A Money Coach in Canada

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I’d been trudging Yellowknife streets dejectedly knowing the entire rest of the planet is enjoying pumpkin spice lattes EXCEPT US UP HERE when my blogging buddy posted this homemade option. Suddenly, life is lookin’ up. My weekend project:

Pumpkin Spice Syrup for Pumpkin Spice Lattes – Cook Like a Champion.

Photo Credit: Dalboz17

Easily $2000 those malevolent moths have stolen.

Cashmere robe, $300, multiple holes.

Persian carpet, $3000+, devalued by at least $1K (actually discovered this last winter and fixed, but I guess they migrated! grrrrr)

Favourite and only truly vintage sweater acquired on The Drive, $50 (but value much higher), a chunk taken right out of it.

Cashmere scarf, $150 on 50% off sale, riddled with holes.

Pashmina, a gift, likely $250, pretty much destroyed.

You get the idea!  Yes, there’s more.

NASTY, VICIOUS, WOOL-EATING BUGS! They’re not even the pretty moths.  They’re ugly.

It’s my own fault:  I noticed them in the summer and was too preoccupied to deal with it.   But the 0C weather has arrived and suddenly the full scope of the damage is painfully apparent.

I’ve read the options online for natural moth extinction (lavender, cedar etc.) but if anyone has real-world success stories, I’m listening.

Bummed out in Yellowknife,

Nancy

Photo Credit: Cyanocorax

OK friends,

I asked and you answered!

Top 9 quick, everyday tips to save you money:

#9:  Lose the landline.  Go cel only.  (Yes, I realize Commander Adama would have something to say about that.)

#8:  Use Groupon, already!  (but for heaven’s sake use your bacn e-mail!)

#7:  What.  You’re paying for e-books you download?  That’s so 2010.  Download them from your library instead, for free!

#6:  Spaghetti Jars — use your imaginations.  They could be vases (use a glass cutter to remove the rim), they could hold cotton balls, they could hold candles (fill part way with sand or pretty stones), they could be filled with cookies!  (orrrrrr…. co000okies)

#5  Clothing exchanges.  I haven’t done one in years, but despite being the heaviest person in the room (and I’m not that heavy) I used to walk out of them with at least one smokin’ hot outfit

#4  Geocache as a date instead of going to the movies|parking|popcorn|softdrinks|$$$

#3  Menu plan.  Menu plan.  Menu plan.   Classic and golden and I know when I do it, not only do I save money (proper food instead of last-minute-grabs at Shoppers, yes, it often comes to that for me) but I also find life less stressful when I’m not having to make hasty, pricey choices.   Bonus points for making extra of a meal to have as a late-getting-home-from-work supper.

#2  Coffee here, there, and everywhere as long as they’re made by you in your multiple bodums that you have everywhere you are – work, home, and yours truly has been known to take them to the library (shhhhh!)

#1  Plug in to regular, local deals like this.

photo credit:  Paul Swansen

Ever raise an eyebrow over real estate commissions?

In BC, the unofficial-but-standard percentage is 7% on the first $100,000 (ie. $7,000) plus 3.25% on the rest of the home, according to Barry Allen, a founder of ClickRealty.ca

So for your very basic Vancouver condo, priced at, say, $300,000, you’d pay:

$100,000 x 7%                 $7000

+

$200,000 x 3.25%          $6,500

Total Commission:        $13,500

One option is to go the For Sale By Owner route, but that has a few drawbacks.  For one thing, the seller benefits but not the buyer (unless the seller drops the price to factor that in).  For another thing, realtors may not show the home to prospective buyers if the realtor isn’t going to get anything for their effort.

A handful of folks thought they could do better than that.

They formed a new real estate company that takes full advantage of the internet.  By scaling back on old-style marketing (such as adverts on bus stops) and creating an efficient behind-the-scenes database engine, they can provide the same service as most real estate agencies at a lower cost.

And they pass that savings on to the buyer and/or the seller.  Specifically, they return 50% of their commission to their client.

Here’s how it works.

Say I wanted to sell my $300,000 (ish) condo (I don’t for the record!  Never will! But I’m always looking for good, long-term tenants …)  ANYWAY,  say I was looking to sell.

If I list it with ClickRealty.ca, they will provide me all the usual supports – help me price it correctly (the #1 value realtors provide sellers), send a photographer over, recommend a paint job or what have you, and then list it for me.   From then on, the process is essentially the same as traditional agencies (less an open house, unless that’s genuinely in my best interest).

But once it’s sold, they would return 50% of what they, as a seller’s agent , would usually keep.   In my case, that would be $3,375.  They keep the other 50% of the seller’s portion and the buyer’s agent gets their full portion.

Say I wanted to buy a $800,000 home in Strathcona (some day I will).

Click’s site provides a beautiful window (it is very nicely done, including one of the most user-friendly mortgage calculators I’ve seen) to all the same properties as I would see anywhere else.  Barry points out that it’s faster than usual, as they don’t hold back any MLS listings for a realtors-only peek, apparently a common practice.  They would then provide the typical services, such as arranging for me to go check out the place, helping me to compare it to others).

The total commission on this home would be $29,750.  Half goes to the buyer’s agent and half goes to the seller’s agent.  In this case, Click is the buyer’s agent so their portion would be $14,875.   They give me back 50% of their portion, that is, $7,437.50   Hello trip to Restoration Hardware!

Currently, ClickRealty is available in BC’s lower mainland.  It will soon expand to the Calgary and Toronto markets.

I think it’s a bit of a game-changer, assuming it rocks the online space as a core piece of the process (thus enabling their lowered commissions).

Bonus:  Live in the lower mainland?  Tweet a link to this post and cc.  @clickrealty and on Wed., Sept 7,  there will be a draw for a basket from Liberty Wine Merchants.

Disclosure:  I was invited to do this review but it is not a paid review.  I am always interested in ways for folks to be “frugal” and think this new biz is worth consideration when buying or selling.

Any questions?  Leave them in a comment below and I’ll pass them along to the business owners for response!

Photo credit:  Imuttoo

Are you overlooking hundreds of dollars worth of resources because you think Employee Assistance Programs are just for folks with pretty severe issues like drug abuse or alcoholism?

You should think again. Once I got past that idea, and was convinced of the confidentiality (and the companies who offer EAP know their life depends upon it), I haven’t hesitated to access EAP for all manner of resources.

Over the years I have received, at no cost to myself:

  • 10 weeks of nutritional advice, one-on-one, tailored just for me.
  • 45 minutes of free legal advice.
  • Career coaching that included some eye-popping discoveries and prevented me from wasting time on applying for a couple jobs I would have sucked at (I discovered).
  • And yes, several sessions of the more typical counselling, when I was going through a really rough time a while ago.
  • In every instance, the professional I worked with was absolutely excellent.

    Are you overlooking your EAP plan? I totally recommend finding out what is available to you and accessing it. Why walk away from no-charge-to-you resources which could prove invaluable to you?

    Photo Credit: D Sharon Pruitt

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