Frugal Christmas Shopping: hit the online shops

I loathe shopping. And loathe perhaps isn’t even a strong enough word to describe my utter dislike of it, which is why you’ll usually see me wearing the same old things and using the same old sports equipment and if you come over, you’ll see a house decorated with the same old stuff that I picked up over the years on my various travels. I don’t loathe shopping because I’m worried about the money. I’m…

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Frugal Living: Road Trip Snacks

I love going on road trips around Korea because when I just stay in the city and work lots, I forget how beautiful it really is here and how peaceful the countryside can actually be. It really isn’t just a concrete jungle, but it’s a country filled with mountains, little streams and rivers and secluded temples. As much as I love road trips, what I love even more is doing it frugally and the #1…

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Frugal Living: running

In days gone by, I used to run, a lot. Like I did a few 1/2 marathons and a full marathon (I finished in a slow 5 hours, 5 minutes). I loved it because it was so peaceful, I could do it outside in any season or weather condition and it made me feel really good. I’m kind of convinced that the runner’s high people speak of is actually a real thing. I only quit…

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Frugal Living: Small Houses

Living in a small space is frugal living at its best because you not only pay less money for rent (or mortgage payments) but you also pay far less in utility bills than with a bigger house. And, buying lots of stuff just isn’t an option because there literally is no space to put it. I currently live in about a 700 square foot apartment, which for Korea is actually a huge amount of space…

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Frugal Living: A Short Commute

In Korea, English teachers are often giving housing as part of their employment package. Except at my university, everyone just gets a housing allowance and you’re responsible for finding your own, which means that you can basically live anywhere that you want. Although the neighborhood I live in isn’t the most luxurious (far from the beach, no expat bars and few restaurant/shopping choices), my house is only a 20 minute walk from work, and it’s…

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Frugal Pot-Lucking

I’m pretty convinced that homemade hummus is always one of the most popular items you can bring to a potluck party. It’s delicious, goes well with a million and one dipping items and is reasonably healthy. No matter how much I seem to bring, it’s always gone by the end of the night no matter how much or what kind of other food is there. And, perhaps even best of all, it’s REALLY cheap to…

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Frugal Party Hosting

Recently I hosted a really fun party at my house for a large group of friends and spent only about $30 doing it, which is quite impressive and came in at around $1.50/ person. The first factor was the party design; it was a wine-tasting contest where everyone had to bring a bottle of red wine so I only had to provide my own bottle for the contest as well as one additional bottle for…

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Frugal (and Healthy) Living…Snacks and Meals at Work

This semester, I have breaks between all my classes which means that I end up spending a lot of time in my office and eating 6-7 meals at work. I most definitely do not want to eat out for all those meals, for health reasons as well as it goes against everything frugal living. Plus, I get a fabulous box of organic vegetables delivered to my door each week, so I can’t let them go…

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Mr Money Mustache

I’ve been hearing from more and more of my friends who’ve gotten on the thrifty/saving money/ investing bandwagon about Mr. Money Mustache, or MMM for short, which leads me to believe that he’s one of the most popular bloggers in this genre. I just spend a significant amount of time perusing his site, and I can definitely understand why. He’s funny, well-informed and well-spoken. Some posts that I particularly appreciated are: Frugal vs. Cheap. (Please…

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A frugal person’s happiness

You know what makes me happy? I’m not really like other (normal?) people because I don’t feel happy when I buy new things. When I go shopping, I just feel like I probably don’t really need whatever I’ve bought and that it’s better to just invest my money for a rainy day. What actually makes me happy is using something until I can’t use it anymore. Like my blender that I bought third-hand for $5…

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Flight Tickets….at what point do you just need to stop?

This year, I decided to head back to the motherland (Canada) for Christmas to visit the family and I’ve been searching for a few weeks online for the cheapest ticket prices. There quite literally is nothing under about $1400, unless I want to linger in airports and on airplanes for 30 or 40 hours, which obviously I do not want to do when I could actually get to my hometown in about 15-16 hours on…

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Frugal Living: Don’t get Sick

Getting sick costs money. Even if you get paid sick days at work, employers won’t look favorably upon someone who is often not there and you probably won’t exactly be next in line for that big raise or promotion. And it also costs money to go to the doctor, for over-the-counter medication and it’s very easy to give in to impulse buys when you’re feeling weak and not like your normal self. So, the moral…

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Frugal Living: the Shopping List and taking advantage of sales

There are certain things at the grocery store that are always on sale. In Korea, there tends to be buy 1, get 1 free sales on things like cooking oil, breakfast cereal and other processed food and toiletries every month or so. A way to take advantage of these sales is by never getting into the “desperation” phase. When I notice something is getting kind of low, for example a half bottle of oil or 10…

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My Stand-up Paddleboard and Cost/ Use: Update

I talked a few months ago about the cost/use model and how it relates to the rather expensive stand-up paddleboard that I bought back in May. Now that I’ve had the board through the summer, I thought I’d update the blogosphere about how much I’ve actually used it and whether it was a worthwhile purchase, or not. It’s been almost 5 months since I bought the board, and I’ve been pretty consistent about taking it…

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When things break…go big or go small?

I’ve had my blender for about 8 years and I use it almost everyday because I eat green smoothies for breakfast 9 days out of 10. I bought it third-hand off an expat who was leaving for $10. I’d say it was quite a good value and my cost per use is less than a penny! Unfortunately, it broke yesterday and I need to buy a new one. But, what to do? It’s common knowledge…

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Where does all the money go, Part 2

Yesterday I was wondering where all my money went and how I could possibly spend around $2000/month since I generally try to live quite frugally. I’ve thought more carefully about it and been looking at some of my spending via online banking and have figured out the following areas where I actually spend quite a bit of money: 1. Transportation. My car: I paid cash for it (of course), but gas in Korea is very…

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It’s simple, but it works

If I could give only one piece of financial advice to my friends, family members or readers, it would be this: “Spend less than you earn and never go into debt for anything except a modest house or worthwhile educational pursuit.” Okay, well…it’s kind of 2 things combined into 1, but these things are in essence the key to financial success. It actually doesn’t really matter how much money you make, you need to be…

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Minimalism, and happiness

Back in 2004, I hiked most of the Appalachian Trail, which is a 2000 mile hike across the USA from Georgia to Maine. I went ultralight style, which was strongly influenced by Ray Jardine’s book, Beyond Backpacking. It basically meant that I thought extremely critically about every single thing that I put in my backpack because even an ounce or two can make a difference when it adds up to pounds. Even though that hike…

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Cost per Hour Used

I previously talked about cost/use and used the example of the Stand-Up Paddleboard that I recently bought, but today I’m going to talk about another example: an expensive flat-screen TV, such as this $500 one. I personally don’t have a TV, because I quite rarely watch TV or movies, and I wouldn’t even take a TV if someone was giving it away for free. But, other people are really into their home entertainment systems, which…

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Big Purchases and the Cost Per Use Model

Making big purchases (those over $200 maybe?) on hobby or entertainment type items can be a big decision that is hard to make for non impulsive spenders like me. I will usually deliberate for months and even years before I decide to pull the trigger and buy whatever I wanted to buy. I don’t deliberate because I don’t have enough money to afford it, I do. I deliberate because I wonder if I will actually…

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Staying cool, minus the air-con

My goal is to “retire” early in a few years and just work part-time or do online stuff a few hours a week. To reach this goal, I do three things: 1. Invest my money in dividend paying stocks. 2. Build Passive Income Streams, like Squidoo. 3. Live frugally, so that I have more money to do #1. Part of living frugally in Korea in the summertime is living without an air-con in my apartment,…

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Gardening: the Ultimate Frugal Hobby

Back when I was a kid, my parents had a Garden that started off small, but which kept getting bigger and bigger as the years went by so that now it takes up a huge portion of their backyard. I remember eating peas and raspberries, straight off the plant for a snack when I was playing outside and got hungry. And the compost-turning “garbage” into rich, beautiful soil was always a source of fascination for…

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