Week 5 now and so far, so good.
Wanted to do a quick update from a previous post about finances.
I have been keeping careful track of my finances on a Google Spreadsheet.
PER WEEK SPEND
I'm averaging about $99/week, though that was inflated by an event I went to on Sunday that cost about $70 (book+ticket+gas).
In reality, I am averaging around $75/week for all expenses outside of fixed costs (rent, internet, tuition). This estimate also includes a mattress I bought at the end of Week 2.
Last week (Week 4), I spent $57 total on food. Of that, $32 was groceries. If I hadn't eaten out (damn friends!), it would have just been $32 on food for the week.
This is on the low-side compared to most of my peers, but I haven't felt inconvenienced. Cooking is easy and saving money has given me a fair amount of financial wiggle room (it allowed me to purchase my ticket to Hong Kong for solo week).
FOOD BUDGET CHANGES
I went from eating out one meal every other day to not eating out at all during the week. It is totally possible to cook your meals in the morning or at night (takes me about 15 minutes to prepare my meals) and bring it with you to class. This has helped me cut my food budget in half.
Because I am not eating out during the week, I am also able to splurge more on premium ingredients. And to be honest, I am eating better and healthier than nearly all of my classmates.
Now, I limit eating out to once on Saturday and once on Sunday, when I am meeting up with a friend. I also don't really drink and this has certainly helped.
Maybe I'll do a post on easy recipe ideas.
SOLO WEEK TRAVEL
Because I'm spending less than expected on food and daily expenditures, I balked and bought a plane ticket to Hong Kong for solo week. I leave Sunday morning and get back Sunday night.
I will continue to be perpetually jetlagged and an unemployed and poor international jetsetter.
If it's less than 2.5 miles away and it's not dark out, I am going to walk/jog there. Like the rest of the US, public transportation here is expensive and TERRIBLE (though slightly better than everywhere else minus New York). Not spending money on transportation has helped tremendously though I have taken an Uber/Lyft four times since the program started. Two of those rides were for free though, thanks to first-time-user promos.
Has this been an inconvenience? Not really. It's a two-birds-one-stone situation in my view:
- the city is very walkable,
- it saves money,
- it's good for the environment,
- I get some exercise!