Strolling Through Sites of Budapest

Hello Everyone,

I went to Budapest, Hungary for almost three weeks to see my family. This was my first fall in Hungary in 10 years. I am so thankful for life and my wonderful husband that we were able to make this happen. This was a much needed trip! Can’t believe how many fantastic things have happened to me during this short period of time. But I will tell you all about those later, in another blog post.

[RELATED: Budapest Christmas Markets & Rooftop Baths]

This post is strictly about a day of strolling on the streets of Budapest with my sister (Petra) and her boyfriend (Peti), trying out new bars, doughnut shops, and spending some quality time with each other ūüôā And, since we walked everywhere, it was a pretty good work out as well. (The pictures were taken by all three of us)

At the end of the day my feet were throbbing. It was only then that I realized how much we walked. I took 21,288 steps, walked 9.56 miles, and burnt 3,330 calories. All the stops are linked (just click on the names), so if you are interested in their schedules, buildings or the history, you can read more about those as well. (Can’t include them in this post, because that would make for the longest blog post in history)

Stop # one: Hungarian State Opera

Stop # two: St. Stephen’s Basilica

Stop # three: Deak Ferenc Square

Stop # four: Budapest City Park

Central Park of Budapest ūüėČ

Peti took a picture of Petra…

…taking a picture of me, taking a picture of…

…this.

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Stop # five: Vajdahunyad Castle

Seeester ‚̧

Stop # six: Heroes’ Square

Stop # seven: 360 Bar

Stop # eight: F√°nki Donuts

Stop # nine: Gozsdu Udvar

As soon as we sat down, I felt all the miles in my feet. It was very hard to get up and go home. For dinner we had Pad Thai.

Have you ever been to Budapest?

What’s your favorite city?

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5 + 1 Lessons We Learned From Moving Across The Country

Hi Everyone,

Our little family is going over a giant change at the moment. We packed up our stuff and moved from the West Coast to the East Coast.

(I am currently blogging from a laundromat and the ladies who work here are busting Backstreet Boys on the speakers and this is the best thing EVER) Here I am trying to talk about serious topics and all I can do in my head is sing: “IIIIII WAAAAAANT IIIIIT THAAAAAAT WAAAAAY!”…”YOU ARE … MY FIIIRE! THE ONE…DEEEESIIIIIIREEEEEEE…YOU AREEEEEEEE”)

Sh*t. Totally lost my train of thought.

I have moved 12 times in my life, including five cities and two countries. You would think, I am an expert in moving and starting over but that is not the case at all. I am horrid at saying bye to people and I also get attached to things. We spent the last couple of days in Arizona saying goodbyes (yikes), packing and visiting our favorite places for food and coffee.

Ben’s mom came to help us pack and drive across the country. Without her, this would have been an even harder task to do and I am not sure we could have done it. She was a huge help! So let’s see what are the¬†5 + 1 lessons we learned from moving across the country

5 + 1 Lessons We Learned From Moving Across The Country

  1. IT  MADE  US  REALIZE  WHAT  THINGS  ARE  IMPORTANT

    We started packing four days before we left. I mean, it is not like we were moving out of a mansion. We had a one bedroom apartment. We looked around in the beginning of the summer and made a conscious decision that four days were going to be enough time.  But where did all the extra stuff come from? I swear every time I put one thing away, 35 other things popped up; we had way too many things accumulated in just a short two years. We will try and be a little more aware of this in the future. What I am saying here is that we will stop being crazy hoarders. We decided not to get a UHaul and move with only the things that fit in two cars. Originally it was a financial decision but it turned out to be a pretty great de-cluttering process.

    Lesson learned: No more hoarding and next time maybe start a little sooner?!

  2. FINDING  AN  APARTMENT  FROM  ANOTHER  STATE  SUCKS

    I could’ve guessed this was not gonna be a Nutella bath(whatever that is but it sounds great). This one turned out to be a huge stress factor for both of us this past summer. Finding an affordable and safe place from 3000 miles away that is close to work and dogs are allowed was not easy. Even though, we had a huge help from Ben’s brother who checked out a couple places for us, this was still a pretty stressful process. Not fully knowing where we were moving to tripled the already freaked out butterflies in my stomach and it did make a huge impact on my everyday mood.

    Lesson learned:¬†Sometimes I just have to accept the situation as it is and make the best out of it. No need to stress if I can’t change anything. We did our best at trying to find the best place for us but we could only do so much from the far. But like everything, this also turned out just fine at the end.

  3. BE  COMFORTABLE  OUTSIDE  THE  COMFORT  ZONE

    I spent very little time inside of my comfort zone in these past three weeks. Packing up our entire lives and saying goodbye to some of our things was saddening, closing the apartment door behind me in Arizona and going off to the absolute unknown was scary. Driving for days in strange areas was stressful. But there were two nights when we stayed at family along the way which made it so much easier! We had plenty of friends who were cheering us on from far and asking how things were going. I know social media and technology can be super overwhelming sometimes but being connected to the world when we were in the middle of nowhere was pretty darn awesome.

    Lesson learned: Everything is going to be fine. There are always people along the way who support you from near and far. Taking a deep breath and taking one step at a time is key.

  4. NO  NEED  TO  ACT  TOUGH

    Moving is stressful. Leaving our lives behind, our friends, our jobs, our steady incomes, and our home was a b*tch. We picked up our lives and placed them 2567 miles away. For a long time I tried to look at it only as a fun and exciting adventure and pushed the sad feelings aside until I felt a constant “ball of stress” in my throat. At one point I physically struggled with breathing. What the heck would be so wrong with a good old cry? Nothing. There is nothing wrong with letting the stress out. Instead of feeling like a burden on family and friends, these are the people we gotta rely on the most. I know I would do the same for them if they needed me.

    Lesson learned: Don’t hold the stress back and use the support system that is there for you. We are so thankful for everyone who helped us out along the way!¬†‚ô•

  5. SAME ¬†COUNTRY, ¬†DIFFERENT … UHM … EVERYTHING

    It is crazy that we moved in the same country and we are facing culture shock. Everything is different! People have different accents, they do their grocery shopping at places we have never heard of, their temperament and driving is different, and they eat different foods. The buildings and the architecture is different, the spaces are smaller, and the cars are more Europe like (Lots of people in Arizona have giant trucks).

    Lesson learned: Different is not bad. Gotta be open to new things and embrace the unknown.

  6. GOTTA  STOP  COMPARING

    After a couple days I realized I was doing something wrong. I kept comparing everything to Arizona. I was constantly comparing our new apartment to our old apartment, the new areas to the old areas, the new stores to the old stores. After I stopped doing that I started realizing all the awesome things that surround us now and all the cool places we have yet to discover.

    Lesson learned: Stop comparing. Period.

Questions for you:

  1. Have you ever made a big move?
  2. What helped you deal with the stress?
  3. What is your favorite part about moving?

Devil’s Bridge Hike, Sedona

Hi Everyone,

This week is going so fast, I can barely keep up with it. This past weekend, we visited Devil’s Bridge in Sedona. Before we leave Arizona we wanted to make sure to check it out because we have heard great things about Devil’s Bridge and the amazing view. It for sure did not disappoint!

The hike itself is pretty easy, not to mention that it is FREE. Make sure to take plenty water with you because it can get pretty warm in Sedona. Parking gets a little tricky. We got there at 8:30 am and got lucky enough to take the last available spot. (By the time we were leaving, people were parking on the side of the road it got so busy.) We had to park in the first parking lot which added another 2.1 miles to the hike. The total hike came out to be 5.8 miles. You can only drive up to the second parking lot if your car can take extreme off-road situations.

Devil’s Bridge Hike

Price: FREE! No parking fee, no permit.

Parking: Gets a little too busy as the day goes on. It paid off that we went early in the morning. And if you don’t have a high-clearance¬†4 wheel drive, you can only park in the first parking spot.

Hike level: easy to medium. Really not too bad at all, the last 400 feet¬†gets a little steep with lots of stairs but you can always take a quick break when your legs¬†feel like they are on fire ūüėÄ

View: Unbelievable

You can find details and more description about the area on the United States Department of Agriculture’s Website!

Follow our adventures at http://www.myredtravelshoe.com

Questions:

  1. What is/ Where is your favorite hike?
  2. Do you like hiking?
  3. If you could go on one road trip, where would you go?

A trip to gorgeous Sedona, AZ

Last weekend Ben’s mom came to visit us! And of course, when someone visits you in Arizona, you take them to Sedona. Not that she has never been there before, she has been many – many times, it is just a place where you must go for a couple hours or maybe even for a weekend when you are around!

It is such a lovely – little place and there is so much to do. The entire town is surrounded with red rock buttes and gorgeous canyons. There are many hiking trails and a cute little creek where you can cool yourself down during the hot summer days.

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Echo looks pissed

The town is filled with the art of local painters, sculpture makers, jewelry makers, musicians and you name it. Everyone is friendly, happy, and hangs out on the streets, enjoying the warmth of the sun.

All the local stores have a little sit down area in front of them and they have plenty of benches too in the town where you can sit down for a couple minutes with a cup of coffee or a delicious ice cream and enjoy the wonderful view to the red rocks.

We left early enough in the morning so we can have brunch in Sedona. When we got there most stores were still closed and there weren’t many people on the streets. We found a cute little breakfast place called The Secret Garden Cafe. They had a patio and also were very dog friendly. They got Echo a bowl of water so he can cool himself down a little bit.

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I got an egg white omelette with spinach, tomatoes, and feta cheese and had some fresh fruit on the side! Ben and his mom both went with the breakfast burrito and Ben got roasted potatoes on the side.

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While we were waiting for the check to come, Echo was getting pretty impatient so I left a little early to walk him around the area. By this time there were more people walking from art gallery to art gallery. Of course it took about 2 minutes before someone had to stop and pet Echo ūüėÄ He loves getting all the attention and loves being spoiled by everyone.

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After breakfast we walked back to the car and headed for a hike. It took us a while to find the trail but it was worth the search. We hiked the Slim Shady Trail, which is also a mountain bike trail.

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I have to admit I was amazed by all those bikers cruising through the trail without planting on their faces. I was just explaining to Ben and her mom how I would possibly injure myself at such reckless activity when I tripped and almost fell. They got a pretty good laugh out of it and also realized that I was not joking when I said I would risk my life there.

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We did not hike for too long, but got to go¬†high enough to see the wonderful view of the canyon around us.¬†It feels like time stops when you stand there and¬†stare at such wonderful view. I just can’t get enough of it. It makes me feel so tiny and insignificant standing there in the middle of the vista. It felt like we were tiny little ants.

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On the way home Echo and I passed out in the back seat, we both took a pretty amazing 40 minute nap

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I can only recommend Sedona to everyone who is ever in the area! You will probably hear more about it from me in the future too! ūüėČ

have a great Friday afternoon!

Weekends are for recharging, we made sure we got the most out of it

Saturday Echo woke up at 8:30 in the morning…I looked at the clock and couldn’t believe my eyes. I had a quick little talk with him and we agreed that everyone stays in bed until 9. He was luckily on board with that.

At 9 I put some work out clothes on and we I went for a mile long morning walk. It was gorgeous outside, we both loved it. Echo was sniffing around, picking up rocks, and enjoying the warmth.

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His leash is falling apart. He got ahold of it during a road trip and we didn’t notice that he chewed half of it up on the back seat. It is my fault, I did not hide it well enough and even though he is not supposed to chew stuff just because he is bored, I should have been more careful.

After the walk I dropped off Echo at home, fed him and I went down to the gym. My new favorite gym equipment is the stationary bike.  I always make sure to do 15 minutes on it, either before work out or after. I never tried it before because I always thought I would just sit down and be very slow and lazy but I realized how hard it can be if you push yourself to the max for a couple minutes. It gave my legs a really good work out and I am still sore, even a couple days after.

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After work out I went home and found Ben awake in the living room. Echo was kind enough to wake him up too, he was ready to start the weekend and didn’t understand why would we want to sleep in.

We were all starving and have been craving some good old breakfast, so I showered quick and we started cooking. On Wednesday we got turkey bacon, whole wheat waffles and a dozen eggs…we have been waiting for this breakfast for a very long time. I made scrambled eggs, waffles and crispy bacon, while Ben made some hash browns. His project was a little bit more time consuming and complicated….breakfast turned out pretty nice. sat2

After breakfast we laid down and hang out for a while. Ben had to go teach tennis and he took Echo with him. I don’t know if other puppy owners feel the same way, but it felt so nice to be in the house and be able to clean without Echo running miles around me. Of course, I missed him 10 minutes right after but at the same time, it was so much easier to clean the house, do laundry and do all the dishes…By the time Ben and Echo got home, everything was nice and clean!

Saturday night we went for a walk, relaxed and played a couple rounds of cribbage. I lost to Ben again, even though I was in the lead for a long time…almost until the very last turn. So disappointing but I am starting to accept my fate. We made a pasta, pork and asparagus dinner :)

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Sunday was Echo’s 9 month birthday! We woke up and Ben made breakfast while I did some more laundry and folding. Folding is my least favorite part of doing laundry… But it had to be done so I tried to make it fun. Whenever I am folding laundry and all of a sudden it is too calm and quiet around me, I know Echo took off with a sock or underwear. I was right, this time too, so I chased him around for a while, until he got tired…

Ben had to go to work for an hour and while he was working, Echo and I went to buy a new leash, which was way over due, then we walked and enjoyed the sun until Ben came back. Then we went to PetSmart and got Echo a birthday present, a new crate! He outgrew his old one unfortunately. I wish he stayed as small as when I first met him, but time flies. We came home and put his crate together. He really enjoyed getting to know his new little safe spot…and of course, he helped a lot.

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As soon as we were done with the crate, our friend Jordan picked us up and we went for a hike…well, we thought we were just gonna go for a walk in the meadow but the roads going up to the meadow were still closed because of the winter months so our little trip turned out to be a 6 mile hike! It was lots of fun and it was absolutely worth it!

This was our view on the way up! At least we had a good excuse to stop sometimes and rest‚Ķsuch a beautiful view¬†ūüėÄ

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Hope everyone had a great weekend!

 

Finding Echo’s sister…what a small world

I found Echo’s sister ūüėÄ

What were the chances?? The other day someone liked Echo’s photo on Instagram and since I saw she had a puppy on her profile picture too, I looked at the photo. The puppy on the picture looked just like Echo, I was even confused for a split second thinking how did my dog get on her account?

So I messaged her and said that I know there is a very slim chance for this, but could those two dogs be related? I have seen lots of dogs from the same breed but none of them looked exactly like Echo. Her dog looked kind of young too, so who knows…things happen. She messaged me back asking where I got Echo from and it turned out that we both got our dogs from the same place in California. Then she told me her birthday and that is the exact same day when Echo was born. ūüėÄ So it turns out they are from the same litter.

Next time we are in California, we will meet and let the puppies hang out for a while. I wonder if they will recognize each other based on smell maybe? Or can they remember? The last time they saw each other they were younger than 4 months so I really don’t know how this works, but I hope they will have a great play date and will enjoy each other’s company when they meet.

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Echo is on the left ūüôā

How to save $$ each month that you can put towards traveling‚Ķ

There always comes a time when I feel like I have to organize my life a little bit. That includes me cleaning out the computer’s desktop, deleting all my un-read emails, sorting them out into folders and realizing how much unnecessary sites I am getting messages from that cluster my mail box. A couple months ago when I was on a roll organizing I decided to start writing down my expenses to see where and how could I save some extra money. During the months, this is what I learned from my notes. I decided to share them because they might be able to help you as well!

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  1. Record your expenses (for a month or so) to see what are those extras that you can easily cut out of your life. Prioritize what is really important to you and what is not so much.Writing down what my expenses were for two months helped me a lot to figure out where a chunk of my money went. Yes, it gets a little tedious and can be annoying but it really is worth the effort. There are many different phone apps (The best 7 apps according to Daily Worth) and websites ( The 10 best and free online budgeting tools according to Good Financial Cents) where you can record your expenses! Of course, if you don’t want to deal with these, you can use a plain piece of paper or an Excel sheet can do the magic too. I used a very bogus little piece of paper, all I wanted to see was how much the unnecessary numbers get up to…turns out, quite a lot.IMG_5035
  2. Create a savings account and put 10-15% of your paycheck towards it. If you can’t do 10-15%, then go with whatever you feel like you can do but make sure to commit to it! It might be a little amount but they will add up in the long run and you will always have a little money to rely on if something comes up. 

    You might be going: duuuh, a savings account! Thanks for the tip genius but I know how I thought about this when I was younger. I kept saying I will do it, it can’t be as important, and I also took money off of it very often, in fact so often that the bank changed it back to a checking account. Eek. Well in this case, there is no point to having a savings account. Make sure to put an amount to the side that you can live without with no problem and you don’t run out of money by the end of the month. Even if that money is a tiny amount, don’t worry about it, it will add up!

  3. Phone bills

    I heard some people got rid off their smart phones, to save money. To me that is a little extreme. I am way too attached to my smart phone because that is the only device that keeps me in touch with my family and friends back in Hungary throughout the day; Viber, Skype, iMessage, it would be hard to do without those. I am on a plan with my friends and had a contract of $50/month. The contract expired after two years, but since I took good care of my phone (I got a Lifeproof case that is pretty pricey but saved my phone million times, therefore saved me hundreds of dollars), instead of upgrading, I kept my current phone. There is not one scratch on it and it works perfectly fine but my monthly bill went down from $50 to $32. That is $18 savings each month. That might not seem like a whole lot, but it is something!

  4. Coffee and tea

    Buying coffee or tea in a shop every day can cost you a LOT! If we count with $3 on average, and 5 days a week that would equal to $60 A MONTH!!! But if you must pay a visit to Starbucks every day, make sure to get the phone app and take advantage of your discounts and occasional free coffee coupons.

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    I have a friend whose high school economic teacher pointed out two girls from the class because they went to class with a Starbucks drink every single day. They spend on average $5 a day on fancy frappes and mochas. The teacher added it up and it turned out that with the money they spent on Starbucks coffee during the school year they could have bought a roundtrip flight ticket to Europe. That is a very eye opening example.

  5. Cancel Automatic payments for different websites

    Two years ago I ordered a pair of boots from a website for a great price but I didn’t realize that the great deal came with monthly commitments of a $35 auto payment. I was able to skip the auto payment each month but of course life happens and sometimes I forgot to take care of it. I didn’t want to cancel it because I felt like I did not want to miss out on the upcoming deals later on but it just never happened and the auto payment kept taking my money if I didn’t pay enough attention. So throughout the months I lost $70 on that deal and then realized that I don’t use their services enough to worth risking it (Took me way too long to give up on that but I did eventually) There comes an extra $35 each month!

  6. Prepare lunch and eat out less

    Not preparing lunch to work can cost you $8-12 each day 5 times a week which is about $10×5=$50 a week x 4 = $200 a month….holy cow!!!! Invest in a crockpot and prepare food for the week! Meal prep is not only healthy but budget friendly as well. Here is a geat website for amazing crockpot meal ideas for meat lovers, vegeterians, gluten intolerants etc.
    I know it is great to go out sometimes so I am not saying stop doing that completely. Have a budget for going out/month and make sure you don’t go over that.

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  7. Don’t throw your coins away

    My husband‚Äôs friend in high school had a jar and put every coin in it that he found on the ground during the school year. By the end of the school year he had an extra $27. While that is a little extreme I also met friends who threw away their coins because the¬†coins¬†are ‚Äúannoying‚ÄĚ. Don‚Äôt be that guy! Have a jar or a piggy bank and put your coins in there. In a year we collect about an extra $50 dollars with that.

  8. Go grocery shopping with a list and a FULL stomach 

    Instead of going through the store and wandering without a purpose (which makes everything very desirable especially if you are hungry), go with a purpose and make sure you eat before so you don’t wanna buy and eat up the entire store. That will save you some money, trust me!

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  9. Take fewer cab rides and use more public transportation

    However, I understand this is not too appealing, this can save you a whole lot of money. I admit, in America this is way harder to accomplish than back in Europe where most cities have great public transportation system. If you must, choose Uber or Lyft and save yourself some money.

  10. Look for clothes on sale and sell back your least favorite pieces

    Do some winter clothes shopping in the spring, or summer outfit shopping in the fall; look for clothing items on sale instead of full price! There are also great websites that take your clothes that you don’t use anymore so you can make money off of them. Another option is to donate those, there are many people out there who whould be very grateful for that piece of clothing you haven’t even looked at in years.

  11. Get rid of cable and switch to Netflix or Hulu

    Cable cost $30-100ish a month and Netflix cost $8.99 a month, while Hulu cost $7.99. Figure out if you can make those changes based on your needs because this can actually save you a whole lot of money. Also if you have a friend or family member, you can split the cost of the Netflix account and get it together.

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  12. Get creative during the holidays

    Make your own gifts, use Google for ideas, there are lots of great and fun ideas on Pinterest for example. Get creative and create some memorable presents instead of just taking the easier road and buying another sweatshirt…or if you are really against that at least agree on a reasonable budget with your spouse instead of spending hundreds of dollars

  13. Drink water at restaurants 

    In my sophomore year at college, my tennis coach came up with a new rule where we weren’t allowed to drink anything else but water at restaurants. Now, she created the new rule so we don’t drink a bunch of sugary and terrible liquid before our matches but it made her realize that each time we ate, we saved like $20. That adds up to be $120 on a long weekend which is huge. I understand that your family is probably not 11 people but it still can save you some money each month.
    You can make your own lemonade in a restaurant too, by ordering water and lemon and adding sugar or sweetener to it. It tastes great and it is FREE!

  14. Lights off

    Turn off the lights when you leave the room. I noticed that people in America have the habit of leaving the lights on in every single room they appear to be in, or they leave the TV on when leave the house. To save money with the lights, turn them off when you leave the room, switch to LED, which might be a little more expensive, but lasts longer and saves you money on your electric bill. Turn the TV off when you leave the house! Also, and I make this mistake during winter months, don’t let your water run for a long time before you get in the shower.

  15. Do I really need this?

    Such an important sentence. If you are shopping online or in a store make sure to take a step back and count to 5…in some cases to 10 so you get a chance to actually think through whether you need that item or not. Making an emotional snap decision is very easy but you might regret it later. Take a deep breath, think it through, and ask yourself: Do I really need this?

  16. Pack food for road trips

    This is not only helping you to stay on track with your diet or healthier eating habits, it will also help your wallet. Prepare fruit and veggies, make sandwiches for the road or by bulk products and distribute them into small ziplock bags…instead of buying stuff at the gas station for ridiculously expensive prices, use this option to save money.

  17. For Pete’s sake, quit smoking

    People spend hundreds of dollars on smoking, it is not only a horrid habit that can ruin your health, but it is also an expensive hobby. How about putting all that money towards traveling or doing something much healthier? Is it hard to quit? Well, your health must be motivating enough for you to suffer through those couple days at the beginning. You will see how much better it feels to spend all that money on a great experience somewhere on a cruise ship or just buying more groceries, maybe pay back loans etc…

  18. Alcohol

    Well, I know this is going to be an unpopular one, but the truth is that some people spend hundreds of dollars on alcohol each month. College students too…those college students who always complain they have no money for anything, but somehow spend at least hundred dollars on alcohol during a weekend. I know them because I went to school with them. So be smart about it. I am not saying to quit drinking but have a reasonable budget and geez don’t spend $100 on a Saturday night, c’mon!!!!! ooor…if you do, just don’t complain later….

What do you think of these saving options? Just with some of these options I saved about $356 a month.

Do you have other tips and trick that you could add to this list? Do you have another approach or a different way to save some money? Please comment below!

Hope these were helpful to you!