Food Budget: Reimagined

Up until recently, I was trying to reduce my grocery bill as much as possible. Tweaking what I was buying, when I was buying it, and how much I was buying to tweak every cent. I realized that I was missing the mark a little bit and here’s why.

I was dedicating a fair amount of money to eating out. Eating out with friends is a social thing that I really enjoy, but I was definitely due for a restructuring of how I eat out with friends. Previously I’d spend a certain amount a month, eating at wherever I felt like. When this money ran out, I’d randomly crave sushi, Korean BBQ, and Japanese Ramen. Darn, I’m out of funds..I guess I’ll wait until next month.

The way I approach this now, is I make my social meals target things that I can’t make at home. I’ve reduced my eating out budget, and increased the enjoyment I get from it. The money I saved has been put into my food budget for greater flexibility. This flexibility has increased my recipe repertoire, allowed me to purchase bulk items on sale, and nickel and dime myself less when shopping.

Having more monthly spending for groceries also means I can have friends over for dinner more often, and share a homemade meal that always leaves other full and impressed. I’ve fulfilled my social needs, my love for cooking, my thirst for a better budget, and I’ve paid away less of my money in tips. Servers play an important role, but tipping has changed a lot in the last 30 years to make up for stagnating wages. Don’t get me wrong, I always leave a good tip and so should you. Now I just do it less often.

Think about the way your life works and align your budget to it; it will make you happier!

-Mike

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FIRE: Where is the excitement?!

Okay, so I’m going to humble myself really quick. I don’t know shit about Financial Independence/Early Retirement. I’m new to the idea, and I haven’t even gotten close yet. There is so much passion coming from the people involved in this idea, they study every aspect of how to make the dream the reality. These people are the sensei to my samurai; seriously. These people love the journey and the result.

However, maybe I just don’t see the raw excitement coming from some when they reach financial independence. I guess it’s sort of like winning a race; you’ve reach the end, you feel good but you’re gearing up for the next one. I really hope when I reach FI that I can showcase my passions and really share the experience with anyone who will listen. FI is when you earn true freedom and you really get to own every minute of your life. Yell about it! Tell everyone! Say everything!

I know a lot of the publications I read are tailored to their viewer, but I’d love to hear about how amazing the end result is! Listen to a podcast that makes me want to pickup my keyboard, throw it across the room and go buy motorbike and drive across south america. Maybe finance isn’t emotionally exciting, but it could be, you know?

Maybe I’m just being a dick and ranting. Maybe I’m showing my thrill seeking behaviour. Whatever. Hopefully I can bring some fire to FIRE.

Stay tuned for more heat.

-Mike

Useful Subreddits

I’ve been reading http://www.reddit.com for a long time. Typically I’d waste time reading useless junk. I mean I still do, but I used to, too. All jokes aside, there is a tonne of great resources on Reddit and tonnes of talented people. Find me at /u/torontosurvivalguide

Below are some subreddits that contain a treasure trove of useful information to help make you more self-sufficient:

Business

DIY

Finance

Food

Lifestyle

Philosophy 

Self Sufficiency

Shopping

Travel

I hope you find something you like!

-Mike

 

 

Photography

You may have noticed I try and start every post with a photo. Photography is a great creative outlet that pays dividends. I’m not a great photographer, but I’m getting better. Photography also gets me out of the house and exploring areas I haven’t been before. Returning to places you have been to take photos and get another perspective on something you know.

I use a Canon EOS Rebel T5 with an 18-55mm lens. This is a starter level DSLR and a great camera to start learning with. Don’t get a DSLR until you’ve mastered using your phone or a simple point and shoot camera. Once you get a DSLR, your photos will have better image quality. Learn all of your cameras features as well.

I paid for the large part of my camera with Shoppers Drug Mart points. Typically, I only purchase sale items at Shoppers as it’s quite expensive but the points do add up slowly.

One day I would like to make money off of my photos using something like 500px or selling direct to a buyer. However, I’m not banking on it!

I hope you enjoy my photos.

-Mike

Blogging Inspiration

Although my blog is very new, it’s something I’ve been planning on for a while. I read a lot of blogs and learn so much from bloggers that I wanted to pass on things I’ve learned. I’m big on self improvement and bettering myself, and have found techniques that anyone can use.

My biggest inspiration has to be Jacob at¬†http://earlyretirementextreme.com/. Jacob’s no-nonsense, logical approach to cutting costs and life optimization is excellent. He’s a much better writer than myself, and has a better handle on solving complex problems. Hopefully, I can reach his level someday.

I read his blog daily, and finally ordered his book. I can’t wait to get my hands on it and absorb as much as I can. Everyone has a source of inspiration; what’s yours?

-Mike