Monday, January 21, 2008

why you should ditch your car and ride a bike & other frugal lessons

While I've got a handle on my debt load, I'm all about how to save more and spend less. Despite the fact that I went on a shopping jaunt the other day, I'm also just as likely to haul free shit out of the garbage so that I can re-purpose it into something awesome. What can I say, I'm a frugal gal. I grew up in a home where we sometimes had to roll up pennies to buy milk and groceries and money was always a constant worry. While I still have some organizational issues about money that I'm trying to work out, I think I've been doing okay.

This morning I set aside some time to research where I will buy some savings investments this year, I found a bunch of really useful articles on how to save more, spend less and even a great article on renting vs buying. And before I give you the links, I thought I'd list some of my top money saving tips (most of which are covered in the articles below).

Top money saving tip #1: Get rid of your car + ride a bike instead.
Seriously, a car is a money suck, it ruins the environment and it makes you lazy. Having a bike is fun. It makes your quality of life go way get exercise, you smile more and it's kinda fast.

Top money saving tip #2: Get rid of cable + go to the library more.
The library is full of great books and dvds that you can put on hold, so every week you can go to your local branch and pick up a ton of good stuff. And there's always the endless ways of finding great movies and tv online for free.

Top money saving tip #3: Rent cheaply.
Vancouver is such an expensive city to live in and there is no way that we could ever buy cheaply, so we rent. Looking for inexpensive rent is time consuming but it pays off in the end. You should only be paying a third of your monthly income in housing costs, any more and it's too much. We live in a co-op so not only do we pay an affordable monthly housing charge, we get a say in where we live, we know our neighbours and we are building a community.

Top money saving tip #4: Work from home.
I may be a homebody, but I'm no longer tempted into buying $4 lattes with my co-workers just so that I can escape the office drone. I can cook a great lunch at home without going out to buy something wrapped in plastic already prepared. I don't spend my lunch hours window shopping. Working from home means that I can eat a great home-cooked lunch and go for days without buying a damn thing.

Top money saving tip #5: Live where you work.
Huh? How is this different from #4? I live right outside of Chinatown which is right outside of the downtown core. I have all the necessities at my doorstep which means I can get everything I need on foot. Everything is walkable. I don't even need to get on my bike to get groceries or hop on transit to fill a prescription. My neighbourhood has a great walkability score so not only am I a viable part of my community, I'm saving money too!

Top money saving tip #6: Save.
I have one chequing account at my local credit union, but I also have several savings accounts at another bank where it's really easy to open accounts and set up automatic deposits. My husband and I love to travel, so we have set up a travel account, so every week money automatically gets deposited into our vacation account. We want to buy a new couch in one year, so we have set up a "new couch" account that is set up the same way. Larger savings are put into higher interest GICs or other investments. We're still shopping around for what to do with these larger savings, but it's a good idea to earmark your goals with an account and start saving for those things today.

Now for the links:

50 Tips for Frugal Living
73 Great Debt Elimination Tips
Renting vs Buying: The Realities of Home Ownership

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Blogger Camilla said...

Whilst I do love my house, I actually envy people that rent because they have the ability to pick up and move somewhere new relatively easily. I know that being lucky enough (or smart enough, who knows) to own my house has been really handy whilst i've been unwell because the mortgage company are actually easier to deal with than any landlords i've ever known, but sometimes I get itchy feet and resent the fact I can't just leave it behind and start somewhere new.

2:07 PM  
Blogger Bijoux said...

Thanks for the links!! I will definitely check them out with hubbie, as we are always trying to cut back on our expenses as best we can. We are definitely a frugal bunch LOL
My one pet peeve with getting things on loan from the library is that I must wait weeks and months to get the desired book or DVD...and then...DVDs and magazines are only 1 week rentals. Books are more.
Our rent is quite steep. Living downtown and close to the transit system has got it's costs. We are renting two floors of a house with a lot of space to move around and we each have our own office space - but we've reached a point where if we do not buy our own house within the next year (we just started looking recently) we might downsize and get a smaller apartment rental.
I seldom eat out at lunch. I bring oodles of snacks to work with me so that I never have to go searching for food during lunch and coffee breaks: nuts, cheese, fruit, homemade muffins, etc...We also use coupons on grocery items. I get them from or other on-line sources. I might spend over an hour printing coupons from the net or filling out on-line forms for free trial size products.

I really like your Tip #6 !
I have never heard of such a strategy. We love to travel and have been talking about our next vacation. I have also been eyeing sofas on Craig's List but I never would have thought to open up a travel savings account and a sofa savings account etc...brilliant!
I will propose the account idea to hubbie and see if he likes :)

Muchos grazias!

6:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the links, kickpleat! My mister and I also rent in Vancouver and am trying to save money any way we can without denying ourselves of the stuff that makes us happy (the occasional dinner out, a night out with friends, a vacation here & there).

* lanzers

6:47 PM  
Anonymous heidi said...

i also have savings accounts and automatic savings plans for a whole slew of things, including vacation, house, car, christmas presents... i like your other ideas too, although i don't think i could give up my car! wish i didn't have to depend on it though.

5:58 AM  
Blogger perfectbound said...

great tips! number 6 is my favourite. it's so easy to open a savings account, so why not open a few?

5:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really love this post, because it reminds me of what my goals for the future are: mainly, #1 and #3. Both of which mean I really have to find a way to move away from Los Angeles, because #1 is too dangerous and #3 is impossible here!

I am so, so envious of your neighborhood and its walkability.

3:05 PM  

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