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Friends who are more frugal than us

Posted by mapetitechou on Jun 3, 2015 in lifestyle, philosophy, traveling

If you think my husband and I are very frugal, you should meet our friends Sophie and Gary. They also work in the high tech industry. Gary is a software architect and Sophie is a senior software engineer. As you can imagine, they make very good money. I’d wager it’s upwards of $250,000 a year between the two of them. But they are probably the most frugal couple I know. They live in a modest 2000 square foot house. There are people we know who make way less than that live in much bigger houses. They drive two old Toyota Corolla and VW Golf. The Golf has over 300,000KM on it already. I don’t think they have any plans of upgrading to new vehicles anytime soon. Their two boys, age 5 and 7, are so well-behaved and not spoiled with fancy toys or iPads or gaming consoles.

Gary doesn’t seem to have any expensive hobbies. He’s learning to play the saxophone, which I think is fantastic. Any musical endeavors are a plus in my book and I totally support that in my family too. My husband plays the guitar and my son’s learning to play the piano. Gary and Sophie are just not materialistic people. Sophie isn’t a shopaholic like me when it comes to buying clothes and shoes. She tells me she doesn’t like going to the mall at all. Although I feel justified about my spending on my fashion somewhat because I have a fashion blog which is my main hobby that I completely love.

As for vacationing, they tend to stick with the low cost kind like camping. That’s where we differ the most from them I think. Because I’m a travel bug, I am willing to spend a substantial amount on traveling to faraway places. We go to China every couple of years because I still have family there. We’ve also traveled to Europe and South America quite a few times. So there’s usually one major vacation in a year, plus a few smaller vacations like going to Mexico for a week, or going away for a long weekend. Gary and Sophie’s traveling is much more cost-efficient. They just pack up the kids and drive. When you don’t have to pay for airfare and hotel for 4 people for a week or two, you definitely can save a lot of money. We just got back from a week of cruise to the Caribbeans. Sophie was asking how it was and if it was worth it. They have never been on a cruise so she was curious. I told her it was awesome. But I think she is skeptical about spending that much money in a week. In the same vein, they are also skeptical about tropical vacations in Mexico and similar places. We totally love beach vacations.

I was talking about how it’s hard for us to save money in the summer in my previous post because we tend to travel quite a bit in the summer. We love it and don’t regret any of it. But if you are like my friends Gary and Sophie, you know this is an area where you can either spend a lot or save a lot.

They are great friends and such simple people that they serve a good example to me on being frugal and finding little pleasures in simple things. I think they must be socking away so much that they can probably retire early, which is pretty inspiring because that’s my goal.

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Summer’s hard on the dollar

Posted by mapetitechou on May 9, 2015 in lifestyle, spending

Now that the summer’s here, I find it’s not as easy to save money in the summer. I’m not complaining or making excuses for myself here. I’m still keeping my eye on our financial goals. I’m just sharing what our spending usually looks life in the summer. I find my saving rate dips quite a bit in the summer.

We definitely like to be out and about, do all kinds of activities in the summer. And we usually have at least one getaway trip. This month we are going on a Caribbean cruise for week in May (Norwegian Getaway here we come!). And in July, we are going to Newfoundland for my sister-in-law’s son’s wedding for 8 days. Believe it or not, it’s quite expensive to travel to Newfoundland from Ontario even though it’s only a 3-hour plane ride away. Airfare, car rental, hotel, wedding expenses, it all adds up. It’s actually going to be expensive our cruise trip. Traveling is not cheap generally speaking. For the last couple months, our expenses seemed to have gone twice as much.

Also in the summer, I’d like to fill the weekends with fun activities for the kids and adults. We don’t usually do anything overly expensive, but it still adds up. We like going to African Lion Safari at least twice. The kids love that zoo. Just admissions alone set me back $200 each time. And we like to go to amusement parks and water parks. And we love going to the beach with friends. That’s usually a day trip. We’ll bring a portable BBQ and lots of good eats.

We also like to host dinner parties and BBQs for our family and friends. Now we don’t go crazy and pull out all the stops, but to throw a good party, I need to spend some money. That kind of expenses add up too.

This summer we also want to take the kids camping for the first time. That’ll be a long weekend trip. We’ll need to get some camping equipment.

Do you find yourself in similar situations in the summer? I mean I’m not wasting money. I think things like traveling and getting together with friends is time and money well-spent. I am willing to sacrifice my saving rate a little bit to have a lot of fun.

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