Budapest For The Budget Conscious

If you’re in search of cheap shoes, bags, or clothing in Budapest, CCC has those inexpensive deals that we love to love. You can also head just outside the WestEnd City Center in the metro, there are a few cheap shoe stores with knock-off brands and counterfeit goods. Try Deichmann or indeed the famous Chinese shops — and the particularly massive one located in a disguised factory near the Orczy Ter train station.

The Chinese areas also have low-cost Chinese cuisine. Local markets are the cheapest places for foods and veggies, while Aldi and Lidl are good for everyday shopping. For electronics, the cheapest choice is not necessarily the best option. Stores like BestByte are among the cheapest, but be careful, as much of the merchandise is of poor quality, with a return rate of nearly 50%. In cases such as these, it pays to pay. Check out Media Markt for the highest value electronics. Although you may end up paying slightly more, purchasing longer-lasting and higher-quality electronic devices will save you money and mitigate stress in the long run.

 

Saving on Phone Bills

When it comes to cell phones, expenses can rack up quickly. To not exceed your plans data threshold, use apps such as My Data Manager. It is also prudent to keep up with your carrier’s promotions. They often do deals for both existing and new customers. When it comes to deciding on the perfect plan for you and your family, the best place to go is Whistle Out. At Whistle Out, you plug in all of your personal parameters (i.e. minutes, data, number, of lines, etc.) and they find the best plan to suit your needs.

Saving at the Bank

Finding a bank that suits your needs is pivotal. Regardless of where you do your banking, deposit your funds as early as possible to take advantage of continually compounded interest. Before opening a business checking account, there are many considerations one must ponder. The number of branches, transaction fees, and minimum balance requirements are three of the many factors you should investigate. Banking apps and online platforms should also be scrutinized; sometimes paying a few extra dollars to avoid hours of stress and frustration is worth it.

Save While Shopping Online

One way to save when shopping online is to avoid the sneaky practice of dynamic pricing. Almost every site on the web utilizes cookies, IP identification, web bugs, or other online tracking technologies to collect, store, catalogue, and analyze the browsing behavior of internet users. Through a deliberate dissection of your digital dossier, online retailers can use your location, spending patterns, and browsing history to generate an estimate of your personal demand. For example, websites might see that you are using an American IP address and charge you more. They might also be aware that you’ve been shopping around for a particular product. This demonstrates that your demand is high, causing them to adjust their price accordingly.

To thwart the duplicitous efforts of conniving e-tailers, the first thing you should do is delete your browsing history and clear your cookies. Although some so-called “zombie cookies” may still remain, deleting your history and stored cookies will wipe out most of your past browsing information. You should also log out of all your accounts (i.e. Facebook, email, etc.) and use a virtual private network (VPN), incognito mode, or specialty designed browsers. The TOR browser is especially adept at disguising your identity and protecting your anonymity. Other ways to remedy geographic biases are to use localized websites (amazon.co.jp instead of amazon.com for instance) and to choose less developed countries as “home” when asked where you’re from.

Timing should also be considered when shopping online. Specific months and days of the week offer better deals than others. As one might expect, November (with black Friday and cyber Monday deals) is one of the best months to shop online, followed closely by the post-holiday month of January. With regards to days of the week, Tuesday and Thursday are particularly notorious for fantastic deals. It may seem like a no brainer, but buying items out-of-season (i.e. snowboards in summer or kayaks in winter) will also save you money. When looking for deals online, be aware that newer sites, on average, give steeper discounts than older, more established, ones.

Many sites, in an attempt to gain your order, will give you discounts if you close your browser, navigate away from the site, or let your shopping cart sit idle for a few days. Be aware, however, that this usually only works if you are logged on to your site-specific account.

Subscribing to online promotions is a good idea, but you can enhance your savings even more by using what I have coined “the email trinity”. Begin by subscribing to multiple offers using multiple email accounts. If you can get a 50% off promo code by subscribing to a newsletter, subscribe three times and get 150% off. The second aspect of the trinity is email optimization. Unroll.me (or a similar app) will help you manage the large influx of email. Not only will it assist you in decluttering your inbox (through an easy, one click unsubscribe feature), but it also allows you to create a “rollup” of your favorite subscriptions, whereby you receive one compiled digest per day at a time of your choosing.

After mining your subscriptions for promotional deals, it is time to use the last component of the email trinity; strategic coupon utilization. Mathematically speaking, when using multiple forms of discounts (namely, a percentage and a dollar discount), always use the percentage discount first. For example, say you have a 50% off and a $10 off discount for an order of 100$. If you take 10$ off (90$) then use your 50% off discount, your end price will be 45$. However, if you use your 50% discount first ($50) and then your 10$ discount, your final price will be 40$.

Even if your coupons are no longer valid, it’s still worth asking. Email the customer service department or use real-time chat features to see if there is anything they can do. In many cases they will accept the coupon or administer a new one to capture your order. This works especially well if your order is large. Contacting customer service agents can also help you with other matters. If you are very polite and express your situation with passion and zeal, they may reimburse you or give you free items. Make sure to state that you’re a life-long customer, that you love their company/brand, and that you tell everyone about their goods/services. It is worth it for them in the long run to retain your loyalty by giving you whatever you need.

Like in the real world, making comparisons online can also yield phenomenal deals. PriceBlink is a browser add-on that automatically scans over 4,000 online merchants for the price of items you are viewing online. It also, when applicable, finds coupons and other discounts for the items you are shopping for. A similar service, the PriceGrabber app, does the same thing, but also allows you to scan bar codes to find the absolute lowest prices when shipping, taxes, and other add-on expenses are factored in.

Saving While Grocery Shopping

In many cases, obtaining food completely for free is out of the question. When there’s no way around spending money, you can always utilize discounts, promotional offers, and low-cost items to maximize your savings while shopping. The Grocery Coupon Guide is a fantastic resource for coupons. Like its name suggests, the site guides you through the byzantine system that is grocery couponing. It lays out particular strategies and provides up to date information regarding everything coupon related – including thousands of digital and printable coupons.

When grocery shopping, it is crucial that you stick to a plan. Make a list and keep to it, insuring to avoid impulse buys and unplanned purchases. Becoming knowledgeable with the intricacies of grocery stores can also be a boon. Knowing where, when, and what to buy will save you thousands of dollars. A good way to start is to identify the local options for groceries. Ethnic supermarkets, local orchards, or even farmers’ markets (if you are a good haggler) often provide produce at a cheaper price than their big-box counterparts. With regards to timing, the start of a store’s sales week (typically Wednesday) is a good time to shop. This is the day when most stores accept both the new and previous week’s sales and discounts. The evening is usually the best time to shop (around 8 o’clock) as there are less crowds and more stock (N.B. peak rush-hour times are weeknights after work or weekends in the afternoon).

When deciding what to buy, there are many things that must be considered. Shelf placement, for example, can be an important factor. Next time you are at the store, look above and below eye level; you will notice a stark difference in price. Searching for store brands (AKA home brands) is another classic technique; you get the same product sans the expensive brand name. Further, always avoid out of season vegetables and fruits, as they typically cost twice as much. If you’re not too picky, choosing canned or frozen fruits is even more economical. Other cheap and healthy foods include: beets, canned tuna, garlic, onions, cabbage, bananas, popcorn, brown rice, watermelon, eggs, dried beans, oatmeal, flaxseeds, and potatoes. When it comes to meat, the undesirables are ridiculously cheap. If you get over the mental aspect, oxtails, brains, livers, tongues and other unpopular parts of cows, sheep, pigs, and chicken are rather tasty when prepared correctly.

Eating right before you begin shopping is important as well. It will not only help you adhere to your list, but also keep you from overbuying – which is the leading cause of food wastage. Food waste can also be avoided by using a methodical system of storage and accounting. Take stock in what you have and utilize the financial concept of FIFO, whereby the first items you brought in – i.e. the oldest items – are the first ones to be used. Storing your food in airtight containers within a proper functioning fridge is also important.

Another technique for food maximization entails repurposing leftovers and scraps. This is perfect for food you have purchased or collected but have yet to eat. Meat and vegetable remains can be used to make homemade stocks, while citrus fruit rinds can be squeezed and shaven into other dishes to add zest. Browning bananas can be frozen then later added to smoothies, banana bread, or banana pancakes. Are your salad leaves becoming wilted and impotent? Throw them in a stir fry with some garlic, sesame oil, and soy sauce for an Asia-inspired appetizer.

Often times there are lingering remnants of food products stuck to the bottom and sides of containers. For the mustard lovers out there who don’t want to waste a drop, add one tablespoon of red- or white-wine vinegar, one tablespoon of honey, and three tablespoons of olive oil into your empty mustard jar and shake repeatedly. Voila, you have just created a homemade salad dressing. Similarly, to use up the rest of the marmalade, fill the jar with a few shots of gin, two tablespoons of orange liqueur, and the juice of one lemon and one clementine. Shake well then strain into a martini glass for a phenomenally delicious quaff.

Before shopping, it is prudent to download and use a few money saving apps. Google shopper is a good one that helps you find the products you are looking for at the cheapest price. It also has a barcode scanner to give you more information about products and “nearby/today’s offers” to show you close and limited-time offerings. Yowza is another great app for couponing. Search your city and zip code and Yowza will provide instant coupons for a seemingly infinite verity of products. Finally, the Wal-Mart Savings Catcher app is a must have. It includes a feature that enables you to scan your receipt. It then searches the surrounding area for the items you bought, and if any of them can be found at a cheaper price, you get refunded the difference.

Suckling Nature’s Tit

If you live by a park or near wilderness areas, nature can provide all the food you could ever need. We have, after all, lived off of nature’s bounty since the dawn of existence. If our Homo sapiens ancestors can hunt and gather, so can you. Gathering is great. It’s like hiking except you collect food along the way. Even if you don’t live near a forest replete with nuts, berries, routs, tubers, or mushrooms, urban foraging can yield a surprising amount of edible goodies. Consult Falling Fruit to find the best spots for wild produce in your area.

Surprisingly, many weeds (the common dandelion and mallow, for example) are chocked-full of nutritional value. Better yet, they are plentiful and grow virtually everywhere, be it an unkempt lawn or a crack in the asphalt. Not only are they commonly used to provide flavor and texture, urban-sourced edibles can also be steamed, boiled, sautéed, or tossed into a multi-ingredient weed salad. Don’t have the time to forage? Have your kids do it (assuming you have kids). Identifying wild edibles is so easy a toddler can do it. In many cases, kids are more inclined to eat something they found over a nasty piece of store bought spinach. If you’re really entrepreneurial, you can sell or trade your surplus items. Otherwise, excess food can be preserved through drying, canning, or freezing.

Similar to foraging, gardening is a great way to get free, healthy, food. All you need are seeds, water, soil, and a little sunshine (NB, if you compost, the soil is free as well!). If you catch and use rainwater, you can pretty much garden for nothing but sweat-equity. In some climates, gardening is as easy as throwing seeds down and waiting for them to grow. Don’t have enough room for a garden? No problem. Visit Shared Earth to be connected with people who have land, but no desire to sow it themselves. In exchange for some of the harvest, individuals with empty lots, backyards, or otherwise unused parcels will let you tend their land like a feudal serf.

Like gardening and foraging, hunting and fishing can also help you capitalize on the fruits of Mother Nature’s loins. Although both activities require equipment and permits, once the fixed costs are paid, the marginal costs are next to nothing. If you don’t have the time, willingness or wherewithal to hunt or fish, you might consider trapping. Even if you’re within city limits, traps, pellet guns, blow guns, and even sling-shots can be used to collect wild game. Rabbits, birds, squirrels, raccoons, the list goes on and on. In addition to harvesting the meat, you can also use the pelt to make clothing, blankets, or other accessories. Hunting within city limits may be illegal, so make sure you do it sneakily and with the utmost stealth.

There are a few caveats to urban hunting that you should research before you begin. Fish caught in urban lakes and streams can sometimes contain toxic heavy metals such as mercury or cadmium. Further, rabbits and other small mammals are known to carry francisella tularensis, a group of bacteria that causes tularemia. Aside from cooking the meat thoroughly, it might be wise to wear gloves when handling a carcass. You should also examine the liver of your catch. If it is covered with white spots, it has a condition known as Coccidiosis. This disease is more common than tularemia and is also commonly found in domestic farm animals and pets . The disease resides in the intestinal tract, so you can still technically eat the meat if you are careful, but I wouldn’t suggest it.