Aug 292014
 

Time again to learn about you, the readers. :D Last year freedom 35 blog visitors were asked to choose which superpower is the most useless. Results below. Thanks to everyone who voted (^_^)

useless superpowers

Being able to moonwalk, but only when on the moon is the most useless power with almost 30% of the votes. I agree with this sentiment. This ability seems absolutely pointless to the 99.999999% of the world’s population who will never set foot on the moon. Speaking of which, did you guys hear about the new restaurant on the moon? It’s out of this world :D *ba dum tss!*

Well actually the food is not bad, but there is no atmosphere. :lol:

Anyway, the least useful superpower with only 2 votes appears to be the ability to turn gold into silver. But that simply means it’s the most useful ability out of all the options given. Since one pound of gold is currently worth 65 times the same weight in silver there are no financial benefits to this superpower. But silver is a better conductor than gold and is used more in electronics so perhaps there is merit from an industrial perspective. Also, if someone is being chased by a vampire or werewolf this superpower could come in handy, as long as you know, there just happens to be gold nuggets lying around at the time ;)

What other useless superpowers can you think of? Surprisingly more people voted in this one than the other poll which asked people to choose which actually useful superpower they want to have.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone :D

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Random Useless Fact:
The dry style of ginger ale was invented by Canadian John McLaughlin, the founder of the Canada Dry brand of soft drinks.

ginger ale useless superpowers

 

Aug 262014
 

Looks like a merger is on the menu for Burger King :) It’s currently in talks to merge with Canadian company Tim Hortons and move its headquarters up here to Canada :D Tim Hortons is a quick service coffee chain that has a strong Canadian identity. Here’s a drive thru window at a typical Tim Hortons.

14-08-canadian-tim-hortons-drive-thru

Last year I blogged about buying some Tim Hortons shares and how investing in the coffee industry is the best idea ever! Thankfully my investment paid off because each share today is worth about 62% more than when I purchased them. Tim Hortons’ performance has beaten the overall stock market index in both Canada and the U.S. :)

If the acquisition is successful Burger King and Tim Hortons would continue to operate as individual franchises. You won’t find Timbits in your Whopper, and you won’t be offered fries with your coffee, haha :lol:

The merger would benefit both companies. Right now Tim Hortons sells most of its coffee in Canada because it faces tough competition in the U.S. from Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts. But Burger King is already established in the U.S. and also has locations in Latin America and Europe, so Tim Hortons can use those valuable business channels to expand its brand awareness, and gain better access to global markets. Meanwhile Burger King would benefit from the high margin coffee business and also save money via tax inversion.

Tax inversion is when a U.S. company that has large overseas markets moves its main corporate office into a lower tax country. This allows the company to reposition itself as a foreign corporation so it can return foreign profits to stockholders without double taxation. This means if the merger is successful Burger King will get to pay a lower income tax, which will leave more after tax profits for its shareholders :D

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Aug 232014
 

Hello, and welcome to this edition of cooking with Liquid, where we learn how to create tasty dishes on a frugal budget :D Today we will prepare a simple quinoa recipe.

14-08-chef-liquid

For those who have never heard of quinoa before it’s pronounced (KEEN-wah.) You can buy it at places like Whole Foods, Costco, and even Walmart. Today I’ll use the organic quinoa from Costco that comes in a 4 pound green bag for $18. It works out to be $4.5/lb.

Ingredients:
1 cup of quinoa (170 grams)
1 carrot
1/4 cup of spinach

1 cup of quinoa = $1.70
Carrot + spinach = $0.50
Total Recipe Cost: $2.20 

Cooking Instructions:
1) Cut vegetables into small pieces
2) Mix all the ingredients in a pot or saucepan, along with 2.5 cups of water
3) Close the lid and cook over the stove top on medium heat for 20 minutes

Est voila :D Just remove from the heat, fluff with a fork, and bon appétit! Add salt and pepper to taste or use your own choice of seasoning. Quinoa is tasteless so it can be flavored any way you like.

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This recipe makes 2 servings so it’s a great meal for two, or it makes two meals for one :) Each serving contains about 350 calories. You can mix in some pumpkin seeds for some extra crunch, or add 1 tablespoon of honey for a sweeter taste. You may also add blueberries, banana slices, oats, cooked beans, mixed nuts, cucumber, and other veggies. Quinoa is very versatile and pretty much goes with anything :D

Quinoa is full of essential nutrients :) One cup of uncooked quinoa has 24 grams of protein (the complete kind) which is about half the recommended daily value. It also contains calcium, folate, magnesium, 12 grams of dietary fiber, and 43% of the recommended daily intake of iron. Hipsters like quinoa because it’s gluten free and vegan friendly. Quinoa is also high in riboflavin which helps reduce headache pains for migraine sufferers by improving the metabolism in their brain and muscle tissues. Quinoa also has complex carbohydrate with low glycemic index which is good for weight management. So whether you’re looking for protein, iron, or just a cheap and nutritious meal, quinoa has something for everyone. At just $1.10 per serving it’s one of the most affordable super foods around :D

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Random Useless Fact:
The word for the day after tomorrow is overmorrow.

 

Aug 202014
 

I came across a story recently about a couple who moved from Colorado to California. Their incomes doubled and within two years they became debt free :) The article starts off as follows.

This couple dropped $185K+ of debt in 20 months – Here’s how!
What do too many student loans, a mortgage, and a few bad money decisions equal? A debt upwards of $185K. This couple destroyed that debt in twenty months through budgeting, scrimping, and a handy book about personal finance…

Wow, good for them :) Can you imagine paying down on average $9,250 of your debt every month? That’s amazing! This couple must have sacrificed a lot and lived like paupers to reach debt freedom so quickly.

However what the article introduction doesn’t reveal is that most of their $185,000 debt was in the form of a mortgage, and they sold their house and paid back that mortgage within the 20 month period :P I tweeted my findings and received some funny replies from the Twitterverse :D

14-08-selling-assets-pay-debt debt freedom

Sarcasm aside, this is why it’s important to look at changes to overall net worth and not just the debt or assets as individual parts. So here are a few lessons we can learn from this story.

  • Don’t judge an article by its title. If something seems too good to be true it probably is. According to last year’s poll, virtually every visitor to Freedom 35 Blog has a positive net worth. This means anyone reading this who currently has debt can literally pay it all off and be completely debt free if they wish. All they have to do is sell your assets.
  • Debt is not a major financial worry if you have a positive net worth. If debt was really stressing you out, you would have sold your assets and paid back all your loans a long time ago. The fact that most people, including myself, have outstanding debts despite having a positive net worth, is evidence that we care more about having our material stuffs than living a debt free lifestyle :D
  • The amount of debt someone has is irrelevant in and of itself. For example, having $40,000 of student loan debt and no financial assets is worse than having $400,000 of debt, but also having an equal amount of assets.

Whenever I hear stories about someone paying off a large amount of debt within a short period of time I always take it with a grain of salt ;)

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Random Useless Fact:
How to recycle used underwear. #frugal to the extreme. #swag

14-08-underwear-shirt-frugal

Aug 172014
 

Some experts say the North American real estate market is starting to become overvalued again. In today’s post we’ll compare property prices to rents and explore whether or not overheated markets like Vancouver are headed for a hard landing :)

Let’s take two fictitious singles, Alice and Barry, who are both from Vancouver and work for B.C. Hydro, a utility company. They each have $20,000 in savings and they both want to move closer to work. Alice plans to rent while Barry plans to buy.

Alice manages to find a suitable apartment that’s located very close to her job. It only takes her 5 minute to walk to work :D She decides to invest her $20,000 of savings into the stock market.

  • Alice’s Apartment:
  • Location: 7418 Byrnepark Walk, Burnaby B.C.
  • Size: 800 sq ft
  • 2 beds, 2 baths
  • Rent: $1,600 a month

Here is the actual listing on Craigslist I found. The move-in date is not until Sept 1st, 2014. So this is a real life housing situation that could happen to someone in Vancouver right now. Click on image to biggify.

14-08-rental-unit

 

Meanwhile, Barry also finds a place to buy, coincidentally in the exact same building as Alice, and also has the same number of bedrooms and bathrooms.

  • Barry’s Apartment:
  • Listed Price: $369,000
  • Location: 7418 Byrnepark Walk, Burnaby B.C.
  • Size: 792 sq ft
  • 2 beds, 2 baths

Here is the direct link to the actual listing on realtor.ca.I’ve taken a screenshot as well in case the listing is removed in the future.

 

14-08-purchase-unit buy or rent

Barry decides to spend his savings on the down payment and get a mortgage for the remaining $350,000 balance. I’m currently paying 2.6% on my mortgage so let’s keep it simple and give Barry the same rate. Using a mortgage calculator we find that Barry’s mortgage payment amortized over 25 years is $1,585 per month, which is almost the same as what Alice is paying for rent :)

This is why a typical condo in Greater Vancouver costs $369,000. It HAS to cost this much in order to stay competitive with rental rates. Condo prices aren’t falling because lower prices would lead to lower mortgage payments, and it’s simply not rational for people to rent a place when it costs a lot less to easily own another (almost identical) unit in the same building.

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