This 29-year-old player left the United States for Budapest. Now he earns $120,000 – and pays $800 a month in rent

In 2014, I had a life-changing awakening: I survived an opioid overdose that landed me in intensive care.

Hitting rock bottom made me realize how lucky I am to be alive. I spent time in my hometown of Memphis to focus on my recovery and staying sober. Once I felt stable, I needed to figure out my next move.

My friends knew that I had always wanted to live abroad and suggested that I look for teaching jobs abroad. So, in 2015, I enrolled in an online program for my Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) certification, which is often required by schools that hire English teachers. I applied to 50 schools before finally getting an offer from a school in Barcelona, ​​Spain.

I spent a year teaching there before moving on to my next post in Budapest, Hungary.

Ferenciek Square in the 8th district of Budapest

Photo: Francis Nayan

After two years in Budapest, I got tired of teaching and wanted to do something new. It was then that I decided to launch my career as a freelance writer.

I never got tired of living in Budapest, though. In fact, it’s been my home for almost six years now. Here’s how I started my expat journey, along with my days and how much I spend:

Obtain Hungarian residency as a US citizen

The Hungarian National Museum in Budapest, Hungary.

Photo: Francis Nayan

I am grateful to live in such an affordable city

Francis rents a 1,000 square foot apartment in this building for just $800 a month.

Photo: Francis Nayan

Here is the breakdown of my monthly expenses:

  • Rent and charges: $800
  • Traveler’s insurance (via SafetyWing): $42
  • Health insurance (via Generali): $9.25
  • Races: $173
  • Restaurants and takeaways: $186
  • Hobbies: $100
  • Gym Membership: $53
  • Entertainment Subscriptions: $57
  • KATA fees: $139

total = $1,559.25

I cook most of my meals at home, but eat about two to three times a week. Since my monthly expenses are affordable, I have enough money to travel whenever I want an adventurous getaway. Over the past few months I have visited Portugal, Greece and even taken a trip home to see my family in Memphis.

Since the cost of living in Budapest is so affordable for Francis, he can travel to scenic places like the Douro Valley in Portugal.

Photo: Francis Nayan

I also save about 20% of my monthly budget for long-term goals, like retirement and buying a house. I use the Truebill app to track my expenses and automatically transfer money to my savings accounts.

Budapest: what a typical day looks like

I start my day at 5:30 a.m. The first thing I do is make coffee for me and my girlfriend.

Then I’ll go for a 30-minute stroll through the gardens of the Hungarian National Museum and the charming streets of Budapest’s 8th district. Sometimes I like to go a little further and pass Budapest’s bustling Central Market.

One good thing about Budapest is that there are a lot of English speakers, mostly young locals and expats, so getting around the city is easy and safe.

Once back at my apartment, I will work for an hour or two before taking a break to practice Muay Thai at the gym, which is a 10 minute walk from my house. After that, I could go home to do some more work.

For lunch, my girlfriend and I will cook at home or eat at a nearby restaurant. We like to go to Loyola Cafe, a popular place among locals for its authentic Hungarian food. The bill is usually around $2.97 per person.

Lunch at Loyola Cafe in Budapest costs around $2.97 per person.

Photo: Francis Nayan

My working day ends at 3 p.m. I spend three to five hours a day at work. Once my laptop is off, I’ll go for a walk in the 7th arrondissement to see the shops and the street art.

Dinner usually consists of home-cooked meals. I sometimes use the Wolt app if I want to have a slice of pizza or KFC delivered.

Quiet Cafe is also a popular ruin bar in Budapest, Hungary.

Photo: Francis Nayan

Going abroad was the best decision of my life

At 29, I don’t see myself returning to the United States anytime soon. I love that there are so many affordable cities in Europe. In addition, it is easy and inexpensive to travel to neighboring countries.

St. Stephen’s Basilica (St. Stephen’s Basilica), the second largest church in Hungary, is a cultural landmark in Budapest.

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