A Money Coach in Canada

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I have an earthy question. What etiquette should we follow when we donating our clothes to charitable organizations?

My professional organizing friend, Linda Chu, spent Saturday with me informing me that 75% of my wardrobe needed to go. (I think about money. I think about politics. Fashion and clothing? not so much). Thank goodness for Linda, who tossed and sorted with me for two hours. Then I packed up the piles we’d put on my bed labelled “Be Gone!” but it raised some issues for me.

  1. If it’s no longer ‘good enough’ for me, why is it ‘good enough’ for someone of lower economic status? They were quality pieces, to be sure, but a little outdated (or as Linda pointed out, “ummmm…look at how droopy those pockets are getting, Nancy.” Droopy pockets? Droopy pockets? I never thought to consider such a thing.) The truly awful (the ones even I could recognize were bad) went in the garbage. But still. Even if it is Ann Klein, should someone else be the recipient of droopy pockets or last year’s fashion?
  2. And drycleaning. A lot of the pieces could have used a trip to the drycleaners … but it would have cost about $200 if I’d done them all. They weren’t thaaaaat bad, and I’m assuming (?) that the thrift store will give all their outfits a once-over? Anyone know? What’s the etiquette on this?

pile of clothes

This week I spent some time with clients who are facing their finances straight on. While they are very courageous and ultimately will experience good results, they – like many clients – are experiencing significant anxiety and grasping for solutions.

Seeing the clear picture and experiencing a high level of anxiety can lead to drastic thoughts like:

  • I must sell my house
  • I must move back in with my family
  • I must withdraw from my retirement funds (if they exist)

Feeling like we must do something usually only heightens the intensity and negative emotions about the situation. It squelches our ability to come up with workable solutions.

A much more productive and appropriate response is to ground ourselves in the certainty that we have options.

Then, we need to flesh out what those options are.

There is always a spectrum of possible responses to any given situation. What are the various points on the spectrum and which ones could we live with?

Last November, PF Blogger “Clawing our way to financial health” and I issued an eat-at-home-month challenge. A number of us committed to eating at home for the month, thus resurrecting long lost skills (in my case), rediscovering our kitchens and saving money. Each week we would post about it.

This month of Feb 08, it’s a new, wonderful, “Share the Love” challenge!

The idea is for bloggers, particularly PF bloggers, to donate above and beyond what we regularly give to charity, during February. Westcoast Willie’s charity of choice is sos-children’s villages. You can go to her site, read her comments about the charity and donate via the button.

What am I going to do? Two things.

Next week I’m going to forego Starbucks, and give the $25 savings to sos-children’s village per above.

But I’m also going to do something more. It sounds kinda dumb, but I’m doing it.

I’m going to ensure I have spare change on me, and make a point, every day, of giving away at least a loonie, to someone who asks for my spare change. And I’m going to try (operative word) to discipline myself to do it with an entirely open mind and heart. No judgment. In fact, ideally, an openness to what the other person has to offer. To the Christ within them, to use incarnational-theology language. Who knows who I’ll meet.

I love living well and I love finding great deals with which to do it.

My fave online sources of great-deals intel are:

1. Smart Canucks – quick! check out the today-only 70% off danier leather deal (if you’re ok with leather)

2. redflagdealsRedFlagDeals – 50% off duvets at the Bay, til Jan 31

3. Bargainista – much more personalized than the other two, by a mom of 2

4. 10onwednesday – my buddy Neill goes garage-sale-ing then each wed posts his finds. I got the perfect gift for a friend from him (brand new, really) and my two favourite purses. I’d say I’ve saved $150 easily on these items from him.

and of course there’s always, always Craigslist!craigslist

Over to you – do you have any great stories about money saved by using online resources? Are you comfortable using online coupons to purchase (I’m not – don’t know why – don’t quite believe they’re ‘real’, I guess)?