Friday, September 11, 2015

Why I Ditched my Credit Cards

I'm not saying I cut up my two credit cards; what I'm saying is that I no longer use them. I no longer rely on them.

I wasn't chased by collectors or have a super low credit score. I wasn't spending recklessly (anymore). I simply chose to stop using my cards as a financial improvement. Granted, I would only use them if A) I have the cash in my bank to transfer to my card the second I use my credit card and B) for deposit such as hotel rooms, etc. and C) for emergencies like my dog getting sick or something like that.

I have friends that automatically whip out credit cards when purchasing items. These people are broken into two categories: those who use the CCs to rack points up and pay off the balance in full, etc. etc. and those who put it on the credit cards because they're low on cash.

I used to rack my bills up endlessly. I hated the feeling of constantly paying my credit card bill. There were months when I struggled because my hours were cut short from work. But when I do pay off the month of September, October rolls around and I feel my paycheck goes to my CCs automatically because I'm usually owing something, regardless of how much I paid off last time. And we're not talking about $50, we're talking about couple of hundreds.

I ditched my credit cards because I felt like I wasn't actually saving at all.

All the long hours I worked, I used it to pay my CCs on purchases I probably regret. Since switching to my debit card aka cash I actually have, I spend less.

I value what I purchase. I think about my purchases rather than simply put them on my cards. I save for stuff I want and it feels rewarding! Putting items on my credit card and later paying the bills makes me somewhat stressful and unhappy with my purchases.

And you might think, so what happens if you miss out on that opportunity?

Then so be it. There's no item that I want badly enough to whip out my credit card. If I miss that opportunity, I see that as another chance to save. I see that as, "So I didn't get that bag I really liked. At least I saved $200!"

And same goes with a sweater at Forever 21. $25 doesn't seem that much but the moment the bill comes, you automatically just spent $400 that month. Take it from me, little things add up easily.

Right now, the only things I have on my visa bill is my Netflix and my cellphone plan. Other than that, nothing else it put on my card. It's such a nice feeling to be free from constantly paying my bills. I love it.

I was taught this lesson by Mark. He doesn't have a credit card so he pays off everything with cash and I like that. I don't want to be tied down to paying bills. He essentially has a lot of savings because he's not using his paycheques to pay for previous purchases. He travels a lot because he saves all his paycheques.

As someone that pays their credit card every month, take the challenge and skip your cards for a month or so and see how liberating it is to not see your money go back into credit cards. Watch your financial habits improve when you realize what you spend your credit on.

There's a saying, "If you don't have the cash for it, don't buy it." I never realized how true that was until I was free and see my friends complain about paying their bills.

Credit cards aren't a bad thing but I feel like a lot of us easily abuse it or don't realize just how much their paycheques is tied to their credit cards. It shouldn't be that way! Your paycheque should be tied to your bank account, not your credit cards!

Monday, September 7, 2015

My Trip to Alaska (and Seattle)

From August 17th-19th, Sergio and I ventured off to Anchorage, Alaska. It was both our first time traveling to Alaska and the only reason why we did so, was because the flights were dirt cheap! I personally wanted to take the cruise there but the cost and time off work hindered me. Regardless, Alaska was a nice getaway!

Catch us on the next episode of Border Security!
Arrived in Ted Stevens International Airport and was instantly greeted by a moose!
We flew Seattle since Alaska was considered domestic and it was cheaper. Round trip from YVR would have been $550-$600! For that amount of money, I would rather visit Montreal or something.

Spenard Hostel International

Our cab driver recommended Gwennie's to us and it's amazeballs. The portions were huuuuuge (America, you guys know how to eat!) and relatively cheap as well. The staff was a bit of a drag, but... eh.

Above: Fisherman's Platter for dinner. Below: Breakfast at Gwennie's

We headed to Downtown Anchorage aaaand it was interesting...

Being a tourist town, literally all of downtown was souvenir stores. They easily have 3 in one block, and franchises across the district. In Vancouver, we have a street of souvenir stores in Gastown and the occasional ones in Downtown, but not an entire district filled with them! And, of course, they sold pretty much all the same stuff.

We stopped into a mall which proves itself to be a bit funny. Typical American mall, the food was a bit funny:

From YouTube videos, I figured Americans called "bubble tea", boba tea. Which makes sense because "boba" is like the Cantonese version of pearls or something. The drink was horrible but it was dirt cheap compared to the ones in Vancouver.

Whenever I travel to a new place, I usually buy a little stuffed animal from that city. Since I was in Alaska, I figured the polar bear stuffie would be suitable!

The next day proved itself to be so much better (the rain cleared up and sun was out!). During breakfast, we were a bit disappointed to learn how just how far all the major tourist activities were from Anchorage! Activities such as hiking a mountain or glaciers or even fishing! If the price wasn't ridiculously expensive, it was the fact that the cities and destinations were 4-6 hours drive from Anchorage. I wish we knew that before so we could've rented a car and plan ahead.

Here's the thing about Alaska: it's rich with First Nations history, just like Canada is. There is a stereotype of Natives drinking alcohol excessively and I've never seen it first hand until now. I've seen Natives drunk at 11AM in the morning. At 5PM, a group of drunks were throwing beer cans at the bus and the driver! It's ridiculous.

We checked out the Museum of Anchorage. It was nice but as someone that studied First Nations, majority of the exhibits weren't entertaining and informing. #historygeekproblems

After the museum, we rented bikes to bike to Kincaid Park which was beautiful! The bike ride itself was brutal at some stages but for view was spectacular. We were literally on the edge of Alaska!

A panoramic view of the edge of Alaska. We were on a cliff and directly above the ocean

We even saw a moose! We've never seen a Canadian moose but at least we saw an American moose, haha.

The bike trial has a planet information board thing-y and being the childish adults that we are, we decided to take selfies with Uranus.
After the bike ride, we decided to try reindeer meat, a classic in Alaska.

It's not bad but I would prefer my regular beef/chicken wieners.

At one point of our trip, we came across the store that sold Russian items with a large cut out of Sarah Palin pointing somewhere and the quote "I can see Russia from here!". The store was blasting with Russian music and it was slightly uncomfortable and disturbing to walk past that store.

Beef avocado taco... mmm....
We also discovered the state of Alaska has no taxes! I thought it was only Portland that didn't have any tax but hallelujah, Canadians got another state to venture off to for no taxes! Granted, Portland is much more convenient for us.

Our last day spent in Alaska was split. We decided to check out the University of Alaska (and grabbed some tees from the bookstore) before flying back to Seattle again.

It was Sergio's first time in Seattle so for the first time in my life, I checked out the Space Needle.

Typical Seattle stuff consist of shopping, clam chowder and Pike Market. I usually choose to skip the tourist-y stuff because Seattle is so similar to Vancouver and it's so closeby, I don't really feel like I'm leaving home.

The King and I roll from O'hana Sushi in Seattle

At our hostel, City Hostel Seattle! A bit far from the metro and downtown but amazing staff and rooms!

I get to cross Alaska off my bucket list! Although we didn't do what Alaska is famous for, I'm still glad we got to check it out. If I decide to go back there again, it's either by cruise or I'm planning ahead and renting cars!

Alaska was a nice city, with friendly people for the most part. If you can look past the drunks and how limited entertainment the city offers, it's not a bad place to live, haha.

Right now, I'm getting my passport renewed aaaand saving for a two- weeks trip to New Zealand in February 2016! Gotta check out the country before I move there, right? I'm super thrilled and was told I'd definitely fall in love with that Auckland and Wellington.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

My "Luck" in Men

Kendel has enough dirt on my dating life that if I ever had a biography written about me, she can probably write the chapters of my love life.

She and I have been talking about the men in our lives which got me reflecting on all the guys I've met in my life. You know, the ones that I've been in relationships with and the ones that I've casually dated.

And let me just tell you... it's shite. I mean, don't get me wrong, they're great people, I wouldn't date a douche, but in terms of how things ended up... it makes me question how I chose these guys to be in my life, haha.

+ "The High School Sweetheart". He was good, attractive, kind, intelligent, etc. etc. buuuut he ended up sexting his ex shortly into our relationship, lied about it to my face, and then pulled a gun on one of my classmates in senior year, and nearly got me expelled. He got a bit clingy, and easily jealous. Yuuup. We tried to move past that and stayed friends until the end of 2011. We talked briefly last summer and went separate ways again.

+ "The Supervisor". I thought he was charming and was moved by how motivated and ambitious he was; he was my supervisor at one of my previous jobs. He was sweet at first and later on to become a pig. He was abusive (physically, verbally, and sexually). During the time he got married and his wife was overseas, he was messaging me to meet up with him. I haven't spoken to him in years and last I heard, he's moved to Calgary.

+ "The Mama's Boy".  It's important to me when a man respects his mother, especially as we get older. I can understand a man taking advice and suggestions from his mother, but ultimately the decision is not the mother's to make. The Mama's Boy crossed the line between what was sweet to cringeful. He had race cars on his bed sheet. He has a credit card that his mom pays off because he doesn't work (and doesn't watch his spending). He asks his mother for pocket money to go out. His mom dictates when his guests leaves the house because it's close to "bed time". At one point, he purchased a necklace for his ex but since his mom pays his credit card, she yelled at him for spending that much. Essentially, everytime I went out with him, it was his mother paying for everything. I'm not a gold digger or anything, but I find it unattractive for a man to not work and live off his mother.

+ "The 30-Years-Old Man". That says it all. He was 30 and I was about 19ish at that time and God knows what was going on in my head at that time. He also had a micro-pee pee.... but honestly, he was 30, stuck in a retail job surrounded by teens. He had one course left, aka 3 credits left in his IT degree but refuses to go back to school to complete it because he "feels too old"... um, sorry but you're already surrounded by youngsters! 30 years old, still lives with Dad, no savings, stuck at a dead end job, hangs out with teenagers, buys toys/collectibles and dines out nearly everyday. He broke his glasses and still uses tape to keep them together for the past several years.

+"The Heartbreaker". He had the privilege to be the first to ever break my heart. That being said, he was my first love as well. We broke up because he wasn't in a position to be in a committed relationship, and he needed time to "get his shit together". We still talk and hang out and he has improved a lot since we broke up. He has been aggressive around me when he gets piss drunk and he's been confusing at time (says this, does this, etc. etc.). We've been on and off for a while now. It's confusing because no matter how many times we stop talking, he always kept my number and calls me again and we're right back in a circle. Since we broken up, he hasn't been interested in any other girl but me still. A lot of people who know about The Heartbreak and I will comment saying our relationship is just weird and confusing, (and sometimes stressful).

+ "The Irish Lad". He was so attractive with his Irish accent and bright blue eyes, sweet as a pie, hilarious, and the first guy I genuinely liked (and started to fall for) after The Heartbreaker (and that's saying something!). We didn't work out because I'm planning to leave Canada, he's on a working holiday visa and wants to travel Canada without being held down. It's a shame because aside from The Heartbreaker, he was the only one I actually pictured a long term relationship with. I think the first person you like after having your heart broken means a lot. The Irish lad really cracked and bruised my heart. We still talk and see each other since we work together as well.

+ "The Guy Next Door". He was literally my next door neighbourhood. He's a recovering alcoholic at the age of 22 which a lot of my friends found impressive, telling me he's serious about changing his life if he checked into rehab at an early age. He was great at first but slowly started to get too clingy (and somewhat flaky) on me. I need a lot of personal space and he was just invading it. 7 calls in a span of 3 hours? Umm, sorry... unless you're dying, no thanks.

Again, this is not a bashful post. I don't hate any of these guys, each one taught me something about life or about myself. They're all wonderful people but their lifestyle and/or habits don't fit mine. I don't want a 30 years old man working a dead end job like a teenager nor do I want a mama's boy but perhaps someone else don't mind that lifestyle.

A takeaway from the men in my life? I either pick an aggressive one and/or the "I'm not in a position to date" one. It's funny because you don't know they are the type of guys that would do that to you until later on when you invested emotions in them. It sucks, but it's life.

Right now, I don't even know what I want in life. Regardless of how many dates I've been to or how many attractive guys I meet, I can't find anyone worth dating right now. Oddly enough, I'm the one that's not in a position to date right now. If we took the excuses of school and New Zealand aside, emotionally, I'm not ready. I feel like I'm still healing from The Heartbreaker and/or The Irish Lad, those two really did a good damage to my heart.

I don't need time to reflect about myself. I know who I am, and I know what I want in a man. I know my dreams and goals for my future and I'm working towards them. But you can give me an ideal man right in front of me, and I'd still turn him away because I'm just not emotionally ready.
Or he's not The Heartbreaker or The Irish Lad.
Love is such a complicated thing the older you get....

Or, maybe it's just my luck and taste in the men I choose to date, LOL.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Why I Ignore You on Online Dating

Guys, I ventured off into the world of online dating after reading about modern romance. And, to be honest, I don't even know why...

I'm in a position where I don't know what I want. I'm still talking to Sukh and Rob. My feelings are jumbled up and nowhere to be found for the most part. I distance myself from potential dates. Everything. I just don't know what I want, if I'm being honest.

But, nonetheless, I hopped on to OKCupid to see what the dating pool is like.

And, at first, a lot of attractive guys were on there but their profiles were empty or their photos were too "professional" which leads me to think that OKCupid may have thrown in some filler accounts to attract female daters.

It's been nearly two days since I opened my account, filled the details and uploaded my photos. And, my inbox has been filled with messages from guys that turn me off instantly.

I'd ignore your message if...

  • You are under 22. My profile says message me if you're at least 22 years old. I sometimes talk to 21 years old in case they got a late birthday, but for the most part, automatically deleting your messages if you're under 22.
  • You're over 27-28. Similar to above, if you're older than what I'm looking for, I don't open your message.
  • You don't type properly. I'm not asking for academic paragraphs, but if you send me "wbu?" or "how was ur day" and "ur cute", I think you need a dictionary, not a date.
  • You ask dumb questions. If my profile says I'm still in school wrapping up my last few semesters... it means I'm still in school. Did you not read my profile?
  • You can't hold a conversation. If you constantly ask how my day is going and nothing else, bye bye.
  • If your profile is empty and/or has no profile picture.
  • If your profile picture is just... bleh.
  • If you're not my "type". This may sound shallow, but don't deny you don't do this. I delete messages from people who I don't find attractive and never will. I don't have time to waste.
  • Your profile is rude or plainly not what I look for in a guy. I'm not interested in cosplay, anime, or things like that. If you enjoy those hobbies, that's great but I can't do that.
  • If your messages are too sexual.
I'm a picky dater, I'd be honest. But being picky is good. I'd rather hold out for someone I know I can have a future with rather than wasting my time meeting up with people I know would go nowhere.

Key takeaway?

Take good photos, use proper grammar and words, aaaaaaaaaand, read their profile!