Money Diary – Lux Edition

What’s it like to live and work in Luxembourg?  I got inspiration from reading Refinery29’s Money Diaries, which I think is a great way to expand on the sometimes taboo topic of money.  I decided to write my own money diary for a week and present it here, excluding my salary information.  Everything that was in Euros has been converted to USD at a rate of 1.23, which is where it’s been around for the last 3 months.

Occupation: Business Analyst
Industry: Operations and Transportation
Age: 28
Location: Luxembourg

Monthly Expenses
Rent: $879.45  (Monthly total of €1,430 including water, trash, and heating is split in half with my boyfriend)
Student Loan Payment: $0  (I am extremely lucky to have generous parents)
Cell Phone Bill: $40.58
Internet: $23.92  (Monthly total of $47.85, split in half with my boyfriend)
Electricity: $19.47  (Monthly total of $38.94, split in half with my boyfriend)
Public Transportation: $22.79  (My company subsidizes roughly 50% of an annual pass that allows for unlimited travel throughout the country)
Spotify, Netflix, Adobe, iCloud: $26.41
Gym: $25.82
Charity: ~$50, to various organizations

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Sunday

10:00 am – My boyfriend and I get up late and make coffee and breakfast at home

1:00 pm – I’ve been putting off doing my taxes since it’s the first year that I’ve been earning a salary abroad, so with less than two weeks to go, I crank it out with Turbotax  $69.28

2:00 pm – My boyfriend goes to the store while I clean the apartment.  Neither of us were home the last weekend, so we’ve been living in a pigsty with half unpacked luggage everywhere.  My half of the groceries and beer is $54.74

4:00 pm – It’s the first sunny and warm weekend of the year, so we pack up beer, snacks, and a frisbee and bus to the park.  We spend the afternoon throwing a football around and playing Polish horseshoes with friends at the park.

9:00 pm – We pass out on the couch for nearly an hour.  Shhh… it’s been a while since we day drank.

10:00 pm – Dragged ourselves up to shower and eat something.  Dinner was prepackaged tortellini that we bought last week.

Daily Total: $124.02

Monday

8:00 am – I snooze my alarm a few times, then drag myself up and have some granola for breakfast.  My allergies are killing me, especially after spending hours outside yesterday.  I can’t breathe out of my nose, and my poor boyfriend is having to deal with a snoring girlfriend on one side and a snoring cat on the other side.

9:00 am – I miss the bus that takes 10 minutes to get to work and take the next one that takes 15 minutes instead.  Oh, the Luxembourg commute.

1:00 pm – I order a Caesar salad from a lunch delivery site that I’ll pay with Sodexo.  My company provides 18 Sodexo “lunch vouchers” each month at a discounted rate.  I pay $3.44 for each voucher worth $10.33 which amounts to 67% off.  Companies offer Sodexo for tax benefits, but they can be used to purchase groceries or meals.  $8.98 discounted = $2.99

7:00 pm – I leave the office and head home.  My boyfriend has dinner with a vendor tonight, so I’m on my own.

8:00 pm – I drop off my backpack, change, and walk 10 minutes to the gym.  I do some light running on the treadmill, squats, and other leg exercises, focusing on strengthening my operated leg.

9:00 pm – There’s a Thai and Laotian place right next to the gym that I’ve been meaning to try out.  I order a bo bun to go for dinner  $13.04

Daily Total: $16.03

Tuesday

8:00 am – I snooze my alarm again, my boyfriend pushes me out of bed by the 3rd snooze, and I have granola for breakfast

9:00 am – I miss my bus again.  I caught the driver’s eye while crossing the street, but he just shrugged and took off 😦

1:00 pm – In the morning, I ordered sushi from a different lunch delivery site that I’ll pay with Sodexo.  $13.28 discounted = $4.43

7:00 pm – I leave work after a tough and busy day, needing comfort food and/or a drink

9:00 pm – After listening to me bitch about work, my sweet boyfriend cooks dinner, spinach and tomato pasta

Daily Total: $4.43

Wednesday

8:00 am – Snooze, have granola, and then take the bus with my boyfriend to work.  We both work for the same company but on different campuses.  I’m working from his building today because I have an appointment in the afternoon with a physical therapist right next door.

12:00 pm – For lunch, I pick up pasta and chia pudding to go from Exki, a healthy fast-casual place.  $12.30 discounted with Sodexo = $4.10

3:00 pm – I leave early from a meeting to head to my physical therapy appointment.  They’re having me do a Biodex test to compared muscle strength between my operated and non-operated legs.  I have to go about 6 times to get used to the machine and to do the testing.  As I talked about in another post, I paid next to nothing for my operation and subsequent physical therapy.  This is also included.

4:00 pm – My allergies are still killing me, so I stopped by the pharmacy and bought some Zyrtec and nasal spray  $23.76

8:00 pm – I leave work and meet up my boyfriend and some friends for beers in the valley.  The weather is finally warm(ish), so we sit outside on the bar’s terrace.  My boyfriend paid for our beers, and we all shared some terrible nachos and salsa.

10:00 pm – A few of us went across the street to a Luxembourgish restaurant for a late dinner.  My boyfriend and I were full of beer so we split a dish, and I paid for water for the table.  He decided to order something called grog (why), which ended up being just hot water and rum.  We split living costs 50/50, and we take turns paying for dinners  $32.60

Daily Total: $60.46

Thursday

8:00 am – You know the drill.  Snooze alarm, eat granola, rush to catch the bus.  I make a mental note to pump my bike tires so I can start biking to work instead.

12:00 pm – Ordered risotto alla parmigiana via the lunch delivery site, to be paid with Sodexo.  $9.23 discounted with Sodexo = $3.08

7:00 pm – Get off work and grab a glass of wine with a colleague.  We caught up, and he paid.

8:30 pm – My boyfriend was having a team dinner, and after a tiring day at work, I needed some comfort food.  The sun is setting later these days, so I pump up my tires and bike to my favorite noodle soup place and zen out listening to a podcast while eating  $21.65

9:15 pm – I bought my bike off of one of my boyfriend’s colleagues last year for €60, and it’s a bit rickety and very heavy.  I’ve been storing it in the basement of our apartment over the winter, but I hate hauling it up and down the stairs, so I lock it to a post outside.

Daily Total: $24.72

Friday

8:00 am – Guess what?  I had granola for breakfast.  Betcha didn’t see that coming.

9:00 am – My bike wasn’t stolen, yay!  I bike to work and try to keep it together while going over the cobblestones.

1:00 pm – A few colleagues and I walk to the Thai place next to the office and pick up lunch.  I got the basil chicken with extra peppers.  It’s sunny, so we eat out in the courtyard.  $15.38 discounted with Sodexo = $5.13

6:00 pm – My colleagues and I call it an early day and go to a bar down the street for drinks and shisha.  They’re more senior than me, so they usually pick up the tab, but today I throw down a €20 before jetting off  $24.60

7:30 – My boyfriend and I are meeting a couple friends to play board games, but we’re hungry now, so we snack on some leftovers for dinner before heading out.  He’s going to an Ultimate Frisbee tournament in Belgium over the weekend, so he starts packing.

9:00 pm – Board game night!  We play a French game called Splendor which is pretty simple but pretty fun.  The hostess ordered some Chinese takeout, and we brought some beer.

12:30 am – We get home, and my boyfriend finishes packing before we crash.

Daily Total: $29.73

Saturday

8:00 am – My boyfriend leaves for his tournament, and I barely notice.  I’m very good at sleeping in, and the Zyrtec also makes me super drowsy in the mornings.

10:00 am – I finally get out of bed and start decluttering the apartment before the cleaners come this afternoon.

11:30 am – After dropping off the recycling, I made my way to Bloom, a cute cafe a block away.  It’s the kind of cafe that is all over hipster parts of cities, but it’s not very common around Luxembourg.  The coffee is reasonably priced, but a cinnamon danish costs more than my cappuccino  $11.07

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12:00 pm – I go to the grocery store to pick up some items for the week $13.94 (my half)

3:00 pm – The cleaners came, so I went shopping in the center.  I bought some spring-y stuff for the apartment, two tops for myself, and a nice little candle  $61.44

5:00 pm – I mix up breakfast over the weekends, and since everything is closed on Sundays, I pick up a quiche for breakfast for tomorrow  $7.01

5:10 pm – The cleaners have finished, and they have some amusing stories of our cat trying to “help”.  My boyfriend and I try to maintain our place ourselves, but every now and then, it’s nice to get some professional help for a deeper clean.  This is only the second time that we’ve hired cleaners since moving in a year ago  $36.90(my half)

6:00 pm – I realize that I’ve only eaten a danish all day so I snack on some leftovers

7:00 pm – One of my best friends is having her wedding in Austin in August, and I’ve been on the look out for reasonable flights for months.  It’s hard enough to get out of Luxembourg, much less get to Austin from there.  Flights back are normally around $1,000 with two layovers.  I found a flight leaving from Brussels (a 4 hour train from Luxembourg) to Dallas where my folks live.  It has a 22 hour layover Reykjavik, so that should be fun as well.  I book a separate return flight from Austin to London  $730.99

9:00 pm – I walk to a Swedish sports bar around the corner to grab a beer with friends.  It’s super close to my apartment and also has a decent (for Luxembourg) selection of rotating guest craft beers.  It also hosts a Superbowl watch party, so is near and dear to my heart.  I get two pints and order fries for the table.  Ok, so I ate most of the fries…  $15.99

Daily Total: $877.34

The Breakdown

Weekly Total Spent: $1,136.73

  • Food & Drink: $214.34
  • Entertainment: $0
  • Home & Health: $79.10
  • Clothes & Beauty: $43.01
  • Transport: $730.99
  • Other: $69.28

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