Sunday, January 1, 2012

How to Survive on No or Little Income - Our Mantra for 2012

Graphic courtesy of Graphicsfairy

Rather than make a list of New Years resolutions (which would have included things like losing 15 lbs, sign up as a follower of more blogs that I lurk on and being a better wife and friend) I decided to make a mantra of how in a few months time when we quit our jobs we are going to survive on no regular job income. Hubby does intend to do some consulting at some point and I will be getting at least a part or full-time job after six months but this is how we are going to survive in the mean time. Please remember we have planned on doing this for five years and have saved up a years salary to make this move without jobs lined up. Many of the things on this list we already do on a daily basis:

1. Buy all required goods from clothes to furniture used unless that product is not available or a new item would legitimately make more financial sense than a used one.

2. Glean what nature provides - this means picking and freezing berries - primarily blackberries which are abundant on every road on Vancouver Island in the summer. I also intend on researching what other free items nature serves up that I may be unaware of. Certain times of year we may be able to dig for clams and mussels and oysters (keeping in mind red tide warnings).

3. Use coupons but only for free products or those that are already on the shopping list, keep up on sales with websites like

4. Make do with what we have, be creative when we need something we dont have. This may mean borrowing, buying used, or making what we need with things we already have. Christmas decorating will including picking wild holly for free next year.

5. Make passive income - Dividends, interest income, blog income($2.56 this year lol), and for giftcards to supplement our savings. In the past two years I have earned $175 in free gift certificates using Swagbucks. I ordered gifts, books and movies to reduce our entertainment bills. In November I was able to order Keurig coffee cups for free using these gift certificates which helped reduce the grocery bill.

6. Buying items at low cost for higher resale - I have an interest in possibly getting a table at a flea market or trying reselling on ebay.

7. Buying a rental property - it has been discussed that with the equity between our current more costly home and our new home we will buy a rental property and become landlords. Although this may happen this year it is more likely within a year or two as we would like to get settled into our new home first.

8. Eating mainly at home and cooking from scratch. We both enjoy cooking. With no full-time job to go to there is no excuse for fast food or high priced grocery store convenience foods. I will try and freeze easy meals for those evenings where we dont feel like cooking.

9. Contesting - a hobby of mine that has paid over $6000 in free goods in the past two years - items which are tax free in Canada. Last year I won $4000 in brand new furniture from the Brick. Not only were we able to upgrade our furniture but we sold off a 15 year old couch, chair and side table set for $300 and an older dining room table and six chairs for $250. $550 cash in our pocket plus new furniture.

10. Sell our existing house ourself saving approximately $25,000 in realtor selling costs (there are still costs like professional appraisal service, real estate listing service-we use Comfree and newspaper ads to advertise totalling approximately $2000). We have sold two other properties in the past eight years so are confident as long as we price our current home correctly it will sell. It goes on the market in two weeks so I will keep you updated.

11. Use all point programs including credit card mile programs to the maximum benefit to get free airline tickets, movie tickets, free giftcards and groceries. There are some costs involved in this process but we have saved thousands in the last several years on airfare alone.

12. Buying direct from farmer and growing some veggies-something that is more easily achieved in an area like Vancouver Island which has a year round growing season. If required to buy in large quantity I may buy jointly with my Mother who also lives on Vancouver Island so we can both benefit.

13. Drive less. We are downsizing from three vehicles to two - selling off the largest and biggest gas guzzler. It has served us well but now is the time. We no longer will need a 4 x 4 to get to work in Alberta winter stores. We will make better use of the bikes we already own to make small trips to the grocery store (within 4 blocks of new home) and for exersize.

14. Make use of freecycle - give to others what I can no longer use and also receive things for free I can use (**not for resale - if you belong to this network morality and honesty are key)

15. Do free things that make you happy - like long walks on the beach (the Pacific ocean is within five minutes drive from our home, a requirement of the purchase), hanging out with friends and walking the dog (the one we are getting when we finally have enough time to spend with one - one of hubbys goals). Now that I have a good camera (Canon Rebel T3i purchased this past summer - not cheap but probably some of the best spent money on myself ever - huge satisfaction factor) taking pictures of nature is a new hobby that I will continue to pursue.

Hopefully others can pick up a suggestion or two from our list. Here is a toast to 2012 and finally living our dream in our little pad by the ocean!


  1. Wonderful list! It sounds like you're really prepared for the move & adjustment. I would love to leave the Alberta winters behind & move to the island :)

  2. I know you've mentioned Swagbucks, but do you use Superpoints?
    This is my link, but feel to google it if you'd prefer.
    You can earn and .com $ through Superpoints.
    I also earn more Amazon $ through a couple on survey companies- TNS and Opinion Outpost.
    Good luck with your new adventure!

  3. Great blog - and wow, wonderful goals! I'm VERY jealous that you'll be living so close to the ocean. i grew up in Vancouver but moved to Abbotsford 15 years ago and there are days i still pine for the smell of salt air. I've never heard of Swagbucks, so i'm checking that out for sure. look forward to reading more of your adventures!

  4. Good luck with your home sale - keep us posted!

  5. I would rather die. Been poor enough.