A Money Coach in Canada

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well, that’s a lie. I didn’t just discover secret shopping. But back to that later.

I did just discover that focus groups pay! A friend gave my name to someone arranging focus groups about the Cdn Military so I signed up and booked last Wednesdays evening off. We showed up only to discover it was over booked so we weren’t needed (us Yellowknifers are reliable peeps!) after all which disappointed me. I had my 2ยข worth to say! (yes to military in peace keeping missions. how Canadian of me). Buuuut… my disappointment was swiftly abated when I discovered we were being paid $100 cash despite not being able to participate!

My friend donated hers to Japan Relief. Me — not so altruistic. It’s been a while since I’ve had a manicure so by the time I type tomorrow’s post, I’ll be doing so with lovely french manicured nails.

Easiest.$100.Ever.

And THAT reminded me of a time years ago when I was a secret shopper for Escents. It was a bit harder work, but a lot of fun. I had to go hang around the store, ask for help if it wasn’t offered and ask a few questions about some of the products. And for that, I got a $75 gift certificate towards their products.

Readers, I’m kinda into this now! Anyone know any legit (operative word!) secret shopper companies or survey takers? And I don’t mean the BS ones that really are about selling me stuff. I mean: I evaluate or put thought into something in exchange for cash or product, like the examples above.

Sorry, Secret fans, but I think a lot of The Secret is a form of distorted thinking called Personalization. Personalization is the tendency to relate all events around you back to yourself, taking excessive responsibility for those events. There is a lot of messaging out there that our thoughts can create events. While I’m all for decluttering beliefs that limit us or hold us back, and I’m all for embedding hope and vision and self-confidence into the core of our being, I’m also all for a realistic acknowledgement of our context and its ability to have its way with us from time to time.

Here’s an incisive (and somewhat humourous in a dark sort of way) vid that says it so much better than I can. And I hope I haven’t driven half my readership away.

photo credit: Gee01

2 hours I was in that dentist’s chair.

2 hours of gag reflex, 2 hours of the horrid smell of bone being drilled, 2 hours of fingers and instruments and bloodied suction hoses poking and prodding my mouth.

This post is not for the faint of heart. Friends, my molar extraction was an ORDEAL OF EPIC PROPORTIONS.

My previous Art of Contentment posts have been warm, fuzzy things like pure wool blankets, charming pottery coffee mugs and my little loves (daschunds).

Tonight, all I can focus on is that little bottle of pills by my bedside which numb the hell my mouth just went through.

Thank you Doctors and researchers and — can I go so far as to say pharmaceuticals? — thank you for pills that ease the pain.

And I have to ask, if you’re one of the people who stoically never take pills (I know you’re out there!) I honestly don’t understand — how do you *survive* these kinds of events?

Photo Credit: EssjayNZ

I’ve been a fan of fleuvog shoes for years. This was cemented when I walked into their gastown store which had just opened about four years ago. I would always go into new shops and ask the managers to please treat the marginalized folks who call the area home kindly.

The manager said not only “of course” but that John (Fleuvog) hired a street guy to wash the windows whenever, and only if, he was up for it. John even outfitted him with the clothing and equipment he’d need. I thought that was fantastic. No judgment. No “be here every day at 7:30am or you’re fired”. Just, “I need my windows washed periodically. If you show up, I’ll pay you to do it.” Sweet.

Here’s an interesting vid from design to completion of a Fleuclog being made. All natural materials. Handmade.

My World Vision child’s progress reports

My investment statements

My monthly strata meeting minutes

My bank statements

All these and more I want to keep for a few years. But I’m so not a filing cabinet with files person. That’s just a lot of real estate and doesn’t fit my digital understanding of the world.

Staples gave me a new fetish that serves me well: 13-pocket accordian files. These aren’t just the meh brown ones any more. They come in all kinds of nice looks. I choose ones which are partly transparent with distinctive coloured trim.

I have one for each year which then contains all the statements mentioned above in its appropriate section, clearly labelled (handwritten. I’m not THAT much of a keener).

This accomplishes a couple key things for me.

1. Whenever one of the statements comes in I know exactly where to put it. No more mental friction trying to figure out where to put it.
2. Whenever I need something I know where to get it.

In addition to those key functions, I also find them aesthetically pleasing. They are “lite”. They exude “organized” without exuding “office”. And they take up just a discreet bit of shelf space.

So. How to declutter your finances? Try that system for yourself if you don’t currently have a place for your statements.

Photo Credit: Kasaa