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Saving Money by Shopping Online?

I was being all intelligent by listening to CBC on the radio the other day and one of the radio shows was talking about the recent surge of internet purchasers in Canada.

According to Statistics Canada, the value of orders placed online in Canada was $18.9 billion dollars.  Yes, you read that right, BILLION!  This value has increased by at least 50% since 2010, the survey was conducted in 2012.  77% of respondents indicated that they did some research on goods and services or window shopped online.

Most people in the Statistics Canada survey, 58%, purchased travel related goods such as hotel reservations and flights.  This is interesting, because with the ease of purchasing flights on the internet, will places like Flight Centre be obsolete?  I don’t know if it will because my mother still uses travel agencies, and she prefers it to buying a ticket online.  I think that sometimes travel agents can find you a good deal too, especially for places like all-inclusive vacations.  I personally don’t use them at all when I purchase international tickets or tickets without any packages included.

Saving Money by Shopping OnlineIf you like infographics, here is a good one related to Canadian internet shopping habits.

I personally have had bad/ mediocre experiences buying clothes online just because they never fit properly when I receive them and I am just too lazy or have too little time to ship it back and return them.

Here are some pros advocating for why I prefer shopping online:

Related: Amazon Prime Canada Review – Is It Worth it?

Not Having to Deal with Pushy Sales People

As an introvert I don’t really like to make small talk.  Although meeting sales people in stores is nice, I will ask for help when I need to.  I am pretty vulnerable to pushy sales people, but I think I have gotten much better over the years and can stand my ground.  Sometimes I do feel bad when I waste a sales person’s time and don’t buy anything.  The inverse is true, sometimes when you go to a place like Canadian Tire or The Bay, you will be hard pressed to actually find a sales person to talk to and ask questions from!Continue Reading

youngandthrifty April 2014 net worth update $332,100 (+0.8%)

Since last month, investments that I have purchased have been doing pretty good already (everything in the green, woot!).  CPD which was not doing very well also picked up and I am in the green again.

I am already in vacation withdrawal and it seems so far away.  I had all these plans of cooking and recreating the foods I made while in Thailand and so far I have made none of them.  Guess that’s always the case, eh?

Recently read an article in the Province (which has spawned a heated reddit thread) about a couple in Vancouver who live “young and cheaply in Vancouver” and spend under $250 on groceries per month and they don’t eat out (apparently they are vegan), who earn $54000 annually in after tax dollars combined, and they travel internationally twice a year at $7500 per person AND are set to retire in their mid-30′s!  Passive income all the way, eh? I wonder how large their investment portfolio is :)  Talk about putting your money where your values are :)

My friends and I were talking about how much we spend eating out, and $200 seems like quite a large amount to be eating out… but I just found out my number is even higher.

I am pretty proud that this month my spending hasn’t been too ridiculous.  I spent just under $200 in March for groceries, but I did eat out a few times.  The amount didn’t seem very much but I just added it up and it was $325!  Jeebus that is quite excessive! I did take my parents and sisters out for dinner though and treated my boyfriend a few times (we alternate).I think I live a pretty balanced lifestyle, I don’t restrict myself eating out but I don’t get at $50 per person places regularly.What’s your going out for meals number?

Okay, so here’s the breakdown for April 2014 ($332, 100):

ASSETS:

CASH: $57110 (+2.7%)

Net Worth Update

  • I added up my chequing and savings accounts (High Interest Savings Account). I automatically deduct money from my chequing account and have it siphoned to the HISA account (paying yourself first)
  • I have $4800 saved up for my big trip that I hope to do this year.

Non-Registered: $98790 (+0.6%)

  • I moved $5500 from my nonregistered cash to the TFSA
  • These are stocks that capture the “moment in time”, including unrealized gains or losses in my BMO Investorline and Questrade accounts.Continue Reading

Luang Prabang on a Low Budget

I’m sorry for the non-catchy title of this post, but I had to fit in some alliteration somewhere in the title. The title of this post certainly does not do the beauty and wonder of Laos any justice. The town of Luang Prabang is a UNESCO World Heritage site and rightly so. It is beautiful! The golden coloured temple roofs in a backdrop of lush greenery, mountains, and beside the Mekong river is enough to make any traveler swoon. The stairs leading up to Mekong river on the riverside is reminiscent of Varinasi, India.

Getting There

There are no intercontinental flights directly into Laos, but you can get here from Thailand or Vietnam etc. There are also bus options which are much more affordable but I did not have the luxury of time (or youth I guess haha) so I opted for flying.

You need a visa in Laos but you can get a Visa on Arrival. All you need is 1 passport photo and $42 US dollars for Canadian passport holders (Canadians pay the highest visa fee in the world! I have no idea why). You also need to pay $1 processing fee. If you don’t have a passport photo, they charge $1 to take a copy from your passport, which, in my opinion, is a better deal than the $12 I paid at home to get a set of two passport photos!

Things to Do

Luang Prabang on a Low BudgetAlms Giving Ceremony

Probably the most famous image of Laos is the Alms giving ceremony, where the monks of Luang Prabang do walking meditation around the town receiving rice and food for the day. This is absolutely free to do, but make sure you cover up respectfully and get up early as it starts around 6am.

Pak Ou Caves

The Pak Ou Caves, also known as the Buddha Cave, is a cave with over 4000 Buddha statues nestled in the cave. The Pak Ou Caves can be accessed for a very cheap price if you just go via a Tuk Tuk. However, you can shop around at the local travel agencies in town for a cheap tour. I kayaked to the Pak Ou Caves with lunch included for about $30 including admission of 20,000 Kip (about $2.75).

Related: Overseas Adventures on the Cheap

Phousi Mountain

Although it costs 20,000 Kip (about $2.75) the trip up Phousi mountain is worth it as you get a breathtaking view of the entire town of Luang Prabang. Best to do this during sunrise of sunset too for an even more spectacular view. The steps to get up to the top are pretty arduous (I believe there are over 300 steps) but it’s worth it.Continue Reading