Summer appears to be rocketing by at light speed. Here in Amsterdam we had a mild summer, with a few nice weeks of sun but still a lot of rain. I packed July and August full of activities, including a vacation to Croatia, Pride Week, dog and cat sitting, kayaking the canals, hosting guests at my apartment, hitting up local museums, and of course holding down a full-time job during the day. With all of those activities in mind, I’m very curious what my spending total is for the summer.
July: Time To Go On Holiday
One perk of living in Europe is that there are tons of really interesting places to go on holiday. My parents decided to fly over to visit family, but with restrictions in place it ended up being easier to all meet in Croatia. Vacations with my family tend to be more on the “adventure” side, including booking hostels and Airbnbs last minute, mapping the route after already arriving in the country, and in our case spending just 1-2 days in each city in order to see as much as possible. This meant we got to see a lot in a short period of time, and though one picture for each place can barely do it justice, here is my attempt:
Plitvice Lakes National Park
I’m a Bad Influence
My new “Want It? Buy It.” stage of financial comfort this summer has been influencing my entire family. Luckily my parents have their retirement figured out, but they have been frugal for so long it’s embedded in their nature. They visited a financial planner before the trip, who told my mom she could “have a gelato every day” as an understatement for their ability to have a comfortable vacation. They took it one step further and this vacation we spent in private Airbnbs, rather than the usual hostels (yes, our family of four has stayed in our fair share of hostels while travelling).
My parents said it was the most expensive trip they’ve ever taken, but it meant that we each got to order our own entrees off of the menu, a first for us. Of course, this type of spending is only healthy if you can afford to ‘let loose’ once in a while. Even if our letting loose is simply ordering one dish per person.
Pride Week In Amsterdam
I wasn’t sure if Pride Week would happen, as it was cancelled last year due to COVID-19. However, with high vaccination rates and Amsterdam’s seemingly lax attitude about the virus (mask rate low, but at least vaccination rates are high), Pride Week went ahead as scheduled. I found a Facebook Group of female expats and attended scheduled events all week, from a picnic, to drinks, to a local drag show, to a rooftop cinema viewing sponsored by the Queer & Migrant film festival, and finally culminating in the famous Pride Walk.
Expense Reports for July and August
I’ve been slacking on posting my expense reports every month, so I’m publishing two here, which will cover my summer spending. There are a couple of changes from previous expense reports. One is that my previous partner is now covering therapy expenses, so you will no longer be seeing that line item. Also, you won’t see expenses that I paid for in lump sums to get a discount, except in the month that I paid them. So for example you don’t see healthcare in my summer expenses because I paid the bill up front.
Note: These are expenses for just me.
|Rent||€ 1,675||$ 1,977||I absolutely love my apartment, so even though it’s insanely expensive, I plan on renewing my lease for the next 6 months.|
|Gas & Electric||€ 98||$ 116|
|Restaurants||€ 135||$ 159|
|Takeaway||€ 76||$ 90|
|Drugstore and shopping||€ 216||$ 255||Allergy medicines, magnesium oil, and other random things from the drugstore. Also includes weekly flowers.|
|Groceries||€ 149||$ 176||My grocery bill feels massive given that I’m also eating out a lot.|
|Housekeeping||€ 45||$ 53||My landlord had a regular housekeeper come to clean, but she’s been away for the first 6 months. I decided to give it a try when she came back, she did an amazing job and I may be hooked.|
|Gift||€ 34||$ 40||Brought some Gouda for my parents to try.|
|Travel||€ 12||$ 14||Trains and buses.|
|Water bill||€ 28||$ 33|
|Internet||€ 35||$ 41|
|Gym||€ 32||$ 38|
|Cellphone||€ 21||$ 25||7GB + 150 min/text + International calls and texts to 44 countries + 75 Mbps|
|Total||€2,556||$3,016||My spending is still about double what I used to spend in the US. Not to mention that 2 weeks in Croatia was covered by my parents (very grateful for this!). I’m still saving a little less than half of my pay check.|
My food spending is astronomical, especially considering that I was out of town for 2 weeks in Croatia during this time. I should probably do some more meal planning and try to bring this number down.
I spent the month of August all in Amsterdam.
|Airfare||€693||$818||I booked a trip home to the U.S. for a friend’s wedding.|
|Gas & Electric|
|Restaurants||€461||$544||I set a record for eating out expenses. €100 can be attributed to one very fancy outing to a wine bar. I’ve also been picking up the bill whenever I’m out with friends. Maybe it’s about time to go back to splitting, but I had great times this month at a variety of restaurants all over the city. Most of my “entertainment” spending is simply eating. That includes activities like going to two museums (entry free with my Museumkaart) and grabbing meals with my friends afterwards.|
|Shopping||€147||$173||Weekly flowers, new clothes.|
|Hair & Beauty||€112||$132||Got my hair touched up and picked up some supplies at the drugstore.|
|Travel||€41||$48||I took a trip to Utrecht and one to Gouda!|
|Gym||€32||$38||On top of my gym membership I paid 4 euros for climbing shoes to go bouldering.|
|Phone holder for bike||€22||$26||This is a must-have, my bike trips are 100x faster now that I can see the directions from my handlebars instead of pulling over every time I’m unsure.|
|Kayaking||€20||$24||Went kayaking with Jessica from A Wanderlust For Life, an American travel blogger living in Amsterdam.|
|Entertainment||€14||$16||Cost for movie night on the rooftop.|
|Bank fee||€3||$4||It costs money in the Netherlands to have a bank account. I could avoid this fee but then I wouldn’t be able to use Tikkie, the well-known app for splitting bills.|
|Total||€3,704||$4,370||I admit to grimacing a bit at this total. It’s a bit much for just one person who is used to spending less than $2,000 a month. Luckily, there are some obvious areas where I can cut back.|
Reflections on Summer Spending
A few months ago, I estimated how much my monthly costs would be in my post Budgeting for a Massive Life Change– I’m Moving to Amsterdam! I took a peek at the post to compare my actual spending to my estimated numbers:
I hit the mark in July at €2,556, but in August with €3,704, I went a bit over the €2,969 guesstimate by €735. I attribute this to high restaurant spending and of course an expensive flight back to the U.S. Not to mention the fact that my parents paid for our trip to Croatia (except for the flight), which made July expenses look lower than they could have been. However, in general my guess at budgeting seems pretty accurate so far.
More to the point, I had an absolute blast this summer. I never had a dull moment, I made several new friends, spent quality time with my family, explored a new country, and continued to treat myself well. When I look at my spending from that perspective, none of it went to waste.
What about you?
How were your summer expenses?
Have you ever had a phase of life where your spending went way up?
How do you keep your food costs low?
Share in the comments below!