Give Me Back My Five Bucks

Friday ramblings

Last night I went with a friend to the PNE. It was VanCity night, and as a member, we both got in for just $5! :) Our goal was to watch the free Boys II Men concert, but apparently that seemed to be the goal of every other 30-something person in Vancouver. The venue was filled up by the time we got there, so we had to watch the show from the beer garden. It was really fun watching the crowd lose their minds when they sang their hit songs. :)

Tomorrow I’ll be headed home for the long weekend. It’s been a couple months since I’ve seen my friends and family, so am looking forward to watching ball games with my dad, brunching with my friends, and going on a hike or two.

Recently with my thoughts on renting vs. owning (and selling my home), I’ve made a few noticable changes. Mostly I’ve been getting on board with the minimalist and shopping ban movement. I’ve recently gotten rid of a lot of things I no longer use in my house (decluttering, but also in preparation of moving – whenever that might be), and have cut down on shopping for clothes, books, and household items. Now, I’m not in a position to go on a shopping ban right now like some of my other PF friends, but perhaps in the future. This exercise has definitely been helping to become more aware of the things that I need versus what I actually want.

This has freed up some room in my budget to save a little more, as well as attend a bunch of great events over the next few weeks:

  • Pecha Kucha Night Vancouver – ($10) they’ll be chatting about sustainability and the green future of the City of Vancouver.
  • Vancouver Art Gallery: Art Makes Us – ($12.50) the event where they will finally unveil the concept design of the new Vancouver Art Gallery. This interests me because I love the art gallery and all things design/architecture, but also because the company I work for is in this industry.
  • Vancouver International Film Festival – (?) one of my favourite events of the year. :) I took a quick look at the schedule, and there are already 4 or 5 documentaries that have caught my eye.

It also looks like aside from my little vacation to Vegas in October (and a couple of visits to Toronto for work), I won’t be going on any other trips this year. This means I can carry my vacation time and savings over to next year. I want to plan a really fun trip for next year. Tops on my list would be China (to see where my dad grew up), explore the UK, or head over to Turkey again.

There’s also lots of work to be done on the Canadian Personal Finance Conference – we are just over one month away – can you believe it!? I’ll be booking my flights soon, and cannot wait to meet those of you that will be attending. :)

Weekly Spending Recap: August 24-30, 2015

Monday 24th
$18 hot pot
$34.27 groceries

Tuesday 25th
$3 parking

Wednesday 26th
$4.78 groceries

Thursday 27th
No Spend Day!

Friday 28th
$12 lunch

Saturday 29th
$2.75 SkyTrain
$28.98 lunch (for 2)
$2.75 SkyTrain

Sunday 30th
$10 Starbucks (reload card)

TOTAL: $116.53

This was a fun but busy week. :) In the past two weeks I’ve worked more overtime than I have all year. But, it’s been great, because I’m bringing in more money from my full-time job, and have secured almost $6,000 in freelance income for the next couple months.

I had a hot pot date on Monday with good friends from my very first job here in Vancouver. It’s a monthly date we all try hard to keep. :) Tuesday I met up with a friend for dinner, Wednesday I hung out with a few field hockey teammates, and Saturday I spent some time in Chinatown, then finally was able to check out the Herzog & de Meuron exhibit at the Vancouver Art Gallery. If you haven’t already checked it out, I’d definitely recommend it. The new Art Gallery is going to be pretty amazing for Vancouver, so it’s was interesting to learn about the architects who are designing it.

Field hockey practices have also started up (with games starting next week!), so my weeks are going to get even busier, but in a good way. I’ve missed the team, and I’m excited to shake the rust out of my stick and get the season started.

On renting or buying in Vancouver

Vancouver is expensive.

Okay, yes, stating the obvious. I’ve known this for years,  yet I never really understood it until I started looking for a place to live close to downtown Vancouver. I’ve always lived in the suburbs – whether it was Burnaby, New Westminster, or Port Coquitlam. Rent and housing is cheaper out here – not by much – but definitely manageable.

Now that I’m about three weeks into my search for a new place to live, I finally understand what people are talking about when they describe how horrible the rental and real estate market is in Vancouver. For $1,300 to $1,400 in rent, I could get a small outdated apartment – that is if I can snap it up fast enough off of Craigslist. It seems like as soon as they are posted, they’re taken down. So after a while, I started increasing the amount I was willing to pay in rent. Because, the lifestyle is worth not having the commute, right? For $1,500 to $1,600 I’ll get a more modern (but definitely smaller) apartment.

And it was at that moment – when I briefly considered spending $1,500+ on rent – that I decided to look at potentially buying a home in Vancouver. With a budget of around what my current home is worth, I got to work with my Realtor to look at my options. I realized right away I wouldn’t get everything on my checklist. Every place I looked at had something wrong with it – no in-suite laundry, too far away from my preferred neighbourhood, sky high condo fees, or needed a ton of work I just wasn’t willing to take on. There are some things I’m willing to overlook (like no parking – I can park on the street, and I’d be willing to do some renovations), but location and monthly condo fees are deal breakers for me.

So now I feel a bit stuck. I don’t want to live in the suburbs. I don’t want a roommate. I don’t want to pay $1,500/month in rent. And I don’t want to buy another condo if I can’t find what I’m looking for.

The good thing is that I have time. I’m in no rush to sell my place. The bad news is that the thought of trying to find a new place to live is making me a bit stressed out at the moment. :)

P.S. I am sorry for coming back to the blog and then disappearing again. Things got crazy for a while with work (summer holidays means a way bigger workload for me) as well as in my personal life, but it has all settled down now.

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