Welcome to the Frugal Squirrel blog. I am the Frugal Squirrel, or FS for short. I won’t be giving extreme details about my life for the purposes of this blog, but I will share the dollars and cents (see what I did there?) of what it’s like trying to catch up financially, after years of absolute idiocy, when you’re a 43 year old Canadian living on the left coast. What a run-on sentence THAT was!
Anyway. After being tired of working, and not enjoying the company I work for (I will be referring to them as the nut factory from now on), I have decided it’s time to start teaching myself to stop being stupid. What does this mean? Well, to start, I have to educate myself, which is usually the cure for stupidity. Thankfully, I’m tech savvy enough that I am able to figure out multiple platforms (Apple, Windows, Android) and to be able to watch YouTube videos and do, oh, about 18 MILLION Google searches about finance. It’s tough, because our beautiful country is small. Like, there’s more people in California than there is in our whole country. This means we miss out on a lot of deals and what not because there just isn’t enough of us to make financial sense for a massive corporation to move here, but because the exchange rate between us and the US is completely awful most of the time. So, in some cases, it feels like a waste of my money to invest in courses, when I already pay $85/month for internet (Shaw) access. As long as I spend the time reading articles/watching videos, I should be able to educate myself enough, eventually, to make all this effort worth it.
My main goals:
- Save enough money so I can retire by 51 (that’s 7.5 years from now).
- Purchase a house and own it outright by then.
- Purchase a property of some kind and make income off of it.
- Teach myself about investments/stocks/what not.
- Blog about the whole thing!
Now, I have never tried something like this before. I’ve told people I’m trying, and by ‘trying’, I mean, buying a book by Gail Vaz-Oxlade and pretending I spent more time squirrelling away money than I spent on reading the book. That doesn’t count, because frankly I read the book in 3 days and I still have nothing saved 10 years later.
I am too old to not have anything saved. I am too old to have not learned anything about finance by now. At the same time, I am still young enough that if I get started now, I can retire before turning 65. And who knows, maybe I’ll inspire another Canadian by being completely honest about my mistakes and lessons learned along the way. Maybe I will have saved enough that others will start to think it’s possible too!
Basic facts: I do not own a house. My rent is $900/month. I am EXTREMELY lucky to be paying so little on Vancouver Island. Though I absolutely hate coin laundry, I have to have clean clothes, so every Saturday, I pay $9 and spend 4 hours of my time washing and drying them. Buying my own machines is not possible, though I truly wish it were. I make $75,000/year. The average wage in B.C. is $30.40/hr, or $59,275, so I make a good $15,000 more than average.
You’re probably thinking, wait, how in the hell does this crazy woman not have anything saved? Well to be fair, my actual wage is $63,000, but in January, I qualified for payments from the Canadian government of $1000/month tax free for life.
Anyway. It’s my spending. The pandemic was really hard on me. I live alone and have few friends, so I struggled a LOT. My fellow nut factory workers were not very good at all about wearing masks, which caused me some massive stress. I was allowed to work from home a few days a week, but at a massive cost to my productivity. I really like to be productive, so that increased my stress. To make myself feel better, I bought everything (almost) that I saw an ad for. I’d watch a YT video and see something I might use one day, so I bought it. Amazon and I were on a first name basis for a very long time. I’d become bored, so I’d go to Walmart, or my favourite store (Shoppers) or any art store within a 50km radius and just look at stuff. Usually it meant dropping $100+ in any of the aforementioned stores, usually on crap or sweets or lotto.
All that spending has to come to an end for a number of reasons.
- I am DYING to own a house. I have rented my entire life, and it frustrates me to no end that I am forever blocked from making changes to the house, like painting or renovating or just taking out carpet.
- I am terrified to retire at 65 with $0 in my savings. Sure, I have various small pensions. But I NEED to save much more than what I have, or I’ll be on the streets, especially if I choose to stay in this wildly expensive province (more on that later, but just know, I’m actively trying to leave)
- I want to retire early, and really have some fun with my hobbies. I have an ‘ideal day’ planned in my mind, and the constraints of working regular hours means I never get to have this day.
- I want to be in charge of my schedule.
- I want to feel good about what I’ve accomplished money wise.
Stay tuned for the next post, where I’ll lay out the first draft of my plan to achieve all these lofty goals.
Thanks for reading.