A Money Coach in Canada

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You don’t know Saltspring Island til you’ve hauled your you-know-what and your tent and your sleeping bag and your cooking utensils up the hills to Ruckles park.  I think that’s what it was called.  I was too done-in to commit it to memory.  But after recovering from the work-out trauma the weekend was sure fun — tooling around everywhere.

It must have been fun because a few years later I did it again.   I joined my uber-fit and athletic (my antithesis) roommate and her uber-fit and athletic friends for a cycling weekend on the Kettle Valley Railway tour.  Over abandoned train trestles over rushing rivers and right.along.cliffs we went, and up and down the mountains.  And up and down mountains.  And …. anyway, it was spectacular, and I didn’t slow down the pack to the extent that we had to cut it short or anything.  If anyone has done it recently: Is that kinda crazy cowboy still living on the trail?  Who lives in as rustic and cowboy-ish a cabin as can be imagined?

I can’t imagine I’ll be doing those kinds of grinds anytime soon, unlike my pal Doug who, for his retirement, decided to pretty much cycle around the world.   <  beats me  >  .

But these?  These I’d consider.  And what’s not to love – budget friendly, eco-friendly, and you get way more in touch with the area than zipping by in the car, non?

Cycle around London via Barclay’s Bikes I saw a bunch of those bikes when I was there and the looked in great condition.

6-day tour of Green Gables land (PEI).  Someone who did it said the food is incredible as well.

Touring the backroads of Ireland looks lovely, and I think the hills aren’t toooo steep, are they?

Anyone out there done a bit of tourism via a bicycle?  Where?  Worth it?

Photo Credit:  sludgeulper

If you can believe it, in my 20s I scorned, yes I scorned, discount stores. < shakes head >

Now I <3 the thrill of obtaining quality at below-below-below regular prices.

I do believe I made my frugal steal of the year today. Ever heard of T K Max? It seems to be the UK answer to Winners.

And there, quietly piled amongst the clutter of so-so stuff were some gleaming Le Crueset items. I nearly quivered with excitement. Le Crueset has been on my wish list for quite some time as I’m seriously undersupplied in the kitchen front but I hadn’t been able to justify the price.

See the items above? I went home with them! I could tell I was getting a good deal on them but I wanted to know how good of a deal. So when I returned home I sussed out Amazon’s best prices, itself a serious discount. Here’s the best Amazon could do for me:

  • 1 pie plate (kiwi colour matches my kitchen!) $34.95
  • 2 ramekins $24.00
  • 1 medium rectangular baking dish $24.95
  • 1 cute oval au gratin dish $10.00
  • 1 petite round covered casserole $20.00

Total Amazon’s best: $112.95

My price? £36, which converts to — wait for it — $55.15

My savings: $57.80 More than 1/2 the Amazon price (just in case that wasn’t apparent).

See what I mean? Squeeee! And are these pieces gorgeous, or are they gorgeous?

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 2¢ 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.


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.


For a time as a kid, our family had barely middle class income. Oh, we never went without shoes or anything, but things were tight.

During those difficult few years, there were a sprinkling of glorious moments when something so wonderful happened it felt like a miracle. One occurred when I was in grade 2. I’d just learned how to tell time and I wanted a watch for Christmas. Desperately. But I didn’t expect one, that’s for sure.

On Christmas Eve (we followed the northern European tradition of opening presents Christmas Eve), there was a special box for me. It was an unforgettable moment, unwrapping that gift. Not only did that box contain a watch, but it had six different coloured straps which could be interchanged, and three different casings which could be interchanged. The permutations and combinations were infinite to my 7 year old mind. Not only did I receive a beautiful watch, I received an infinite number of watches!

And I wore a new one every week for that year, and I bet the year after that, and the year after that.

Anyway, that’s one of my most magical, glorious moments of Christmas that I can recall.

How ’bout you? Did you have any particularly thrilling gift-moments that you can recall?

’cause the VP of Afghanistan travels with….

“Suspicions of corruption in the Afghan government: When Afghanistan’s vice president visited the United Arab Emirates last year, local authorities working with the Drug Enforcement Administration discovered that he was carrying $52 million in cash. With wry understatement, a cable from the American Embassy in Kabul called the money “a significant amount” that the official, Ahmed Zia Massoud, “was ultimately allowed to keep without revealing the money’s origin or destination.” (Mr. Massoud denies taking any money out of Afghanistan.)”

Full article on the New York Times

Personally, I usually carry about $20 for domestic travel, maybe $100 international.   I suddenly feel inadequate.

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