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Can a frugal life be fun? No doubt there are some people out there who will swear with every ounce of their being that it can’t. Sayings such as “you get what you pay for” are a testament to the idea that you can have quality and pleasure, or financial planning. But never can the two go hand in hand. No way – I mean, how can you enjoy life if you’re keeping an eye on the pennies? Too much stress, too little leisure.
This is a point of view that has probably always been around. It’s not too hard to call to mind images that are supposed to symbolize wealth and opulence. From the billionaire oil baron lighting a cigar with a hundred dollar note, to the rock star reclining in a hot tub. We know them all. Few of them ever include a calculator or a spreadsheet. Unless it’s being worked on by the frantic accountant in the back of shot.
Well, that’s just showing off… (photo credit)
But those of us who devote a bit of time to staying on top of finances can say different. Of course taking a bit more care with money doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy what you have. In fact, in many cases, the decision to keep a tight rein on money can ensure that you have more to spend when you loosen the purse strings. You can buy a bigger house. You can add more optional extras to the car you purchase. And when you go on holiday, you can get the best deals.
How To Be A Frugal Tourist
It’s not that long ago that airline travel was the preserve of the wealthy. If you wanted to start a new life in the big city, you’d pack everything you could carry and put it in your car. Or you might not even have a car. So you’d make your way to the bus station and prepare to begin your new life with neckache and a delightful new friend with questionable hygiene.
You might want to find coupons for a neck pillow. (photo credit)
If you wanted to go on holiday, you’d have to save up and get the cheapest of everything. But now, with low-cost airlines and a general drop in prices, most of us can afford flights. You can even spend a little more and go to places that would have been out of your reach twenty years ago. And if you are smart with your finances, you can actually make it work.
Choose Your Destination Wisely
As frugal as you may be, some places aren’t the best holiday destination for budgeters. There’s pretty much no point going to Dubai, for example. It’s a playground for the rich and famous. For the parsimonious, it’s just a shiny desert cash drain.
Smarter spenders should look elsewhere. Check out cost of living calculators online. For example, life is expensive in Finland, as gorgeous as the country is. A short boat ride away is Estonia, where the same standard of living costs a fraction of the price. So much so that some Finnish people make regular shopping trips to Tallinn and Tartu. Both of which are beautiful cities.
Tallinn: Undeniably picturesque, surprisingly affordable. (photo credit)
There are other examples of this worldwide, so consider countries where your dollar will go further.
Once There, Be Smart
If you’ve been somewhere with a regular tourist influx, and especially if you live in such a place, you’ll know about the “tourist tax.” It’s sometimes an official tax, and sometimes a bit of a scam. Taxi drivers and other service providers will often add a little extra to their prices if they know you’re not local. Social compliance means that we pay it. But if you have Uber current user codes, you can book a journey and pay for it before you’re even in the car.
Know What Costs A Lot Where
A Swedish alcohol store. Bring collateral. (photo credit)
Some parts of the world have different approaches to pricing than where you are from. For example, somewhere like Sweden has high taxes on alcohol to discourage excess intake. A night out that you can get for pocket change in your hometown may require a small mortgage in Stockholm. However, coffee is practically a religion in Sweden, so is more reasonably priced.
Someone who lives frugally can still have the finer things, and that includes holidays. It’s just wise to look at the details ahead of time and know what you can expect to pay for what matters to you while on vacation. Booking accommodation on sites like AirBnB rather than hotels, researching prices in various stores. Shopping around for the best flight. Saving money where you can means more to spend when you want to.