Travel Tips: the Useful stuff

You may have noticed a sad lack of updates these past 2 weeks-it’s because I was traveling around Malaysia. Overall, it was pretty good but I wouldn’t recommend going there during Ramadan. Lots of places will be closed during the day and people are perhaps a wee bit less friendly than they’d otherwise be due to fasting (from all food and liquids) from sun-up to sun-down. Anyway, the friend that I was visiting and I…

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The hidden cost of what we eat

The things that we buy in a store have a price, but this isn’t actually their real cost. The real costs of things are often hidden and perhaps not apparent until days, weeks or even years later. For example, a t-shirt might be only $5, but if you indulge in sales similar to this too often, soon you’ll have way too many clothes and need a bigger house to store all your things, which will…

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Working a lot vs. living frugally

I quite rarely work 40 hours a week. My contract is only for 9 teaching hours and then I generally get forced to do another 3 hours of overtime for 12 hours. And then I’ll do some optional overtime for around 8 or 9 more hours. Prep and admin generally take up around 8 or 9 hours so that’s aroudn 30 hours/week. Sure, I could do more overtime and work 40 hours or more and…

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Why I have not bought a house

As we all know, home ownership is a money-pit of never ending proportions. Maintenance, mortgage payments, insurance, taxes, major repairs, etc, etc, etc. At this point in my life, I could certainly afford to buy a small house with cash, or a much larger one with a significant down-payment. Except I’ve chosen not to. You might wonder why I’ve chosen not to do this because home ownership has traditionally been thought of an the cornerstone…

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Assumptions and why they’re not helpful

Everyone knows the old saying, “Assumptions make an ass out of you and me.” It’s kind of cheesy, but it’s definitely true in almost all areas of life, and especially with regard to personal finance. Just because someone doesn’t own a nice house and a fancy new car, doesn’t mean that they don’t have 200 000 or 500 000 or a million dollars in the bank. Maybe it’s that they choose to live a different…

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Advice to my 30 year old self

5 years ago, I was just finishing up my third decade on the Earth, and had been working for a couple years at my first “real” job at a Korean university. I lived in the beautiful Korean countryside and life was good. Here’s some advice for my 30 year old self: 1. Your student loans should be paid off by now. If not, get on that. And unless you have a house mortgage, all your…

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Advice to my 18 year old self

I just recently had my 35th birthday and it was a good chance to reflect upon my life and the choices that I’ve made. I’ll be doing a series of “advice to myself” posts and this first one will be to myself when I was just graduating high school and figuring out what to do with my life. The advice will mostly be about money and finances, but a few life things as well. 1.…

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Your Future Self and Money Choices Today

Thanks to my friend “S” for the heads up about this article over on Get Rich Slowly about becoming friends with your future self and resisting splurges today. What this makes me think of is delayed gratification and how important it is in life and with regards to personal finance. It’s a sign of emotional maturity to make long-term goals and to not give into all our short-terms wants that are most often not really…

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Energy Vampires

One of my friends talks about energy vampires a lot. By energy vampires, she means the people that will suck you dry until you have nothing. People can suck you dry in various ways, but some of the ways that particularly annoy me are the people who: 1. Constantly say sorry. Like basically apologizing for existing. This leaves the other person (me!) having to reassure them that all is indeed good and that they’re “okay.”…

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Frugal Living: beauty supplies

Perhaps one of the first things that someone would notice upon entering my bathroom is the minimalism of my beauty products when compared to others, especially most girls who have bathrooms packed with various products. But, I’m not really a typical girl and it’s just something that I don’t really care about. Sure, I like nice smelling things but when it comes to shelling out large amounts of money for them, well, I don’t like…

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Frugal Living: beans are your best friend

Dave Ramsey is all about the rice and beans, beans and rice. And I’m most definitely on that bandwagon too. They’re extremely cheap, versatile, healthy and delicious. Except, if you use canned beans, you’re really doing yourself a disservice; they’re full of salt and chemicals and are significantly more expensive than the dried ones. It really is easier to cook dried beans than you might think! Just as an example, here’s how I cook chickpeas:…

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A splurge

I used to the queen of the frugalistas when I was paying off my student loans. These days though, I’ve been toning it down a little bit because I have a substantial amount of money in the bank, and I actually make a lot more money than I did compared to say 5 years ago (almost double). So this means that I am willing to have things that increase my enjoyment of life (2 cats,…

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Frugal Living: Yo-Yo Dieting

Thanks to one of my coworkers and friends for this blog post idea. She mentioned that not only is yo-yo dieting bad for your health, but it’s also bad for your pocketbook. Nobody would argue that it’s bad for your health and as I’ve talked about before, being unhealthy costs you money, so it really is in your best interests to be as healthy as possible. The other way that yo-yo dieting costs you money…

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Frugal Living: air-drying clothes

I’ve been living in South Korea for almost a decade and have adapted pretty much to the culture/way of life here and actually like most things a lot more than living in Canada. Not that it wasn’t hard at first: it most definitely was. And the one thing that disturbed me perhaps more than others was the lack of clothes driers. Koreans just hang-dry and while I guess you could maybe, perhaps, possibly buy a…

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Frugal Living: Organic Vegetables and other things

At first glance, it wouldn’t appear that eating organic is cheaper or more frugal than just eating regular food from the supermarket. Organic food on average is maybe 1.5-2x more expensive than the regular stuff, and can be even more for certain things. So how could I possibly call eating organic living frugally? By taking a medium to long-term view of things. The healthier I eat and the less chemicals I put into my body,…

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Frugal Vacationing: Camping

When I was a kid, my family went camping for basically all our vacations. We’d load up the car and meet up with the aunts and uncles and cousins at a lake near my Grandma’s house and do the usual camping thing. Swimming, building massive fires, napping, playing catch, eating and then thinking about the next meal. And we actually slept in tents, on the ground. These days, I still really enjoy camping. There’s something…

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Frugal Living: Work Clothes

I’m quite fortunate in that I quite often don’t work 5 days a week; it’s usually 4.  And, at my current place of employment, there are multiple campuses, which means that I’m usually only in one location for 2- 3 of those days.  What does this mean?  I truly don’t need that many work clothes, which can save a significant amount of money over the l0ng-term since I really only need 3 complete outfits to…

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I have too much stuff

Back in another lifetime, I hiked (most of) the Appalachian Trail, which is a 4000km or so hike across the USA. I fell into the ultralight category, which was strongly influenced the Ray Jardine’s book, Beyond Backpacking. Essentially, it’s carrying as little as possible in order to move long-distances with as little effort as possible. And this has carried over into my “real-life” these days. I have a few comforts, but really am okay living…

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Anti-Frugal living: My travel obsession

I’m all about the frugal living, except for one major weakness: travel. My thinking is that I’m young and healthy and that I have the vacation time to do it. And the fact that I get 5 months paid vacation makes it all the better. When I’m budgeting for the vacation, I plan not to spend more than what is coming in during that time (ie: a 1 month vacation budget cannot exceed one month…

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Frugal Living: Board Games

Board games are one of my favorite forms of entertainment for the following reasons: they involve using your brain, there’s an element of competition, the atmosphere is conducive to chatting and socializing, it’s a great way to meet new people and it fits in kind of perfectly with the frugal lifestyle. I’m lucky in the city that I live in that there are a couple of active groups that meet up regularly for some gaming…

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Frugal Living: lifestyle creep

I’ve lived in South Korea, working as an English teacher for almost 10 years. For the first 7 years or so, I lived extremely frugally. Like, I always rode public transport and tried to avoid taxis, didn’t have a smart-phone, stayed in the school provided housing and had no pets. And like I would really consider it seriously any time that I spent more than about $5. My weakness was travel, but I almost always…

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Why I don’t have a TV

Part of not having a TV has to do with living in Korea. It’s just kind of a hassle to get it all set-up with cable, etc. and it just seems not even worth it because there aren’t that many channels I’d actually watch. And even when I’m in Canada or the USA, there really isn’t that much I like to watch. So, it’s not really a big deal. But, I love not having a…

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Frugal Living : Rice and Beans

Dave Ramsey loves the “Beans and rice, rice and beans” phrase for those getting out of debt.  Even though I don’t have any debt, I love it as well and generally end up making a pot once/week on the weekend.   I have to eat lunch and dinner at work on both Monday and Tuesday so that would be a lot of money spent and junk food eaten if I ate all those meals at a…

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