My Top 5 Borderline Bizarre Frugal Hacks

I’m borderline bizarre, but who isn’t?

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Canada got rid of the penny, but the penny-pinching philosophy is alive and well with me.

Frugal people everywhere do bizarre things. Some have spreadsheets calculating dollars per calorieĀ others ditch their houses and live in RVs.

The thing is: those things may appear bizarre to us, but it’s not bizarre to them. It’s a conscious choice they’ve made to become their best frugal selves. And for the record: we are all guilty of bizarre habits. Some people are crazy about folding clothing a certain way, or keeping their book collection meticulously alphabetized (in my youth, I also used to organize all my VHS tapes by production company. Suffice to say, no one could ever find anything but me) – and there’s honestly nothing wrong with that.

So really: we’re all a little weird. And that’s okay. I also do weird things, specifically around saving money and I welcome you to judge me because really, our oddities is what makes each of us special.

Continue reading “My Top 5 Borderline Bizarre Frugal Hacks”

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Tax Lessons for the Canadian Upper Middle Class

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I want to start by saying I don’t feel rich. Yes, I know, a six figure salary technically puts me in the upper middle class, but with its high cost of living in the City of Toronto, it’s hard to feel that way. Just to define that relative to Ontario, upper middle class is any single income earner with an income over $108,000.

I also acknowledge the more I make, the more I’m expected to pay in terms of tax. I just didn’t think it would happen so quickly or be so progressively punishing across all other forms of income.

So let’s talk about that today: tax on the upper middle class. I think tax can be a good thing (after all, I am a public servant myself), but we should all still strive for a level of tax efficiency, just like we would when it comes to any other form of spending. Continue reading “Tax Lessons for the Canadian Upper Middle Class”

The Appalling Cost of a Suit.

And why it was worth it.

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This suit is the third most expensive thing I’ve ever bought. Also: I was playing croquet at a wedding.

I walked out of a store on Friday after having just spent $750 on a suit. Your reaction will either be: a) That’s peanuts, we know that a really great suit should cost you about $2000, or b) Holy hell, that’s a lot.

If you’re in category B, this article is for you because it’s certainly how I felt. If you’re in category A, your values are clearly different than mine.

Continue reading “The Appalling Cost of a Suit.”

The Bicycle Rookie

A first-time cyclist in the big city.

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Biking. That thing that some people take up naturally, zipping through city streets with confidence and efficiency. It’s one of those things a lot of frugal folk can’t help but extoll the virtues of, Mr. Money Moustache included with his post of “What Do You Mean ‘You Don’t Have a Bike’“.

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Blogging: One Year Later

I made it!

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It’s officially been one year since I started blogging here on Stretching My Money. Did I think I’d make it this far? Definitely not. But here I am, one year later!

In that time, I’ve written about many things, ranging from net worth updates, travel, favourite board games, and even our mortality. Who says personal finance blogs can venture into new territory?

In that time, I have personal favourite posts that resonated with many of you, and others that didn’t. But heck – this is my anniversary so I’m going to list my favourite posts from the past year, regardless of the number of views:

Continue reading “Blogging: One Year Later”

Want to save money? Ad Ignorance is Bliss.

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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.

Continue reading “Want to save money? Ad Ignorance is Bliss.”

Frugal Approaches to Foreign Currency Exchange

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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%.

Continue reading “Frugal Approaches to Foreign Currency Exchange”