Category: Money

The summer of 2017 is now officially behind us. If you lived on the west coast of Canada, it was a scorcher with little in the way of pleasant weather. In a word? It was hot, hot, hot.

It was not really all that ideal on the East Coast either. The summer there was often unseasonably cold and you quickly learned to keep an umbrella with you at all times because a rain shower could break out at any moment.

So while the coming of Fall means that 2017 is approaching its end, there is still much to enjoy because Fall has its charms no matter where in Canada you call your home.

The beauty of Canadian autumn is known around the world. Those lush green leaves gradually give way to a rainbow of colours that is so beautiful, it seems a shame to rake them up from your lawn. If you like to go for long walks, the Mother Nature has plenty of lovely sites in store for you to go along with the exercise.

Fall is also a great time to be a kid. Who did not enjoy diving into large piles of leaves? You could also use an iron and wax paper to preserve your favourite leaves for years to come.

Perhaps the greatest gift that Fall has to offer is a more even weather forecast. No extremes of heat and cold, and no oppressive humidity to suck the life out of you while you go about your daily tasks. It is nice, moderate, room temperature level environments with the occasional nice cool breeze.

Outside of Thanksgiving and Halloween, Fall probably does not get as much love as it deserves. But it is a really wonderful time of year, no matter what your age.


Can Money Buy Happiness? That seems to be an age old question, but one that does not have a definitive answer. Of course, no two people’s lives are the same, and there is no universal idea of just what signifies happiness.

However, money has its appeals and people have done all manner of nefarious things over the ages in pursuit of it. We are certainly in that sort of era right now, where the wealthiest percentage of the population continually bends the laws so that their share of the pot increases, while everyone else’s goes down. That raises the question: just how much money do you need to be happy? Isn’t being a millionaire more than enough? How about a billionaire? There never seems to be a limit for people when it comes to money: they just want more. And more and more and more.

That would seem to indicate that money does indeed buy happiness. However, there also seem to be plenty of unhappy rich people per capita. At the very least, that indicates that there is no set amount for happiness.

However, that also doesn’t account for stories you hear about people who have very little, but also state that they are happy with their lot in life. The difference between these individuals, and an increasing amount of the human race, is that they have enough to fulfill their basic needs. When that is not the case, money becomes a curse: something you desperately need, even when life has you at a point where acquiring it is very difficult. Generations of families find themselves in seemingly endless cycles of poverty brought about, in most cases, by no true fault of their own.

So, I don’t have an answer for the question of money and happiness. I do know, however, that each person should be allowed to have enough of it to get the basic necessities. That will at least start them on the road to happiness.



Do you and your significant other tend to fight a lot about money? You’re not alone. Finances can be a source of significant stress in a relationship of any age. Have your disagreements reached the point where they are causing serious damage? More than one couple have called it quits when they reach an impasse over disagreements like bills and savings. This is the type of problem that should not be allowed to grow.

If you find yourself in this unfortunate situation, here are some suggestions on how you can smooth things out:

Bring in a Third Party

It’s traditional when two opposing sides reach an impasse for a third party to come in and smooth things out. For this type of conflict, you can enlist a professional financial counselor or even just a friend or relative that you both agree upon. A new perspective from someone who has nothing to gain or lose from the situation can make a huge difference.

Spending Limits

If the problem is that one or both of your are spending too much money, establish monthly limits. Also, come up with a way to enforce them. If it means terminating a credit card or line of credit, then take that step.

Create Realistic Goals

If the two of you barely make your bills each month, then owning your own home in five years is not a realistic goal. Draw up a list of goals and your financial ability to meet them. Ones that are not realistically attainable should be crossed off for now.

Keep No Secrets

Trust is a key aspect of any relationship and while white lies are occasionally fine (and even necessary), not being honest about money is a recipe for disaster. You both need to be transparent about your spending habits and debt levels.


How we handle money can be one of the most important responsibilities of adulthood. You have probably heard about how teens and people in their early 20s often run into financial trouble because they don’t seem to understand the consequences of incurring great amounts of debt. While some debt may be unavoidable, having multiple credit cards and lines of credit, but with no way to pay them off, is simply foolish and irresponsible.

Thus, it cannot hurt to start educating children early on about the responsibilities that come with money. If you think the time has come to take that step, here are some tips:

How Money is Earned

Some kids might think that all you have to do is walk into a bank or use an instant teller, and presto, you have money. Impress upon them that you have to do something to earn that money and that it is not just there for the taking. Instead of just giving them an allowance, have them do chores as a way of earning their money.

Budgeting and Savings

That income earned from chores can also teach kids the basics of budgeting. For example, if they want to buy the latest Lego Batman toy, sit down with them and explain the cost. It will take x number of hours of chores for them to have enough to buy the toy or it will take xx amount of time if they don’t save all of their chores money each week. If your child is really set on buying something, they will be motivated to put the money away. You can also teach them to put money aside for toys or other things coming out later in the year.


You can also teach kids that prices often change. If they don’t mind waiting a few months for that new TRANSFORMERS DVD, it will be cheaper that the initial price. Having money saved also means that the child can take advantage of any sales he or she happens to run across.



The other day, I was sitting around thinking about the various issues I was dealing with in my life. It seemed like the money was at the root of all of them. If I had more money, I could put my mother in a better nursing home. If I had more money, I wouldn’t be driving a 15-year old car. If I had more money, I would get a better night’s sleep because I wouldn’t be worrying so much about the future. And on and on and on.

The old saying “money doesn’t buy happiness” did not seem to apply in any respect to my life. If I was offered the chance to be rich, I would say yes at a moment’s notice. Rich people claim to be unhappy, but I don’t see how that could be possible.

I realize that this is not a healthy or realistic state of mind. Happiness is a very subjective thing that is not the same for anyone. Some people buy things because it makes them feel important which, in turn, makes them happy.

Others reside at the opposite end of the scale, intensely saving out of fear of ever being poor. They do this to the point where that frugal behavior robs them of important life experiences and can even cost them friendships.

A third personality type is the person who doesn’t pay their bills. It might be laziness, some type of avoidance behavior, or another, inexplicable personality quirk.

Mismanagement of money is a leading cause of relationship failure, not to mention individual unhappiness.

Do you find yourself under one of the above categories? My advice would be to talk to a therapist. They will help you to identify both the areas you need to address and why they might be a problem for you.


Canadian Tire is a local institution and many Canadians go there weekly for all manner of things. In contrast to the name, it is really a hardware store on steroids and that depth of offerings has only increased over the years.

One of the company’s best known gimmicks is its Canadian Tire Money. Any time you make a purchase in the store or gas bar, you receive a percentage of it back in Canadian Tire Money, currency that can be used in any of their stores. Granted, it’s a very small percentage, but it does add up and can take the edge off a major purchase.

Over the years, Canadian Tire Money has come to be affectionately known as the country’s second currency, so in keeping with Canada 150, it had to be recognized for the country’s big birthday party. In keeping with that coast-to-coast celebration, the company’s 10 cent bill has received a very patriotic (and downright cool looking) redesign. It’s available for a limited time, so collectors of offbeat currency should keep their eye out for the crimson bills while they’re still circulating. In keeping with the country’s approach to its “legitimate” money, they even contain a watermark and gold foil.

Have you ever collected Canadian Tire Money or has it just taken up space in your wallet? I tend to fall into the latter category, though as a child with little cash to my name, they were very handy when it came to making my bike supplies more affordable.

At any rate, this is a wonderful promotional idea, so hat’s off to the company’s publicity department and the design firm that came up with the bills. These will be remembered fondly amidst the barrage of collectibles that resulted from Canada 150.

By Shuki (Own work) [CC BY 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons