Maple Alps


What You Can Do with $7.99/month That Doesn't Involve Netflix

MoneyAmanda Walter | Maple Alps5 Comments

I wrote about some things to do instead of streaming television shows a while ago with the angle of time and our minds being precious. What I didn't talk about was the other thing streaming sites like the popular Netflix takes from us: our money. As Christians, we are called to be stewards of our money, resources and time, and in fact, none of those things truly belong to us. They were entrusted to us to use for God's work.

Here are some things you can do with $7.99 that doesn't involve Netflix (though I heard prices for that have been going up, so $7.99 might not even be enough for that!)!


Take a friend out on a cafe date

Get some tea and talk about the wonderful things God has been doing in your lives. 

Rent a bicycle and explore parts of the city you have not before

See your city through new eyes, and meet and talk to people you may not have ever thought to. Using your legs is free though! :) 

Go to the dollar store and put together a package to mail to a friend

Even the smallest of surprises in the mail can bring joy and encouragement to a friend.

Buy some stamps and send out some cards

Bless others by letting them know you are thinking about and praying for them!

Buy a meal for someone in need

And pray for and with that person.

Join a gym

I actually know someone who used Netflix money for a very basic gym membership instead! Turns out those exist!

Put it into your savings account

You'll have a pretty good amount by the end of the year to use for a good cause or pay off a chunk of debt.

What creative things would you do for $7.99 that doesn't involve streaming?


How Living Intentionally Can Help You Save Money

MoneyAmanda Walter | Maple Alps4 Comments

Last week, my husband and I went shopping. When I say shopping, I mean that we went to our favourite stores and browsed, and when I say browsed, I mean just that. After two hours, we walked back into our house with not one bag in tow and the same amount of money in our account that we had when we left. I was not terribly shocked, but I am certain that just a few years ago, that would not have been as easy to accomplish.

Living mindfully has naturally resulted in thinking about where our money goes. It is amazing how just thinking about it changes buying habits that sometimes leads to spending what one does not have. Instead of collecting things in our home, we have been discarding. Instead of noticing our money disappear, we have been saving, and instead of always thinking about spending money, we think about giving.

I decided to share today just a few of the reasons we believe being intentional and mindful has helped us save money.

How Living Intentionally Can Help You Save Money |


Have Only What You Need

I lived in the same house my entire life. When I decided to live abroad, I packed two suitcases and that is what I lived with the entire time. I came back to a full closet and drawers and realized that over half of the things I owned and had collected over time, I didn’t even need. I had just survived three years with what could fit into two suitcases. This opened my eyes greatly. I now need more than what can just fit in two suitcases (having a kitchen will do that), but I still have everything I need and love while avoiding excess.


Being Content With What You Have

I never realized the release I needed from material things. Because I had collected so much over the years and kept everything organized, I was not aware of each item I had. This was far from mindful. As I cleaned out closets and drawers and boxes, I finally saw the amount of useless possessions that was drowning me.

How Living Intentionally Can Help You Save Money |


Find Pleasure in the Simple Things

Because spending money is not on my radar, I get to enjoy more simple pleasure and realize the value of the things that cannot be bought. Once in a while I still love browsing through the mall to see the sights, but urges to purchase anything unless I need them hardly occur. If it does happen where I see something I like, it automatically comes to mind that I don’t need it and I leave the store quite content without whatever it was.


Free From Consumerism

I don’t feel the need to have the newest and best things anymore. Everything in my home has a place and a purpose, and I have no intentions to let that slide. I have experienced such a release and rest after getting rid of “stuff,” and I don’t want that frustration anymore. My spiritual life has been strengthened and I am able to think freely without inhibition. Thinking about giving generously to those in need or causes I believe in has become more natural (and more doable!).


Have you found that saving money is just one awesome perk of living intentionally?
Tell us about your journey to intentional living!



12 Necessities We Are Intentional About Spending Money On

MoneyAmanda Walter | Maple Alps24 Comments

The biggest discussion in our house at the moment is definitely the topic of my student loans. It’s a struggle I don’t even want to think about, but here I am, pouring out my heart and soul on the internet. Go figure.

You see, when I went to school, no one ever told me that student loans were not a good idea for me to get involved with. The only thing we were ever warned about in school were credit cards and bounced cheques, so I always made sure to stay on top of those. However, no one ever showed me math or gave me any reason to be wary of student loans. There are definitely some cases in which these types of loans are beneficial, but in my case, they were not. If I could do it over, I would do things differently, but all I can do now is buckle down and conquer these loans and become debt-free as soon as possible. We have come up with a long-term plan for getting rid of them which requires a bit of sacrifice now but will benefit us in the future. 

I do use the word sacrifice loosely. We are not starving or wearing clothes ridden with holes. We are, however, very mindful of what we spend money on, and cut costs when we can. Here are 12 things we are intentional about when it comes to spending money

cessities We Are Intentional About Spending Money On |


Save money by meal planning and reduce the amount you eat out. I went a long time without ever eating out, and even though it cost me socially, my bank account was thankful. I’m okay with eating out once in a while now but avoid it when possible. Pack a lunch for work. Make your own bread and other staples. Find a cheaper grocery store. Use Ibotta or other rebate and coupon apps. There are many ways to save on groceries.


Be mindful about the utilities you use. Do you really need every light in the house on when you’re only in one room? Should you really keep the tap going as you’re brushing your teeth? Are 20 minutes in the shower completely necessary? When is washing just one shirt in the washing machine a good idea? Can clothes be hung to dry? Think about these things and be creative when saving on utilities. We make it a game every month to see if we can get utility bills lower!


I have so much to say about this topic but I’ll leave you just with ideas to save like I promised! While basic clothing is a definite necessity, I found myself with much more than I needed (or could wear!). Now that I've purged and have what I need and love wearing, I don't feel the urge to buy more. Try selling newer clothes in good condition that you no longer wear or look at. When you have an event or a theme party to go to, before shelling out extra cash for items you’ll likely only wear once, try being creative with what you already have. You could also borrow something from a friend! I’ve been known to wear things until they have do you. If you get totally bored with the clothes you have, why not try having a clothing swap with some friends? Chances are they have some great pieces to exchange.


Since learning about the harmful substances in toothpaste and many other toiletry items, I have taken to making a lot of our products. This has not only reduced the chemicals in our home, it has also proven to be much more affordable! Check out some of my natural living posts here. 


Carpool, combine trips and get a fuel-saving car. This has drastically saved our fuel costs and the extra money goes right into loan repayments.

Phone Bill

Reevaluate your phone bill and find a cheaper one that works. Research pays off - especially when you're brutally honest with yourself about your phone usage. You would be surprised what kinds of deals are out there! 

Credit Cards

Do not to spend what you don’t have. Many credit cards have interest rates of 18% or higher, which is a lot! Pay your credit card off in full every month, or don’t use it at all. Because we get cash back on our credit card, we primarily use it. However, after over one year of use, we have never paid interest because we pay it in full every month. Free money? Yes, please! Do what works for you, but avoid credit card interest like the plague.

10 Every-Day Things You Can Start Saving On Today! |

Bank Statements

Check and balance your bank statements monthly to make sure that every purchase was made by you or whoever has access to your account.  Unfortunately, fraudulent purchases occur. This has happened to me; foreign purchases were made with my credit or debit card and I was able to get money back that I never spent in the first place. I would have never noticed, had I not been checking my account regularly.

ATM Charges

Don’t ever pay for these. Just, please don’t. Not necessary.

Home Decor

A fresh paint of coat or removable decals go a long way in making your home feel new. Instead of buying expensive furniture or decorations to add to your dusting pile, DIY some projects or put out some fresh flowers and candles. There are inexpensive ways to decorate your house to your liking and personally, I think less is more!


I know it's weird I consider hobbies as a necessity...but, everyone has their thing. It’s hard when one has expensive hobbies. I sure do. If your hobby requires supplies, try using everything in your stockpile before getting something new. The best is when your hobby can make you money. Sell handcrafted goods or stock photography. You could even create a course or blog to teach others. Your hobby can serve you!

Cable/Subscription Costs

Re-evaluate what is important to you; this is a huge part of living intentionally. We choose not to have a TV in our house, so naturally, we do not have cable or satellite to pay for.  Since we are also very particular with what we choose to spend our time watching, renting a movie on iTunes every once in a while is much cheaper for us than paying for a Netflix or Hulu subscription.


What are some of the ways you save money on necessities? We would LOVE to read about them! Leave a comment with your tips - we read every single one!


Planning a Wedding? I Did That Once. Inexpensively.

MoneyAmanda Walter | Maple Alps25 Comments

I don't know about you, but right now my Facebook newsfeed is filled with engagement announcements and wedding countdowns. It's hard to believe that one year ago, I was posting my own announcement!

With the wedding season approaching, I couldn't help but think back to my own experience and excitement of planning a wedding and getting every detail just right (not that it really mattered at the end, because even with things going awry, it was the most perfect day ever!).

For us, our biggest obstacle in pulling off a wedding was the cost. Weddings can get crazy expensive, with the average wedding costing over $20,000! Since my (now) husband and I are both savers, it went without saying that we wanted to spend as little money as possible on the wedding. We were just out of school with not a penny to our names and moving to a new country! Starting life is expensive, and we didn't want to spend everything we had on a wedding.

We had to get a bit creative when saving money, so I thought for fun I would share some of the ideas we went through with!

How we avoided spending $20,000 on our wedding

We Got Creative with Our Venue

The only thing we knew was that we wanted to get married outside. The where was a big question. We looked up venue after venue, and though beautiful, none of them were within our budget. I don't know when the idea struck, but I remembered a family friend who had a gorgeous backyard and made a phone call. They were delighted to have the wedding there! Due to rain, we didn't get our outdoor wedding after all, but their home made for a perfect shelter and ceremony/reception spot. 


We Made All of the Flowers

Not a fresh flower was to be seen. From the bouquets and boutonnieres to the table decor, we made every single one. I had people thinking I was crazy and that it would look tacky, but it turned out spectacularly wonderful. All of the flowers were made out of maps and sheet music to go along with our themes of travel and music. It was a blast - and a lot of work. The only flowers we didn't make were the ones on our arch. A family friend had those already in her decoration stash! As the date of the wedding got closer, we enlisted more help. It was a fun and bonding experience, sitting around the table making them :)


Favours Were Called In

We called in a lot of favours from family and friends to help us out. They were all glad to do so! A cousin baked our gorgeous wedding cake, and a friend who was a hair stylist did my hair! Our families helped prepare all of the [delicious] food and we had quality live music for our ceremony from our musician friends as well! The other bonus to all these favours, were that it provided awesome opportunities for those we love to take part and make special memories.


I Found a Pre-Loved Dress

Never underestimate the amazingness of a pre-loved dress. There's more love in it, plus you get a very discounted price! Whoever wore it before you likely wore it once, and you will likely do the same. If you don't intend on keeping your dress, you can easily take it to a consignment store, or sell it yourself, once it's cleaned.


We Didn't Underestimate DIY

In addition to the flowers, we made almost everything for the decor. I did the centrepieces, the guest globe, the name cards, the photo booth.....just everything. There was a LOT of spray paint involved! Since I like to be creative in reusing things, I used a lot of the things I already had on hand, which saved us both money and headaches.


Our Invitations Were Digital

I don't necessarily recommend this one, but we designed and sent out digital invitations. I personally wanted physical ones (I adore snail mail and pretty stationary), but we were definitely in favour of saving money on postage and invites. Beside the venue, this is probably where we saved the most. To compromise, we settled on using Paperless Post, which simulated opening a letter. I liked that, and I was comforted in the fact that not many people keep wedding invitations anyway.


We Had a Short Engagement

This doesn't seem like it would save us money, but it really did! All of our planning and DIY-ing had to be done and executed in 5 months. Had our engagement been longer, things would have added up slowly over time. Our guest list would have been much longer (which would have resulted in a more expensive venue and more food), and I would have likely made decisions and then change my mind (I'm extremely indecisive), costing us money later.


So there you have it. Some of the ways we avoided spending a great amount on our wedding.

In the end, it's not how much you spend on a wedding that makes a great marriage. A wedding lasts a day, and a marriage lasts a lifetime.

Note: We did splurge on one thing: our amazing photographer. Our picture memories are something we want to look back on and remember forever. You can check her out and some of our wedding photos at her blog, here!