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Happy Saturday!

What a gorgeous Saturday! BF is currently in the kitchen making me pancakes. :) Afterwards, I think we’ll wash our cars, then go for a nice walk outside. Hopefully > 10km. We did a massive cleanup yesterday, so our place is looking better. I still really want to paint the walls a nice bright colour, because currently it’s just plain drywall. Don’t ask. I don’t know how to finish off the walls, so painting will just have to wait. It’s hard to believe we’ll be living here for another 3 years or so. I always assumed it was going to be temporary, but with BF training for his career, and not having to pay much rent, you can’t really beat that.

As for my money, I’ve been trying hard to curb the spending, but some of it is just necessary. I’ve had to spend $10 on Skytrain fares over the past 2 weeks to get to my interviews (will probably buy a book of tickets sometime this week), spent $31.91 on my weekly groceries this week, and my 5-day trip home ended up costing $188.46 (including $72 for the ferry). We’re not going out to eat anymore, and I haven’t been near a mall in ages. I’ll have to fill up  my gas tank soon though.

Speaking of spending money, I will be taking out about $300 from my Savings Fund on Monday. Which will pretty much deplete that account. I’m not comfortable saying why at this point, but I do hope to get those funds back in the near future.

Finally, we have a stove!

This was an expensive weekend. First of all, we bought a stove. But not the $575 one we thought we were going to get – the guy who was selling it, ended up selling it to someone who could get there faster than us (we didn’t have the use of a truck secured) – boo urns to that! So after much research and driving around, checking out different stores and models, we ended up buying one for $700 ($625 + tax). We also had to rent a van from Budget for $75, which was cheaper than the company’s delivery charge ($100) – and trust me, we did everything we could to try and borrow a truck from someone (we only know one person who has a truck, and he was out of town for the weekend). So in the end, including the van rental, we will both be spending around $390 each for the stove. Which is a lot of money to pay, but it is going to be totally worth it. You all know how long I’ve been waiting for a real, actual stove! Which means … no more cooking out of a stupid skillet … BAKING! An oven! Soups! Ohhh I am so excited thinking about the possibilities! You really take for granted how much you use your stove, until you’re forced to live almost a year without one. :)

I also bought a new Apple mighty mouse. My old one finally died on me, after repeated attempts to clean the scroll ball and figure out why it was so glitchy. That was expensive, and set me back $85 (which will come out of my March budget in the ‘miscellaneous’ category). I’m still trying to get used to not having a scroll ball … but just having this new mouse makes me want to get a new computer. In the next 2-3 years I will definitely need to upgrade. I’ll also need to upgrade my design software. Which will be expensive, but I’ve been putting that off for years now.

One last expense … I treated BF to donairs on Saturday ($17), after all of his hard work re-wiring our house so that we had the ability to even have a stove. He did a pretty good job (despite the hole in the drywall behind the stove), and did everything to code.

Downtown Vancouver: Micro-Loft Living

I just read an article on CBC about micro-lofts in Vancouver, which will be 270 sq.ft. lofts that will rent for about $300 less than the average bachelor suite. I thought it was a fabulous idea, especially after watching this video a few weeks ago about a 344 sq.ft. flat in Hong Kong. These kinds of living spaces are everywhere around the world where space is at a premium.

Okay. Living in downtown Vancouver is expensive. That’s just the way it is. And if you insist on living downtown (or in Vancouver in general), you’re going to have to pay a premium. So it really makes me angry when renters complain about unfair living costs. It’s not unfair, it’s life. No one is forcing you to live in Vancouver. There are many more affordable options a little farther out – but still close to downtown, thanks to the SkyTrain.

Commentors on the article were complaining that the size of the micro-loft is too small and that it is too expensive. But that’s how much it costs to live in downtown Vancouver! Seriously. You can’t expect $600/month rent in the heart of the city. That’s just unrealistic and will never happen. So if you want more space for less money, move a little farther out.

These new Vancouver micro-lofts are expected to rent for about $675-750/month, which is still expensive IMO, but considerably less than the $979/month average rent of a bachelor suite downtown. But for about $700/month you can rent a 1-bed apartment in Burnaby, which will give you much more space than 270 sq.ft, and is only a short SkyTrain ride to downtown.

When I first moved to Vancouver, my 1-bed apartment on the outskirts of Vancouver was only $600/month, including utilities. My 2nd (bigger) apartment, a little farther out (but still on a SkyTrain line) was $725/month. Both of these options gave me the space I wanted at a fair price. The same space downtown would have cost me at least twice as much.

No, these Vancouver micro-lofts will not address low income residents. But it will address urban densification (which I am definitely in favour of), and alternative living space for those who really want to live in the downtown core, but don’t want to pay ridiculously high prices. It’s give and take. Do you want location, or do you want space? Because generally speaking, in the heart of most major urban centres, you cannot get both.

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