How Covid-19 Changed Our Budget

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“When shit hits the fan, we’re off to…“Thailand” “Toronto?!”

When COVID-19 shut everything down and wreaking havoc on the economy, our (dreamy) prime minister Justin Trudeau told all Canadians abroad that now was the time to come home before flights shut down and it would be too late. So that’s what we did. But on the flight home, I worried that without our backup plan of using SE Asia to control our living expenses, we’d be stuck in Canada, freezing our butts off while our budget spiralled out of control.

After all, while we were gallivanting around Europe and Asia, here’s what our friends back in Toronto had to put up with:

The Average Cost of a One-bedroom Rental in Toronto is now $2,300

Yup, you read that right. $2300/month for a tiny shoebox in the sky, held together with jiffy puff. 

We used to rent a one-bedroom flat on the 2nd floor of a townhouse in the east end, paying just $850/month for 9 years.

Granted, the landlord was a Greek dude in his 70s who self-proclaims that he’s “not a dollar and cents kind of guy” (too bad for him because I’m an EXTREME “dollar and cents kind of girl”). And also, we went out of our way to fix things for him around the house, but even back then that price was insanely low. You can’t even rent a basement for that price now.

Were we going to pay an absurd $2300/month for rent? Are we going blow the $40K/year budget we’d spent for the past 5 years travelling the world?

Since we’d set aside $40,000 this year for expenses (accumulated from last year’s yield and capital gains in the “current expenses” bucket of our 3-bucket strategy), I figured if long term leases were $2300/month, Airbnb would probably cost more. Way more.

But then this happened:

Toronto Airbnb hosts ponder selling as bookings vanish

Because of COVID-19 shutting borders and destroying the travel industry, Airbnbs have gone from 95% booked to 0% bookings.

As a result, we’ve been able to rent this brand new 2-bed 2-bath condo, with incredible views, in downtown Toronto. It normally rents for $160 CAD/night or more ($111 USD/night) but with no travellers because of covid-19, it costs just us $57 CAD/night ($40 USD/night).

View of Toronto skyline from the wide 33rd floor balcony

 

View from our bedroom window at night

 

Extra bedroom we never used. Also known as “my purse’s bedroom”. She also has her own bathroom.

Even though rent has gone up from our ridiculously cheap $600/month flat in Bali, our food and entertainment costs have plummeted since everything’s closed.

We went from eating out 100% of the time and getting massages every other day to 0 massages and cooking 100% of the time.

I have to re-learn how to cook? What is this bullshit?

Wanderer, training for his Masterchef debut.

On the plus side, I now know how to make hand-pulled noodles (hold for dick jokes here) using the bag of flour we yoinked off the grocery store pallet we discovered in a secret hiding place at the back of the grocery store. We paid and left before the clerk even had a chance to shelve it. Within 20 minutes they were sold out.

Gollum voice: “My Prrreeecious.”

For those of you who still have flour and are interested in making some delicious Chinese street food, here’s an easy to follow recipe on YouTube from “Demystifying Chinese food”:

It won’t make your waist thin, but it’ll definitely make your wallet fat.

Here’s how much we spent while under lockdown for the full month of April in Toronto:

Category CAD USD
Accommodations $1723.84 $1213.97
Food $622.73, ($19.27 (eating out), $603.46 (groceries)) $438.54
Transportation $27.00 $19.01
Entertainment $77.56 $54.62
Toiletries $28.01 $19.73
Cell phone data $28.25 $19.89
Total $2507.39 $1765.77

For comparison, here’s how much we spent in January in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Category CAD USD
Accommodations $898.07 $632.44
Food $1088.59, ($760.36 (eating out), $328.21 (groceries)) $766.61
Transportation $47.56 $33.49
Entertainment $486.42 $342.55
Toiletries/clothing/gym/flu shot $308.15 $217.01
Cell phone data $0 (we had data left over from previous month)
Total $2828.79 $1992.11

Say what?! Living in one of the most expensive cities in North America is now somehow less expensive than Thailand?

I know we’ll probably end up spending more once things open back up, but still! Even if we double our food expenses and add in subway costs, we’ll still be within $3400 CAD ($2400 USD)/month all in.

I guess that’s the beauty of living out of 2 backpacks. We can pack up our lives in 15 mins and move to any Airbnb or rental to take advantage of the prices. And without expensive fixed costs like cars, houses, or fancy stuff that needs to be maintained, we can make our lives as flexible and our costs as lean as possible.

Next month, we’ll be moving to a one-bedroom condo in the west end with a balcony for $1350 CAD ($950 USD) for the month. I saw a long term rental in the same building for $2100 CAD/month ($1479 USD) earlier this year, so our host is actually losing money day-by-day on this deal. He even threw in parking for minuscule $40 CAD/month.

Balcony of our next condo
Living room of our next condo

For those of you sick of paying expensive rents, I’ll leave you with these two pieces of rental news from CBC:

Condo vacancies rise, rents fall as pandemic crushes GTA’s short-term rental market

Finally, good news for renters as prices are expected to lead property decline

Hope you are all healthy and happy! How has the pandemic affected your personal finances? Have you seen any changes in the rental and housing markets in your area?


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76 thoughts on “How Covid-19 Changed Our Budget”

  1. Nice score on the Airbnb. Who knew the short term rental price can fall that much.
    Good job on your monthly spending too. Entertainment and food are down for us too. The quality of life is really shitty in lockdown, though. Hopefully, things will slowly open up soon. Homeschooling is driving me nuts.
    What’s your plan for the rest of the year? Back on the road soon?

    1. Thanks, Joe! Yeah, I was shocked too. Definitely didn’t see rental deals like this last summer.

      Yeah, my sister in law is struggling with homeschooling her kids too. Ironically, the worldschoolers are the ones coping well with the pandemic since they already homeschool their kids anyway. I do think that school will need to put in remote learning as a backup plan for the future.

      We have to stay in Toronto for a family emergency so no idea how long we’ll be here. If it weren’t for that, we’d be on the first flight back to Asia after the travel restrictions are lifted.

  2. Wow, great location! Can you peak inside the sky dome and watch all the baseball that isn’t happening from there?

    1. LOL. It so weird walking by the dome and CN tower with no one around. It’s never been like this.

  3. Haha “jiffy puff”… cracked me up.
    Great deal on your Airbnb’s in city. The rent is similar to here in NZ and from an airbnb host perspective it was not all bad as most of us switched to longterm rentals for all the returning kiwis. Kept the prices decent and I had full occupancy during the last 2 months.
    As a nurse I still had to go to work so expenses remained the same but my takeaways became $0 and groceries bill doubled. What are your plans post lockdown if the borders remain closed, travel is restricted and positive cases still happening internationally?

    1. Awesome. Glad you’ve been able to get full occupancy. Is the price the same for long term rentals as Airbnb in NZ?

      I’m so sad that I didn’t get to visit NZ! We were going to fly to Australia and then to NZ to visit a friend before everything closed down. *sigh*. So close! Oh well. We’ll find a way to get to NZ one day. All those Lord of the Rings sets aren’t going to fangirl over themselves.

      Right now, we’re focusing on a family emergency so can’t travel even if restrictions get lifted. Going forward, we might look into travelling locally. I suspect international travel will resume eventually but there will likely be 14 day mandatory quarantine periods for visitors. We are ok with that, but I suspect that’ll kill the vacation market because it’ll eat up most of people’s vacation days.

      1. Long term rentals works out cheaper actually as facebook page created especially for isolation period. So no airbnb fees which is passed on to tenants on short term leases.

      2. As we locked in a 6 month rental on the normal market we noticed that there were relatively few airbnbs in Wellington for airbnb long term rentals and a bunch of places switching from airbnb to rental. I think we are paying more than you for a smaller place. But we are glad to be in Wellington rather than Toronto (which realistically would have been where we would have ended up if we had indeed returned to Canada in March).

  4. Unfortunately that’s not true everywhere. I was planing on renting an airbnb on the beach. While I work remotely I could enjoy the view at least if I couldn’t go outside, however those jokers in panhandle Florida prefer to keep their rentals closed then to rent by half of the price. They really need to feel more pain to adjust their prices to the new real. It’s absurd what the last 9 years of booming economy did to them…whining babies that won’t stop feeding now.!

      1. and even with the beaches closed the rentals on airbnb are absolutely insanely expensive. They really deserve to suffer !!! and yes Florida is a joke just like the airbnbers (landlords) there

  5. Thanks for the recipe. I have never heard of hand pulled noodles before. I might have to get my spouse to try that recipe out. I think I actually subscribed to Chinese Cooking Demystified earlier this year after I read an interview with them from when they were in lockdown in February but I haven’t explored much of their channel yet.

    I did notice a 2 long term listings get put up of fully furnished apartments that were clearly air b&bs in my area but last I heard there were like 40 listed in my area.

    The only financial effect this pandemic has had is that earlier in the year I was working about 6 hours a week more than i am now and groceries are more expensive.

    As extreme introverts, the social distancing measures haven’t affected much of our daily schedules but those experiences are a lot more annoying now. For instance:

    – we used to do a lot of grocery shopping on Amazon because of the remote place that we live and now a lot of the stuff I would normally buy is sold out.

    – social media is full of these people who are laid off and stuck in the house alone and don’t know what to do with themselves so they just spam social media all day with pictures of their food and of themselves and sharing like 30 things a day.

    -there seems to be a lot more bored, angry people around just looking to start a fight on forums, discord servers and facebook groups.

    – the internet is already pretty bad here but much worse now that everyone is just online all the time.

    – there is a game i have played online almost every day for the last year and never had to wait in queue for but now there is a queue almost all the time and it can be a few hours long so I don’t even bother trying to get on there now.

    1. Yes, give the pulled noodle recipe a try! We really enjoyed it.

      As for the grocery shopping online–we’ve basically given up on it because the wait time is at least a week and things get sold out all the time. We just go to Chinatown to pick up groceries, which is walking distance way. It’s much easier.

      I hear you on the introverts coping well with the lockdown. Being an ambivert (though leaning more toward introversion), I’m not finding it hard to stay in at all. I do miss working out though, but not going crazy yet! 🙂

      1. Our only has 1 local grocery store and they don’t offer online/delivery orders unless you are in the high risk category. I read some articles that back in February people were avoiding Chinatown because they thought they’d get infected (Chinatown in many cities but this article was written in Toronto) so I’m sure they appreciate your business.

        We go for a 20 minute walk on most nights if the weather is nice. We go late so we don’t need to run into anyone, anytime between 10pm and 3 am. One night it was around 2 am and we went for a walk and some guy came outside and saw us (we had our flashlight on as there are no streetlights here) and started howling into the night and pounding his chest like a gorilla for like 10 seconds and then screamed “ECHO” and then went back inside like nothing happened. We are always a little scared when we go by there now.

  6. Here in NYC, rental and housing markets seemed to remain same. But we won’t know for sure until NY begins to open up. My rent remains the same but other expenses have drastically reduced due to lockdown. I have been putting all the money from not spending into 401K ROTH since those amount are after-tax that I spent on going out to bar and restaurants, trips, and other activities. I’m still putting same amount into 401K and ready to retire within next two years.

    1. “I have been putting all the money from not spending into 401K ROTH ”

      Nice work! And congrats on almost FIRE-ring, Sam. 2 years isn’t that far off at all.

      1. Thanks Kristy (aka FIRECracker) for your reply. I really enjoy you and Bryce (Wanderer) FIRE journey. I’m FI but far from RE due to being married and divorce twice. Nevertheless, I’m FIR without the “E” at age 60 thanks to your blog and following you on the Twitter.

        The photo of Bryce (Wanderer) cooking was priceless. It made my day. I love reading about you guys’ journey into the FIRE! Once travel ban is lifted, I’m looking forward to seeing you guys in other places. Be well and safe. And hopefully your family emergency goes well.

  7. The nice part about being valuists and keeping our expenses low ($25k for a family of 3 in Canada) is that not much has changed from our previous normal. Thanks to house hacking and paying off our first property in 2.5 years thanks to roommates paying WAY more than our mortgage, we don’t need to worry about changes to the real estate market. We’ve had to switch from paper back books from the library to ebooks and audiobooks but otherwise life is good. We’re still able to go for walks, search for deer and eagles in the conservation area that we back onto, throw rocks in the river, fly kites, cloud gaze, and cook nutritious homemade meals at home. Of course entertaining a 2 year old is not as easy with parks, playgrounds, libraries, and parent link centres closed but we’re getting our creative juices going. A simple life is a happy life.

    1. Nice work, Court! That’s an example of owning done right 🙂 I’ve been reading about the Calgary housing market and due to the double whammy of oil prices going negative (say what?) and covid, housing prices have crash. In some condos, it’s actually cheaper to won than rent. Don’t think that’ll happen in Toronto, but if I were in Calgary, I might be tempted to buy.

      Good job keeping the kiddo busy. My sil has 2 kids–one 2 and the other 6 and they are both driving her mad. Not easy being a parent. Don’t know how you do it.

      Agree, simplicity = happiness. Going to SE Asia taught me that. You need very little to be happy.

      1. Like the comment about simplicity and happiness. We really do need very little to be happy. The current western civilization notion of working towards an achievement so that you can be happy has been proven to be incorrect. I think the societal shift it will take to move towards a more balanced life will take time. Hopefully the more people are exposed to this concept the quicker it will be. I’m giving it a few more years, but will likely move to some place that is in line with our way of seeing things.

        1. One can hope the shift becomes more mainstream soon @NurseFIlife. For us, it all really stemmed from the 2008 financial crisis when I saw my parents lose everything, and I mean everything. It made me realize I wanted to be in control of money and never the other way around. So I crushed my $65k in student loan debt within 2.5 years then crushed the mortgage within 2.5 years later. During that time frame while putting my money to work for me it allowed lifestyle creep to stay at bay. So in a weird way I’m hoping we see a similar shake up here to our way of spending with this COVID-19 outbreak.

          We wrote a blog post on it if you’re interested in reading more:

          https://modernfimily.com/covid-19-the-wake-up-call-we-all-need/

          1. “Necessity is the mother of invention.” @Court. The 2008 crisis was a difficult time in my life as well, but led to better things. Definitely made me hunker down and focus on saving as much as I could.

            It is sad that as humans we need such massive wake up calls for us to do what we need to do. The nice thing about living in this period of time is that we have all the information we need to succeed, and in short fashion. That is why I’m glad concepts such as FI are becoming more mainstream. It is a lot easier to endorse saving money when people understand it improves their life, as opposed to it being something that detracts from their spending.

            Just signed up for your email list.

      2. Totally agree.

        Calgary is definitely going to be seeing a buyers market here with the double whammy – way to go for remembering where we’re located, I feel honoured haha. And I’m also glad to not be in the (dying) O&G industry and instead went the renewable energy route for the majority of my career. It’s funny someone on a Choose FI Alberta FB page asked what to do with these oil prices and my response was “see the writing on the wall and shift into renewables”. I thought I’d get eaten alive considering where we live but I received some great feedback from that which was nice to see.

        Maybe this will trigger some Canadians to shift their FIRE plans to geoarbitrage WITHIN Canada and move from high priced TO or Van to cheaper cities. Especially with some people out of jobs or working from home and no longer tied to a specific location. Who knows but it will be interesting to watch. Thankfully for us we’re in a townhouse vs an oversized McMansion and townhouses typically only see swings in the $10-30k range vs $100+k so we’re not too worried. Small little decisions like that help to make your FIRE strategy fool proof 🙂

  8. LOL

    “we’d be stuck in Canada, freezing our butts off while our budget spiralled out of control”

    By “Budget out of control”. I assume that must mean the income taxes you would have to pay if you were a resident.

    You’re welcome. Most of us are working hard to make ends meet and then on top of that pay the high income taxes required to keep the lights on here.
    So next time there’s a world wide emergency, the world travellers will have a safe place to call home for a while

    1. I think you are poorly informed.

      If you’re a resident in Canada, you pay taxes.

      If you’re a non-resident with Canadian sourced income – which these guys have if you read the blog – you pay taxes. It’s just remitted at the source.

      I would bet they minimize their taxes (also known as tax avoidance, which is not only legit, it’s smart) by minimizing taxable income, rather than paying the straight 25% non resident tax on Canadian sourced income. They’ve already maximized the potential of their previous earnings, that they saved and invested, with income THAT HAS ALREADY BEEN TAXED.

      I pay a shit ton of tax now because I am in my high earning years, with higher tax liability as a single professional than most dual income households pay. And I don’t whine about it. I look forward to future, smaller tax liability when I retire from my TFSA and the part of my portfolio that is unregistered (because I ran out of RRSP room long ago).

      If you’re going to make comments with a snide undertone, make sure they are based in facts. And I’ll make sure to keep paying lots of taxes on my income, to fund your ill-informed sense of entitlement.

      You’re welcome.

    2. They mentioned in a previous post a year or so ago that they are tax residents of Canada. They’ve been paying Canadian taxes for several years without using any of the services.

  9. Here’s hoping once this whole thing is over you’ll consider stand up comedy. I was ROTF reading some of this stuff. I’m sorry, but you wrote some funny s#!t. You and Wanderer definitely have some stand up monologues in yiur future. Please consider it. And stay safe.

  10. Nice post guys! Not all is bad for landlords, at least in TO. My tenant had to back up from the agreement because COIVID19 prevented him from returning to CA. So, I had to find a new tenant and had to drop the rent by 10% for obvious reasons. Luckily, I found a quality person that is happy to live there. I also refunded the previous tenant 100%. If you are in TO I would love to have my copy of your book signed! 🇨🇦🇨🇦🇨🇦🤳🔥🔥

    1. Glad, it’s working out for you, A and thanks for being a nice landlord.

      Sure, we would love to sigh your copy (thank you for buying our book!) once social distancing is over 🙂

    1. Unless you live under a bridge you are benefiting from the service a landlord gives you and you willingly contract from him or her. If you had bad experiences or think you pay too much you can always find a better park bench or TTC car to sleep over ☔️⛄️

    2. Not a landlord, but would be interested in where the animosity comes from. It seems like there are a lot of people who are landlords who want renters to take whatever terms they offer, and “suck it up”.

      Sounds like a good business opportunity to change the renter experience so landlords can keep better renters, who would be happier with the arrangement. Again, not a landlord so probably a lot I am missing.

  11. What happened to showing how you manage your etf holdings? What are you doing with yours st this moment? Are you selling the bonds to buy the other holdings?

  12. I was wondering if you have rebalanced your portfolio at all during the market turmoil? I know you usually only rebalance 1-2x per year but I was wondering if you made an exception in this case to buy some cheaper equities?

    1. We rebalanced at the beginning of the year so have not rebalanced again yet. Will do a future write up of our portfolio performance during covid.

    1. Then we use long term rentals 😉 They did exist before Airbnb so they will still be around afterwards. I’ve found a few good month-to-month rentals on kijiji and padmapper so we may go that route. Usually the downsides to those listings is you need to be in the city to check it out and make sure it’s not a scam. But since we’re in Toronto already, it’s not hard.

      In Thailand, we no longer use Airbnb because I found month-to-month rentals that were cheaper. If we stay 3 months and sign a lease it’s even cheaper. So yeah, there are alternatives.

  13. May I ask if you are still Canadian resident? If my furlong position does not return, I am considering returning to TO also. The US – CDN exchange rate is really good.

    Thanks

    1. Yes. For tax purposes, we are still Canadian residents. I’ve also noticed the US-CDN exchange rate is good. Where in the US are you right now?

  14. I’m an American expatriate who lives in Taipei, Taiwan and my rent and transportation costs (also food, medical, etc.) have pretty much stayed stable during this Mexican Beer Virus period. My rent as a single guy in a small apartment in a great location is around $729-something USD-equivalent. I think the cents part will vary depending on the exchange rate.
    Work (teaching at universities and private sector schools) hasn’t gone online, although church & some of my Mandarin Chinese lessons have.
    Dan Villarreal

  15. We’ve been lucky; wife’s job involves work for CDC and NIH so she’s busier than usual, and the product my division supports will sunset at the end of the year but we can live comfortably indefinitely on her salary alone if it comes to that. We’re getting takeout two or three times a week and tipping like 40%. And we’re seeing MORE of our neighbors, since we all hang out on our porches and take more walks to avoid going too stir-crazy. Got some new neighbors a couple weeks ago and our block’s Slack channel set up a Zoom meeting to greet them, which was awesome and weird.

    I just closed my eyes and sighed at your bit about “fixed costs like cars, houses, or fancy stuff that needs to be maintained”. I’ve been daydreaming lately about our January trip to Merida and how pleasant, inexpensive, and responsibility-free it was. Our house is lovely and our cars frugal, but life sure would be less complicated without that nonsense.

    1. “We’re getting takeout two or three times a week and tipping like 40%” Wow. You rock!

      Yeah, we’ve been using Doordash and Ubereats to get some takeout as well. Sadly it just doesn’t have the same quality as when you eat in. Oh well, it’s nice to help out local restaurants.

      Less is definitely less complicated with less stuff, but hey if you enjoy your house and your cars aren’t expensive, don’t feel bad. You’re already ahead of the curve.

    2. Adam, totally get the last part of your comment. Houses, and cars are such drains on time and money. Definitely something to be said for living in a walkable area with good public transportation. A lot less responsibility, and a lot less costly. It’s funny how the two of those go together so often. Lovely houses and cars are nice, but don’t make you any happier. They also make you a lot less free. If you feel like getting rid of either, just know that there is a way that fits with your desired lifestyle. That is, unless living in the same house is your desired lifestyle 😛

  16. Hi Firecracker! I’m glad you guys made it back safely to Canada. I am curious why you guys chose to stay in Toronto versus a cheaper city in Ontario or even another province. Given the lockdown situation, it is hard to take advantage of Toronto’s benefits (museums, restaurants etc) and you’re eating out minimally anyways.
    Thank you! Stay safe guys.

    1. Good question, AY. Two reasons:

      1) Airbnbs in downtown core ended up being cheaper than other, less dense cities. I guess people wanted get away from the crowds.

      2) We wanted to stay close to family because they need us to help them due to health issues.

      1. Wow point #1 really surprised me! And I guess another benefit is that those ex-Airbnbs are already furnished.

  17. We’re sitting tight in our 2 bed, 1 bath apartment in Ottawa for $1050, which has been our fixed rent since 2008. We’re hoping that Covid-19 busts the real estate boom and we can actually afford a home in our neighborhood, where 1950’s fixer uppers tend to run in the $600,000 range.

  18. I am glad you two are healthy and prospering back in Canada. I love your book and your blog. What wonderful RESEARCHERS and WRITERS you two are. Your materials give me helpful information and enjoyment, especially your travel write-ups. Your nomadic life seems cost-efficient, exciting and satisfying. I am convinced of the happy traveling life, but my husband has reservations. Would you kindly answer some questions to help me out:
    Do you miss seeing your family and friends sometimes?
    How do you make sure not to get bed bugs?
    Could you maintain your budget if living in certain cities requires a car? I like living for a month or longer near Yellowstone National Park or in Alaska, Hawaii, New Zealand, Iceland, … However, long-term car rentals cost more than lodging at times. How would one manage?
    How do you deal with air pollution? For example, Chiang Mai has burning season from Jan to May that gives some folks respiratory distress. Do you avoid polluted cities or do you take them as they come as you rely on your youthful good health?
    All in all, thank you for your time and for writing. You are an inspiration.

    1. Thanks, Hao! Glad the book and blog have been helpful.

      To answer your questions:

      Do you miss seeing your family and friends sometimes?
      We see them on Skype often for weekly chats so it’s not a problem. We also see them when we come back to Toronto each summer.

      How do you make sure not to get bed bugs?
      We check the mattress seams in every place we’ve stayed in and read all the Airbnb reviews in detail. We’ve never had a bed bug problem during our travels.

      Could you maintain your budget if living in certain cities requires a car? I like living for a month or longer near Yellowstone National Park or in Alaska, Hawaii, New Zealand, Iceland, … However, long-term car rentals cost more than lodging at times. How would one manage?

      We’ve rented cars in Portugal, Costa Rica, and Iceland but not for a monthly rental. Maybe for a few days or a week. We tend to only rent it when we need it to go outside the cities. To make the budget work, we simply balance the expense by living in inexpensive places like South east Asia or Poland for the rest of the year. Never rent a car for longer than you need to. In Europe, you pretty never need to because subways and trains are way more convenient and inexpensive. We have friends who have also bought used camper vans in Austria, driven around and lived in the vans for a month, then sold it afterwards. So you could try that solution if you need a car for the long term. Ride the depreciation curve and get a van that you can live in so you can save the accommodation costs.

      How do you deal with air pollution? For example, Chiang Mai has burning season from Jan to May.

      We went to Taiwan during those months. Other expats I know who live in Chiang Mai fly south to the Thai islands during this time.

  19. Glad you guys made it back safely and in time, although sorry for the family emergency that made it necessary. Happy to hear you are coping well and able to stay frugal! I have never been happier we paid off our mortgage last summer than I am now (granted, not a huge amount of time has passed!). It is great to have the more flexible cash flow now even though both me and DH are still employed. Not sure what the market is doing but we live in DC burbs with Amazon HQ2 coming… and Amazon is making out like a bandit so presumably that will still happen. So I’m hopeful value won’t crash. And in the meantime out of desperation due to missing the gym we have discovered all the walking trails and parks nearby, so that’s a silver lining. Maybe you guys can find an airB&B that has a gym included??? Definitely a reason to live out of a backpack though I am too much a packrat to do that as gracefully! Stay safe, sane, and healthy!

    1. Thanks, C! And congrats on paying off your mortgage.

      We actually do have gyms in all of the condos we’ve stayed in (and some have pools and saunas too) but they are all closed due to covid, so the only way to work out is walking in parks and following online yoga videos. I’m missing the gym too. I never thought I’d be longing for the day the gym opens!

  20. I must admit I am not a fan of nomadic living. I like to have my place with my things to which I can come back. However, this has a cost and it is a personal choice. It just takes a larger pile of FU money before you can FIRE. One hack that I am using is multigenerational housing. This way, our family is helping each other, everyone saves more, and everyone is ahead.

    1. Nomadic living is definitely not for everyone. You gotta do you right? 🙂

      I do like your idea of multigenerational housing–that’s what they do in Asia and it’s brilliant for childcare. Sadly in my situation, that would not work because living with my mom would just cost me way more in psychiatry bills in the long run than any rent we would save.

  21. I’m loving your blog, thank you!
    Would it be possible for you to have your external links open in a new window/tab?

    1. Thanks for the tip. I thought I’d already made the links open in a new window in this article but must’ve missed one. Which link are you not able to open in a new tab?

  22. Wow, good job scoring the cheap rent on that AirBnB rental! Although I’m going to shed some crocodile tears for you having to learn how to cook again. 😛

    I wouldn’t want to be an AirBnB landlord right about now!

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