Travel cheap by extending a business trip

I had an opportunity to travel for work for a week and decided to extend it and travel personally. Combining business and pleasure is the cheapest way to travel. If you have an opportunity go for it! I travel quite a bit and don’t mind if it’s my biggest expense for the year. Since I know that this hobby can be expensive, I try to find ways to travel cheap. Here’s one example.

I spent 5 days in Lisbon and it cost me 337.93 USD

Obviously, the biggest saving is the cost of the flight. I could have save even further by staying in the same country where I was doing business, but I’m craving for some sun. I literally went on a map and pointed south and there it is Lisbon. I searched for a one way flight and found one that cost 78.32 at Ryan Air.

Since I am traveling off peak, prices for hotel is pretty affordable. I was traveling alone and decided to stay in a hostel for a cheaper alternative. For 4 nights, it cost me 55.34 USD. I stayed in a dorm room but since it is off peak, I was the only one in the room for 3 nights. This cost includes a modest breakfast and internet access.

Lisbon is such a wonderful place and exceeded all my expectations! There is so much history in the city. My favorite part is the narrow streets that seems like a maze. I let myself get lost in the city and found neighbors actually talking to each other through the windows!

Narrow Streets

I also saw Fado. For those visiting Lisbon, this is a must see. This is such an experience that I will never forget. Locals sing about anything to express their emotion. It’s in Portuguese, but you don’t need to understand the language to be amaze. It cost me 47.24 USD with dinner.

Fado

I also went to Sintra for a day. I took the train from Lisbon and signed up for a hop on – hop off bus. The day trip was not part of my plan, but was highly recommended by the hostel. It didn’t disappoint. I reached the westernmost point of the continental Europe.

Aqui, onde a terra se acaba e o mar começa...[Here, where the land ends and the sea begins...
Aqui, onde a terra se acaba e o mar começa…[Here, where the land ends and the sea begins…
The rest of 157.03 USD was spent on tours, food, transportation and kitchen magnet for my souvenir.

Definitely money well spent!

Monthly Spending – May 2016

Holy cow, I spent a lot! May is typically a big month for my spending even in the past. This is usually the month where I will book a trip or go on a trip. Birthdays are also celebrated this month. That said, I have a couple of things going on this year with the wedding and electronic purchase. I’m hoping that this is really just a one time expense.

My goal is financial independence. This doesn’t necessarily mean early retirement, but more sense of fulfillment. I like what I do now, but I don’t like the feeling of being tied to it. My first step is to determine my spending. In my opinion (and only mine), I already live a pretty frugal life. I do have one big luxury which is the biggest line item you can see below.

So folks, here it is. For those that are willing to comment and provide some insights, I’m all ears.

DescriptionAmountWhat are these?
Mortgage & Rent1600This is my biggest luxury. It took more than a year until I found the house. It's expensive, I know.
Electronics & Software1094.9A replacement for my 9 year old macbook
Wedding Expenses831.12Aaahh .. wedding. A family drama took place and I offered to flew my brother out in here for the wedding. This is basically the cost of the plane tickets, few things for my flowers and bachelorette dinner and drinks
Veterinary683Remember that emergency vet clinic?
Student Loan200My parents took some student loan for me and I offered to pay it for them. I could pay this right up front, if I want to.
Groceries138.18Very low... there's a reason for this. My partner paid our costco trip for this month.
Shopping112.94Prime membership got renewed and the cost of watch bands and batteries for my wrist watch (going strong after 15 years!)
Clothing106.08These are all bras! I went to Nordstrom and got re-sized and found out that I've been wearing the wrong size all these years. I got my corset and bra, but later return and got it from Amazon. I then got 3 more from Nordstrom Rack. Considering I got 4, this isn't bad.
Entertainment82.08blog cost - this is actually a 3 year hosting fees.
Parking80Monthly parking at work
Internet66.05Internet + phone. It is cheaper to get the bundle than just the internet... insane!
Restaurants55.78Brunch and birthday dinner
Gas & Fuel38.6Not bad, but can be better
Mobile Phone33.88Monthly phone. I have unlimited data and text and 100 minutes from T-mobile
Doctor21.62Some test that was billed after my annual exam.
Alcohol & Bars16.47Wines from Trader Joes. A monthly routine for me.
Gift3.5My gift to my partner, a tall boy beer, with the take out mexican food 🙂
Snacks3.48My cravings for chocolate needs to stop.
TOTAL5167.68
Without wedding expense4336.56

 

 

Let’s see how I can optimize it this year. My goal is to reach about $3000 on average (including mortgage).