Published on: 2020-10-13
Back a year ago, we suspended our project to move back to Quebec because it was not the right timing to do it and we weren't fully sure about the move. Fast forward to today, we are now more than confident about our intentions. Selling our current condo located in BC to seek for a somewhat larger, but most probably more private, quiet place is our main priority.
Since we are now working remotely, we have an opportunity to move without being tied to job restrictions. Even if our positions are held in BC, we will be able to transfer to different positions based out in QC when available.
Our goals are:
- Exit the overpriced condo market of BC;
- Refocus on a low cost of living lifestyle, even if this means sacrifying the wild west beauties and mountains.
- Find a house around Quebec City below 350k.
- Provide a larger space to our child(ren?) to be able to build a garden, play outside, move around freely.
- Keep a close relationship with nature by selecting a house that will fit the bill.
- Keep a single-car household since I'll be mostly working from home anyway.
- Selling our current car since we probably won't drive the 4500 km between locations and find a newer, but still super frugal car (more on this below).
- Convert both (remote) jobs based in BC into positions based in QC.
- Reduce our physical possessions to be moved accross the country.
- Set up an actual office in the basement to properly work from home without distractions.
- Continue to work part-time (as planned) for her.
- Continue to work full-time for me and be able to take time off work regularly.
About the car
Currently barely using our 2004 Volkswagen Golf, we average monthly expenses of about $425 when including depreciation and parking "cost" (that we would be able to rent otherwise). We drive around 10,000 km a year.
Moving to QC, we decided to look for a new place near Quebec City, even if our family is mostly based around Montreal. This will force
us to drive longer distance to visit them, but we are strict on our decision of not going back exactly where we were before our adventure on the west coast.
We can expect driving around 15,000 km a year, may be more if we do road trips. Right now, my idea is to get a newer car, but still frugal in gas and expenses. I might be looking to get a Mazda 3 (2014 to 2018) or a Volkswagen Golf Wagon (2014 to 2017). I'll finalize a budget to steer toward the car, but spending $13k on it is expected.
Our current monthly expenses on the Golf are:
Estimate of monthly expenses on a car purchased in QC:
- Gas: $40
- Insurance: $145
- Maintenance: $50
- Repairs: $50
- Depreciation: 80$
- Parking: $60
- Gas: if 18k/yr, at 7 L/100 km at $1.20/L, then $125
- Insurance: $70 would be enough
- Maintenance: $50
- Repairs: $50
- Depreciation: $130
- Parking: $0
Thus, we arrive at the same expenses, mostly because we won't have expensive ICBC insurance and we won't have parking value added. Both depreciation is calculated on a 5-year span. The Golf has been purchased at $6200, but the current value after 3.5 years is around $3000, thus about $80 each month. The potential car at $13k can worth about $5000 in 5 years, so about $130 each month.
About the house
Technically, we want a larger space to live, for less. That is the main goal to move back East. Not a McMansion, but a fairly-sized single house. By doing that, we want to make sure to keep our monthly expenses low regarding transportation, home insurance, city taxes, energy costs, etc.
Before of the remote jobs, we are still on the fence if we want a house on a large lot not close to the city or a regular house in a neighbour close to work, where biking is a viable/easy option and buses can be considered.
Our current expenses in North Vancouver:
Potential expenses on a $350k house purchased in QC with 20% down on a 20-year term:
- Mortgage equity: $2064
- Mortgage interest: $620 (based on a variable rate of 1.45% right now, so highly beneficial)
- Strata: $454
- Insurance: $59
- Internet: $22
- Electricity: $27
- City taxes: $140
- TOTAL (without equity): $1322/month
- Mortgage equity: $1037
- Mortgage interest: $199 (based on a variable rate of 1.8%)
- Strata: $0
- Insurance: $59
- Internet: $40
- Electricity: $150
- City/school taxes: $250
- TOTAL (without equity): $698/month
That being said, we will be more flexible since the housing expenses will be lowered. Per example, we are thinking about reducing our working hours, taking a year off or retiring early by paying off the mortgage fully faster and living on interest gains. We are still not there yet, but having less expenses will allow us to build a larger portfolio.
Everything in life isn't about drywalls, wheels and money. It is about happiness and family too. In fact, we stopped running the race. We use money as a tool, not as an end.
We are super grateful about our 4 years in British Columbia and I personally wish we can stay longer. But the fact is our balance isn't reached fully because of housing and because we want our larger family to enjoy our moments.
We will be returning in our homeland with a different vision, different priorities and a lifestyle changed forever. We will be applying the same basic receipe we applied in BC, but in Quebec. This includes a closer relationship with nature, a tight control of expenses, a broader view of human in general and a slow life that we dreamt of.