The COVID Diaries, Day 6: Isolating in 400 Square Feet

A lot of people are baffled by how we can live comfortably in a 400-square-foot studio even during normal times, let alone during a plague outbreak. “How do you not strangle each other?” is a common question we get. “Who’s going to get thrown off the balcony first?” is getting a little more common now that we’re isolating and spending even more time here. It’s actually not a problem for us, for a few key reasons. Continue reading

Future Plans

With two to three years left to go, we’re within striking distance of early retirement, and are starting to hone in on some long term plans for our post-retirement life. We’ve narrowed it down to three options, and plan to devote a lot of time in 2019 to exploring these. Here are the three things we’re considering: Continue reading

Tips for Getting Into a Housing Co-op

  • Written by Steph

Co-op housing is a hot topic in Vancouver these days, with a lot more people interested in snagging a spot in one. As a long-time co-op resident, board member, and huge fan of the system, I’d like to shed some light on the process, explain a bit about the inner workings of co-ops, and give some tips for making it through the sometimes arduous application process. Continue reading

The Incoming Assets Retirement Strategy

-Written by Steph

Given the current uptick in readership of our blog, along with the overall increased interest in financial independence and early retirement (FIRE), it seems timely to do a post that thoroughly describes the exact system we use in our pursuit. We’ve fine-tuned it over the years, and have come up with a strategy that allows us to build wealth quickly on average incomes and with minimal ongoing effort. Here it is! Continue reading

The Space Efficiency Project

-Written by Steph

We’ve now been in our studio for five months, and have finally finished a project that started the day we moved in – make the place as functional, comfortable, and space-efficient as we could. Fortunately, photos were taken all along the way, which I’m here to share today! Follow along for the whole process, in pictures, of the two of us downsizing from a 600 square foot 1 bedroom apartment to a 400 square foot studio suite. Continue reading

How to Reduce your Paper Towel Usage

-Written by Steph

Ok, this isn’t financial (they really don’t cost much), but forests are being bulldozed to make paper towels last time I checked. As a proponent of low-environmental-impact as well as low-cost living, this is a big deal. It was one of the harder things for me, because I used to be in the habit of using paper towels for EVERYTHING – makeshift plates, greasing pans, degreasing foods, wiping stuff up,  moisture control in tupperwares, and probably some other weird stuff I can’t remember. Here are some tips that helped me reduce usage A LOT: Continue reading

Housing in Vancouver

-Written by Steph

Right alongside “How the hell do you eat on $230/month?!”, another thing we get asked about a lot is housing. Some people have this weird idea that housing is expensive in Vancouver, that you can’t get a livable place for less than $1000 (or $1500 or $2000)/month, that you can never find a place at all affordable if you have a pet, or any number of weird beliefs not grounded in reality. I suspect it’s due to spending a lot more time watching TV and reading the news than actually looking at apartment listings and using price filters on housing websites.

In any case, below is a brief summary of each apartment I’ve had, what it cost, and what I got for the money. All places were completely private – no shared accommodation, no shared kitchen, no shared bathroom, etc. Continue reading