Posts Tagged ‘recession’

LIVING IN THE BUBBLE

Wednesday, March 4th, 2009

It seems to me lately that we’re all living in a little bubble. In Vancouver. A Vancouver bubble.

Vancouver Skyline

When is the economy really going to hit us?

People have been talking about the bad economy, but how much has it really affected us? Yes — it’s true, real estate prices are dropping. But not that much. Yet. Yes, some video game studios have closed down, and across the city there have been a number of layoffs in different industries and office closures. And yup, people have been going to Starbucks a lot less.

But what I’ve really noticed is how Vancouver seems relatively unaffected. Part of why I’m noticing this is because of my recent move.

There’s one major thing I noticed while looking for apartments: People can’t sell their overpriced condos anymore, so they are renting them out. But they are renting them out for ridiculous sums of money… that no one wants to pay. $2700 for a 2 bedroom that is 800 square feet is too much. WAY too much. $2200 for a 1 bedroom that is 600 square feet (a.k.a a shoe box) is way too much. Do landlords really think they are going to be able to rent out their apartments for that much?

Apartment Upshot

I also noticed that many apartments had been vacant for months. Hmm, could have something to do with the rental prices.

Furniture Store

Another mind blowing observation… stores are barely going on sale. How can they stay in business? Most furniture stores I have been to have been completely devoid of customers. And their prices? Still as high as last year, if not higher. Most stores I have been to these days don’t seem to be offering any significant sales. Why?

People still seem to be shopping at Gucci and Prada. They’re still buying nice cars. They’re still going out for expensive dinners. People are still taking extravagant vacations. Has this decreased? Or is it still the same?

Whenever I ask anyone if they are worried for their job, they say no. Everyone’s business is going well. And everyone’s finances are just fine. Apparently.

Are they lying? Are they in denial? Or are most people in Vancouver doing just fine?

My gut tells me that the recession is going to hit Vancouver hard. And while no one wants it to happen, or while people think it won’t happen… it will. I think it is better to be prepared than to be proud.

Here are my rinky-dinky tips in this economy :)

1. If you are a store owner or a business owner, discount your prices. People don’t want sales, they want deep price cuts. Better to make less profit than no profit at all, right? And let people know about it. Don’t be ashamed.

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

2. Bring your lunches to work rather than eating out. I can post a nice chicken noodle soup recipe if anyone is interested. Soup is a great way to bring a healthy lunch to work.

3. Check your car. Take anything out of it that can weigh it down or waste gas. And check your tire pressure. You’d be surprised how many people drive on flat tires and waste dollars worth of gas every day. And drive less if you can!

4. If you must drink, drink at home vs. drinking out. It’s so so much cheaper.

Shoes

5. Avoid buying new clothes or shoes/accessories. You probably don’t need them at this exact moment in time. :) Personally I haven’t bought a single piece of clothing since November, and before that sometime in June.

6. Hold underground dinner parties instead of big parties at a fancy restaurant. My friend Jess clued me into this one. There are a number of caterers and chefs holding “underground” dinner parties. Basically how it works is you get in contact with a chef who does this, and they prepare a set meal for you and your dinner party at a local rented space. You can bring your own booze! This is a great inexpensive way to have a nice meal with your friends out. I’m planning on doing one soon so I’ll let you know how it goes.

7. Start budgeting. If you don’t already have one, it’s probably a good idea to start a budget. There are so many great online resources to get you started.

8. Stop eating out, start eating in. It takes only 10-30 minutes to make a really good quick dinner. Why not? Consider cooking with less meat. It’s really expensive and it has a larger environmental footprint.

9. Haggle on prices. I do this all the time. There’s almost nothing you can’t get cheaper in the retail world. Cars, clothes, food, everything. I always ask for a discount. Perhaps a separate blog post on this later.

Vacation can be just as good close to home..

10. Travel locally. If you need to go on vacation, why not go somewhere near home! British Columbia is one of the most beautiful places in the world. From Tofino to Galliano, to Hornby, to Kelowna, and so much more… you’d be surprised how much neat stuff there is close to home! And consider opting for slightly further away destinations such as Apex or Sun Peaks instead of Whistler. It’s cheaper and often the skiing/snowboarding is even better!

Apex Bowls

11. Switch to a credit card with a lower interest rate. You’d be surprised how much competition there is out there for credit cards.

12. Buy off Craigslist. I’ve bought just about everything through Craigslist and I can’t be happier. 50-90% what you would pay in stores. Sure, it may be used but you can often find like-new finds. And don’t forget to haggle. Whether it is apartment rentals, clothes, furniture, or electronics… Craigslist is always a good idea!

Coffee

13. Drink free coffee at work instead of paying for name-brand coffee at Starbucks or Timmy’s.

14. Share/trade things with your friends. Games, movies, books, TV shows, clothes, booze etc etc… you’d be surprised how much stuff you can get for free just by doing this. And it’s a nice way to re-connect too.

15. And most importantly.. if you’re an employee, work hard at your job. Let your employer know through your work ethic that you are grateful for your job and you want to excel at your job. Make yourself a good investment.

Downtown shot with birds

Thoughts?

WALL STREET, FURNITURE, TRAVEL, AND COD?!

Monday, September 29th, 2008

I hope everyone had a good weekend!

Today was a crazy day on Wall Street. It’s no secret that the economy is in some troubled times. After the House of Representatives shot down the Bailout plan, the stock markets got hammered pretty much everywhere in the world. The Dow dropped about 780 points, which is its largest in its history. Yes, it’s the American economy mostly being affected, but ours is tied to theirs, and so is the rest of the world in some ways. It is a scary time if you’re thinking about retiring, but if you’re young and just getting going like me, then there’s a lot of opportunity. History seems to suggest that the greatest economic booms are made after a recession or a slow-down, so if you can stay employed and ride it out… you’ll likely be in a good spot. I’ll be keeping an eye on the economic news and crisis over the coming months.

In other news, while we wait for the housing prices to come down a bit, Allan and I have been trying to make our little place a bit more livable. We’ve sold all our furniture and more on Craigslist and are currently sitting on the floor while we wait for some of it to be delivered. Hopefully I’ll have some photos soon of the place when it is redone.

I’m also getting geared up for a busy October. First, it’s off to Tofino again for the Thanksgiving long weekend. I can’t wait. I love the coast and Tofino is one of my favourite places in the whole world. Usually we go there at least once a month in the off season (a few times a month in the summer). I hear there will be a good swell rolling in for the next couple weeks so I’m excited. Pretty much right when I get back from Tofino, it’ll be straight to the airport where we go to LA, then Japan and Korea for work in 2 weeks. Sometimes when you work in the video game industry you have to travel, and it can be tiring! I’ll be sure to post photos while on the “road” though.

This weekend, I also tried out a new recipe I’ve been dying to try out. When I was in LA a couple weeks ago, I hit up Koi Restaurant with a few friends and had a delicious dish called “Miso Glazed Cod”. It was amazing. I’ve tried to replicate it here at home, and I think I did pretty good! If you get a chance to make it, let me know what you think. It’s got a sweet and sour, flavour similar to teriyaki or soy.

Miso Glazed Cod (Makes enough for 2 people)

Ingredients

2 fillets of Black Cod (I like to get mine from Granville Island)
saké
125 mL mirin
1 cup white miso paste (I like the organic kind, it’s a little lumpier but I think it tastes better)
1/2 cup of organic cane sugar (you can use regular sugar though)

Ingredients for Miso Glazed Cod

Cooking Steps
1. Pour the saké and the mirin into a saucepan and bring it to a boil for 30 seconds to boil off the alcohol in the saké.
2. Add the miso paste and bring your heat to low and mix well. Try to get all the lumps out as much as possible. Once it has been mixed, bring the heat up to high and add sugar. Make sure you keep stirring and keep going at it until the sugar is clear and liquid like.
3. Let it cool for a while.
4. Marinate cod over night in the mixture or for 2 days. Set a little bit aside, separate from the cod.
(See optional side dish preparation)
5. Preheat oven to 400°F and put the fish on a baking pan or grill/broiler inside the oven. Broil for 5 minutes to brown the fish and then bake for another 15 minutes or so. The fish should be flaky and separate easily.
6. Arrange the fish with the side dishes and serve with a VERY small amount of sauce on the side (don’t use as much as I did in the picture).

Cooking Steps

Optional side dish preparation — Mashed Potatoes with Shallots, and Steamed Vegetables:

1. Roast some garlic in the oven (let me know if you don’t know how to do this).
2. Sauté the garlic and a few chopped in shallots in 2 tablespoons of butter for about 20 minutes just before you cook the fish.
3. While keeping an eye on the shallots, boil some quartered Yukon gold potatoes.
4. Steam some broccolini and baby carrots (bunch carrots) over the potatoes while they are boiling!
5. Scoop the potatoes out and let the vegetables keep on steaming (don’t let them overcook though). I like to add a little bit of extra virgin olive oil to the water so the vegetables get some flavour.
6. Stir the potatoes around in the shallots until the potatoes dry out a bit. Add a little milk if you have it, and some butter, and then mash the potatoes until they are creamy, or however you like them. Personally I like them a little more textures so I leave the potatoes a bit more whole.
7. Serve the vegetables and the potatoes! I used a cup to make the potato shape but that’s not necessary ;)

Miso Glazed Cod

Enjoy!

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This the blog of a 28 year-old Vancouver girl who loves and writes about everything “Vancouver” and West Coast. This is the blog of a girl who works in Vancouver's video game industry, it's also a surfing blog, snowboarding blog, food blog, Canucks blog, gadget blog, and photography blog. VancityAllie.com is an award-winning blog that receives over 2.7M unique visitors every year and over 4,500 followers on Twitter. VancityAllie.com has been featured in books, newspapers, magazines, and television.

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