Sunday, April 19, 2015

7 Ways I'm Saving for New Zealand

Who doesn't love clip arts?!
Following my previous post of announcing my move to New Zealand, I really need to get my spending habits fixed and start saving.

I'm cutting back drastically and a lot of my friends have noticed already. I hate being the "cheap" one out of my group of friends but hey, I gotta chase after my dreams and not mope around all day!

My plan of action includes:

  • No more impulse purchases. From now, instead of my "wait 24 hours" method, I'm increasing the the waiting time to 72 hours. Three entire days need to pass by before I commit to my purchases. I'm also going to cut my visits to the dollar store and unnecessary visits to random stores when I feel "bored".
  • No more bookstores. Being a bookworm can get expensive - you just want to continue buying books despite a bookshelf full of unread books! Instead, the only books I allow myself to buy are the ones on sale. All regular priced books (and even sale books) would go through the public library first. If the library doesn't have it, I'd add it to my to-read list and read another book in the meanwhile.
  • No more Starbucks (on a near daily basis). Starbucks ate a lot of funds. Looking back, I spend about $30-$40/week on Starbucks! Instead, I'm going to treat myself to Starbucks from time to and time and visit Tim Horton's for my coffee fix instead. I even uninstalled the Starbucks app from my phone to help with this change.
  • Cut back on eating out. From now on, I'd invest more in my groceries than dine outs. Often time, I feel too lazy or uninspired to cook. The amount of money I spend on take out should be redirected to groceries for cheaper eating habits.
  • Fix my credit cards. By fix, I mean pay off all the debt and lower the credit limit. Also, get into the habit of only using cards for its original purposes. My MasterCard for school/emergencies only. My Visa for my own personal spending.
  • Transition into cash only. Everyone knows the best way to save money is to use cash and not cards. Using cash would also help me stick to my monthly budget more easily.
  • Dedicate a portion of my paycheques into a savings account. I think I might dedicate half of my paycheques into my savings account. I'll also be increasing my mutual funds purchases so I get a bigger return on investment by the time I want to leave for NZ.
  • Cut back on services. I'm thinking of cutting back on my cellular plans and even changing my phone to a cheaper phone. I currently subscribe to Spotify and Netflix, both services I can't live without. But, for example, I can downgrade my gym membership or invest in a few equipment for a home gym. There are plenty of fitness centers that is cheaper than Steve Nash.
Times like this, I wish I had a valuable skill to earn some little side income. I also wish I had more stuff to sell, haha.

But, gotta do whatever you gotta do to make dreams come true!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

#NewZealand2016 (Cheers to my future home!)

Over the past few days, I've scoured the internet for every information on New Zealand I can find - history, taxes, immigration processes, work visa, culture, job markets, schools, etc. etc.

You may have heard that I've fallen in love in New Zealand and would love to move there. I originally didn't know where but now I do... so do you know what that means? I'm dead serious about moving to Wellington, NZ.

Why Wellington? After research after research and photos after photos, my heart is telling me Wellington, haha. It especially caught my attention when a lot of Wellington locals said the city is small enough to know everyone and everything. I adore small cities! It's an 'IT city' but I'm confident in finding a hotel.
Photo from:
So, what now?

I originally wanted a work visa for New Zealand. However, I was stuck between weather I should move during my studies or after my studies. This caused such a big dilemma and after asking dozens of people, no specific answer was giving. My purpose of the work visa (aside from work) was mostly to get the feel of the city. After all, we can't move somewhere without experiencing it first.

So I decided, screw the work visa. I'd just go on 2-3 weeks vacation to Wellington! This would be the better option for me in terms of finances and priorities. By the end of my current contracted tourism position, I'm also hoping to forcefully get my foot into the hospitality industry with a big hotel chain.

As of now, I got a few things to:

  • Pay off my credit card debts. Can't start a savings plan with excess debt. Also, can't start a good vacation without a fully paid off credit card!
  • Start my Bachelor of Hospitality (and Tourism) degree. I've nailed it down to three universities: University of South Africa, Columbia Southern University or Fort Hays State University. Because this is my second Bachelor, I won't be taking out a loan for it so the tuition fee plays a lot during my decision to pick a university. If you ask me, I would love to attend University of South Africa because after the currency conversion, it's the cheapest option. I already submitted my application to them - just waiting on a response.
  • Cut down on my spending. Drastically. I've already said no to buying food on the go and hanging out with friends!
  • Make amends with Vancouver. My beautiful, beautiful city... we've grown apart over the years. I don't want to leave the city all bitter and disappointed.
  • Make amends with people. I'm moving halfway around the world in a few years... gotta say what I need to say!
  • Explore Vancouver. Time to play tourist in my own city.
I got nothing against Canada and Vancouver, but this city has tired me and left me feeling hopeless...

I really hope everything works out. I would love to be a Kiwi!

(Ironically, I'm allergic to kiwis as well...)

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Tips for Finding What You Want to Study in University (Without Breakingthe Bank)

Post secondary is an investment. It's an expensive investment towards your future.

I was lucky enough to find what I loved to do early into my post secondary career but many people aren't. And one of the most common responses to university is that they don't know what to study and can't afford to "waste" money on general studies to find their passion.

I agree with that. I can't see myself ever spending $700-$800 per course just to see if I enjoy Criminology or Social Work. Testing the pool of majors isn't the same as choosing classes for your electives - most of the time, we take "fun" classes as electives while working towards our designated degree. Whereas, these people aren't taking the class for fun; they're taking it to see if they can have a future in this field (which, can be fun, but you get my point).

There are many ways to branch out and discover what your interests are and weather you can picture yourself working in this field without breaking the bank (because we need to save those pennies towards your actual courses)!

Drop into a university lecture

For most part, many university lectures don't take attendance (and even if they did, it's a big lecture hall...). Take a seat in the back and observe the lecture. Simple as that. You can get an idea what economics is like, or how boring history is. Of course, sometimes you can't judge base on one day but for the most part, you get a general idea what you'll be spending your next few years studying.

Apply to your local colleges

Colleges are cheaper than universities. They offer much more flexible classes and "fun" classes as well.

Register for night classes/community classes

Night classes are usually skills-based classes but you can still figure out if you enjoy it or not. For example, a popular choice would be a language class or a cooking class. From there, you can determine if you want to pursue a degree in a foreign language or attend a culinary school.

Buddy up with a friend

If you have a friend that's attending school, ask him/her about their experiences with their classes. Take a peek at their textbooks and see if you enjoy the material. School textbooks are much different that those "dummies guide to ____" books in your local bookstore.

Check out courses online

There are a lot of free (and paid courses for credits) courses on the internet! Many of these online courses are offered by top universities around the world. You can get an idea of what going back to school is like and what the material is like.

I'm an advocate for school! I love learning and exploring educational options.

Now get out there and learn!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Happy 22nd Birthday, Arcy!

I can't believe I'm celebrating this girl's birthday for the 8th time! It's insane to think that in two years, it would be a decade since I met this girl aka it'll be ten years since I started high school!

On Friday we went to Fur Elise for high tea. I've never had high tea before so the experience was great! I always thought how can these little sandwiches and pastries fill someone up buuuuut... it does. It fills you up a lot! It was about $30 for our high tea set - was it worth it? The food was good but I don't see myself casually stopping by for high tea anytime soon.

After high tea, a lot of the girls had to return to work (and I just got out of work!) so we went to catch Cinderella. I haven't caught a movie with the girls in such a long time, I missed it! I learned that no matter what movie we watch, Arcy and I would always start laughing and commenting on every detail of the movie.
On Saturday, we all met up again to hit the club... and yes, we went back to Republic. I think everyone knows I'm a Republic girl now...
I got straight bangs earlier that day as well! I seriously can't wait for my hair to grow out... ugh.

After camwhoring and pre drinking at Arcy's house, the party bus finally arrived. I haven't been in a party since my ex's 18th birthday.... and that party bus lacked drinks! The bus driver was cool enough to let us drink on board even though it was technically "illegal".

I was drunk already... see the Asian glow?

The driver stopped at Stanley Park and yes, the picture shows exactly what I did... LOL
All them squats paid off ;)

Oh yeah, somewhere between getting off the party bus and entering the club, I ended up borrowing's EJ's phone to call Sukh... and... let's just say, men don't like it when girls borrow phones to dial another man LOL. Oops...

Cheers to another year with an amaaaaaaaazing bomb ass girl!