Neat comparison table: http://www.rewardscanada.ca/cccompare.html

It doesn’t list all the rewards cards out there. We’re using a Credit Union Mastercard http://www.cuets.ca/products/index.html and it’s been really great. We charge all expenses imaginable to it, including business, even though it’s in my personal name. The annual fee is $24, you get travel cancellation insurance and you earn a point for every dollar you spend. The free card offers the same but you get 1 point for every 2 dollars. The points never expire.

I used to spend our Rewards Points on junk, but I should’ve been more patient: every 10,000 buys you $100 in travel money and it’s a MUCH better deal than any products they have in their catalog.

The year before we took a trip to Montreal for 3 days that was nearly free thanks to $350 of MasterCard travel rewards that paid for our hotel stay. This obviously offsets the $24 annual fee. This year we’ve again accumulated about $300 in travel money and since we’re planning a trip to the Caribbean later this year, we’ll see if we can use this free money to our advantage (to spend the travel rewards you have to book with their travel agent.) While they offer comparable rates and service, I’ll be comparing the cost to online booking sites. My favorite are TraveloCity.ca, LMDeals.com and Nolitours.com. Expedia.ca is also alright.

I registered us with Business Access Canada as a supplier today. From the list of their “Commodities”, looks like they have the need for everyTHING and everyONE at some point. Government subcontracts range from pharmaceutical research, water samples, audit consulting to prepared salads, sunscreen and land mines production design!

If you own a Canadian business and are registered for GST, you can register as a supplier and I suggest that you do. It’s free and may open up some nice opportunities.

We’ve worked with the provincial government before. The assignments we got were high-pressure with short deadlines but people were nice and compensation – in line with our business clients.

Here’s the web site: http://contractscanada.gc.ca/en/index.html

Ontario legal work week is 48 hours long. The maximum is 60 hours – if you sign an agreement to that effect. 60 hours must be spread out as:

  • 12 hours / 5 days, or
  • 10 hours / 6 days

A friend of mine – at a creative, white-collar job – routinely works 80-85 hours per week with no overtime pay of any kind (he’s on salary). I looked this up for him, not that he’s going to do anything about it. It can be hard to stand up for yourself in a workplace, especially if you like the people you work with and your boss.

I’m not sure how this kind of abuse is prevalent in other industries, but it seems to be the norm for a lot of creative firms in Toronto. Not just crazy hours, but also no extra pay?! Know your rights, and talk to your boss about it!

Why do so many people feel the need to write about money anonymously? Why can’t we share it with people close to us? I can’t even talk to my Mom about it. I mean, of course I do talk to her about money, but in general terms as in “We’re having a great month” or “We’re not saving enough”. I don’t even feel comfortable disclosing our Bottom Line to her, or to anyone for that matter. The only person I have ever said the numbers out loud is my husband. Maybe that’s the way it should be, but maybe not.

Money has become a very complex issue – it’s a lot more than you have it or you don’t have it. Modern governments, tax and legal systems have created so many schemes for both creating and losing wealth, not to mention every business out there is out to get your money. So a network of close friends with whom we could share our financial strategies would be more valuable now than ever. However, people are becoming more and more alone, more private. We all end having to study money matters on our own, or by making mistakes.

In a way, I think this may be of the reasons why “the rich become richer”. People who are wealthy are a lot more willing to discuss money issues and tricks, to share and to learn from each other. Having money is not considered shameful, so even naming actual numbers is easier if those numbers are big. People who have less though – and this group is growing, it seems – may be ashamed to admit that they don’t have as much, and cover their finances with a veil of mystery.

I’m glad that at least anonymous public forums exist where money can be discussed freely. Some day I may even be brave enough to post our Bottom Line for the whole anonymous world to see 🙂

I meandered off into a different direction, but originally his post was prompted by The Budgeting Babe.

I come from a culture with pagan roots. Back home, “in the old country” as they say here in Canada, on any given day you are bound to encounter several superstitions. Most people believe in them, and there’s always someone nearby to “guide” you if you’re not sure what your next step should be. Superstitions are our rules to live by 🙂 I find them very comforting in a weird way, especially when things are supposed to go in my favor, according to this or that rule. Rationality aside, there are some things I just follow blindly. Others I may step over, but I won’t feel comfortable doing it. I thought I’d share a few superstitions related to money. There are basically things you do to not lose the money, and things you do to get more money.

  • Keep your paper money separate from all other junk in your wallet. I also like to keep the bills straightened out and flat. Show your money some respect and it’ll respect you back sort of thing.
  • Don’t take the garbage out after the sunset. I follow this one religiously. I pretty much admitted I’m irrational, how can I write about money and be taken seriously after this?
  • Cover the toilet seat. I don’t mean put the ring down, cover it with the lid.
  • Never allow your toilet or faucets to drip, fix them up ASAP. Even according to feng shui, the leaks signify your money “leaking away”.
  • If your left hand (palm only) is itching, it means you’ll be receving money very soon. No joke, 2-3 days before we get checks in the mail, I get this itch. Maybe I’m very fine-tuned in a way, I mean I have a life full of superstitious experience 🙂
  • I time all our big purchases with the Moon phases. We never buy anything “big” during the 4th week of the lunar cycle. This is more like “old wisdom” than a superstition to me. I use the lunar cycles for lots of things. If the Moon affects the oceans, don’t you think it has some affect on us, tiny humans? For the same reasons, I wouldn’t make any investment decisions in the 4th week. Handy Phases of the Moon page.
  • I keep a “piggy bank” and never count the money in it. I believe the English may have a similar superstition or a saying (something about counting fish?)

The list is by no means complete, but there are some things I won’t admit to doing even anonymously. They will remain my private embarassment, my “dark money magic”.