Tag Archives: do the math

I wish it made sense to buy instead of rent


After spending a month on my own in Paris, in the smallest but most stylish studio apartment I’ve ever been in in my whole life, I decided that I would really love to live in a studio apartment. Permanently. In Edmonton. What I want is a small, maybe 500 ft2 space that forces me to be creative, live without a lot of stuff, and takes the least amount to clean. What I can get in Edmonton, however, is 800-1000 ft2 of luxury, look-at-me, please-put-your-leather-couch-and-matching-ottoman-here. Sigh. Nevertheless, I did fall in love with one centrally located loft that boasts exposed brick walls and wood-beam ceilings. It’s on the smaller end at 800 ft2, and I was in the mood to compromise so I decided that the extra room was just fine. I quickly began to stitch together an awesome fantasy life where I am a super trendy twenty-something in an upscale […]

How to buy big


I was talking about credit cards with some friends, when one of them remarked that he agreed it was important to never spend more on credit than you could afford to pay off — except for big purchases, like a vacation or a computer. I asked why those were the exception and his reply was: “What else am I going to do? Just save up $1800?” Well.. yeah. I really don’t think it’s a different process to buy an $1800 object than it is to buy an $18 one, the former just requires you work longer. I think the problem with credit is that it’s made instant gratification so accessible, we justify using it to buy things that we’d otherwise have to wait for. This is really bad because things are more expensive when you buy them in credit. They’re actually more expensive twice over: first, because of the interest […]

Investing your money is like getting a raise


How does investing pay off? Most people think of investments in the context of capital gains and dividends, but the impact is something more tangible than that. Every dollar you earn in the stock market, is a dollar you don’t have to earn at your full-time job. The more money you invest and the greater amount of passive income it generates, the less you have to rely or your hourly wage or salary to sustain you. Let me illustrate with an example. Let’s say a friend and I work the same job, where we each make $20/hr. However, I save 30% of my income and invest regularly so that it earns roughly 5%, and my friend skips saving (they’re going to do it later, a la future self) and uses their credit card to fill in some gaps in their spending. Now, to be fair, my friend reads my website so […]

Today I put away $1056 for retirement

Just kidding… sort of. Let me explain: I turn 25 this month, which puts me 40 years away from “retirement age”. I put that in quotations because I actually think our increased lifespans will encourage bumping that age 65 up to 70+ in my lifetime. Also, the idea of me ever getting old is a laughable thing I can’t really picture, even if logically I know it’s going to happen eventually. So I’ve been saving money for about two years now, but none of it was earmarked for retirement. I have some mutual funds that were sort of kind of in my mind for this purpose, but I might like to use those for other significant grown-up investments, like a home. Consequently, I needed a solid back-up plan so my 20 year old self doesn’t screw my 60 year old self over. Enter: RRSPs. I’ve been hesitant about RRSPs for […]

I am paid $26/hr to take the bus


This isn’t a joke, I make roughly $26/hr taking public transit. I’m not paid by the city or ETS or any green organization — I’m paid by myself, with the money I’m not spending on a car. I take the bus and/or the train every single day. Assuming a 20 minute commute, there & back, that’s about 40 minutes, 7 days per week. This works out to roughly 20 hours per month. Now, to do this calculation we have to consider the alternative: car ownership. Very, very, very few people recognize how abhorrently expensive owning a vehicle actually is. They will purposely deceive themselves, make wild justifications, omit essential calculations, all in the name of keeping their car. Oh I know, it’s so convenient and you need it because you live out of town or whatever, but some vehicle owners are just kidding themselves. Here’s a fun scenario to prove […]