I set out to Belgium with the ‘plan’ of spending 50 euros a day (equalling about 65 dollars a day)… somehow that plan did not work out that well – and for the first few days I spent well into the 80 euro/day mark – how did this happen? I asked myself as I wrote down everything I spent at the end of the day. After a few days I started to figure out how I was spending so much money…
So for those who want to know how to waste money in Western Europe – here’s how.
1. Sleep in hostels – but pay for the hostel’s private room with adjoining bathroom
This way you’ll be spending at least 50 dollars a night and enjoy a lot of privacy – for the ten hours or so you spend in the room to sleep. They’ll be no snoring dorm mate and the shower will be all yours even though you would probably have not have waited that long to use the communal dorm ones, and how long do you stay in the shower anyway?
2. Fail to find the supermarket and assume it’s always open
Try to find a supermarket to cook a cheap meal but only after 7pm and on the weekends – this means it’ll probably be shut. So you’ll have to find the nearest restaurant you can find (you’ll be tired, grumpy and just want some food at this stage) and shell out at least $20 on one meal – enjoy!
3. Forget to fill up the water bottle with tap water from the hotel
so you can buy expensive new bottled water every day
4. Eat a terrible breakfast
Such as a pre-made waffle with sugar on top and a teaspoon of cocoa powder added to boiling water – the sugar and lack of protein will send you up for a while but leave you crashing come lunch time. Making you tired, lacking energy and starving by mid day so you’ll just have to eat a big, expensive restaruant meal – there goes another 30 bux.
5. Buy your Belgiun chocolates from Expensive Chocolate Shops near Tourist Hot Spots
It’s convenient – a Belgiun chocolate shop right next to the tourist places you want to check out anyway, the menus written in English – and for that convenince you’ll pay $4-5 for three individual pieces of chocolate. Bon appetit!
6. Assume the train ticket to get to Belgium you bought is no longer useful
and leave it in your hostel so when you get to the metro office and are told that the ticket you left behind is also valid for the metro station – it’s too late and you have to fork out more money to buy meto tickets you didn’t need to buy.
This may sound a little sad – and it was, but I managed after two days to change my money-spending ways and become the frugal backpacker I needed to be (or tight arse as some people might call me). I even figured out the cheapest way to buy authentic Belgiun chocoaltes without the accompaning tourist tax that so many shop keepers love to add. Yay for happy endings and I’ll share everything I discoverd with you in Part 2‘How to Be a Tightarse in Western Europe’