Big Dreams, Teeny Means

On June 27th, 2016, Joe and I were supposed to meet under professional circumstances. He had quit his manager role at a coffee chain the year before and gotten underway building his own cafe. I had been his health inspector back in 2014, and he remembered me as “food safe lady” and sought me out for advice on training his staff.

We did meet that morning, at our local library/cafe, and it got unprofessional real fast.

Within 10 minutes, we were discussing nothing at all related to food safety. I was listening to him talk about his dreams. Passive income, being able to travel, spending quality time with people he cared about, and doing things that made him happy. He asked me what I thought. I told him that as long as I owned a cabin on a lake, at some point in my life, where I could cuddle up with a dog or a man or a baby on the porch, and read a book with a cup of tea, I’d die a happy woman. He liked that. We stared at each other like idiots.

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Then we spent the entire day cafe-hopping, getting ice cream at Halifax’s infamous Dee Dee’s, checking out the Bike n Bean and Seven Bays, and then he showed me his cafe. At that time, the cafe was just an empty grey room without walls, with a huge hole in the concrete floor where the guys were laying pipes. They were discussing hot water tank sizes… He opened his cafe in September 2016, and went from being technically unemployed, to working 12-hour shifts, 6 days a week.

That “meeting” on June 27th was the first discussion of our personal dreams. They boiled down to: travel, getting out of the city, a peaceful place to relax, and not having to live paycheque to paycheque.

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Since then of course, many more things have been discussed: babies, a house, more cafes, the fight against materialism, our personal debts, our incomes, etc. I have always loved talking about money, calculating balances, saving money, etc. These discussions and the days we spend budgeting, not gonna lie… get us both riled. Nerd Alert.

We moved in together (or as he described it: “shacked up”) on November 19th. I would say probably 80% of the reason being because we just wanted to, and 20% because we realized it would help us get closer to these shared dreams and goals. Now we share rent, utilities, internet and a Netflix account, and we’re able to save so much more each month.

For the entire year of 2016, I was working a full-time job supervising a local bakery/cafe and a part-time/casual job as a 3rd party health inspector. As you can imagine, it was burning me out, working 7 days each week, and Joe suggested that maybe it wasn’t sustainable. Besides that, his only day off is Wednesday, and mine were Mondays and Tuesdays (which I spent driving insane distances to do inspections anyway). Even though we lived together, we still barely saw each other! However, due to our co-habitation, and my part-time job offering to make me full-time (with benefits, share options, and a pension, oh my!), I was able to leave the supervisory role. Now I work 3-4 days each week, I actually have a work-life balance, I make my own schedule, and make the same income as I did working 60-hour weeks. Boggles my mind.

We still don’t make much I suppose, but we’re doing better than we were. We’re slowly chipping away at our debts, and building a trip fund. And now I have time and energy to write! I’m excited to share with you our adventures and pitfalls as we try to spend less and save more, with the ultimate goal being to spend more time doing things we love to do.

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