A Money Coach in Canada

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Seaside Worthing, UK

Value: the relationship between the consumer’s perceived benefits in relation to the perceived costs of receiving these benefits

Holiday: A vacation or holiday is a recreational trip or a leave of absence from work for recreational, cultural or religious purposes.

I had my first “real vacation” in years this July. Not only was it absolutely lovely, it was also high value for money.

What I would do differently:

  1. Spend the bucks on a pleasant flight. I used Canadian Affair. They were the lowest price, but man, were we packed in there. On the way home, I could not relax my arms without bumping into the big guy next to me, and I had no way of stretching out my legs in any direction. At 5′ 10″, nine hours is a long time to be crunched up in an airplane seat! Next time I’d either shell out for their Xtra Leg-Room seats or consider another airline.
  2. Buy my tickets earlier.  By the time I got organized to purchase my airfare, I only had limited options.  My trip ended up being a few days shorter than I would have liked – I only just got over jetlag and I was heading home again.  Note to self:  book at least 2 months in advance.
  3. Withdraw larger amounts of cash.  Yikes! I erroneously thought I could use HSBC machines for free, so made multiple withdrawals of £50.  Oops!  A Mistake, at $3 per withdrawal!

What worked well

  1. For a girlfriends’ meetup in London, we booked in at a Travelodge.  I momentarily had my doubts when I saw how small and basic it was.  But of course we only used it for a few hours to crash in – we were in London for heaven’s sake! – so I’m really glad we used our money for enjoying ourselves out and about instead of a prettier pillow. (Good call, Wendy!)
  2. Purchasing 50 minutes of international cel phone use with Bell.  You’ve heard the stories, and so have I – travelers unwittingly racking up $6,000 bills by using their phones abroad.  Many people advised me to purchase a disposable cel over there, but in the end I opted simply to purchase 50 minutes from Bell – more than enough for the quick calls I made.  It gave me peace of mind for a manageable price.  Yes I kept my data roaming turned off. (Well, mostly, except a couple quick gmail and twitter checks.  Fingers crossed.)
  3. Mama Mia! Selecting the Saturday Matinee instead of evening performance.  This saved us money and kept us free for a night on the town (Covent Garden is a Lot.Of.Fun)

What I wouldn’t trade for the world:

Staying with friends.  I am blessed beyond telling by my treasured friends.  Of course staying with friends has all the pragmatic benefits of no accommodation costs, of personal tours of gorgeous places (like the Ely Cathedral and Polesden Lacey National Trust), and some home-cooked meals.  But far beyond that, for me, it adds the depth and meaning of reconnecting with people you love.  Oh, and, who start the day with coffee in their garden like this:
Breakfast in England at a friend's

We’re nearly at parity again: $100USD will cost you only $103Cdn.

I plan to stock up on etsy purchases. I’m not quite ready to use borderlinx yet – that will happen if our dollar become 10% or so higher than the USD, but we’re not taking the hit we did even a few months back on our exchange rate. I’ll also be looking to buy some stocks in the US.

(Cdn) READERS – are you planning any US purchases? What is your criteria for when to purchase or not re: exchange rate? And do you physically cross-border shop, or use online or …?

So having tweeted and facebook statussed Copenhagen multiple times daily, I was increasingly uncomfortable with the fact that I’m flying to Vancouver for Christmas.   Emissions, much?  (well, 0.7 tonnes to be precise)

Fortunately my friend and former colleague Lucinda pointed out that I could purchase carbon offsets through Offsetters.ca.

They have a handy calculator and payment system – it took me less than 5 minutes to complete – and to my surprise cost only $20Cdn.   The money will be used to install a Windfarm near Marmara, Turkey.

I dearly hope there comes a day when travelling doesn’t pollute, or at least not nearly so much, but until then, I’m happy to cough up a little more dough to deal with it.

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I can list the money books I wholeheartedly endorse on one hand.   A new one just got added to the list, and I’ve got one copy to give away to a reader, or someone you care about, who would benefit from some thinking about money.

The Secret Language of Money is not The Secret redux, its title notwithstanding.  Rather, it is a grounded, thoughtful invitation to explore our relationship with money – the ways we give money meaning that it doesn’t really have, and how that plays out in our lives.

If you’re tempted to believe you and I are rational about money, consider this experiment at Harvard, replicated 600 times:

Groups of economists and financial specialists were set in an auction environment and shown a $20 US Dollar Bill up for auction.  In over 600 “auctions”, not once did that $20 sell for less than $20.  HUH?  Exactly.   Presumably this happened because the prize ceased to be about $20, and became about winning.

That may seem a bit far from our every day money realities.  The book brings it all a lot closer to home.  See if some of these don’t ring true:

  • After a setback or disappointment, do you spend a bit of money to feel better?
  • “I’ve already spent more than I planned to.  I might as well go ahead an buy XYZ too, since I’ve blown my budget anyway.”
  • “I lost money in the stock market, so I won’t invest in the stock market anymore!”

Between my work in my life as a money coach (currently on sabbatical, btw) and my own self-discovery about my relationship with money, I have concluded that unpacking our hidden money drivers is imperative if we want any hope of managing our money effectively.

This book will help you – or a friend – do that.  It could be one of the most helpful Christmas gifts you provide someone.

Interested in a free copy?

Leave a comment describing one example of irrational thinking about money you’ve either engaged in personally, or have observed, and your name will go in the draw!   The draw will be next Sunday, Dec. 13th so the book might even arrive in time for Christmas (if you observe it).

UPDATE: Congrats to Nola who was selected by the Random Generator to win the book. Thanks all for your comments — they could form a blog post in themselves! Nola, I’ve e-mailed you. If you didn’t receive it, pls check your junk box just in case. If still nothing, leave me another comment.
ALSO: Thanks to McGraw Hill for donating the books!

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