Sunday, December 11, 2011

Live in the South of France for cheap

I like seeing people's reactions when I tell them we are going to live in the South of France.

People get the impression that we're super-rich.

I've got news for you. We aren't. Not in the slightest.

So how are we doing it?

Well, for one, we've done something this year that few Canadians or Americans do anymore -- we've put money into a savings account.

That's right -- we resisted the incredible consumer spending urge and actually put away a few bucks for a rainy day.

And how'd we manage that?

The biggest savings, by far, came from neither of us owning a car for 14 months. This Globe & Mail article pegs the annual cost of car ownership between $8,500-$14,000.

Even subtracting TTC passes, tokens, car rentals and ZipCar, we each saved approximately a crapload of money by not driving.

This had its drawbacks and inconveniences, of course. But in hindsight, it's a tradeoff I would make again.

Meanwhile, our flights to Paris booked with TravelCuts cost less than $500 each.

What about our accommodations in Nice?

We used a site called HomeAway to find a long-term furnished rental.  The rent is about the same as our downtown Toronto condo. Except that all utilities and Internet are included. So really, it's even cheaper.

That means that 3 months of living in beautiful southern France, by the ocean, will be far cheaper than weathering another Toronto winter.

Of course, it does mean we have to sell all our furniture -- which is a giant pain in the butt, no doubt. (Email me if you know someone who needs a bed, couch, tv, desk, shelves or coffee table :)

Isn't that all a lot of work?

In a word, yes. There's a ton of work and planning to make something like this happen.

It's not a lifestyle for the lazy or complacent.  Like anything in life -- you get out what you put in.

We decided travel was a priority, so we made it happen.

There are lots of other things we have to scale back on or defer, but it's a conscious decision we're both very happy with.

What will you do when you get back?

Good question! Our plan so far is mapped out to the end of April 2012.

We have some ideas, but we'll have to see where the wind takes us... :)

Please keep in touch with your favorite method -- Email, Facebook, Phone (I have a local Kitchener number that forwards to my computer), etc.

We'll do our best to do the same, and keep you all updated on our adventures!