Give Me Back My Five Bucks - Page 28 of 2825 - a quest for financial independence

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Spending Recap: Oct 28-Nov 3, 2013

Monday 28th – Ait Benhaddou, Morocco
$2.51 (20 Dh) tip
$1.26 (10 Dh) water
$8.79 (70 Dh) lunch
$2.51 (20 Dh) coffee
$9.42 (75 Dh) dinner

Tuesday 29th – Zagora, Morocco
$52.37 (425 Dh) herbalist
$1.88 (15 Dh) lunch
$8.16 (65 Dh) dinner

Wednesday 30th – Erg Chigaga, Morocco
$5.02 (40 Dh) scarf
$0.63 (5 Dh) donation
$25.11 (200 Dh) pottery
$2.51 (20 Dh) tip
$0.63 (5 Dh) water

Thursday 31st – Ouled Berhil, Morocco
$0.13 (1 Dh) washroom
$8.79 (70 Dh) tip
$1.88 (15 Dh) orange juice
$10.30 (82 Dh) lunch
$10.05 (80 Dh) dinner

Friday 1st – Essaouiria, Morocco
$6.91 (55 Dh) lunch
$1.51 (12 Dh) gelato
$35.18 (280 Dh) argan oil
$12.57 (100 Dh) tip
$32.05 (255 Dh) dinner

Saturday 2nd – Essaouiria, Morocco
$23.88 (190 Dh) silver ring
$7.53 (60 Dh) argan & almond spread
$12.57 (100 Dh) silver necklace
$8.79 (70 Dh) lunch
$34.56 (275 Dh) hammam
$2.51 (20 Dh) tip
$12.57 (100 Dh) dinner
$50.27 (400 Dh) leather weekend bag

Sunday 3rd – Marrakech, Morocco
$12.57 (100 Dh) leather shoes
$2.51 (20 Dh) fridge magnet
$4.02 (32 Dh) lunch
$7.53 (60 Dh) argan oil
$6.91 (55 Dh) snack
$1.76 (14 Dh) tea
$1.26 (10 Dh) taxi
$25.11 (200 Dh) dinner

Freelance Income: $0
Expenses- $452.01

TOTAL: - $452.01

Well, this was a full week of traveling for me, and it was difficult. Like I mentioned before, traveling with a group of people is hard because you don’t necessarily get to choose where you shop or where you eat. I’ll explain in more detail later, but even though I did shop (for myself, and gifts for people), I am pretty happy with the amount I spent. Actually, I thought it was going to be a lot more. :)


October 2013 Goals: Review

Well, I grouped 5 days of travel spending from November into my October expenses because that’s how I budgeted for it. Thankfully, even though I went over on my budget, I had a good month for bringing in freelance income to make up for it.

As for the entertainment category, I was only in town for like 10 days of the month, so I clearly went crazy. I just couldn’t help myself, even though I knew I would be going over budget. This was a result of going to 5 movies (4 from VIFF), as well as a birthday dinner with my neighbour.

I also took the time to analyze my travel spending this year… and yikes. It’s a rough one. 2013 was supposed to be the year I stayed home and explored Vancouver (since 2012 was all about travel). But so far this year, I’ve gone to the Okanagan, Las Vegas, Toronto, France, Morocco, and Seattle. :| I want to do another big trip next year, but looking at how much travel is costing me (when I could be saving it for retirement), I’m apprehensive.

10 - October Recap

Net Worth Change+ $2,192 (+ 2.50%)

October 2013 Goals:

  • Stick to my travel budget. FAIL. As noted in my Morocco trip recap, I was $351 over budget because apparently I can’t control myself when it comes to leather bags and jackets.
  • Post on this blog 3x/week. FAIL. I was surprised at how little free time I had while traveling, and internet connection in Morocco (surprise, surprise) was spotty in most places we were at. I have a lot of ideas for posts though, so this is going to have to be a priority going forward.
  • Earn $2,000 in freelance income. CHECK! I’m happy to say that I brought in $2,752 this month in extra income.
  • Increase my RRSP contributions. CHECK! I was originally contributing $350/month into retirement, and just increased it to $400/month ($300 RRSP, $100 TFSA). My goal by the end of the year is to have it up to $500/month, but I really should have it up closer to $600/month. :|

How did you do in October?

Spending Recap: October 21-27, 2013

Monday 21st – Lyon, France
No Spend Day!

Tuesday 22nd – Lyon, France
No Spend Day!

Wednesday 23rd – Lyon France
No Spend Day!

Thursday 24th – Casablanca, Morocco
+ $177.71 freelance income
$11.27 (€8) lunch
$2.82 (€2) water
$5.03 (40 Dh) train from airport to Casablanca
$1 (8 Dh) water
$6.28 (50 Dh) taxi ride to hotel

Friday 25th – Marrakech, Morocco
$2.26 (18 Dh) taxi ride to train station
$11.29 (90 Dh) train to Marrakech
$0.89 (7 Dh) water
$3.14 (25 Dh) taxi ride to hotel
$5.03 (40 Dh) dinner at market
$2.89 (23 Dh) henna tattoo

Saturday 26th – Marrakech, Morocco
$0.25 (2 Dh) tip to snake charmer
$3.77 (30 Dh) breakfast
$1.76 (14 Dh) mint tea
$37.66 (300 Dh) painting
$0.50 (4 Dh) bus
$8.79 (70 Dh) dinner at market

Sunday 27th – Aremd, Morocco
$8.79 (70 Dh) mule ride
$1.88 (15 Dh) mint tea & snack

Freelance Income: + $177.71
Expenses- $112.16

TOTAL: + $65.55

Whew, what a crazy few weeks. Sorry for abandoning this blog while I was gone – internet was limited while traveling through Morocco, and I didn’t have much spare time either when I did find a connection. I’ll have a proper write-up about my trip sometime this week or early next week, but just wanted to say that it was a lot of fun. Morocco was everything I had always hoped it would be, and while I’m not sure I’d ever go back (there’s just so much more to see of the world), it was definitely an amazing time. I met some fantastic people, ate great food, and had experiences that I will never forget. :)

I’m glad that almost of my expenses in France were paid for, because I’m surprised how much Morocco broke my budget. It was partially to do with the group mentality of being on a tour, and also because I ended up buying a few things that I didn’t think I would. Including The Perfect Leather Jacket. :| But more on that later.

Hope everyone has been doing well! I missed writing here, and am glad to be home. :)

Trip Recap: Morocco

This trip was amazing. I had such a great time exploring Morocco. The country is so diverse, and we covered so much ground in such a short amount of time. It will take me a while to really reflect back on everything that I saw, but it’s definitely one of my most memorable trips ever. I think it was a combination of the changing landscape, the people I met… and of course the delicious food that I ate that made it so great.

Speaking of food, I was pleasantly surprised at how many pescetarian food choices there were. I had assumed I would have to eat meat, but that just wasn’t the case. And granted, some of the dishes I ate were prepared with chicken stock (our guide said it was unavoidable, especially in the small villages)… but I did my best. And I had some amazing vegetable tagines (with couscous), Berber omelettes, beautiful salads, and when we were at the coast… Seriously. I would go back to Morocco just for the cheap, amazing seafood. :)

Many friends told me that they hated Morocco because of all the harassment they received. One woman even told me she traveled with bodyguards the entire time. Yes, it’s true. I did get harassed a lot. Not only was I traveling solo for the first two days of my trip, but being Asian, I got a lot of comments and stares. Some of then acceptable, but most of them offensive. It was fine though, and I just ignored it all and focused on taking in all that Morocco had to offer.

I’ll post some photos here, but I also shared a bunch of photos I took on the GMBMFB Facebook page, so make sure to check it out if you have the time! :)

Tour vs. Independent Travel

This was the first tour I’ve ever been on before. It was small (12 people), but I was still hesitant that being part of a group would hinder how I like to travel. I also wondered how I would get along with the other people on the tour – if I didn’t get along with anyone, would I feel incredibly alone and isolated?

I was pleasantly surprised with the kind of people I met on the tour, and ended up hanging out with 4 of them on a regular basis while traveling. They were all single females, and it was nice to hang out with other people who were quite similar to myself. I ended up spending most of my time with one other girl (hi, Lizzie!), and it was like hanging out with a younger Australian version of myself. It was really weird. She has the same hopes and dreams and personality that I had 6 years ago when I started this blog, so it was really interesting to travel and interact with someone like that. Hopefully we will see each other again in the future. :)

The positives of a tour are:

  • The ability to access remote places
  • The confidence to be where there are no other tourists
  • A guide who can speak the local language
  • Built-in friends
  • It is a hassle-free way to travel

The negatives of a tour are:

  • You don’t get to travel at your own pace
  • 95% of the time, you eat at restaurants picked out by the tour leader
  • Not enough free time to explore
  • Some of the tour you might not find interesting
  • It’s more expensive than going solo

While I’m glad that I went on this trip as part of Intrepid, I probably wouldn’t travel with a tour group again. I think I’m too independent, and too fussy to deal with a set schedule. I want to feel free, and I want to do what I want, when I want. :) I would just have to do a lot more research and trust my instincts a lot more. This tour was great because we had access to remote villages that I otherwise would have never gone to myself. Plus, spending the night in the Sahara was just amazing… but those are things I could do on my own (or with a partner or a friend) if I had taken the time to really, really do my research.


I bought a beautiful leather jacket, ballet flats, a weekend bag, plus gobs of argan oil products (so cheap compared to prices here in Canada!) … 4 bowls, a silver necklace, and a silver ring… and some spices. That all adds up!

Budget Breakdown

Well, I had intended to spend $2,150 based on this budget I had come up with before my trip. What I ended up spending was $2,501 – meaning I was over budget by $351. Not bad! I mean, it’s not good. I hadn’t really intended on spending money on any souvenirs for myself… but with all of the beautiful things to buy, I couldn’t resist. :) And I didn’t exactly break the bank, so I’m okay with this.

I also made a few errors and last-minute changes. My intention was to stay for 2 nights in hostels, but ended up staying for 3 nights in hotels. I did this for the convenience of having my own room, wifi connection, and feeling a bit more comfortable. In retrospect, I feel like I should have stayed in hostels for 2 of the nights. I also decided to fly roundtrip from Lyon, which made my airfare more expensive… and for some reason I didn’t even factor in transportation while traveling. I guess I figured I’d walk everywhere… but I still needed to take the train to and from the airports, there were miscellaneous taxi expenses (granted, they were very cheap), and I took the bus. :|

Morocco 2013 Budget

Spending Recap: October 14-20, 2013

Monday 14th
+ $32.33 Great Canadian Rebates
$15.50 ferry

Tuesday 15th
+ $530.15 freelance income
+ $129.78 GST rebate
$37.50 dinner

Wednesday 16th
+ $28.96 freelance income
$9.56 lunch

Thursday 17th – Lyon, France
No Spend Day!

Friday 18th – Strasbourg, France
$11.34 (€8.05) personal care items

Saturday 19th – Lyon, France
No Spend Day!

Sunday 20th – Lyon, France
No Spend Day!

Freelance Income: + $559.11 ( + $162.11)
Expenses- $73.90

TOTAL: + $647.32

The great thing about traveling for work is that the majority of my expenses are covered. :) In fact, the only thing I’ve paid for so far this trip is some personal care items that I forgot to pack.

It was also my birthday this week (Tuesday), and was lucky enough to get tickets to see Jack Johnson in concert on Monday, then went out for dinner with a friend on Tuesday. Low-key birthday celebration – just how I like it. :)

As for bringing in extra income, I got paid out by a couple of advertisers, and randomly found a GST cheque I had misplaced earlier this summer, so that was a nice surprise!

This is my 5th day in France so far, and it’s been pretty fun. I’ve had enough free time to explore Lyon, as well as head out to Strasbourg for a work event (and a bit of exploration in a city I’m familiar with). It was a bit weird being back in Strasbourg, and it doesn’t seem like that long ago Nic and I were there on a trip from Stuttgart. I’ve got  3 more days here in Lyon, and am thinking about taking a day trip out to Dijon later this week.

How was your week of spending?