission was pretty cheap: $1.14.

On Tuesday, I did laundry. The washing machine I used already had some money in it! So I was able to get away with spending less to clean my nasty cloths: $2.28.

Summary

Week 59
CategoryFriSatSunMonTueWedThuTotal
Travel00000000
Lodging17.8117.8117.8117.8117.8117.8117.81124.67
Food5.7106.6212.566.289.146.2846.59
Other6.966.966.968.19.246.966.9652.14
Total30.4824.7731.3938.4733.3333.9131.05223.4

So…it’s been a pretty standard week. See you all next week….

Financial Friday 58

Location: Thessaloniki [Greece]

Week 58 on the road….

Transportation

Zero. This is why you stay in a place that’s walkable for a while.

Accommodation

Tuesday was the last night of the AirBnB: $12.54 per night.

On Wednesday, I moved back into a hostel. The normal rate is 15.50 Euro per night, but I’m probably going to get a discount. For now though, I’m going to put in the standard rate which comes to $17.81 per night.

Food

This was relatively low since I was trying to finish the groceries I’d bought. I managed to finish most of them, but there were a lot of spices left for the next tenants. You’re welcome next people that will definitely not be reading this.

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 Tuesday, I did laundry: $4.02.

On Thursday, I bought more mobile data: $20.00.

Summary

Week 58
CategoryFriSatSunMonTueWedThuTotal
Travel00000000
Lodging12.5412.5412.5412.5412.5417.8117.8198.32
Food011.7816.097.28005.7540.9
Other6.966.966.966.9610.986.9626.9672.74
Total19.531.2835.5926.7823.5224.7750.52211.96

That’s actually pretty good for Greece. See you next week.