You Can Never Be Overdressed or Can You?

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A funny story about styling came to my mind when a friend posted a joke on Facebook about the Capitol riots in the States. There was this meme that it’s easier to get into the US Capitol than into Berghain, a nightclub in Berlin. πŸ˜ƒ

So then I remembered when I TRIED to get into Berghain in 2007 when I was studying in Berlin. Nobody told me how to dress there and I went with a group of students directly from another nightclub. We patiently waited the long line, I was judged head to toe by the bouncer and finally he said NO. I was crushed haha. Until the next day some of my friends told me that you need to wear all black to get in. So I guess I wasn’t cool enough, but lesson learned. Not all outfits fit into all places even when you think you’re wearing a stylish dress. I like to dress well in a classic clean cut style most of the time. It doesn’t unfortunately work everywhere, even though smart casual is supposed to be the “neutral” look for every occasion.

I also learned my lesson when I used to hang out in startup parties. Slush is one of the biggest startup events in Finland and of course they like to party, but weirdly I was also overdressed to their parties too.πŸ˜„ Startup scene is not the most fashionable scene, because they go for VERY casual looks, such as hoodies, jeans and sneakers, both men and women. It’s not a problem as long as you do your research how to dress to events/ nightclubs/ meetings before hand, because cocktail dresses and suits aren’t safe choices after all. Happy styling everyone! πŸ‘—πŸ‘•πŸ™‚

What you’re supposed to wear to Berghain nightclub in Berlin vs. what I was wearing (I bought this colourful Zara dress for less than 30 euros) when I tried to get into the club in 2007. πŸ˜„ (Reference: https://xceed.me/blog/en/28-looks-that-will-get-you-into-berghain/)

It’s All About Interest Rates

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If you want to save money, you need to look at the interest rates. Reducing debt with the highest interest rates is the first thing you should look at. It doesn’t matter if it’s a credit card, a house loan, or a monthly instalment for a new TV/ phone/ laptop/ car, you need to eliminate the highest interest rate FIRST. High interest rates are only good for your investment savings account.

For unemployed people, struggling entrepreneurs and women with low paying part-time jobs it can be a real challenge to pay off your debt and prioritise bills with the highest interest rates as their payment date isn’t scheduled according to the highest interest rate unfortunately. Wouldn’t it be great if your first monthly bill was the one with the highest interest rate. πŸ˜›

Don’t fall for despair though. There are some tips and tricks you can do to keep track of your bills.

  1. Go through the interest rates of ALL your bills. When I had a full-time job, I didn’t pay attention to interest rates, bank fees, and other extra costs but these things matter more than you think.
  2. You can’t avoid credit card payments. Some bills can be postponed and negotiated with the bank, but unfortunately most credit card payments can not. Keep this in mind when you use your credit card.
  3. Negotiate mortgage loan payments with the bank. Another bill you can’t postpone, but of course it also depends on the country, bank and type of loan you have.
  4. Avoid buying stuff with monthly instalments. Check the interest rate first! If you buy a new phone, check how much you’ll actually end up paying in the end of your one or two year contract. (It’s A LOT more.)
  5. Avoid getting a loan to pay off your bills. These high interest loans that private companies offer to EVERYONE without checking your credit score are tempting and easy to get, but as usual, when something comes easy there’s a catch. They charge huge interest rates. Calculate how much your debt is, your interest rate on that debt and is it worth paying off that debt with another high interest loan.

For more information and tips, you can buy my Budgeting Tips 2020 from my Shop. (Also available in Finnish.) This post wasn’t sarcastic by the way. πŸ™‚ These tips are real and serious. Be safe, happy and don’t spend your pennies on stupid crap my dear readers. β˜ΊοΈπŸ’°

In Loving Memory of London

My dear cat London passed away two weeks ago. Love you forever. ❀️

The inspiration to this blog’s amazingly stylish logo, my best friend, my only friend in Finland in dark times, and my furry grey baby cat London passed away two weeks ago. ❀️ I had a little break from writing as my cat’s death hasn’t been the only struggle I’m currently dealing with, but I’ll be back soon with my sarcastic posts about dating and useful budgeting tips. ☺️

Cats are furry little angels that touch our hearts in a way people who don’t like cats will never understand. They are intelligent, charming, temperamental, stubborn and filled with love. Different cats show love in a very unique way and I always had cats since I was a child. London has, however, by far been the best cat so far. She passed away in suspicious circumstances, her breed is Scottish Straight but generally she was very healthy and vibrant. My other cat Bronx misses her dearly, but I’ll get another cat friend for him soon. Cats are group animals and need each others company. Even though London and Bronx had their disputes, Bronx loved her so much. ❀️ If you have any pet stories, let me know! πŸ™‚ Oh and for the funny part, cats are the the funniest furballs you can find, just Google “funny cat videos”. The cats will speak for themselves. πŸ˜‰πŸ˜»πŸ˜½

GUEST POST: Big Brands are Irrelevant When You’re Shopping for Healthy Food

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Being on a budget is not synonymous with eating poorly. Although this is a common thought, here you will learn about eating well on a budget. Many useful tips help with eating well on a budget that you might have never realized.

Eat Healthy And Spend Less

Eating well on a budget helps you think better and make better decisions. In this matter, it becomes a circle: you eat well and make the right decision of not wasting on lousy meals. It is a virtuous circle. For example, if you are studying, you need to be able to think straight, and we will teach you that eating well on a college budget is possible.

Sometimes you are hungry, and with little money, you think that fast food or processed food will be cheaper than getting some healthy ingredients and cooking a meal. Eating well on a budget is not hard, and we will show you how to accomplish that. To be sure, eating well on a budget is just a matter of knowledge and making decisions. You can rest assured of that.

Below you will see some tips that should help you spend less on food and, at the same time, eat better food. You will soon be eating well on a budget.

Plan Ahead For Eating Healthier On A Budget
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Among the tips for eating well on a budget, the first one should be obvious, but for some, it is not. Simply plan. What does this involve? First, do not eat out or order if you are already on a budget.

Then, prepare a meal list for the whole week to start eating well on a budget. What are you going to eat each day for breakfast, lunch, and dinner? You just need to be aware of how much you are going to eat and then find a way to balance things out. This way, eating well on a budget becomes a simple task.

When you know what you will eat, it becomes easier to put up a concise shopping list that helps with eating well on a budget. Add everything you need, and only that.

Some ingredients you should always have at home include olive oil, flour, tomatoes, frozen vegetables, pasta, rice, and potatoes (you can do almost anything with potatoes). They are cheap and help you with eating well on a budget.

Finding recipes online helps a lot with eating well cheaply. There are many sites dedicated to teaching how to cook certain healthy dishes that are made of cheap ingredients. They are a big help when you aim to eat well on a budget.

Another helpful tip is to take your Saturday or Sunday to prepare your meals for the week. That should help you start eating well on a budget. You will save a lot of time during the week if all you need to do every day is just heat your food. Better than that, you will be eating well cheap dinners.

Making Smart Choices Help You With Eating Well On A Budget
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First of all, do not buy anything out of impulse if you want to start eating well on a budget. Save money to buy what you need and prepare a dish at home. This helps with eating well on a budget.

Do not buy food the way you buy gadgets if what you want is eating well on a budget. When you are shopping for food, avoid big brands, and this can help you with eating well on a budget. Big brands put a lot of addictive substances in their food. Go for some generic brands and read their labels when available, and you will find out ways to aid eating well on a small budget.

Conclusion

With our tips for eating well on a budget, you now know that it is not too hard to eat healthy.

Also, we understand that sometimes you might not find options that help you with eating healthy on a budget diet. There are places where good food simply does not arrive, and that is sad. Still, try to aim for the best options as possible, and you will be eating well on a budget easily.


Author’s Bio:

Sherry Kimball is a consultant and been involved in many successful projects with a range of companies throughout the States. She enjoys researching, discussing, and writing on the topics of relationships on the best online dating sites, when not absorbed in the latest gripping articles. Sherry loves cooking, doing sports, and otherwise spends far much time at the computer.

My Travel Ratings As a Solo Traveler for 15 Cities

Paris is great even as a poor student. I studied business management there for one semester in 2011. Everyone is stylish, food is great and the atmosphere is super chill. Photo by: Julien Brault

I can adapt to many countries and locations since I come from an international background. In many cities people have mistaken me as a local like in Paris and NYC. It’s cute, but then there are cities that are not so friendly towards solo female travellers with an international background. I chose these 15 cities because I have either lived there, spent enough time to get a good understanding of the atmosphere or applied/ looked for work there. I didn’t include my short tourist/ work trips, such as Tallinn, Stockholm, Amsterdam, Nice and Prague because I wanted to make a list of cities where I have experience of most of the things below. One to five day trips don’t really give a realistic idea unless you have time to do all of the things below. πŸ˜ƒ

If you are planning to move abroad as a solo person, I have listed these factors below to consider when planning to relocate to another country. Here’s my PERSONAL list of cities where I have received hostile treatment vs. friendly and which cities are affordable. Thumbs up is friendly, fun and affordable. Thumbs down, hostile, maybe even racist, very expensive. Both thumbs is either or, good and bad. Maybe it’s super fun and friendly but way too expensive or it’s an affordable place but super boring and impossible to find a quality partner. I’ll write a separate post of finding quality partners in different cities.

Airport/ Train/ Metro:
  1. πŸ‘πŸΌ New York City, United States. Airport security and police were friendly and “welcomed me back home” and gave me chocolate. πŸ˜„
  2. πŸ‘πŸΌ Barcelona, Spain. I had extra kilos and I didn’t have to remove stuff thanks to the friendly lady.
  3. πŸ‘πŸΌ Bangkok, Thailand. Amazing customer service, felt safe as a female solo traveler and no hostility towards foreigners.
  4. πŸ‘πŸΌ Vienna, Austria. Friendly, great public transportation, no problems.
  5. πŸ‘πŸΌ Milan, Italy. Friendly, no problems.
  6. πŸ‘πŸΌ Malta. It’s a very tiny island, but well organized and safe for solo travelers.
  7. πŸ‘πŸΌ Sofia, Bulgaria. I never took the metro, but people were helpful in the tram when I asked for directions.
  8. πŸ‘πŸΌ Berlin, Germany. First time I arrived in Berlin as an exchange-student, a man helped me with my heavy suitcase (though he wasn’t airport staff). Same thing happened at a metro station, some man offered to carry my luggage up the staircase.πŸ˜„ In Munich airport the cafe guy gave me a candy bag for free and that was just three years ago. πŸ˜„
  9. πŸ‘πŸΌ Lisbon, Portugal. Friendly, welcoming and chill atmosphere.
  10. πŸ‘πŸΌ London, UK. Airport and public transport was normal, nothing especially alarming.
  11. πŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘ŽπŸΌ Dublin, Ireland. Friendly, but what annoyed me was that you had to buy the little plastic bag for your cosmetics for 1€! The airports always give it for free so this was ridiculous.
  12. πŸ‘πŸΌ πŸ‘ŽπŸΌParis, France. The airport lady didn’t charge me for extra kilos or ask me to remove stuff. Though, some metro lines and Gare du Nord train station are full of beggers and you really have to watch out for your bag. It took a while to get used to police men carrying semiautomatic rifles at train stations. πŸ˜„
  13. πŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘ŽπŸΌ Luxembourg. Taxi drivers were very helpful towards female solo travelers. Airport people were WEIRD as fuck to say the least. I think they are either bored or don’t have too many brown people coming around. A blonde woman with a baby and some older man were trying to peek at my phone and were staring at me like a criminal when I was waiting for my plane. Also all the signs were super confusing so I got lost and did the security check twice. In comparison to Paris where tourist signs were very clear and directions were clearly marked.
  14. πŸ‘ŽπŸΌ New Delhi, India. People are friendly, but as a female solo traveler it can be very dangerous. Men stare in a primitive way and I have actually never in my life taken public transportation there, just private cars with drivers. For female solo travelers it’s a big NO.
  15. πŸ‘ŽπŸΌ Zurich, Switzerland. Nobody helped me with my heavy suitcase even though people saw me struggling at the train station. I changed my train twice and nobody helped, just stared. Very cold atmosphere.
Nightclubs/ Restaurants/ Beauty and Hair Salons:
Malta was a fun place to live for four months in 2017. Many international students and young professionals. I’m here with French and Italian new friends. Photo by: Bacco by Hugo’s
  1. πŸ‘πŸΌ Milan. Super friendly atmosphere, easy to meet people. Though I knew people when I went there so it made easier. I got in to all the clubs and even to a private fashion party with my male model friends. πŸ˜ƒ Nice times.
  2. πŸ‘πŸΌ Bangkok. Friendly, though I didn’t visit too many nightclubs. Tourist areas were HORRIBLE. British drunks ruined that place for sure, but there were some quiet bars to sit, talk and have a drink. Tourist guided tours are good for solo travellers to meet people. Hanged out with British and German young tourists.
  3. πŸ‘πŸΌ Barcelona. Very hip city. Even though I went there for work, I spend a couple days with my friend touristing around. Easy to get around alone, safe, affordable and nice sophisticated clubs.
  4. πŸ‘πŸΌ Lisbon. Super chill, friendly and vacay mode. The beach is not far from the city, so you can chill at the beach and enjoy the nightlife in the city. Clubs are sophisticated and safe.
  5. πŸ‘πŸΌ Malta. Very young and extroverted. It’s full of foreigners. My landlord was almost the only Maltese person I hanged out with. Clubs are very cool, friendly and safe. A bit pricey however.
  6. πŸ‘πŸΌ New Delhi. Never went to a nightclub in India, but beauty salons are really good. Restaurants are amazing and yes the food is different than you get in Europe. They use very strong spices, Western stomachs need to be prepared. Indian bakeries are totally worth trying.
  7. πŸ‘πŸΌ Vienna. Small but sophisticated city. Elegant, international and calm. Nightclubs have an age limit 15, so it was fun to go when I was teenager. The Donau river is super cool in the summer. It’s like mini Miami Beach or something. πŸ˜„ You can do sports, rent a pedal boat, have delicious cocktails and enjoy life.
  8. πŸ‘πŸΌ Sofia. Friendly, top notch beauty treatments, manicures, pedicures, and cellulite salons. Nightclubs are cool and fun, but don’t go in with too many dudes. πŸ˜† Restaurants are nice and peaceful.
  9. πŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘ŽπŸΌ London. People stare at Indian people in restaurants. It happened in two different trips with different people. Very expensive prices too, but then again it’s London. It’s worth paying and experiencing.
  10. πŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘ŽπŸΌ Zurich. Nightclubs are safe and relaxed, very empty during the week though. Restaurants are very expensive, not for budget traveling. I stayed and cooked at a friend’s house, but for normal solo tourists I don’t recommend. It can be a bit boring because it’s very career oriented city.
  11. πŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘ŽπŸΌ Paris. When I went with an Asian female friend to a nightclub, they let us in for free and the male bouncer complimented us. When I tried to go with a black guy, Moroccan guy and a Jewish guy to a club they refused to let us in. πŸ˜‚
  12. πŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘ŽπŸΌ Berlin. Good is that bartenders always serve women first. Bad is racism and my Turkish guy friend didn’t get in to a club because he was Turkish. They told him “we have too many Turkish people in already”. Omg. I also didn’t get in to a club because I was “dressed too fancy”, though I heard from my friends that everyone had tattoos and black clothes in that club. 🀣
  13. πŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘ŽπŸΌ NYC. It’s not for the poor. I had savings and friends when I went there, but nail salon ladies laughed at my discount coupons.🀣🀣 I guess Manhattan people don’t use coupons but I went as an unemployed single tourist. No rich man to give me money. 🀣 Though in my favorite salad bar Chopt Creative Salad in Manhattan, the guy making my salad noticed an older posh lady was trying to skip ahead of me and he got pissed off at her haha. A+ for his customer service and their salads!
  14. πŸ‘πŸΌ πŸ‘ŽπŸΌ Dublin. Even though the Barbie hairdressers all had dirty looks when I walked in lol, they were PROFESSIONAL enough to tell me that the highlights that I asked won’t look good on my dark base and I ended up leaving the salon looking fabulous. πŸ’‡πŸ½β€β™€οΈ Though I did have a bad experience with a hotel. I asked for dry cleaning, paid for it and they gave it to me in a laundry bag still DIRTY claiming it was clean. 🀣 I got food vouchers as compensation though.
  15. πŸ‘πŸΌ πŸ‘ŽπŸΌ Luxembourg. A chill small country, but also very expensive. I didn’t actually eat out at all except in McDonalds. πŸ˜‚ I bought fresh ready made salads from the supermarket and bakeries had affordable bread and pastries. Not for budget traveling.
The Donau river in Vienna is fun and affordable. Great sports options, holiday fun and chill bars and clubs. I’ve been to Vienna several times. This picture is from 2003 and I rented a pedal boat with my friends. Photo by: Karin Ruotsi
Quality of Life/ Safety/ Career Opportunities:
Sofia is a friendly city with very affordable apartments. The balconies are huge and you can find big places for less than 400 euros rent in a good and safe neighbourhood. Photo by: Sonia Jain
  1. πŸ‘πŸΌ London. If you can get a job, it’s a great city. Without a job not very affordable. The good thing is that you don’t need any extra languages, but also a lot of competition.
  2. πŸ‘πŸΌ Bangkok. Safe, friendly and clean, weather is good and food is awesome. Not sure about career opportunities for foreigners, but they are friendly towards foreigners.
  3. πŸ‘πŸΌ Sofia. You can have a good quality of life for a very affordable budget. Career opportunities are better for foreigners than for locals. Something you don’t see too often in Europe. πŸ˜‚
  4. πŸ‘πŸΌ Vienna. Safe, affordable and surprisingly fun! There are big organisations such as IAEA from the UN ( behind me in the pic), so foreigners don’t necessarily need to speak German to get a job.
  5. πŸ‘πŸΌ Lisbon. Very relaxed, friendly and clean city. Many foreigners’ favourite. Never applied for work there though.
  6. πŸ‘πŸΌ πŸ‘ŽπŸΌDublin. Depends on the neighbourhood, but my student apartment was very expensive and brand new, next to the new tram line and my college. In the end of the road, however, were drug dealers. πŸ˜†It was very scary at times and there were many young hooligans. One of my Asian classmates had kids throw rocks at her. Career opportunities are really great though, many big corporations such as Microsoft and Oracle.
  7. πŸ‘πŸΌ πŸ‘ŽπŸΌ Berlin. Very vibrant city, super cool, fun, affordable and safe, but a bit hostile towards foreigners. A lot of punks with big dogs. It’s better to know German if you look for work.
  8. πŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘ŽπŸΌ Paris. I LOVE Paris, but career opportunities are a bit narrow if you don’t speak French.
  9. πŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘ŽπŸΌ Zurich. Safe, clean and rich, but you need to speak German, French or Italian for job opportunities. Not a place to live with a small salary.
  10. πŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘ŽπŸΌ Luxembourg. Safe, clean and rich, but you need to speak French for better career opportunities. Not a place to live with a small salary.
  11. πŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘ŽπŸΌ Malta. Super cold inside the apartments in winter. The apartments are built from some rock material, the moisture builds in and most of them don’t have heating in all rooms. I lived in two different apartments and my bedrooms didn’t have heating! Career opportunities for foreigners are good but a bit limited to online casinos and banks.
  12. πŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘ŽπŸΌ NYC. NYC is one of my favourite cities with amazing food, people and fashion, but it’s a SUPER competitive job market. It’s a challenge to look for work there because it’s also very expensive. The customer service jobs don’t pay enough for rent. You need a really good job to survive and then it’s great.
  13. πŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘ŽπŸΌ Milan. Friendly, fashionable and chill. Not very cheap either though. Salaries are not very high compared to Finland for example, yet the prices are almost the same.
  14. πŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘ŽπŸΌ Barcelona. It’s a safe city, but again, expensive and salaries are small. Never applied for a job there but heard complaints from locals. Many (corporate) jobs require you to speak Spanish.
  15. πŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘ŽπŸΌ New Delhi. It’s friendly and amazing for tourists, but for settling down for Westerners it might be a bit much. Women can’t walk around alone late in the evening and there’s generally less freedom than in Europe. Never applied for work there, but Indians are very friendly, open-minded and respectful towards foreigners.

So as a conclusion, the winners for the most thumb ups are Bangkok, Sofia and Vienna! Vienna was actually my favorite city for a long time until I went to Paris and NYC. πŸ˜„ Sofia is a place I could definitely live in, the weather is great and I blend right in as people are very mixed. Thailand is a favourite for many people. The perfect city is very hard to find and of course everything is more fun with a good job and money. For more fun, avoid going to nightclubs with a bunch of dudes! πŸ˜†πŸ˜‰ If you’re a dude, go with five girls and you’re good! ☺️

Thailand was great as a solo traveler! It is safe, friendly and affordable. This was my first SOLO trip abroad without any friends, family or colleagues in 2015. People are very friendly and lots of cultural activities to see and do. Be aware of how to dress though. Trashy tourist look with micro shorts and a tank top isn’t acceptable in temples.

Travel with a 100€ ($117) budget to Tallinn

Tallinn city view from Sokos Hotel Viru rooftop, 23rd floor, KGB Museum. Photo: Sonia Jain

Depends where you live, but a quick trip to one of your neighboring countries or states refreshes your mind and makes you happy. In Europe, it’s relatively easy and affordable to visit your neighboring countries. So I decided after a dreadful 2 YEARS 4 MONTHS without a single trip abroad that I’m going to Tallinn, Estonia with a 100€ ($117) budget. I went alone because I don’t have many friends and the ones I have were working. πŸ€“ It was a quick one day trip, left my house at 8.30am in the morning and came back at 11pm.

I think not travelling for almost two and half years blurred my brain and I fell for all of the tourist traps in Tallinn. LOOOL. I was like a countryside person traveling for the first time.πŸ˜‚ Anyhow, here’s how I spent my budget and you can also watch my travel vlogs (links in the end):

  1. 14€ ferry with return. Day trips are cheaper from Helsinki to Tallinn. Book in advance.
  2. 12€ bus/ tram with return to go to the ferry from my apartment.
  3. 2,90€ Coke Zero in a cafe in the ferry. I quit drinking alcohol three months ago.
  4. 15,50€ lunch with tip. I had black truffle risotto with sparking water. I went to one of the most expensive tourist areas because I was a hungry tourist.🀣 Another tourist trap, because you can find much cheaper places if you search a little. Though I really loved the food, service and interior design of Rado restoran. Even the bathroom was like an art gallery! You can check my Instagram for pictures.
  5. 5,60€ coffee and cake in a cute little cafe, Saiakangi kohvik. Also in the Old Town tourist area, but very relaxed and peaceful atmosphere. Nobody stares at you even as a brown woman!! πŸ˜‚
  6. 5,50€ vegan wrap take away dinner. After my coffee and cake, I realised I don’t have much time to sit down for dinner before my ferry left, so I just decided on the quick and easy option and ate my vegan take away wrap in the ferry. I found a nice public sitting area with tables and a window view.
  7. 10€ bike taxi. It’s a tourist trap! The price depends where you go, but going to the Old Town can be up to 25€ for two people. Solo travelers don’t have boyfriends to pay for their travel costs, but we do have the advantage of negotiation skills.πŸ˜ƒ By the way, you can walk to the Old Town from the harbour in 15-20min.
  8. 12€ KGB museum at Sokos Viru Hotel. It’s a tourist trap! Even though you get a guided tour for one hour, the museum itself is very small, only one room, lobby and two rooftop balconies that are worth the view though. You also get a soft drink for 1€ from the hotel lobby. If you’re tight with time and money, skip this one. The tour guide was very funny though, so if you feel lonely as a solo traveler, this is a good option to spend your time and possibly make new friends! πŸ™‚
  9. 5€ KGB prison cells. Definitely worth it. It’s also a small museum, but very informative and you can read all the information from the info boards on the walls and listen to the info videos. If you have any questions, the museum person was a very friendly young Estonian guy. Bonus, a creepy prison toilet for tourists! πŸ˜„
  10. 8,80€ for candy!! The ferries are full of booze, cigarettes and candy. Very healthy haha.πŸ˜… Sometimes you can treat yourself though and candy was kind of my only option. Maybe my next trip will be to Bali beach with fresh fruit and smoothies. Though that won’t be budget traveling and for my current budget. Unless you buy my budgeting guides I can start saving. πŸ˜‰

Here’s my short Youtube video (1min 52sec) of the trip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jDxc5LnJluc . If you don’t want to hear me speak, I made one with music (1min 34sec). πŸ˜ƒ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nYAnZGXNSuA . πŸ˜‚πŸ‘πŸ½

What to Buy When Your Weekend Budget for Grocesories is 20€ ($23,60)

So my weekend budget is 20€ ($23,60). πŸ˜ƒWhich groceries did I buy and did I leave any money to go out?

Here’s what I planned before I went to the supermarket and what I bought for the whole weekend for myself and my cats:

  1. Plan your meals for the whole weekend. Breakfast, lunch, dessert, dinner, drinks and evening snacks.
  2. Salad, carrots, cucumber. I had potatoes, tomatoes, onion, olive oil, salt, and two cans of kidney beans at home. So all these ingredients together will make a salad of 3-4 portions.
  3. Crispbread. I use crispbread as crutons for my salad and you can also eat it with butter as breakfast. If I make soup, crispbread is perfect to crumble on top of it or eat it with butter with your soup.
  4. Cat food. My two cats share one 80g wet food portion per one meal, sometimes 50g portion. If you don’t have cats, use that money to buy food items that last for a long time and can be used for a variety of dishes, such as canned beans, tomato sauce, pasta, noodles, rice.
  5. Flavored tofu. It doesn’t need any extra sauce, just maybe onions and some soya sauce. Serve with rice. One tofu package makes two meals.
  6. Soya milk. I mix it with my coffee, cereal, smoothies and protein powder mix.
  7. Frozen mangoes. I had bananas in my fridge, so I can make 2-3 smoothies (5dl/ 2 cups per smoothie) with one frozen mangoes package, two bananas and soya milk.
  8. Flavored sparkling water 1,5l and one ice cream. Everyone needs a treat and 1€ ($1,18) vegan ice cream is great when you’re on a budget. Since I quit alcohol, I started drinking flavored water and it’s a nice refreshing tasty drink with low sugar.

I spent 19,00€ ($22,48) so I have some change left for another dessert if my sweet tooth aches again this weekend. No money left for partying, but it’s ok since Helsinki nightlife is super BORING and small scale compared to NYC. πŸ˜‚ Anyway, happy weekend everyone!! πŸ˜ƒ

Glamorous Sonia’s weekend salad within a budget. πŸ˜‰πŸ₯—πŸ’°Photo: Sonia Jain

Managing Your Credit Card Debt

Budgeting is all about keeping your expenses in tact. You don’t want to spend extra money on interest rates, reminders for paying your bills etc. I’m not a millionaire, I do have A LOT of credit card debt and I’m struggling to pay my bills. So there are people who argue I’m not the best person to give advice to others. Maybe, but I’m speaking about my own personal experiences. I’m writing my own personal story of how I have managed my finances AND avoided bankruptcy while struggling with unemployment and living and paying bills alone in the past seven years.

Here are some things I have PERSONALLY done to manage my credit card debt:

  1. Pay the minimum. If it is the only amount you can afford, negotiate the monthly instalments with your bank. You’ll pay more in interest rates, but sometimes you need to eat too. Also, it’s better that the bank expects you to pay the minimum each month, because it’s always better to voluntarily pay more if you can instead of negotiating each time with the bank if you can pay less.
  2. Utilize free months for your credit card bill. Most banks and credit card companies have this policy. You can have two or more months per year when you don’t need to pay the minimum on your credit card bill. Check with them ASAP and negotiate which months you would like skip paying the minimum fee. Notice though that the interest rate will be deducted from the next month’s instalment. This trick doesn’t save you money, but it simply helps you manage better your low finances for the month and get you back on track for the next month.
  3. Negotiate with the bank/ landlord/ credit card company/ shoe store. Where ever your debt is from, a credit card company, a bank, a phone company, a clothing store etc., you can always try to negotiate longer payment periods, monthly instalments or change the due date of the invoice. It might cost a little extra, but it’s worth not losing your credit record AND you get to keep your shoes and bread and milk. πŸ™‚πŸ™ƒ
  4. Once you get a job, pay the whole credit card debt at once. I’ve had some random jobs in the past seven years while looking for a full time job and even though the pay has been total crap compared to what I should be earning, I’ve always been rational about paying my bills. If I have money, I pay them. If I don’t, I don’t have a choice but to use my credit card to buy food and it’s OK, as long as you pay the minimum each month. I did once the mistake of not paying my whole credit card debt when I could have, and it has been haunting me ever since. Of course when I use my credit card regularly, the debt never decreases.
  5. Pay off the debt with the highest interest rate first. I never had to think about it when I had a full-time job and had to unfortunately learn it while been unemployed. When I got some money from the company I used to work for, I thought I’ll pay ALL my debt and bills off at once. WRONG. Unemployment and the stress and loneliness of being bullied, discriminated in the job market and living alone took its toll on the money. So I decided to pay a little off (after my over priced rent) from my student debt, a little from my credit card debt, and took a nice vacation. What I should have done was 1. Paid the credit card debt in FULL off 2. Took a vacation 3. Paid my student loan. Yes, I put a vacation before student loan, because the interest rate is very low in the student loan. You need to have a stress-free mind to think rationally. So never underestimate the power of vacations and who knows what kind of cool people you could meet on those trips to share your bills and rent with. πŸ˜‰

I hope this helps a little! Let me know your thoughts and comments. πŸ™‚πŸ’°πŸ’°

credit card debt. budgeting. living within a budget.
Managing your credit card debt is important so you don’t pay extra in interest rates and worst case lose your credit record. πŸ’³πŸ’Έ

If You Love Your Brands Like I do, You Can Still Buy Them With a Small Budget

Even if you can’t live without your Fila, Nike, Michael Kors, Gucci stuff, there are ways to buy them without paying a full price. No, I don’t mean steal them or buy stolen stuff, but sales, second-hands from your friend circle, recycling and so on.

I have always sold my brand bags when I no longer like them and use that money to buy a new bag. This is a great tactic because you don’t waste your bags or money. So here’s my quick list for buying quality brands but paying less:

  1. Sales. This is obviously a no-brainer for everyone. Just make sure to time your shopping perfectly to get the maximum price deduction. If you can wait, the prices decrease towards the end of the sale.
  2. Brand outlets. These are gems. They often sell last season products, but really if you don’t work for Vogue, who cares?
  3. Buy online. You can save a ton of money by buying online. International shipping is often free of charge too, you just have to find the right stores that ship to your country. Make sure to do your research on international sizes though.
  4. Buy when you’re on holidays (not fake stuff though). Obviously now is not the time for international traveling, but when the borders open up again and tourism is back on track, don’t waste your opportunity for tax-free shopping. Many countries offer this and the ones that don’t might still have cheaper clothes than your home country, because of better exchange rates.
  5. Recycling. Second-hand stores and flea markets are a millennial’s dream. You can get money for your old stuff AND buy new stuff for crazy cheap prices.
  6. Friend circle. Depends who your friends are of course, lol, but this is a good way to get the style you like for a reasonable price and you’ll match your friends. πŸ™‚
  7. Cheap sports stores. Many budget sports stores have opened up to compete with the expensive sports stores. They are very good places to find quality brands for less money.
  8. Directly from the brand. Brands make their own pricing, so when they want to get rid off their last season stuff, they’ll sell their own stuff SUPER cheap. Sign up for your favourite brands’ newsletters and get the info on sales before others!
  9. Cheap electronics stores. There are always cheaper electronics stores that have the exact same stuff than luxury department stores.
  10. Budget stores. Brand shampoos can be 30% cheaper than in a normal store! It’s exactly the same stuff too.

So even when you’re living on a tight budget, you don’t have to look like a beggar. πŸ˜ŠπŸ’°πŸ‘

You can buy quality brands with a small budget too. Photo: Sonia Jain