A Money Coach in Canada

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Anybody remember The Lord’s Day Act? It has a fascinating history in Canada, and was ultimately thrown down in 1985 by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms – believe it or not, by a drugstore in Calgary.

It was one thing to be struck down, but another for retailers to start keeping their shops open. When I arrived in Vancouver in 1989, Sundays were still muted yet most def Open For Biz on Sundays.  At the time, I thought that was just great.

In recent years, I’ve questioned the wisdom of taking the brakes off of the economic engine. Granted, basing a Day of Rest on a particular religion’s belief was outdated, but did we lose more than we gained by eliminating Sunday as a widespread day off?  Is Canadian culture (whatever that is, case in point) the better for it?

What would happen if stores and even entertainment venues were not available to any of us, across Canada, one day every week? What would we do with our time? Might we:

  • Enjoy more relaxed and fun times with our friends and family?
  • Connect with our local community?
  • Rediscover quietness?  Become OK with solitude?
  • Potter around our homes and get things done that we otherwise never get around to completing?
  • Find we are more grounded and thoughtful in our lives because we had space, regularly, to take a deep breath?

I may find out up here in Yellowknife:  Most of the city still shuts down on Sunday.  It’s weird going by malls, on a Sunday, that are darkened and the doors locked.   Yellowknife’s no more religious than anywhere else, that’s for sure, so I can only guess that the local merchants have collectively opted out of opening on Sundays.

It irritates me from time to time, and I wonder about the economics of it – I mean, all that business NOT being done, staff NOT being hired,  sales NOT being made 52 days of the year (that’s the equivalent of nearly 2 months!  Think of it!) – yet even today I noticed myself turning to gardening and reading a book, since there weren’t many commercial options open to me.   If my blog posts increasingly have a sense of zen to them over the coming year(s), you’ll know why!

Photo Credit: The Media Mentor

Photo Credit: The Media Mentor

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Photo Credit: Silver Fox

I popped by one of my all-time-fave-blogs (along with squawkfox ‘s), called Wisebread today and their post was especially useful: a primer on Bargain Shopping. It’s worth the 4 minutes it will take you to read, so pop by if you can.

One of their pointers was to look for meat on special at less than 50% the usual price. Me? I’m excited when M&M’s gives me 4 for the price of 2.

Have I been a chump all these years? I’ve never thought to hope routinely to pay only 1/2 price on my meat.

That raised a further question: I love sniffing out deals, but do I REALLY know if I’m getting a deal?

Readers, what are your standards? What do you consider a true “deal”?

I love free stuff! Or living large while spending little!

So here are some upcoming events for Canadians:

FREE OUTDOOR MOVIES this weekend for Williams Lake Folks:
Friday/Saturday May 29/30
DRIVE-IN
Sunset Time: 21:15
Movie 29th: ET
Movie 30th: American Graffiti
Location: Williams Lake Stampede Park (800 McKenzie Ave South)
Courtesy of FreshAir Cinema

CLUB FATASS is a misnomer! It’s a free runners’ club by the people, for the people. If there isn’t one in your community, you can start one with a little free help from the Club Fatass folks.

It’s DAY THREE of Staples’ 5 DAYS OF DEALS. Today’s deals include leather executive chairs, Notebook PC, Digital Frames and more.

Montreal – looks like you’re having a massive TOMMY HILFIGER SALE over the next two weeks. Time to get some great jeans!

Edmontonians, you’ve got a brand new FARMERS’ MARKET to visit. Fresh baked goods. Fresh Produce. Atisans.
Thursdays, 2 – 7pm.
93rd Street and 118th Ave.
Shop away!

The Regina LADIES CHOIR TEA MUSICAL is having their final concert (presumably of the season) on Sunday – only $12!

And for those of you preferring to hang out at home, Knowledge Network almost always has something of interest to watch. Check out their weekend lineup, which includes a documentary on Ansel Adams.

Me? I’m looking forward to Yellowknife’s first ever YKTweetup at (still unwired, but we love it anyways) Javaroma cafe.

Most of us have heard of Adam Smith’s theory of invisible hand. (If you haven’t, the gist of it is: Left to pursue our personal self-interest, we will also inevitably help the greater good as well.)

Here’s a lesser-known theory by WiIlliam Lloyd, a contemporary of Smith. It’s called The Tragedy of the Commons. It goes like this.

Many herdsmen over the centuries grazed their cows in the commons (ie. a space owned by no-one, and used by anyone). Herdsmen naturally tried to maximize the number of cows they had grazing there. Because of disease, tribal warfare and poaching, the numbers were still small enough that the commons was not overgrazed.

Eventually, social stability was achieved and veterinary practices improved, so that the former limits on growth were no longer in place.

When an individual herder would decide whether or not to purchase another cow, he/she had to factor in the cost/benefit.

The benefit was all those included in having another cow – increased milk production, ability to sire other calves, and money gained at slaughter.

The cost was increased grazing in the commons – but this cost was distributed among all the herders, ie., the overgrazing meant everyone’s cattle suffered a bit, not just the individual’s new cow.

You see the dilemma – each herdsman is motivated to maximize the number of cows they have, yet collectively, they rush towards ruin (overgrazing and hungry, unhealthy cattle).

OK, Readers, over to you: What’s the solution?
528135849_b28de394c6 Photo Credit: Erin

Yellowknife. What a place. Here I thought I was coming up here for a new job, and I’m a new mom.

It happened this way. I dragged my heels and went to church reluctantly and late. Then three things happened: I made 2 friends, and I discovered that Tony Campolo, formerly Bill Clinton’s spiritual advisor and someone I admire a lot, was coming that very Thursday to Yellowknife. To Yellowknife. Tony Campolo.

So off I went to Northern United Place on Thursday, late again … and because I was late and the place was packed out, I was seated right beside Tony and his wife who chatted amicably and easily with me and my friend Gregg (visiting from Vancouver, btw). You gotta know: This wouldn’t happen anywhere else. Typically he’d have his equivalent of handlers and there’d be throngs of thousands in the audience. I told him I subscribed to his podcast (I do) ’cause I thought he’d think it was cool knowing someone way up north was listening to him.

I shoulda known he was there on behalf of World Vision. (Dear World Vision – if you’re reading this, I’d like to work for you after I’ve accomplished a couple things up here in the NWT). So Tony did his Tony thing, made a compelling case why each of us in the room needs to help alleviate poverty and sent us over to the table to look at the faces … those sweet, sweet faces, of kids around the world who are in really tough circumstances.

And in the midst, there was this blue-eyed, blondie from Romania. I didn’t stand a chance. Maybe it was the ancient genetic similarity or maybe it was the little red sweater but Gabriela won my heart and my monthly support just.like.that.

This isn’t actually her but it conveys the same spirit:
smiley-kid1

Readers, have you ever sponsored a child? How did it go? Did you get all giddy like me? Did you correspond? What happens when they grow up? And the moneycoach in me has to ask: Why did it take me so long? Only $35/month to make a real difference. Why don’t more of us do it?

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