Travis has been on the road since 2002. After graduating from the University of Guelph, Travis moved to Japan. Here, he observed and learned to appreciate Japan's minimalist culture; something vastly different from North America’s. Upon returning to Canada, Travis and his wife Kiko traveled westward to Banff and the whole of their belongings filled one half tonne truck. After one year in Banff the two were off to Whistler, but strangely the STUFF had grown in size and now filled two truckloads--Japanese minimalism had perhaps been left in Japan. Travis and Kiko lived in Whistler for two and a half years before they moved to Victoria BC, this time lugging along a full five tonne truck load of STUFF. While in Victoria, the two made one more move and this time, after organizing and executing the movement of such a vast amount of STUFF, Travis and Kiko decided enough was enough and this STUFF had to be evaluated. Travis made preparations and began to liquidate all of it. Within two months, the five tonne truckload was reduced to a few moving boxes. Freedom and a bit of easy cash had been achieved. They hit the road again, spending a month touring Canada and observing the excess that had built up over the years. Travis then began to develop a system for easily selling off one's STUFF via the internet, and this hatched ThriftCultureNow.com—a free service dedicated to providing people with solutions for slashing all of their bills, eliminating clutter and waste, curbing consumer addiction, and thus enriching their lives financially.
Kiko was born in Japan but educated in Quebec and later at the University of Guelph in Ontario. Kiko is truly thrifty by nature; in-tune to a good deal or a rip off. Upon having her first child, Kiko began countless hours of research on nutrition and herbal remedies. She now applies this knowledge to her family’s daily life and this website. It’s important for parents to have the knowledge to effectively treat minor ailments at home, thus, not having to visit a doctor or pharmacy for every cold, cut, fever, and scrape. Once one realizes just how easily they can attain wholesome and highly effective ingredients for creating their own remedies, they are empowered. For almost any minor ailment, if Kiko doesn’t know the answer, she knows exactly where to find it. Like ‘feverfew,’ a little known but cheap and widely available herb, that is highly successful at easing migraine pain. If you’re interested in attaining the same level of self-reliance and control over your health, Friday’s thrifty health and wellness tip is your source!
Erika is currently attending Ryerson University and will receive her degree in the spring of 2010. As a ‘starving student’ for the last three years, Erika has developed a good sense of budgeting, saving, and the merits of hard work. Upon graduating, university or college students will often ‘take a year off’ to travel. Although globetrotting is an enriching activity, it can be financially detrimental if certain foundations are not laid. Erika still longs to see the world but she will do it while earning and saving money.
Having been a student all my life, thrift is an integral part of my everyday life. I believe that in today's economy, thrift is a necessity to make ends meet. We have to be wiser about how and where we spend our money.
Being picky about what we eat, for instance, my family and I have had to come up with smart solutions. Food shopping at Caper's and Wholefoods may be a pleasant shopping experience, but after I realized that the stores made anywhere from 40 to 100% profit off every article sold in their stores, something had to change. Unless you are happy giving your money away, there are ways available to us to shortcut the retail dealers. We have to remember that they are usually the ones who make the most profit in the chain of distribution from producers to customers. Travis actually discuses in his book some of the ways you can save on food, which is one of the most important expenses of a household.
Whether we need clothes, books, electronics, food, furniture, and so on there is always a way to save money on high quality goods. Although this may seem like the right thing to do nowadays, attempting to save money by buying cheaper goods - at Wal-Mart for instance - is normally a bad idea. Lower priced goods are often of lower quality, hence they do not last as long. This means that we have to renew them more often. In the end, we spend more money than we would have in the first place had we bought a higher priced good.
Inflation (and possibly hyperinflation) is upon us. We have to be smarter than the average customer and stop giving away our hard earned money to multinationals who lie about having our best interests in mind.
Blythe & Adam
Graduates from the University of Toronto and Ryerson, Blythe Weber and Adam Smith have always grown their own food to save money on their grocery bills. They had so much fun growing all those delicious veggies that they decided to start their own edible landscaping business called ‘Growing Spaces,’ that helps people produce their own food in the city. Both owners are passionate about growing food in the city and eating their harvest all year round. They also have a canning side to their business and sell preserves at a local farmer’s market with the excess vegetables and fruits coming from their gardens. Growing Spaces would like to inspire the locavore and bring out the farmer in everyone.
"I can’t believe I was missing out on all these opportunities”
Before I graduated with a Master’s in Occupational Therapy, I didn’t really think about being thrifty. Sure, money was tight sometimes as a student. But I never really stopped to think about the simple ways that I could save, and just carried on with my regular habits. This changed once I graduated and had to make payments on my student debt, while shouldering living expenses like housing, food, car insurance, and gas. I realized how important it was to be conscious of ways to save money, no matter how big or small. So, now when I take shorter showers or drive my small, fuel-efficient car, I know that I’m saving money every day!
When I opened my own wakeboarding school, I soon realized that high gas prices would cut into my profits if I didn’t pull up my socks and find ways to save. My first step toward making the business thriftier was buying gas in bulk. Early in the year, I set a fixed rate with the gas company (to avoid the spike in gas prices each summer) and they deliver the gas at that price, whenever I need it. This means that I get fuel at a better price than the pumps, there’s less risk of spillage when the company delivers it, and I save the time and money involved with picking it up myself. Plus, I collect AIR MILES and save them up for a vacation at the end of the season!
Cheap? No. Thrifty and Wise? Yes!
Brian is often called ‘cheap’ and teased (by those who obviously haven’t visited www.ThriftCultureNow.com) for keeping his house cool or refusing to buy paper towels and using newspaper instead. Brian, however, could teach us all a thing or two about how to save money every day. When he bought his first home, he wanted to save money wherever it was possible so that if he needed it for an emergency, such as when the basement flooded, the funds would be available.
So, for example, Brian turned his water heater down to a more mid-range temperature, and he now saves about 15 per cent on his monthly gas bill. When it came time to replace the toilets in his house, he opted for the dual-flush model. His monthly water bills have decreased by 10 per cent. All of us aren’t naturally thrift-minded like Brian, so www.ThriftCultureNow.com can show you how to save money too.
Cheap? No. Thrifty and Wise? Yes!
student, I’m always looking for deals at the grocery store. I like to cook, and
I know that it saves me a lot of money, so I take advantage of the sales and
stock my freezer. When there’s lots of fresh local produce at Kensington Market,
I buy in bulk and freeze it for the winter when the price of fresh vegetables
and fruits skyrockets. Trips home are great too; my family is Ukrainian and so my
parents always fill my bags with delicious homemade perogies and dumplings that
I can pull out of the freezer and enjoy after long days of class and studying.
After graduating last year, I moved to Alberta to work and indulge in my love of snowboarding. To make my pay-cheques go further, and to be able to keep doing the things I love, I always look for ways to save money. So, for example, I’ve found that leaving my car at home and either taking the bus or carpooling to the slopes and work can save me a lot of cash. I’ve also befriended a lot of people who work at the mountain, so I get the best discounts. For instance, my friends can get me on the slopes early in the morning, before the hill opens. I can cruise down the runs without having to worry about hundreds of tourists!
I’m in my last year of university so I know a lot about budgeting and trying to make my money go further. As a fashion design student at Ryerson University, I’ve infused my thriftiness and eco-awareness with my passion for clothing; my friends and I have created an organization called designAWEAR, which promotes the creation of clothing within a sustainable environment by using recycled materials. For my fourth year capstone project, I have created an entire men’s line with recycled products, such as used tents. To learn more about designAWEAR visit our blog www.designawear.blogspot.com or our designAWEAR Facebook page.
I’m an avid skateboarder and when the weather’s right, I’ll ride for hours on end, all over the city. When I’m done, I love to come home and have a nice cold shower; especially on really hot summer days. When I’m not skateboarding I just take a shower every other day to save water. It definitely helps to cut my monthly bills! I would also recommend taking up skateboarding as a means of transportation. In downtown Toronto, it’s faster than a car and much more enjoyable.
I have always felt that it’s necessary to pamper yourself from time to time. Unfortunately, student-life and pampering don’t go together very easily. Shopper’s Drugmart used to be my guilty pleasure, but I found that I would end up leaving the store having spent $50 or more on products! And as we all know, only half of them actually do what they say they will! Now I look for ways to cut my bills and save wherever I can. There’s no room in my student budget for trips to the spa or expensive beauty products, so when I want to indulge a little, I make my own face masks and body scrubs. It feels luxurious but it costs next to nothing!
As a university student with a placement and a job, I need to get around the city quickly and cheaply. There definitely isn’t room in my budget to own a car, so I ride my bike as much as possible (which is great because I get exercise too), or I take public transportation. If you live in Toronto and are in the market for a bike, I suggest checking out the bike shops in Kensington Market. Also, before you head out on your bike, make sure to check (online) which roads are bike-friendly; it makes the journey so much more enjoyable when there’s a safe bike lane to cruise on! Just remember to watch out for those streetcar tracks!
Sandie lee lives in Ontario Canada with her husband of 15 years and her three feline-friends. Sandie has written and published many short stories and articles for both children and adults. She is currently working as an assistant editor and blog editor for Imagination-Cafe online magazine for kids 4-12 as well as the online question game for kids - Krumbs Pet-Detective - Feline-Fact-Thieves.