A Money Coach in Canada

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Time to get back to some basics – fun basics – about being smart with money on my blog.

So here’s a lite one for today with the potential to save you money depending on how many readers leave comments (hint hint).

Q: What’s one thing you’ve spent money on that ultimately saved you money?

A: (from me) – my moka and a little whisking devise that froths the hot milk. Lattes every morning, and I genuinely prefer my own to the ones I buy = saved probably in the neighbourhood of $100/month.

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(photo credit: Yakobusan)

A: from my blogging buddy who’s doing his PhD in Environmental studies: his laptop bag (sorry – I don’t fully understand this – you mean you got a good deal? if so, where? or do you mean it’s sturdy and has protected your laptop?)

 Over to you, readers!  What have you bought, that saved you money?

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In Vancouver, Diesel Sample stock all 60-75% off, intel courtesy of I Love Sample Sales.

And for readers in the TO area, the illustrious Bargainista has the details on a wide-ranging sample sale (Drifter, T Luxury et alia) – act fast, it ends tomorrow (Thur. Apr 3)

And is it just me or is something seriously wrong with this picture?!? Read it carefully.

Photo Credit: The consumerist

Maggie, usually the dashund girl with the iron stomach, threw up a million times last night, poor thing.

Last time she got sick in the middle of the night (allergic reaction to bug sting) I spent 1am – 4am in pet emerg, and spent $300 only to find out really she just needed an over-the-counter antihistamine to reduce the swelling.

That got me thinking last night. I have saved a trip to europe by purchasing no-name equivalents of tylenol, asperin etc. I also like shopping at Winners.

Obviously I never want to put my ‘hounds health at risk, but this got me thinking: what are the doggy equivalents?

For example:

  1. I purchased an Expensive Bottle of Oil that I add to their food to keep the boy dog’s skin from itching. Recently, I heard bottles of fish-oil-pills will do the same. Anyone know if that’s true? Or other suggestions?
  2. I purchase raw chicken wing tips from my favourite hi-end doggy store. There’s a really inexpensive human-meat store a block away. Any reason it would be less safe to buy the same from them? And spend my savings on other stuff at the hi-end doggy store like those gorgeous pillows?
  3. Any suggestions of plants that are good to help the dogs throw up when they need to? (sorry to be gross on the blog)
  4. What about cheap toys? (they love squeeky stuff)
  5. And if anyone can recommend good value dog walkers that specialize in small dogs (Vancouver) let me know.

Readers: as you can see, these guys really want to know!
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Last week I raved about Workspace.

I’m on a roll. Here’s another business who keeps me well satisfied. With food, that is. Organic food, delivered fresh to my door every couple weeks.

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It’s called SPUD: Small Potatoes Urban Delivery.

Here’s what they did to win my heart:

  1. After I signed up, they called me. Not to cross-sell me. To make sure everything had gone smoothly. And they did this a couple times.
  2. When I asked them if they could take my payment from my bank account 3 days after delivery to coincide with my paycheque, they said yes. And they did. And they didn’t make any mistakes. They just did it, no hassle.
  3. When I called a couple times because the bananas were too green for my liking, they credited my account. Just like that.
  4. When I said, “I get the rubber bin for delivery, but I live in a tiny condo and the bin takes of 20% of my real estate” they arranged for mine to get packed in cardboard boxes which I recycle. And they didn’t guilt me out about it.
  5. They cross sell the way I like. Online, they have little teaser images of gorgeous looking food playfully enticing me. And know what? I usually can’t resist. And it’s usually an cross sell that makes sense to me. I don’t feel used. I feel… taken care of, if you know what I mean.

Yikes! Forgot the obvious: it’s organic. The cause me to be more thoughtful (each order points out how far my food travelled). They teach me about something I care about – eating better, in a way that’s better for the planet too.

Readers: Any businesses that you use, that would get a rave review from you? esp. any ‘green’ businesses?

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Update:   A former client just told me SPUD included me in this week’s ‘website of the week’!  That’ s too funny!  and I want to be extremely clear – this is a completely unpaid for, unsolicited post.  I like them a lot, pure and simple.

2081507418_4f7aaeb7eb_t.jpgI’m increasingly convinced that the defining question by which future generations will judge us – if we make it – is: how profoundly did we humanoids change our ways as we learned about the impact we are having on our biosphere?

Like you, my life is frenetic hectic, I don’t have a lot of time for intensive research, and often I can’t figure out which products/initiatives are in fact better for the earth, and which are just marketing hype, or, which seem like better choices on the surface, but actually aren’t, when you get all the facts.

Here are 5 simple shopping choices I make that are heading in the right direction.

  1. I buy fair-trade, shade-grown, bird-friendly coffee. I had no idea until about a year ago (I’m woefully uninformed sometimes!) that swaths of rainforest are being stripped for coffee plants. That means more pesticides, more ferilizer plus of course loss of bird habitat. So shade-grown, fair trade for me – yes, I pay extra, but after all, caffeine is pure luxury.
  2. I buy organic. I make it easy on myself by using SPUD delivery. They have the additional benefit of letting my know how far my food travelled, and I get points (redeemable for cash) for choosing items that are grown locally. (does your city have the SPUD equivalent? Could you leave a comment with its name?) To me, organic is no longer optional – it’s to prevent toxics from going into my body, and also to reduce the amount of leeching in the soil.
  3. I use method cleaning products. Actually, I discovered them by accident – grabbed it off the store shelf in a rush because it looked, well, clean, and later discovered their commitment to using non-toxic means of creating shiny, happy surfaces.
  4. I re-use, and re-use and re-use bags & baggies. I can barely stand throwing them out anymore (I feel like a total loser, leaving that plastic for future generations to deal with). When I shop, I try to remember to bring my cloth bag.
  5. I use aveda hair product.
  6. Bonus tip: I bank at a virtual bank – no carbon footprint! (or hardly any). (full disclosure: I work there, part-time)

These are attempts at doing better for my habitat, but not nearly enough. I’m getting further inspiration from “BadHuman” in Colorado or Saving4Later who avoids the whole issue by pretty much not buying, period, and also, going to shows like the upcoming EPIC.

What products do you buy, that you’re quite sure is the genuine article, not just fake-green?

ps: if you enjoyed this post, you may also enjoy this one.

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