So, the cat's out of the bag. Literally, Hepburn was just sleeping inside of my laundry bag and I picked it up and was like, "Weird, I don't remember having clothes this heavy WHY IS IT MOVING" and she hopped out and ran away.
The other cat is out of the bag, in that, I live in Saskatoon. When I started the blog I was vague about this, I'm not sure why, but it's out in the open now. *Note: Did you know that Saskatoon is known as The Paris of the Prairies? It totally is. Something about how there's a river and a handful of bridges here. And once I'm done here, France will refer to Paris as the Saskatoon of Europe.
SASKATOON: FRUGALITY AUDIT
|Who wouldn't want to move to this appealing place?|
Wheat and grazing land? And a temperance colony? Sign me up!
First, some history. From what I think I've heard, Saskatoon started out in the most frugal way possible - it was founded as a temperance colony (and there are still some neighbourhoods that are zoned so you aren't allowed to sell alcohol there - adorable, right? Also occasionally inconvenient)
Also, the original settlers built their houses out of grass (like Hobbits!) which is beyond frugal and also environmentally friendly. Apparently, this also helps keep you warmer when it gets SO COLD in the winter.
Ooh, also of note: before the settlers got here with their temperance movements and Hobbit hidey holes, there were obviously lots of very frugal native people living here. Kill a buffalo and eat it for dinner! Wear clothes made of animal furs and leathers! Totes frugal.
Modern Saskatoon is a mixture of suburban sprawl (where I work), a somewhat deserted downtown core (where I live!), and pockets of funky boutiques full of hipsters (where I shop).
Also? It's between lots of destinations that really good bands tour through (which is, quite honestly, one of the reasons I moved here). We've hosted shows by Taylor Swift, Kanye West, Rihanna, Beyonce, Elton John, and more in the past few years. Also? The Pretty Reckless are coming here in March and you bet I'll be blogging that shizz.
It's the sunniest place in the world, which saves you money because the sun shines through your windows (decreasing the amount of lighting and heat you need to pay for). This also can be pricey, as you need to have several pairs of sunglasses (one for your house, one for your bag in case you forgot to bring the ones from your house, one for your desk in case if got sunny after you went to work and you need to wear them for lunchtime). It gets really hot in the summer, which is also frugal (you wear less clothes).
The flipside is that it gets really REALLY REALLY REALLY cold in the winter (it's at the same latitude as Siberia, FYI). So, this means some initial investments in a good parka, furry hat, mitts, scarf, boots, and TIGHTS!! But, once you have these, you're set for 6 months out of the year.
Joni Mitchell's from here! Her heartfelt songs prove she's got frugal blood in her veins.
Plus, I love her dress here. And her hair. And her boots.
Apartments and housing prices are weirdly expensive. It's like Saskatoon is working its way to being an Edmonton-sized city and the first step was catching up with housing prices. So, it can be pricey to live here, rent-wise.
The city is also very spread out (as happens with cities that are planned by temperance colonists, rather than occurring naturally) which means that most people here have cars. Myself and my frugal advisor do fine using public transit (which is as dependable/undependable as any public transit, anywhere), and biking. Biking is actually a great way to get around out here because, um, prairies. It's flat, which makes it much easier to bike here than, say, in San Francisco.
*Note: These bicyclists are not in Saskatoon.
But how cute are they? That's Laraine Day and Shirley Temple.
There are some great stores here (check my SK shopping guide for the best independent boutiques). There are also some, but not all, of my fave chain stores. Yes, we have Lululemon, Sephora, MAC, and Lush. But there isn't an H&M, Topshop, Banana Republic, Victoria's Secret, or Forever 21. This is good and bad - good, in that there is a manageable amount of temptation. Bad, because I tend to go insane when I visit another city that has any of the above stores. Overall, though, you can get most of the great stuff you need (and for everything else, there's online shopping).
Verdict: FRUGAL UTOPIA!
OK, it's possible you can live frugally anywhere. But I'm pretty sure that it's easier for me to live frugally here than somewhere with more temptation -- i.e. Edmonton, Calgary, Toronto, Vancouver, Halifax, or any American city. Or Oslo.