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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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: 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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Frugal Living: Using Things at Work

This post is most definitely NOT about doing sketchy things like stealing office supplies and using them at home. It is about taking advantage of what’s on offer at the office or school in order to live frugally. Here are a few of my tips to make the most use of things at work: 1. The printer. At my job the teachers have access to a fabulous office, complete with printer/copier/scanner, etc. There truly is…

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English Teaching and Passive Income Building

I was just talking to a coworker of mine this morning about how he views the job that we do as more of a part-time thing and that he has other stuff going, as I do with this blog and other online ventures. And I guess that that’s the best part about the English teaching overseas gig – most jobs are not really “full-time,” as in 40 or 50 hours a week, but are generally…

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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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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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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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