First Weekend: Successful
Alcohol is super expensive in Australia. Bottles of cheap liquor such as Pinnacle or Smirnoff are usually $15-20 in America, but here they are $35-45. Drinks at the club barely have alcohol in them and are $10-12. It's SO hard to not to want to buy drinks all the time, but living here has already helped me become more frugal with my spending. And has also helped me to realize that sometimes it's just not worth it. The biggest thing is eating out vs. buying groceries and making meals at home. It's so much easier to just go buy food and have a yummy meal with a nice glass of wine, but in the long run; do you want that meal or do you want that $20 to go towards snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef? It's all about spending SMART. My friend and I wrote out our budgets and have recorded every single transaction we've made since being here, and will continue to do that. When you write things down and stay organized with your money, then you know where it's actually going, can visually see areas that you need to spend less in and areas that you should start to save more for.
So I know that it's illegal for me to drink in the United States (only by a year), but here in Australia, we are two years past the legal drinking age; so it's totally acceptable for us to be out at bars and clubs or to order a drink with dinner. It's a great thing, but also a bad thing for my budget. We went to a few different bars, restaurants and dance clubs over the weekend and had a BLAST. Not only did we have fun with each other, but we met so many Aussies. It is actually incredible how nice the people are here. My roommate, Megan and I were in the bathroom and a girl recognized our American accents and insisted she take us out and show us around town one day to let us know where all the best places were. Last night, our whole study abroad group sat with a couple of Australian guys who bought us a few bottles of wine and were telling us about life in Newcastle. I am just stunned by how many nice people we have met so far, and can only imagine how many more people there are just like them that we have yet to meet.
We have decided that we want to keep track of places we've been to, mainly bars, restaurants and stores by taking their business cards and drink coasters. Many of the restaurants and bars have cute coasters, and although it might? be frowned upon, we take their coasters for memory purposes. So far, we have 4 and plan to get at least 100+ over our trip. Doing things like this help to memorize the trip more vividly!