Author Topic: Thanks Fellow Mustachians! Here's how much you saved me:  (Read 8543 times)

ModernIncantations

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Thanks Fellow Mustachians! Here's how much you saved me:
« on: August 02, 2013, 05:56:29 AM »
For my original thread: http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/forum/ask-a-mustachian/will-you-analyze-my-spending-(with-mint-screenshots!)


1 month into my new budget I've saved $2,320! This is a combination of your advice, getting the YNAB software, and a
long talk with the Mrs (who is also very pleased).



Thanks to everyone that helped me get here! The speed at which you can make change when you really need to
is sometimes shocking. The right tools, a good framework, and good old fashioned self control was all it took.

The crazy part is how little of that $2,320 in monthly spending I actually miss. We feel it every now and then
when YNAB lays down the law for RANDOM_WIDGET_PURCHASE, but the gains far outweigh the losses.

kms

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Re: Thanks Fellow Mustachians! Here's how much you saved me:
« Reply #1 on: August 02, 2013, 06:21:02 AM »
Congratulations :-)

I have a follow-up question regarding your other thread:

Our Europe trip was about 3k/person though. I don't know if I'll ever be excited to spend that

How the hell do you budget 3k/person in Europe? Is that five-star hotels and luxurious rentals incl. driver? It's not just you, I've heard this from many of my American friends (I've lived in Detroit for a while) - for them, Europe is so expensive that when planning a one week trip they spend anywhere betweek 2k and 5k per person. And I am left completely flabbergasted each time I hear those numbers.

Here's the breakdown: return flights from anywhere along the East Coast to any larger European city can be found for around US $600. Once I've even managed to fly from Detroit to Germany and back for less than US $500. There are plenty of affordable hotels and hostels (contrary to popular believe one does not have to pre-book everything), campsites with huts you can rent, etc. Instead of a rental car take the trains, busses, etc. There are at least two different Eurorail passes, Eurail and InterRail, to travel all around Europe by train. If you're planning a city trip you really don't need a car, public transportation is much more efficient, cheaper and faster in most cases.

Still wondering how one would spend 3k per person in Europe... I hope that was a five week trip you were planning, including person tour guide, five star hotels, etc.
« Last Edit: August 02, 2013, 06:24:32 AM by mj0 »

SunshineGirl

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Re: Thanks Fellow Mustachians! Here's how much you saved me:
« Reply #2 on: August 02, 2013, 09:28:38 AM »
That's a lovely graph! Congratulations.

Eric

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Re: Thanks Fellow Mustachians! Here's how much you saved me:
« Reply #3 on: August 02, 2013, 10:15:40 AM »
Great work Modern!  That's quite the improvement!

Eric

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Re: Thanks Fellow Mustachians! Here's how much you saved me:
« Reply #4 on: August 02, 2013, 10:25:52 AM »

How the hell do you budget 3k/person in Europe? Is that five-star hotels and luxurious rentals incl. driver? It's not just you, I've heard this from many of my American friends (I've lived in Detroit for a while) - for them, Europe is so expensive that when planning a one week trip they spend anywhere betweek 2k and 5k per person. And I am left completely flabbergasted each time I hear those numbers.

Here's the breakdown: return flights from anywhere along the East Coast to any larger European city can be found for around US $600. Once I've even managed to fly from Detroit to Germany and back for less than US $500. There are plenty of affordable hotels and hostels (contrary to popular believe one does not have to pre-book everything), campsites with huts you can rent, etc. Instead of a rental car take the trains, busses, etc. There are at least two different Eurorail passes, Eurail and InterRail, to travel all around Europe by train. If you're planning a city trip you really don't need a car, public transportation is much more efficient, cheaper and faster in most cases.

Still wondering how one would spend 3k per person in Europe... I hope that was a five week trip you were planning, including person tour guide, five star hotels, etc.

I'm not sure when you were traveling, but my wife and I traveled to Italy for two weeks last year.  Our flights, which were a good deal, comparatively, were $1450 per person.  So as you can imagine, it's pretty easy to hit $3K per person when half of that is used just to get there.  These were not non-stop either, so we could've paid way more.  Is your $600 cost from traveling in the dead of winter or from when fuel prices were much more reasonable?

Jules13

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Re: Thanks Fellow Mustachians! Here's how much you saved me:
« Reply #5 on: August 02, 2013, 11:14:56 AM »
I have a question about YNAB.  I used to do Mint, but switched to a credit union that Mint doesn't support.  I loved Mint though.  I now use Yodlee and can't really get used to it.

What do you like about YNAB that you switched from Mint? 

Thanks.

kms

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Re: Thanks Fellow Mustachians! Here's how much you saved me:
« Reply #6 on: August 04, 2013, 05:17:14 AM »
I'm not sure when you were traveling, but my wife and I traveled to Italy for two weeks last year.  Our flights, which were a good deal, comparatively, were $1450 per person.  So as you can imagine, it's pretty easy to hit $3K per person when half of that is used just to get there.  These were not non-stop either, so we could've paid way more.  Is your $600 cost from traveling in the dead of winter or from when fuel prices were much more reasonable?

The prices quoted above are from 2008/2009 but haven't doubled in the last five years, at least according to my research. I guess it depends where you're flying to - some destinations are much cheaper than others. I just checked - New York City -> Frankfurt non-stop in late September is around US $900, Paris is even less, Rome is significantly more expensive at $1,200. Winter and spring, however, are much cheaper - Rome in February or April is around US $1,000 and the weather in Rome is much nicer in April than it is in August.

The US $600 flight was a non-stop return flight in February 2008, from Detroit to Munich with Lufthansa. Last year my wife and I travelled throughout South East Asia for five weeks, the flights from Munich to Bangkok were only 580 (less than US $800) per person via Muscat/Oman - non-stop are about twice as much and only would've saved us about an hour each way. What I'm saying is: when planning accordingly there's no way I would end up with a budget like that for a two week trip. Our five weeks in Thailand/Cambodia/Myanmar were less than 2,500 total (combined, not per person!), including flights, hotels, rental motorcycle or scooters, and five days on an island in Southern Thailand for Christmas.
« Last Edit: August 04, 2013, 05:25:10 AM by mj0 »

olivia

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Re: Thanks Fellow Mustachians! Here's how much you saved me:
« Reply #7 on: August 04, 2013, 07:11:35 AM »
Awesome work! I'm considering switching to YNAB but I'm not sure I'll actually enter ever single transaction. I wish it was like Mint and automatically entered everything.

Re: flights to Europe, they've gone up a TON since 2008. I've been going to Europe regularly since 1999 (lots of family and friends so I usually stay for free) and it's close to impossible to find a flight for under $1000 these days.  When I first started going I could get sick deals, like $350 from DC to London.  Those days are over.

caligulala

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Re: Thanks Fellow Mustachians! Here's how much you saved me:
« Reply #8 on: August 04, 2013, 07:56:46 AM »
Flights to Europe have nearly doubled since 2008. My husband is English, so we fly between Chicago and London regularly. Our first trip together in 2008 was $450 each, our last trip was $1400 because we had to book last minute, but even with flexible travel dates, flights have been hovering between $900-$1000 for the last year. Maybe you can score a super cheap flight during the way off season, but if you need to time trips around school vacations or whatever, you'll be paying more. Getting to $3000 a person really isn't that hard.

mushroom

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Re: Thanks Fellow Mustachians! Here's how much you saved me:
« Reply #9 on: August 04, 2013, 09:05:36 AM »
Caligula, I think mj0 is being rather hard on you. 10 years ago I went to Rome for a week from the U.S. and spent under $500 for everything, including the flight. I don't expect anyone to do that today.

Last year, my husband and I went on a year-long trip to 26 countries in Asia, Europe, and the South Pacific. Our total costs were $36,000 ($18,000 per person). But we had the advantage of a lot of flexibility in our itinerary and the ability to pounce on deals. Obviously you can very easily spend $3000 in Europe, especially including flight prices from the U.S.

One thing that can be helpful is signing up for some of the really good airline credit card deals. My husband just got 60,000 AA miles for spending $2000 in 3 months with no fee for the first year - and it's only 40,000 miles to fly round trip to Europe from Oct 15-May 15. One of the best uses of miles, in my opinion. Just avoid flying on British Airways with those miles (use AA or avoid London) because their fees for using miles are horrendous. Last time I flew to Paris one-way for 20,000 miles and I think the fee was either $5 or $10.

Also, if you're going to be spending some time in one spot for a few days, I loved using airbnb in Europe. I've found it to be more expensive in the U.S., but in Europe, some of the apartments I found were much nicer and cheaper than hostels. Plus you get to feel more like you're living there than just visiting and have a kitchen to cook in.

And great work on cutting down your budget so much. Fantastic work!

ender

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Re: Thanks Fellow Mustachians! Here's how much you saved me:
« Reply #10 on: August 04, 2013, 10:31:44 AM »
Looks like you're keeping up the trend of reducing expenses in August too :P

Seriously though, congrats. I think what you said here is so true it pains me to see how many people with good incomes end up broke rather than wealthy.

Quote
The speed at which you can make change when you really need to
is sometimes shocking. The right tools, a good framework, and good old fashioned self control was all it took.

The crazy part is how little of that $2,320 in monthly spending I actually miss.

Zamboni

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Re: Thanks Fellow Mustachians! Here's how much you saved me:
« Reply #11 on: August 04, 2013, 05:10:12 PM »
Great looking chart!  Congratulations!

Zelda01

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Re: Thanks Fellow Mustachians! Here's how much you saved me:
« Reply #12 on: August 04, 2013, 06:35:28 PM »
That's cool!  ^5

I have just been doing YNAB for a month and a half, and wondered how long it takes people to see the effects ;)  Apparently not long for you!  I unfortunately started it right before months where I have some high quarterly expenses.  Once I am able to even that stuff out, I hope to see results like yours :)

Baylor3217

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Re: Thanks Fellow Mustachians! Here's how much you saved me:
« Reply #13 on: August 05, 2013, 01:01:10 AM »
So what did you cut back?

For my original thread: http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/forum/ask-a-mustachian/will-you-analyze-my-spending-(with-mint-screenshots!)


1 month into my new budget I've saved $2,320! This is a combination of your advice, getting the YNAB software, and a
long talk with the Mrs (who is also very pleased).



Thanks to everyone that helped me get here! The speed at which you can make change when you really need to
is sometimes shocking. The right tools, a good framework, and good old fashioned self control was all it took.

The crazy part is how little of that $2,320 in monthly spending I actually miss. We feel it every now and then
when YNAB lays down the law for RANDOM_WIDGET_PURCHASE, but the gains far outweigh the losses.

Roses

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Re: Thanks Fellow Mustachians! Here's how much you saved me:
« Reply #14 on: August 05, 2013, 01:21:32 AM »
Caligula, I think mj0 is being rather hard on you. 10 years ago I went to Rome for a week from the U.S. and spent under $500 for everything, including the flight. I don't expect anyone to do that today.

Last year, my husband and I went on a year-long trip to 26 countries in Asia, Europe, and the South Pacific. Our total costs were $36,000 ($18,000 per person). But we had the advantage of a lot of flexibility in our itinerary and the ability to pounce on deals. Obviously you can very easily spend $3000 in Europe, especially including flight prices from the U.S.

One thing that can be helpful is signing up for some of the really good airline credit card deals. My husband just got 60,000 AA miles for spending $2000 in 3 months with no fee for the first year - and it's only 40,000 miles to fly round trip to Europe from Oct 15-May 15. One of the best uses of miles, in my opinion. Just avoid flying on British Airways with those miles (use AA or avoid London) because their fees for using miles are horrendous. Last time I flew to Paris one-way for 20,000 miles and I think the fee was either $5 or $10.

Also, if you're going to be spending some time in one spot for a few days, I loved using airbnb in Europe. I've found it to be more expensive in the U.S., but in Europe, some of the apartments I found were much nicer and cheaper than hostels. Plus you get to feel more like you're living there than just visiting and have a kitchen to cook in.

And great work on cutting down your budget so much. Fantastic work!

Europe is extremely expensive right now, and not just flights. A very cheap hotel is $100/night, minimum. You can find better places via AirBnB but you'll likely spend a similar amount. If you add rail travel between cities, entrance fees for museums and sights and occasional meals out, you can easily spend a few grand.  That's without buying knick knacks and gifts for everyone you know.

mlipps

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Re: Thanks Fellow Mustachians! Here's how much you saved me:
« Reply #15 on: August 05, 2013, 06:40:49 AM »
Mustachians don't stay in hotels when there are hostels available though. I'm off to Italy on a work trip at the end of the month & I'm taking advantage of The free flight to do a little extra traveling. My hostel in Venice is 25 and my hostel in Florence is 40, and neither of those were the cheapest option.

mushroom

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Re: Thanks Fellow Mustachians! Here's how much you saved me:
« Reply #16 on: August 05, 2013, 07:00:38 AM »
Mustachians don't stay in hotels when there are hostels available though. I'm off to Italy on a work trip at the end of the month & I'm taking advantage of The free flight to do a little extra traveling. My hostel in Venice is 25 and my hostel in Florence is 40, and neither of those were the cheapest option.

Sure, we stayed in hostels, too. But our best value-for-money deals were definitely some of the airbnb apartments we found for $50 a night or even less for 2 people. There's nothing like having your own private apartment with private kitchen and balcony. I wrote a post about it here on my travel blog: http://purplmarsh.wordpress.com/2012/12/10/our-ten-favorite-vacation-rentals/

Europe is extremely expensive right now, and not just flights. A very cheap hotel is $100/night, minimum. You can find better places via AirBnB but you'll likely spend a similar amount.

I disagree. My husband and I spent 3 months in Europe (mostly western) last  year and averaged about $50 a night staying in hotels or apartments where we had private rooms and private bathrooms, and the large majority were entire apartments to ourselves. My post above includes prices and doesn't list some of the even cheaper places we stayed. I do admit, though, that my husband is amazing at finding great deals, and we put a lot of time and effort into finding them.
« Last Edit: August 05, 2013, 07:02:59 AM by mushroom »

kms

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Re: Thanks Fellow Mustachians! Here's how much you saved me:
« Reply #17 on: August 06, 2013, 12:52:24 AM »
I was already wondering what 'cheap' hotel charges US $100 minimum per night... I've travelled all over Europe and cheap hotels for me are in the US $30 per night category, in Eastern Europe even less than that, and hostels are even cheaper. We're currently planning to bike from Passau to Budapest in September, camping along the way and only staying in hotels/hostels in the larger cities, mainly Linz, Vienna, Bratislava & Budapest. The entire two-week vacation will probably end up costing us less than US $600 combined, including train tickets to get back home from Budapest. Granted, that sort of vacation is not for everybody but it shows that it's possible to travel for much much less and see much more along the way than the average city-hopping tourist.

Also, I would like to add that travelling in high season is incredibly anti-mustachian. High season in Europe is pretty much everything between mid July and mid September. Travelling in early July or late September can already save you more than 50%.

Roses

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Re: Thanks Fellow Mustachians! Here's how much you saved me:
« Reply #18 on: August 07, 2013, 03:26:34 PM »
Have you been recently?  Because I was just in the UK, France & Italy and $30/night did buy us a bed in a communal room a couple of times.  But for private rooms (often shared bathroom) the average was $100, including some really filthy rooms in London for around $150.  It's true you can get much better deals on Airbnb but we just weren't finding them consistently this time.  I also agree that travel in the off season is much more mustachian. However, not everyone has that option yet - a teacher's schedule for instance, only allows for travel in summer and over holidays. Another thing you can do is go to cheaper European countries. We were in some expensive places due to meeting up with family/friends and attending a wedding.

mushroom

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Re: Thanks Fellow Mustachians! Here's how much you saved me:
« Reply #19 on: August 07, 2013, 07:09:51 PM »
I went last fall, which is perhaps not as recent as it still feels to me now. But the exchange rate at least is about the same I think.

kms

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Re: Thanks Fellow Mustachians! Here's how much you saved me:
« Reply #20 on: August 08, 2013, 05:56:14 AM »
Yes, I keep travelling around Europe all the time. I've just been to Vienna, Budapest and Timisoara two weeks ago and we paid around US $30 p.p. in Vienna and Budapest and around US $20 p.p. for room in Timisoara. All where in the town center and none of them was a large hotel chain or known name.

mushroom

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Re: Thanks Fellow Mustachians! Here's how much you saved me:
« Reply #21 on: August 10, 2013, 09:51:24 PM »
Yes, I keep travelling around Europe all the time. I've just been to Vienna, Budapest and Timisoara two weeks ago and we paid around US $30 p.p. in Vienna and Budapest and around US $20 p.p. for room in Timisoara. All where in the town center and none of them was a large hotel chain or known name.

Ahh ok, you're talking per person then. I was talking $50 per night total for two people. But anyway, it's not a contest, and I still maintain that it can take a lot of work/luck to find the good deals (cheap but private room/clean/well-located). You have to be willing to put in the effort.