When I was a child, my mom always used to tell me to go play outside. I went outside, picked up a stick in the woods, and could play for hours with my friends and our newly found treasure!
Now, as an adult, I notice that having fun has, somehow, become much more expensive. All my friends buy stuff to have fun. The toys have become bigger, shinier, and more expensive. Activities are now held in bars, restaurants, and resorts.
For our own sake and our budget’s sake, we aim for cheap or completely free activities such as hiking, skating, home BBQ or cycling but we do not deprive ourselves of fun. On the contrary, we try to live a plentiful life, even without breaking the bank.
We also have some expensive hobbies like skiing and traveling the world but there is often many ways to greatly reduce the cost of things once you research a bit. We usually travel for a fraction of what most people spend simply by using the opportunities offered to us such as credit card bonuses and we ski for a fraction of the cost by keeping an eye out for deals.
In our everyday life, there are few things that truly make us happy and those, for the most part, don’t cost any money.
Find what you love to do, and build your lifestyle around that.
Creating a lifestyle around your passions and doing what you love to do on a daily basis greatly increase your happiness and will make you richer.
Traveling across the country
Last week, we traveled to Victoria, British Columbia, to visit some family. We did a few excursions and explored beautiful British Columbia one day at a time. All-in-all, we spent a fraction of what we could have spent simply because we are conscious about our money and enjoy the simpler things in life.
On our second day there, we drove out to the Goldstream Provincial Park for a short hike of the Mount Finlayson Trail and enjoyed the views of the city. Located only 20 kilometers west of downtown Victoria, it immerses you in nature and makes you forget the daily noise of the city.
Hiking in the old-growth forest and breathing the misty, cold, fresh air, and embracing nature were wonderful. The trail heads up to the summit of the mountain, up 419 meters.
The forest was very green and home to Red Cedar trees that are over 400 years old! Hiking up, we saw Douglas fir, Arbutus, Garry oak trees and plenty of small plants but after half an hour we were on the rocks. Climbing above the treeline was very steep and strenuous but well worth the effort once we reached the summit. We were doing some scrambling on loose rock and walking on the very edge of steep cliffs but we survived. 🙂 Once at the top, we enjoyed our packed homemade sandwiches while taking in the view.
Skiing is our one big spend
We try to live our lives to maximize our experiences and optimize our happiness. Skiing happens to be one thing that brings us both a lot of joy, keeps us active, and gets through the winter. We love the amazing views, the challenging slopes, and thrilling descents we experience on a day on the mountain.
For this trip, we traveled with WestJet and were able to bring our skis on the flight for free but Air Canada also offers it throughout Canada. When traveling, you can always check online for the equipment check-in page of your airline to see what they allow. Traveling with our skis allowed us to get out of the city and enjoy the West Coast fully.
We used points to book the flights and ended up paying only $250 instead of $800 each to travel coast to coast.
Going down the ungroomed terrain was thrilling and simply breathtaking! The views were exceptional, the air was chilled but not too cold, and the greenery was abundant. We stayed in a condo we found on Airbnb and had a great view of the mountain. The great thing about this place was the ability to ski in and out, and contrary to a hotel room, we were able to cook our own meals with the fully equipped kitchen.
Do what you love to increase your savings rate
We were in Mexico last month, now flew across Canada, and we ski every weekend but what about our savings rate? Truth be told, we are still right on target and saving over half our salaries! 🙂 We do spend and live a very plentiful life but we know exactly where we are spending and are aware of our actions.
The most important thing is to be conscious about the choices you make and prioritize the things that make you happy. Living an intentional life means that you will stop spending money on things that do not bring you happiness and optimize your money on the things you love.
Cars, for example, can have a huge impact on your savings rate. We choose to spend on other things so we bought both of our cars (gently) used and paid cash, staying away from monthly car payments.
Our amazing ten-year-old Honda Fit
Saving can sometimes feel restrictive; cutting bills, depriving yourself of this or that or not going out of the house to save a bit more but you still need to be happy.
If there is something that truly makes you happy, buy it! If there are friends you really want to hang out with, go for it! The important part is to stay conscious about your choices and the money part will follow.
How about you, how has your savings rate been this year? What do you prioritize your spending on?
Mr. and Mrs. Xyz.