Give Me Back My Five Bucks

Spending Recap: March 5-11, 2012

Monday 5th
+ $400 freelance income
$5.33 (€4,10) Starbucks
$11.86 (€9,13) groceries

Tuesday 6th
No Spend Day!

Wednesday 7th
No Spend Day!

Thursday 8th
+ $1,150 freelance income
$18.30 (€14,09) groceries
$37.67 (€29) train ticket (Stuttgart to Geneva)

Friday 9th
+ $1,500 freelance income
+ $100 MBNA Mastercard cash back rewards (2 x $50)
$51.96 (€40) El Chico Mexican Restaurant

Saturday 10th
$5.85 (€4,50) doner kebap
$12.99 (€10) shipping
$40.19 (€30,94) flat iron
$45.46 (€35)
train ticket (Geneva to Stuttgart)
$139.50 AirBnB (3 nights in Geneva)
$64.95 (€50) bicycle from Flea Market

Sunday 11th
No Spend Day! 

WEEKLY INCOME+ $3,050 (+ $100)

TOTAL: + $2,715.94

This was a great week. I brought in a good amount of freelance income, I had 3 No Spend Days (even one on a weekend!), and we were able to find cheap transportation and accommodation for our trip to Geneva this coming weekend.

I also splurged on 3 things this week: I took Nic out for dinner and drinks at a Mexican restaurant on Friday night, I bought a flat iron for my hair (the one I brought with me wouldn’t work with my converter), and I found a 3-speed bicycle at the Saturday Flea Market! :) I tried to haggle from €60 down to €40, but we ended up settling at €50, which I think is fair because the bike is in great condition. Nic also bought a bicycle, but was able to haggle his €60 price tag down to €40. Maybe I’ll get him to do my haggling from now on. :)

I don’t consider the bicycles a necessity because we walk everywhere anyway (so we won’t be saving on transportation costs), but it will cut down on the time it takes for us to get anywhere. We also plan on taking a trip to Lake Constance in May, and we were going to rent bicycles. Now, we can just bring our own. In fact, I can see us bringing our bicycles along with us for a lot of weekend trips. And we can probably sell them before we leave Stuttgart too. Definitely worth the purchase.

Lastly, I finally did a preliminary run of my taxes. Actually, I did two runs. The first time I just guessed on most of my numbers because I didn’t have any of my paperwork with me, but I was bored and wanted to get an idea of what I was going to have to pay. Well, I nearly gave myself a heart attack because I thought I owed over $13,000! The second time, I actually used real numbers, and I think I’ll end up owing around $3,500. :) Whew!

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. Savvy Scot says:

    That is some great freelance income – Can you give us a breakdown of what it was?
    Good idea with the bikes. In this case I would look at them as an investment: given that time is money, it will save you a lot of time with the walking and free up time for writing, travelling, sightseeing etc. Also you might visit more random places now :)

  2. Frugal Fries says:

    I saw the bike purchase–she’s darling. I was curious as to where you were going to keep her though? Does your apartment have a bike room or something? Or did your place just get a little bit smaller?

    I have to keep mine on the balcony, but I’ve been looking into wall rack options to free up some space out there.

    • Krystal Yee says:

      Thankfully our apartment has a secure area in the back of the building where we can lock up our bikes on racks. Because our apartment is way, way too small to keep them there. Even if they were mounted on the wall, it wouldn’t work.

  3. Michelle says:

    Wow good job on the income! You did great!

  4. I see that you have a doner kebab in there. I love those! There’s this little bistro by our apartment that sells doner kebabs.. I think the owners were college students who got inspired by the ones they had in Europe.

  5. Renee says:

    Awesome week for both income and spending. You could probably sell the flat iron before you leave, too!

  6. Flat irons are certainly a must! And your freelance income is quite enviable :)

  7. katherine says:

    do you realize how much your income increased since leaving your full time office job!?
    in 9 days in March so far you’ve earned 3400. hardly one full week, 3400!
    if you can do 3400 3 weeks a month that’s over 10k /month.
    i didn’t realise this blog earned you appx 400 bucks too.
    easy peasy… hee hee just for typing some of your ideas/passing thoughts.

  8. beth says:

    Make sure when you are going on weekend trips via train that you buy bike tickets. Having travelled across Europe for several months by bike, it’s a bit tricky to get them loaded on and off if you have any transfers. You have to take all regional trains and only a few have bike cars. When you do load them up, try and sit close to where the bikes are and go and stand near them at each station. When I was travelling, we saw a guy a station who waited for the bike car to pull up, took out a bike and rode away!!!

    • Krystal Yee says:

      Yikes – good to know! We were just talking about how we’d even travel with our bikes, especially with transfers. We’ve only seen one train with bike cars. Maybe we’ll head to the station and ask at the information desk.

  9. Robyn says:

    I’m attempting your 10-day no spend challenge. I had no idea how hard it was until actually trying it. So far I’ve got 3 no-spend says under my belt!

    • Krystal Yee says:

      Good for you for going for it! Don’t forget to let me know the result at the end of the month! No matter the outcome, looks like you’ve already learned the lesson – how hard it is to actually stop spending money! :)

  10. Serendipity says:

    Look at all of that freelance income kicking in. Woohoo!

  11. David says:

    Some great numbers there Crystal, well done.

  12. Wow, I am seriously impressed with the income you’ve managed to earn this week. I am extremely intrigued with these No Spend Days. I will definitely think of implementing these into my own budget.

    Great job!

  13. Congrats on all the freelance writing income! I’m glad to see that Starbucks is as expensive over the ocean as it is in North America :)

  14. DebtnTaxes says:

    Even though the income isn’t steady, I’m sure you feel happy having an awesome week like you just had. Good job!

  15. Great job Krystal!! :)

    $50 for mexican food- was it good? Now I’m craving Mexican.. yum!

    • Krystal Yee says:

      Haha no the food was okay, not great. That’s just how much it costs to go out for food here. :| We didn’t even go to a fancy place. Just a regular restaurant, 2 entrees and 2 drinks.

  16. Ian Dale says:

    This is amazing. You did a great job on that income.


  17. Joe says:

    lol I really really want to see Cyril try to post a jerk comment on this one.

  18. Lia says:

    I found your entry so interesting because we’re doing the exact same thing in our Personal Finance class, here in Singapore. We are keeping track of our expenses and perhaps our income (if applicable, side jobs and all). As someone who’s interested in pursuing design and communications, like you, I am extremely interested in how much you earn and spend; and reading this blog clarifies some of the questions I’d most likely be asking five years from now. Thank you!

  19. Great work on both income and spending! Any tips for how other freelancers can find more lucrative jobs?

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