I’ve been having a hard time budgeting lately. I blame astrology; I’m a Taurus and that basically means I like materialistic things. I like good wine, expensive cheese, and EXCESS so if I’m going out, I’m not just having ONE glass of wine WHAT GET OUT OF HERE ARE YOU SERIOUS. 3 glasses or nothing, baby. Anyway, to make myself feel better, I’ve written down a list of 10 things I don’t spend money on to PROVE TO YOU that I AM A DAINTY AND FRUGAL MINIMALIST. And to be honest, if you’re not married and are an independent woman paying your own bills and making a normal (read SHITTY) Italian salary, you may need to start being a little more careful with your money. (It’s worth it though, trust me.)
HERE IT GOES.
- My hair. Girl, just cut your own hair.
I think the last time I paid for the hairdresser was in 2013. And perhaps you’re thinking OH HONEY AND IT SHOWS, but until I have paid off my house or start making decent money, I refuse to go to the hairdresser. My hair is straight, brown, and 80% of the time, it’s in a 80s PONY so it doesn’t really matter how I cut it, it’ll always look the same.
JUST DON’T CUT YOUR OWN BANGS OKAY. I draw the line at bangs.
- Heating. Turn on the savings!
The fear that overtakes your body when opening your heating bill in February is a RUSH LIKE NO OTHER. Everything is terribly expensive here, and if you need to save a little cash, this is a CREATIVE AND ALTERNATIVE PLACE TO START. If your heating is included in your rent, pump up the heat baby girl, but if you’re struggling with money, get on the #noheating train. Maybe I’m better at this than others because I’m Canadian and DON’T WEAR A SCARF WHEN I HAVE A LITTLE COUGH (Italians are delicate birds), but my apartment is always between 16 and 18 degrees °C. If I’m feeling REAL RICH, I’ll set it to 19.6°C, but most of the time, under 20 is the norm and I’m still alive.
- Cars and Buses. C’mon let me ride your bicycle.
Until a few days ago, I was spending 9 euros/month on a Mobike pass, but I have to be honest, Mobikes are CRAP. They’re a great idea IN THEORY, but they’re ALWAYS BROKEN, they always make weird noises, the seats never work, the pedals are often missing, and they make you sweat a lot more than you should when casually riding a bicycle. I had a bike for a long time, but it was broken and I was worried it would cost me a lot of money to get it fixed. After months of MOBIKE PROBZ, I bit the bullet and brought it to the shop. Do you know how much I paid to get it fixed? 10 EUROS! I mean, WHAT.A.DEAL.THE PRICE IS RIGHT. Forget scooters and cars, if you don’t need to get on a highway to get to work, get a bike. It took me a few days to get desensitized to buses GRAZING MY ELBOWS on busy streets and losing ALL sensation in my ass when riding on cobblestone streets (don’t act like you don’t know what I’m talking about), but I LOVEEEE ITTT. I’m part of maybe 4% of the Florentine population that wears a helmet (and I get made fun of when I do), but helmets are cool because brains are cool. Get a bike, wear a helmet. Save loads of money.
- Cappuccinos. Espressos for the win.
I was a cappuccino girl when I moved to Florence at 19 and pronounced it KA-PA-CHI-NO, GRA-ZI like the true study abroad girl I’ll always be, but I learned over time that espressos and sexy CAFFE’ LUNGOS just make more sense. They also take less time to make and cost less. 20/40 cents less per day adds up over time! Go for the espresso and make sure to PRONOUNCE IT WITHOUT AN X. It’s not EX-PRESSO, it’s ES-PRESSO. Also, if you have a cappuccino after like, 11 am, you will be unfairly judged. It’s a thing. I’ve warned you.
- Lunch. Sad salads and broke girls unite
I don’t have a lunchroom at work so sometimes, it can be awkward to eat salad by the river when my hair is aggressively blowing into my romaine lettuce and weird Italian men are softly whispering “BUON PRANZO” while I’m just trying to be healthy and nourish my body, but eating out at lunch is a bad money habit and I try to avoid it as much as I can. I make my own lunch most days. If I didn’t, I would probably eat POTATO PIZZA EVERY DAY at Ballerini on Borgo Ognissanti and turn into a potato. SIDE NOTE: If you haven’t had potato pizza at Ballerini, YOU HAVEN’T LIVED.
- Nights out. Find yourself a go-to aperitivo
I love eating out, but I do it VERY RARELY because I’m trying to save enough money to fix the house I bought. If I do go out, I have my regular spots where I spend maybe 15ish euros for the entire night? Or I go to expensive spots that offer cheap aperitivo (this is a great way to feel LIKE A BALLER when you’re actually broke). If you don’t know what aperitivo is, you need to. For the price of one drink, you can eat ALL OF THE CARBS. It’s a great way to save money and still go out without spending a fortune on dinner. And it’s a good vibe. It’s kind of like happy hour? But better. When in doubt, order a Spritz.
- Expensive vacations. You don’t have to leave Italy
Even though the idea of getting on a plane and leaving Florence in the Summer heat is very tempting, sometimes all it takes is a short train ride and a cheap apartment in middle-of-nowhere-Tuscany to feel like you’re on a luxurious vacation. I always make sure to book a spot with a balcony and a pool. Those are my 2 requirements. Nothing else matters. Give me 2 euro Prosecco, a balcony and a pool. That’s all I need.
- Online purchases. When in doubt, keep it in your cart for 24 hours.
Online shopping is a dangerous place for people on a tight budget. Unless it’s a book, I leave it in my cart for AT LEAST 24 hours. Most of the time, the thrill of the purchase goes away and I never end up buying the beige bellbottom pants and 4-inch heels I am CONVINCED I WILL WEAR ALL THE TIME at 2am on a Wednesday night.
- Full price items. It always goes on sale.
Is there a cute jacket at Zara that you NEED? It’ll go on sale. It always does. Don’t buy things full price. Wait it out. I know you know this, but I’m reminding you that IT ALWAYS GOES ON SALE. WAIT.
- The groomer. Give your dog a mohawk
I love my dog, but if I’m not going to the hairdresser, she’s not either. Might as well save some money and see what your dog looks like in a mohawk. Can I just say, Kiwi’s body looks REAL GOOD with a mohawk.
What do you do to save money? Share with me your best money saving techniques in the comments below! I NEED MORE IDEAS or I’ll never save enough money to finish renovating my home!
A presto xx