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It’s been a busy month for me. I’ve been moving into my new place. Moving in can be a stressful and expensive endeavour, but for me it hasn’t been that bad. Before leaving for Australia, my fiancé and I got rid of a lot of stuff by selling or donating it. Now that we have to move back in, we have to buy it all back. The stuff we kept, we had stored in 4 different places (thank you friends and family Smile). Having stuff in 4 places made moving a bit more of a headache, but the day went fairly smooth. We were able to borrow a pick up truck and thankfully it was a sunny day.

I don’t like to spend a lot of money on things like furniture; I’d rather spend money on experiences. Naturally this makes moving in and buying a bunch of stuff difficult for me. I grew up in a frugal family, and those values were passed on to me. I believe in delaying gratification for a greater reward down the line. In today’s society, consumerism has taken a strong hold in our lives which makes it difficult to say no to the latest new gadget that you “have to have”, the new car, the big TV, the perfect purse…you get the idea. By avoiding these urges, saving more money and investing, you will be able to live a much better life later on, thanks to the power of compounding returns.

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This sounds like common sense, and it is, but that doesn’t make it easy. I’ve fallen prey to these urges just like many others. When I got my first real job, I bought A BRAND NEW CAR! Wahoo… not. This is probably my biggest money mistake to date. If you are going to buy a car, please buy it used. New cars loose a lot of their value the second they are driven off the lot. I digress… the point I was trying to make, is that by resisting these consumeristic urges you can save a lot of money. Those savings can then be put towards things that are more important to you. In my case, I try and save a large portion of my income to reach financial freedom at an early age, and I also prefer to spend my money on experiences like traveling. Since buying the new car, I’ve changed my spending habits quite drastically, as I’ve gotten better at resisting consumeristic urges. Case and point would be my recent move.

I found moving in especially hard, because it usually involves buying appliances and furniture, ugh. With some hand-me downs from family, creative shopping and a few Do-It-Yourself (DIY) projects I think I did quite well.

My fiancé and I are fortunate enough to have a loving family, with a lot of stuff they want out of the house. The in-laws are trying to clean up the house, so we ended up with a Futon, coffee table, TV, and some other smaller items all for free. Thank you! Not everyone has family that has furniture to give away, but with some creative shopping you can usually get what you are looking for free or very cheap from websites like Craigslist or Kijiji or thrift stores. In my case I used Craigslist because it’s more popular in my city. Through Craigslist I was able to get:

  • Kitchen table and 4 chairs – $80
  • Small deep freeze – $50
  • Panasonic Microwave – $25
  • Computer/office chair – free
  • Microwave Stand – free
  • Wine Racks – free

All of my purchases were used, but still in good condition. I was surprised at the quality stuff that people were giving away for free. Having gone through this experience I think with a little more time and access to a truck I would’ve been able to get even better deals. Craigslist is great for cheap furniture and appliances, but it is also worth checking out thrift stores like ValueVillage or Recycling depots. We picked up some stainless steel cutlery for $3 and a slow cooker for $8 at the thrift store.

Sometimes you can’t find what you’re looking for, and have to buy it new. Waiting for sales, or using a coupon can be good ideas, but what I ended up doing was using my credit at Amazon to buy a few things. I had $300 in gift card credit for Amazon that I got for free by applying to credit cards awhile ago. I used part of this to buy a good vacuum cleaner on sale (My fiancé has bad allergies so this was important), and a Roku 3. The Roku 3 is something that we wanted, but didn’t need. Yes, I still have these cosumeristic urges. It was free though because of the Amazon credit and it should save us some money by not signing up for cable TV and using a Netflix account. The Roku 3 hooks up to a TV and lets you watch Netflix TV shows and movies along with other channels (some free, some you have to pay for). Basically it makes streaming TV shows and movies on a TV easier to do.

Netflix is $8 a month in Canada which is typically a lot cheaper than any cable TV provider. I’m a fan of hockey, so getting live sports is something you loose out on with Netflix. To deal with this I made an HDTV antenna by following the instructions on YouTube. With some coat hangers, screws and washers, a piece of wood (2×4) and a $5 transformer you can make a pretty ugly, but effective HDTV antenna. I’m just going to hang mine outside, so the appearance doesn’t bother me. The antenna gives me free access to CBC, CTV and Global in HD quality, along with some others that I’m not that interested in. I won’t get all the hockey games I want, but though these channels I’ll be able to get a few of them. Once the NHL season starts up, we’ll see how I cope, but I think I’ll be able to make do.

Little DIY projects like this can be fun and save a lot of money. My fiancé made a hair drier and straightener holder out of a PVC plumbing pipe. Thank you Pinterest. I’ve always been interested in woodworking, so in the past I’ve made a wine rack and wine glass holder. I recently also made an Adirondack chair, foot rest and wedding arch. I realize not everyone has woodworking skills or access to a workshop, but these are just examples of how I’ve found creative ways to save money. Not to mention woodworking is a hobby of mine.

So that’s my spending philosophy, what about you? Are there any creative that you utilize to save money?

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  1. I also made the tough decision to sacrifice cable to save some money in the summer and just kept it cut off due to the NHL lockout. Loosing live sports sucks and I similarly to you built an antenna using youtube and my dad. It is amazing how clear it comes through. Unfortunately CBC decided not to upgrade their antenna in my city so I don’t get hockey, which sucks but I have been able to “borrow” some good streams on-line which are HD quality for live NHL games. I do however get CTV so I can get one NFL game a week and all the playoff games which is nice. However I have not been able to come up with a solution to watch CFL games. At the end of the day by using the web I rarely miss cable and find I don’t waste nearly as much time in front of the TV watching garbage TV shows. If there is something I really want to watch live, it is a good excuse to get together with friends, who happen to have cable. I really enjoy the extra money I save which I re-invest in stocks which some day will hopefully pay the cable bill.

    I’ve been enjoying your blog, thanks for your insights and time you won’t miss cable.

  2. I use prepaid cell service from Petro Canada. It’s cheap as anything for people who have to have a cell, but don’t use too many minutes.

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