I lied awake one night staring at the ceiling. Here I am, 28 going on 29, lying on an my lowly Ikea futon bed, listening to my early 20-something year old roommate blast music just outside my door and hoping that miraculously the landlord will maybe turn up the heat so the apartment isn’t so cold.
At the time, I muttered to myself: “What is my life? I have a good job, I’m getting older, and here I am in this dingy apartment dealing with this.”
I’ve been feeling low the past few weeks and I didn’t know why at first. Everything was going fine: new job was chugging alone just fine, my savings rate increased up to 15% with the salary increase, I was eating significantly healthier, and family and social life remained strong. Yet, for whatever reason, I couldn’t shake a little feeling in my body that what my life was up to wasn’t good enough.
Last month I spoke about how I had spent a crazy amount of money in February and once again in March. I was hoping April would be a notch lower – and it was until I bought a $722 suit. It is the price you pay when you work in a job that values “professional attire” and I particularly was looking for something long lasting. More on that later in a future post.
So there went another $2,722.18 at a savings rate of 53.82%. At this rate I am far exceeding my spending amount of $2000 per month and my goal for a 60% savings rate.
“Albert – you know what should happen when people make more money? They spend more. You make six figures and you’re using a cell phone plan from the 90s.”
This was a greeting comment from my friend after I was delayed in responding to a What’s App conversation regarding dinner plans. (Rationale? I don’t have push notifications. It consumes your data plan unnecessarily.)
I took my first ever improv class in the summer of 2016. As someone with a theatre degree working a menial public sector job, it felt right. At work there were so many rules, so many “nos”, and a culture of conformity, not individuality.
Humans love the idea of a deal. It triggers a strange part of our brain that makes us feel like we’ve won something. Like a “HA! I got product X at such a bargain. Those poor suckers who paid full price!”
The thing is, you didn’t really win if the sale was advertised. The retailer wanted you to know about it. If anything, you did them a favour by clearing out old inventory that they might have thrown out anyway, or they simply tricked you in thinking it was a sale when the sale is actually just a price point that’s always there.
Frugality and efficiency go hand in hand. Us frugal folk – we’re weird, you see. We overbuy discounted things in bulk to save money and time in the future. We frequently talk the shortest route walking anywhere because any additional step would be inefficient. We are minimalists with little clutter (or at least we aspire to to be).
But one area where efficiency is simply difficult to achieve is when we shop elsewhere – specifically in other currencies. Left and right, the ability to transact in a currency other than the Canadian dollar is provided at sometimes ridiculous premiums of up to 10%.