Give Me Back My Five Bucks

Spending Recap: January 9-15, 2012

Monday 9th
+ $1,200 freelance/side income
$5.04 Subway

Tuesday 10th
+ $150 sold Blackberry smartphone
$42.87 gas

Wednesday 11th
No Spend Day!

Thursday 12th
No Spend Day! 

Friday 13th
$18.11 Cactus Club

Saturday 14th
$179.20 MEC (backpack, travel supplies, etc.)
$12.43 Pinkberry

Sunday 15th
$16.17 groceries
$8.61 Subway
$123.95 train tickets x2 (Paris-Stuttgart)

WEEKLY SIDE INCOME *+ $1,200 (+ $150)

TOTAL: + $943.62

I spent $303.15 this week on travel-related expenses. But I feel good about it. I decided not to buy a bigger backpack. Instead, I’m going to stick with my 65L hiking pack and a carry-on day pack which I just picked up at MEC. I bought some compression bags to pack down my clothing too, and hopefully that will be good enough. I also spent $123.95 for two one-way train tickets from Paris to Stuttgart. Nic paid for the 2 nights of accommodation in Paris, which ended up being around $140.

We will have to come to some sort of compromise for accommodation when we go traveling over the next 7 months. We both agree that hostels are the cheapest way to go. I don’t mind hostels at all. However, I am uncomfortable sharing rooms with strangers (had a bad experience in a hostel once), and prefer to spend the extra money for a private room instead. Which is usually way cheaper than a hotel room. But Nic prefers to spend the least possible for accommodation. Perhaps I will offer to pay the difference between a dorm room and a private room in the hostels, or maybe we’ll alternate.

I should also note that at the halfway point of this month, I have already brought in $3,134.55 in freelance income. :) A lot of it is carry-over from stuff I didn’t get paid for in December, so I have to figure out how to keep this rate going into the future.

* This is all income I bring in that is above and beyond my full-time job. Money is primarily made through my two blogs and my graphic design business.

Author: Krystal Yee

I’m a personal finance blogger and marketing professional based in Vancouver. I’m a former Toronto Star (Moneyville) columnist, author of The Beginner’s Guide to Saving and Investing, and co-founder of the Canadian Personal Finance Conference. When I’m not working, you can usually find me running, climbing, playing field hockey, or plotting my next adventure.


  1. Renee says:

    Woooowweeee! Look at all that freelance income. Wishing I could make that much at my regular job, much less my side hustle. Good work!

  2. nic says:

    Glad to hear you didn’t buy a larger pack!! :)

  3. kitty says:

    oh yea, its worth the few dollars more for a private room in a hostel.

  4. Daniela says:

    Ugh, I hated shared rooms too. It gets too hot, and all the dorm rooms I was ever in had bunk beds packed really closely together, so when one person moves, everyone else’s bed that is touching the mover’s bed is affected. Totally worth it to pay the extra money.

    On a side note, if you go to Berlin, you MUST stay here – this was by far the best hostel I stayed at during a six week jaunt through Europe a few years ago. And the prices are totally reasonable. AND you can get an apartment style room with a kitchen if you wanted to be able to eat in. It’s called The Circus –

    • Krystal Yee says:

      Thanks for the tip on The Circus! I think one of our first weekend trips will be to Berlin, so I’ll make sure to check out that hostel. And I totally agree with you about the dorm rooms. There are so many people staying in one room that it’s impossible to get a good night’s sleep. And even worse if there are some partiers in the room who come back in the middle of the night. And now I feel old. hahaha :)

  5. Laura says:

    You should check out Hostel world ( when booking your Hostels I found it very useful :)

    Happy Travels!

  6. me says:

    i remember reading through your archives and thinking you were so very cheap with your money when you were paying down debt. to the point where you didn’t do ANYTHING. and now that you have money it’s good to see that although you’re not spending indiscriminately you arent going for the cheapest option just because its the cheapest. good for you.

    • Krystal Yee says:

      Thanks! :) It’s taken me a while to get to this point – where I’m comfortable spending money. Although, I do think how I got out of debt was the right thing for me to do at that point in my life (being as frugal as possible), I don’t think it’s sustainable in the long run, and really, money is made to be spent (responsibly). :)

  7. Lili says:

    I travelled Europe in May 2009 with my BF and found that it was often cheaper to book one hotel room in a private (non-chain) hotel than for both of us to book at a hostel.

    We used and a lot. Sometimes had 2-for-1 deals so it would be $50 for two nights! The reviews on the sites were usually pretty accurate, so we knew what we were getting into before we booked.

    The only city where this rule did not apply was London. We got private rooms in the YHA were awesome, but you needed to book way in advance. Do NOT stay at an Astor hostel in London, private or not. They are just huge party hostels.

    • Krystal Yee says:

      Yeah I always make sure to check out hotels as well as hostels, because sometimes it is cheaper to get a hotel. Although, I find that hostels are almost always situated in the main areas that we want to be in, whereas the hotels with comparable prices are usually a little further out.

      We primarily use, but I’ll check out too – and thanks for the tip on the Astor Hostel! :) We’ll be headed to London at some point this year, so that’s good to know.

  8. Ashley says:

    Good call on the back pack.

    When I moved to Italy for a year I took my 65L and a HUGE suitcase. Big mistake. I was on my own and carrying two giant bags and a carryon was stupid and difficult. My route there was Canada to England to Paris to Italy (for a bunch of reasons…) and I was on my own once I got to Paris. It was tough.

    There was never an elevator or escalator when I needed one and strangers aren’t always inclined to help.

    Keep the smaller back pack and bring clothes that are on their last legs. I brought bedding as well from my mum old linen closet and donated it when I went home. Very little of my clothing, sheets and towels came home.

    I also found, by the time I was twenty, I was too old for shared rooms. Those kids and their partying….

    I cannot wait to read more about your trip!!! I’m so excited for you – this brings me back to moving to Europe and you’re going to have an amazing time. Germans are so sweet!

  9. Michelle says:

    Wow good job on the freelancing!

    And I agree, I don’t think I could share a room.

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