Save Money! Frugal Tips!
EVA GUO, ATTORNEY AT LAW FRUGAL TIPS
I thought I was fairly frugal until I met someone a few years ago who at the time was thirty years old. He lived in Burlingame with his girlfriend in a rental room in an elderly woman's house. Their rent was $900! The average rent in the San Francisco Bay Area for a room in a shared setting is $1,600 or more. Yet, he was paying just $450 and his girlfriend $450! He also invested in the stock market and already had over $600,00 in his profolio.
He drove a 1980s car that he bought for about $2,000, and it was running and looked fine in 2016. I thought my car was pretty frugal - a 2004 Scion xB that I bought in 2016 for $4,300 with only 63,000 miles when I bought it - but he has me beat by a couple thousand and over a decade!
Another way I save money is by using www.warmshowers.org when I travel. This is a website for people who travel by bicycle - bike touring. I have used warmshowers.org for travels in the Netherlands, Taiwan, California, Denmark, and France. I have never used couchsurfing, but this is a similar idea; though I think people who travel by bike and the hosts who host bike tourers (usually bike touring people themselves) are a different breed of people from the non-bike-touring people.
People often ask me whether it is safe. I cannot vouch for all hosts, but I have had only the best experiences from being hosted on warmshowers.org by hosts from Copenhagen to Taipei to Amsterdam to Marseilles to Aix-En-Provence to Portland to Dresden. Both hosts and bike travelers create a profile on warmshowers. So, you can read the profiles first and sometimes there are reviews. It really shows the generosity and humanity of people that strangers in Dresden will host a stranger from San Francisco.
To save on airline tickets, I fly Norwegian Airlines to Europe, which sometimes has roundtrip flights between Oakland and Oslo or Stockholm for about $400. From Oslo, I use a regional airline, depending on where I'm going, to fly for instance to London or Paris or Marseille. These regional flights sometimes cost only $70 or less each way. Of course, these discount tickets are non-refundable, so, if your plans change and you can't fly on the ticketed dates, you will likely be unable to obtain a refund. I did have to be willing to hang out in the Oslo or Stockholm airport for a few hours since I had to change airlines and planes. Some people might find the time spent waiting in airports not worth the savings.
Here is the breakdown of what I paid on one trip to Europe:
$688 rountrip from Oakland, California to Marseille, France:
$467 OAKLAND to Oslo, Oslo to OAKLAND - Norwegian Airlines
$78.10 Oslo to London, London to Oslo - Norwegian Airlines
$143.85 London to Marseille, Marseille to London - Easyjet