My Canadian Dream

Hey everyone! Today’s post was written by Jordann. This is also her very last staff post here on Making Sense of Cents, and I am very sad to see her go. She has taken on a full-time writing position, and I wish her all the best! :)

Inspired by Michelle’s recent post about the American dream, I thought I’d share with you all, my dream.

If you’d asked me this question three years ago, the answer would’ve been completely different. It would have involved a sprawling house, two new cars, and all of the fancy, shiny, expensive clothing, furniture and gadgets I could afford.

I’d have 2 kids probably, a great job, and a golden retriever.

Oh young Jordann, how naive you were. My dream has changed drastically in the past three years. The dream I used to have for my future might as well have plucked from the pages of a catalogue. It was very materialistic, very one-dimensional, and very boring.

Yes, having lots of stuff is nice, having a giant house is nice (for some people) and having brand new cars, of course, must be nice (not that I would know). But are these items the most important thing in life?

Apparently I used to think so. [Read more…]

The Evolution of My Emergency Fund

Enjoy this post written by my staff writer Jordann.

My emergency fund has gone through a bit of an evolution since I started it. At first it was non-existent.

I didn’t have an emergency fund in University. Money was tight, and I was more concerned about having enough money for rent, than I was about putting money away for a rainy day.

That all came to a screeching halt when I got in a car accident in the Summer of 2011. I was fresh out of school when I totalled my husband’s car and we didn’t have any money to fall back on.

The month that followed was anything but smooth. We had to deal with replacing the totalled car and a dozen visits to the doctor as my broken wrist healed. I missed time from work, and we both felt the financial strain.

 

The Origins of my Emergency Fund

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Frugal, Space Saving Hobbies

Frugal, Space Saving HobbiesEnjoy this post about frugal, space saving hobbies from my amazing staff writer, Jordann. As many of you may know, I’ve spent the last two years paying off over $38,000 in debt. In order to do that, I saved money on rent by moving into a 400 sq. ft. house.

Now that I’m living the minimalist life, I’ve had to find ways to keep my possessions in check. I do this mainly by learning to live with less.

I have fewer clothes, a smaller number of cooking utensils, and less furniture. I pair down, declutter, and eliminate unnecessary possessions on a daily basis. No area of my life has been left untouched – including my hobbies.

I’ve had to give up a few of my more space intensive hobbies, in favour of activities that don’t take up so much precious square footage in my tiny home. I’ve been pleasantly surprised to see that I’m also saving a bit of cash by indulging in hobbies that take up a little less space.

Here’s some of them:

 

Photography

I love taking photos. I love capturing special moments and family events. Fortunately for me, photography doesn’t cost much. I use an eight year old DSLR that was given to me after my parents had upgraded their model, and some photo editing software that a friend had lying around.

Sure I’d love to invest a little more money and space into it – I could upgrade my camera, try out some new lenses, and maybe even get a tripod, but for now, my second-hand equipment suits me just fine, and doesn’t take up much space.

[Read more…]

Is Working from Home Cheaper?

Is Working from Home CheaperEnjoy this post by my staff writer Jordann.

Michelle isn’t the only one who’s making the switch to working from home, I recently accepted a job that is 100% remote, and as of this Monday, I’m working remotely – from home.

This isn’t the first time I’ve worked from home, I actually have done it in two other jobs, so while I know what to expect – it’s still an adjustment. One of the biggest things to change – besides talking to coworkers exclusively through a screen, is my budget. Working from home changes my expenses in ways that I didn’t initially anticipate, and it’s not all savings.

Here are some of the ways working from home is good, and bad, for my wallet.

 

Save On Gas

For one thing, I don’t spend as much money on gas, because I’m not commuting anymore. I wake up, do some housework, make my breakfast, and sit down on the couch to get started with work.

If I chose, I don’t even have to leave the house! This is my first month of working remotely, but I wouldn’t be surprised to come in under budget for gas costs this month. I’m also really looking forward to what the decreased mileage is going to do to the maintenance costs for my vehicle – hello less frequent oil changes! [Read more…]

My Weirdest Money Saving Moments

My Weirdest Money Saving Moments

http://www.flickr.com/photos/amagill/3367543094/

This post is by my awesome staff writer Jordann. Enjoy!

When I decided that it was time to get out of my $38,000 in student and car loan debt, I knew that reducing my expenses was one of the key ways to free up enough cash flow to make this happen.

I was limited in my extra earning opportunities, so cutting expenses was the quickest and easiest way to achieve fast savings.

I made all of the usual cuts, things like no more cable, no hair cuts, no yoga classes. Those were all great ways to save money quickly, but I wanted more. So, I started doing some really weird things in order to save money. Not all of them panned out, but they were all, definitely an experience. Here are a few of them:

Permanent House Sitting

I’ve talked at length about how I live in a 400 sq. ft. cottage, but I’ve never explained how I came across this cottage. It’s actually owned by a relative of mine, who has his own house elsewhere.

He asked us to babysit his cottage while he was away, which we happily agreed to – mostly because of the very, very reasonable rent. The only downside is that it’s very rustic, and full of his furniture. Not many people I know would dain to live in this small, rough cottage full of someone else’s stuff. The price is right though, so we’re here to stay for the time being.

[Read more…]