Are you prepared for a fire?

If you’ve been following the news in Edmonton you know that there was a condo building that burnt down late last month, and we had a close friend own a condo in that complex. While his unit was unharmed by the blaze, he had to leave all of his belongings until the engineers deemed that it would be okay to go back and collect his belongings. The blaze was started by a cigarette bud in a potted plant and it’s estimated that there is 11 million in damage. It’s extremely unfortunate and hundreds of people lots all of their possessions. While I’d like to think I’m not that attached to many of my things it would be a pain financially and other wise to have to replace all of the things I once owned. This begs the question?

Do you have proper renter’s insurance?

Whether the answer is yes or no, there are things people need to realize about renter’s insurance… some policies cover the depreciable value (market value) not the cost you acquired the item for. Meaning you could get substantially less than what you paid if this were to ever become an issues.

So what’s the solution?

The answer is something I have been putting off SINCE  I STARTED THIS BLOG. Shame on me!

I don’t know why I never made this a priority, but all I can say is I’m grateful it wasn’t my unit  that burnt down.

Open an account with: Know Your Stuff 

This allows you to categorize, itemize and inventory your belongs. You will then assign value and pictures to everything you own. If you have an expensive closet, perhaps you own some nice suits or a designer gown, then you’ll want to assign a value to these things for sure. So my August will consist of purging the house and valuing everything we own. Just in case.

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It’s a pretty simple web interface that allows you to organize your home by room and add items as you see fit. For example the first thing I added was our bed. We own this black Ikea Malm bed frame:

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I took a screen shot of the item and uploaded it and filled out the rest of the information that I knew.

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After you add an item you can go back to the main screen and see how the value of the contents of your home. You will also be able to add information about your insurance policy.

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It’s important to have this information online and not just in an excel document stored on your computer. If your home burns down in a blaze you will loose all of your electronic documentation unless it is stored somewhere else. This is a pretty tedious exercise, I’m not going to lie, but I would rather spend the time and know that if something ever did happen I would be prepared.

Other useful insurance information: 

How you can decrease your premiums 

A physical copy of your home inventory that you can store in a safety deposit box

Making use of trash

One thing I’ve learned on my journey to minimalism is how to make something of things that a normal person considers trash. Now before you shake your head, hear me out! My partner (fiance, Keenyn is engaged!) and I have slowly been trying to find ways to save the environment as well as save money. There are a lot of little things hanging around your house and in your garbage that I bet you didn’t think you could use.

1)   Vegetable and fruit scraps – Maybe I’m the only one that didn’t realize this before, but you definitely shouldn’t be throwing these out when you are cooking. I definitely used to throw out blueberries when I thought they were on the verge of going bad, or I’d throw away the scraps from veggies that I would be cutting for dinner. But now, those pepper and carrot tops, cucumber ends, celery leaves and broccoli bottoms are now put into containers and thrown into the fridge. These become an excellent base for soups! You wouldn’t believe the amazing soup I have made from throwing all these veggie scraps into a pot and making a broth. Same thing with the fruit, if you don’t want it anymore or you think it’s starting to go bad, just throw that in the freezer too. They are great for going in breakfast smoothies; they aren’t really as bad as you think.

2)   Yogurt containers – Whether they are the big or small ones, they are great to use for seedlings when you are trying to grow a plant. They are the perfect size and that way you don’t have to buy a pot that you will only use for a few months. Plus, who doesn’t like having a garden? [Read more...]

Investing in Real Estate without actually buying a property

You’ve heard me say before that I don’t think buying a home in your early – mid-twenties is the best idea and while a few people I know have criticized me on this belief, the numbers don’t lie. We are from a generation that has to have everything as soon as possible and as such we aren’t ensuring we are financially ready for home ownership before we jump in. Does that mean real estate is a terrible investment? Of course not.

You can invest in property without throwing all of your life’s savings into a home, and Real Estate Investment Trusts (REIT’s) are just the way to do it.

What is a REIT?

“A REIT is a company that owns, and in most cases, operates income-producing real estate. REITs own many types of commercial real estate, ranging from office and apartment buildings to warehouses, hospitals, shopping centers, hotels and even timberlands.” – Wikipedia [Read more...]

We’re getting married!

 I’m so excited to announce that this past weekend Andrew and I got engaged!

I won’t go into much detail, because I’m not sure as to how much I will actually be putting on the internet, because…. well it’s the internet and we all know how that goes.

Andrew already booked the venue of my dreams and the photographer I have been in love with for years (before he asked the question) so a date has been set!

I’m so excited I can barely contain myself, he is the man of my dreams and I can barely wait to be his wife!

(also, Tiffany’s)

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Frugal Fitness: Yoga on a budget

I love yoga, and I really don’t go enough. It’s been an outlet for me for the better part of 4 years. I started attending yoga after I was out of the dance world for a few months, had just ended a relationship and was feeling particularly glum and vulnerable. I walked to a studio that was close to my home and fell in love. Over the years I’ve tried to go to yoga as frequently as possible, sometimes my studies got in the way but I can attest that last summer when I was going 2-3 times per week I was feeling the best I have ever felt in my life.

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However, yoga can also be extremely expensive, drop-ins can range between $12 and $20 and while most studios offer 10 class passes or unlimited monthly class passes, they still end up costing you a fair chunk of change. [Read more...]

40 days in Europe: Where should you stay?

This summer has been full of amazing travel, and while I thought I’d be completely done with globetrotting for a while I find myself wanting to go on yet another vacation. To bad for me though, my bank account doesn’t agree. Planning my Europe trip was fun, it was also very expensive, and looking back I’m definitely able to see where I could have spent less money and I’m sure I could find  a lot more places to spend more. Regardless, accommodations were a huge portion of my expenses and because I booked majority of these online before we left I was able to put together some pretty little charts to show you exactly how expensive each city was and where to spend your money! Screen Shot 2014-07-17 at 9.37.39 AM In total approximately 70% of my time was spent in apartments, 5% in hostels and 25% in hotels. Personally, I liked apartments the best as I had the privacy of a hotel, but I also had access to a kitchen at a much more reasonable price. [Read more...]