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[8 Feb 2016 | No Comment | ]

Within the course of my PhD I have seen the dollar go from just above parity at 1.0297 on September 14, 2012 to a low of 0.6865 USD per CAD on January 19th, 2016 – a 33% decline in value. I’m not sure if it says more about the state of the Canadian economy or just how long I’ve been doing this PhD gig.
The faltering loonie rate has a lot of implications for different Canadians:

The grocery shopper sees higher prices for imported fruits and vegetables – most notably expensive cauliflower.

Life Lessons, Numbers »

[28 Jul 2012 | No Comment | ]

In 2008 I began to receive low interest balance transfer cheques from my credit card companies. At the time I had student debt at a high interest rate, so using them was a no-brainer. The offer was simple too: I would transfer a balance onto my credit card, and for 6 months I would have a low interest loan. No balance transfer fees, no limits, no gimmicks. In hindsight, the timing of these balance transfers were strategic. From 2007-2008 capital markets were experiencing the credit crunch, and …

Numbers »

[30 Jan 2012 | No Comment | ]

Growing up I remember the days when we would get +30 cm of snow overnight in Toronto, as well as the mild winters and its miserable rain. Some memorable winters include December 1999 when I remember waking up to 40 cm of snow, December 2006 when my cousin from the Azores visited during Christmas to witness one of the most mild winters I had seen, and the 2007-2008 winter when Toronto received record snowfall. It may seem like Mother Nature has a way of flipping a coin between winters …

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[21 Jan 2012 | No Comment | ]

When I was living in BC I remember getting an email from Whistler-Blackcomb promoting their EDGE card before the ski season had even begun. It’s almost expected they would send an email to me, as I went the year before, but the unexpected thing about this email was they referenced the La Nina phenomena as reason to expect more-than-average snow fall for the season. I always thought the El Nino/La Nina climate phenomena was unknown to most people, but here was a ski resort trying to profit off …

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[5 Oct 2011 | No Comment | ]

Now that I am a student again I have a compulsive need to print things. A professor sends out class notes in pdf? I need to print it. Solutions to assignments? I need to print it. An email sent out saying this week’s class is cancelled? I need to print it. The digital world only exists to please the senses of the analog world.
I previously owned an inkjet printer from high school through undergrad, but later sold it once I started working full-time at BC Hydro. This time around …

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[1 Jul 2011 | No Comment | ]

Divergence has been the theme of my life since graduating from university in 2009. In a matter of two years, I’ve had classmates secure engineering jobs in AB, ON, and NL. Others took up graduates studies. Some became engaged/married. And finally, some friends have became homeowners.

The spate of adult-like behaviour got me thinking of a timeless question: should I buy or rent?
The common argument I hear for buying a property is that you are wasting your money when you rent. In other words, your monthly …

Numbers »

[28 Feb 2011 | No Comment | ]

Tax time is just around the corner: a time of financial confusion, poorly managed RRSP contributions, and a sense of entitlement to tax refunds. There is no doubt doing taxes can be confusing, especially if you are one to pass all your documents to an accountant, but if you take the effort to complete your own taxes you’ll realize the system is not as mysterious as it seems.

My family has always given their taxes to an accountant – a cost of $40 each. When I became a student at …

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[13 Feb 2011 | No Comment | ]

During a recent coffee break at work, a coworker shared that he bought a box of Oatmeal Crisp with a free Cineplex movie pass. Movie tickets usually go for $12 these days, and this particular cereal box cost $4. Based on those economics you could keep the movie coupon, throw out the cereal, and still save money in the end.

Like any coupon, there are restrictions which were outlined on the side of the cereal box:

Only valid on Sunday – Thursday
Free general admission ticket in February
Free small popcorn or …

Featured, Numbers »

[18 Jan 2011 | No Comment | ]

It’s impossible to be a chemical engineering graduate without:

having worked in Fort McMurray
having thought about working in Fort McMurray
having known someone who worked in Fort McMurray

I’ve had classmates work in Fort McMurray, and they have either hated it or loved it. In Spring 2008, I had an offer to work with Syncrude for my last work term, but I turned it down to try other things. The following academic term, I decided to do one of my geography assignments on Fort McMurray to get to know the place …

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[11 Jan 2011 | No Comment | ]

Everyone has a gym pet peeve.

Grunting weight lifters
People who drench machines in sweat and simply walk away
An expensive gym membership that entitles you to broken antique equipment
The guy that basically doesn’t lift anything and is always going for a drink of water
People who try to pick up at the gym
Imaginary lat syndrome

I have my own pet peeve:People who weigh themselves at the gym

Why is it a pet peeve? Your body weight is constantly …