• Eddie & Megan

Actual Expenses For a Month in Austria

Updated: Jan 13

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Month two of our year abroad was spent mostly in Vienna, Austria with a few days in neighboring Hungary.


Overall, we noticed that Austria was less expensive than France (and Hungary even less still!). That was just our gut feel though prior to taking a look at our actual expenses.

Note: If you're interested in some of our other destinations, check them out at the links below:


The numbers never lie though so let’s see how we actually did….


Analysis period: 15 Aug 2019 - 16 Sept 2019


Teaser: we came in under budget by 7%!!!!!!!!!!


In category order from highest actual spending to lowest:


Housing


At Home

This month we received rental income from our house in the US as expected. We also paid to have a landscaping company come and take care of the weed situation in our flower beds (it was really bad, quite honestly) as well as paid for weekly mowing.


Abroad

In terms of our housing abroad, we stayed at an amazing Airbnb which was a 20-minute tram ride from Vienna city center for only $1,755!


That’s an average of $58 per night for an incredibly comfortable apartment and a weekly cleaning service we didn’t know about until we arrived. It was also more spacious and modern compared to our home in France, which had a higher cost.


Grinzing wine village north of Vienna

Generally, we have found that places within our budget are those which offer a monthly discount. However, our Vienna host didn't offer any long-term discount and we still felt like we got a great deal! This just goes to show how much less expensive Vienna is compared to France.


Our monthly budget: $2,000 USD

Actual spending: $1,808 USD


Food

Vienna is a cash-heavy city so it was a bit more difficult to track our food expenses here. We had to assume all four ATM transactions were for money spent on food since most places like grocery and public transport allowed credit card. It also means that we don’t know what our highest food spend was for the month.


During the month we made 8 grocery trips (averaging a trip every 4 days or so) and generally prepared one meal per day at home.


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We are finding that we tend to unintentionally participate in “intermittent fasting" (or IF). We will eat dinner at 6 or 7 PM and then not eat again until 10 or 11 AM the following day. It’s not the longest fast but longer than we would go without food when we were at home in the US. (Now if we could just start seeing some weight benefits…)


Our monthly budget: $2,000 USD

Actual spending: $1,775 USD



Education

Our third-highest spend was on Education, which includes a student loan payment and tuition for the degree Eddie is currently pursuing. No surprises this month...just two payments which were exactly what we expected.


We’ll be glad when we hit a month when an $800+ tuition payment isn’t due (We see you, November) but we budget conservatively month to month so that we don’t overextend ourselves.


Our monthly budget: $1,142 USD

Actual spending: $1,142 USD



Travel

The Travel category was originally intended to include weekend trips and other travel away from our monthly home base. In reality, just getting to our next location (i.e. Lyon > Vienna) has been taking up more of our Travel budget than we’d like.


Also, it turns out that flight prices go up fairly significantly the closer the date gets and we’ve been booking flights 4-6 weeks out instead of several months ahead as we should. We would rather spend $50 per person now for a flight 6 months out than spend $200 per person when the six months rolls around.


You may also like: How to Prepare for Full Time Travel


Hopefully we can get better about this, thus allowing us to visit other cities and countries more often than we have been so far.



All of our bags packed and ready to head to Scotland!

Our flights from Lyon (our month 1 location) to Vienna cost only $200 with EasyJet and, conveniently, were nonstop.


Also this month, we had family visit us in Vienna and decided to spend part of the week in Budapest, Hungary.


You may also like: Top 5 Things to See and Do in Budapest Hungary


We spent ~$200 USD total for round-trip train tickets and ~$500 USD (the remainder of our Travel budget) on two different Airbnbs in Budapest for our 5-day trip there (roughly $100/night for prime locations).


Our monthly budget: $900 USD

Actual spending: $872 USD



Health & Fitness

In addition to our monthly healthcare premium of $403, we booked a Kick Bike Tour of Vienna, which we decided belonged in the Health & Fitness category. For $42 per person, we went on a 2-hour tour of the city with a local guide who was studying history at the university. It was much more physically demanding than we expected!


We also paid $20 per person for single day admission to Gellert Thermal Baths in Budapest. With a water temperature ranging between 36 and 40 degrees Celsius (or 96 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit) it was very relaxing indeed so let's just log that under the "Health" category. (You decide whether we mean physically, mentally, or spiritually.)


Our monthly budget: $503

Actual spending: $528


The above 5 categories make up almost 80% of our spending in month 2.
Keep reading for the other categories
- - - - OR - - - -
scroll to the bottom to see a visual of budget vs actual.
  • Entertainment - $80 USD per person for a Schnitzel and Strudel cooking class. $42 USD per person for a Danube River boat cruise at night which was stunning. A visit to the Leopold Art Museum in Vienna was $15 USD per person. We also went to see one movie in theatres. Actual Spending: $404 USD out of $300 budget (whoops).


Schönbrunn Palace gardens
  • Shopping and Gifts - We like to think we are pretty generous gift givers during Christmas, holidays, and other big life events so taking a single year off gift-giving would be okay, right? WRONG. As it turns out, we like helping people celebrate, and purchasing material things usually goes along with that. Also, we realized that we budgeted too high for Shopping at $350 and too low for Gifts at $0 so from now on, we’re just going to combine these two categories. We purchased a baby shower gift for Megan’s sister and brother-in-law (can’t wait to meet the baby bean!!), had our annual Amazon Prime membership renew (surprise!), bought a selfie stick and new camera mount, had to replace a Nalgene bottle that was left who-knows-where, and bought a couple of other small things. Actual Spending: $318 USD out of $350 budget.


  • Auto & Transport - As the first complete month with no car payment, we can finally say we’re freeeeeeee! This month we each bought four 1-week unlimited public transit passes which allowed us to explore ALL of Vienna very easily. Actual spending: $213 USD out of $400 budget.


You may also like: Budgeting for an Extended Trip Abroad


  • Fun Money - Technically this money isn’t spent, but rather transferred into each of our “fun money” checking accounts. Boring month for this one...what we expected to happen…happened. Yay! Actual spending: $200 USD out of $200 budget.


  • Moving Expenses - This is the cost for our 20’ x 20’ storage unit at home, where we put our most prized possessions while we are off adventuring. Actual spending: $182 USD out of $202 budget.


  • Pets - We had aimed high on this category and assumed our doodle, Mr. Miles, would get groomed every month. In reality, he goes in every other month so this was just a low month for pet expenses. Actual spending includes the cost of pet insurance, food, a bark park membership, and a care plan with his veterinarian. [Side note: We would pay a small fortune just to get to spend a day with him right now! But we know he’s having a great trip of his own visiting some of our family and getting spoiled rotten.] Actual spending: $163 USD out of $235 budget.


  • Bills & Utilities - This includes our monthly cell phone bill from Google Fi and a small insurance bill to cover some personal property. Actual spending: $162 USD out of $200 budget.


We often enjoyed a local bottle of wine at the end of the day.
  • Personal Care - This month we needed to buy several personal care items including body lotion, shaving gel, conditioner, face wash, bubble bath (our Airbnb had a huge soaking tub so….duh!), razors, etc. Most of these things we share and/or use up the bottle during the month so that we don’t have to pack the rest of it when we move locations. We’d much rather pay another $4 to purchase an additional bottle of lotion than carry the extra weight between locations. We still try not to be wasteful jerks though. Actual spending: $67 USD out of $50 budget.


  • We Be Trippin - It costs a minimal amount to host our blog, etc. Consider this our gift to you :) Actual spending: $54 USD out of $15 budget.


Conclusion


Our first month we were 5% over budget but month 2 came in at 7% under budget (meaning we "saved" $600!). This suggests we’re starting to get the hang of this full-time travel lifestyle!


Now we just have to find a way to squeeze even more fun out of our budget during month 3 as we move to Glasgow, Scotland!



Budget vs Actual


Table showing actual expenses vs. budget for Vienna, Austria

Budget vs. Actual - Trip to date


Budget and Actual Expenses by Month for our trip to date

We hope you enjoyed hearing how we're making it work traveling around Europe and how we keep our finances in check.


Any suggestions for saving money and traveling "smarter"? Feel free to share in the comments!


Cheers!


Eddie + Megan


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