Cleaning Challenge

When was the last time you sifted through your clothes to give away the pieces you don’t wear any more? How many of you have a bookshelf of novels that you don’t read anymore? There are treasures around your house that Wsomeone would find very valuable that you didn’t even realize were there! With spring just around the corner, it is just about time for spring cleaning…

So Count on Me proposes a challenge for all of you! Look through your clothes, books, accessories, anything that you don’t use anymore, and sell them! You’d be surprised to see how much money you can make!

 [CoM] Cleaning challenge

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

The day has finally arrived… Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone! We hope that our list of our Top 5 Valentine’s Day Ideas made finding something to do for today easier!

Here are some honourable mentions:

  1. Make a card. You can be as creative as possible.
  2. Look on Groupon. Groupon is a great way to save and find deals around the city. There are many participants such as restaurants, spas, outdoor activity locations, and much more.
  3. Go bowling! This could be a great group activity.
  4. Paint in a studio. You can express yourself creatively and take something away from the date. http://ow.ly/J4f3b
  5. Go get Ice Cream or Frozen Yogurt. This is a classic, cute date.  

To find more Groupon’s: http://ow.ly/J4eZo

choo choo com

Valentine’s Day Idea #5

When was the last time you got to sit outside and enjoy the sun? Well, you’re in for a treat because Valentine’s Day is going to be sunny here in Vancouver.. And there’s no better way to spend a sunny day than having a picnic! Don’t deny it, you’ve always wanted to be part of a legitimate picnic. To make it even more personal, try baking a little treat (cookies, cupcakes, etc…), or making/buying your date’s favourite food. This will be an unforgettable, “dreams-come-true”, kind of date.

Picnic location references:

Yelp: http://ow.ly/IZbpH

The Province: http://ow.ly/IZbt6

Vancouver Coast & Mountains Blog: http://ow.ly/IZbEf

Estimated price range: $30-$40 date.

picnic com

Valentine’s Day Idea #4

If you’re looking for a truly out-of-the-box, exciting Valentine’s Date idea, try going paint balling! This may seem very unordinary, but this creativity may just be what your date is looking for. If you both enjoy an active lifestyle and both have a competitive nature, this is the perfect date for you. Normally, paint balling is quite expensive, but Count On Me has found a great deal for you. Work together to win and really exercise your teamwork skills!

Estimated price range: $19 per person. $45 date.

paintball com2

Information on the Paintball location: http://ow.ly/ITEDJ

To buy the great Groupon deal: http://ow.ly/ITF3i

Valentine’s Day Idea #3

Want to show your funny side? Take your date out to watch the TheatreSports Improv Show on Granville Island! The “St. Valentine’s Day Massacre” is a show where the entertainers create different scenes on the spot, at the request of the audience. It’s a guaranteed fun, light-hearted date, with a lot of laughing. Also, when the show is over, you can sight see and take a stroll around the beautiful island.

Ticket prices:

$8.75 for students

$11.75 for adults

Estimated price range: $20-$30 date.

improv com

Here’s the link for more information on the Vancouver TheatreSports League and their events: http://ow.ly/IRfsn

You can buy tickets on the following link http://ow.ly/IRf6L

Valentine’s Day Idea #2

If you’re looking for an affordable gift, Count On Me has the perfect idea for you! Fill a mason jar with little notes of things you love about your significant other. This is a really simple, but incredibly thoughtful present. Make sure to not be too generic though; write things that are specific to him/her. For example, instead of saying “you’re really funny”, write down a little quirk about them that always makes you laugh. This shows that you’re really paying attention, and that you care for them. Really try to show your personality.

Supplies needed:

  • Mason Jar
  • Paper
  • Pen
  • Things to decorate the Jar (ribbons, stickers, etc..) .. Be creative!

Estimated price range: $0- $10.

mason jar com

Valentine’s Day Idea #1:

February 14th is the last day of the Vancouver Hot Chocolate Festival! Explore various, unique Café’s around the Lower Mainland that custom make fun, new flavours of hot chocolate specifically for this festival. These flavours range from classic desserts like the “Nanaimo Bar” to a beer flavoured drink. So get comfortable and cozy up to a nice hot mug with your date! This will also allow for great conversation and who knows, maybe you’ll find your new special place. There’s just something about hot chocolate that puts people in a state of ease.

Estimated Price Range: $4-6 per glass of hot chocolate. $20 date.

For more information, check out City Food’s website below.

http://www.cityfood.com/hotchocolate/

One of the featured drinks at the 2014 Hot Chocolate Festival
One of the featured drinks at the 2014 Hot Chocolate Festival

Apply to Be Our Next Program Manager!

COM Poster

Are you looking for a way to positively impact the community and gain team-building and leadership skills? Are you passionate about youth empowerment and interested in working with other enthusiastic individuals? If you said “yes” to any of these questions, then there is a perfect opportunity for you. We are currently recruiting for the next Program Manager for the Count on Me Program! To apply, there are two options:

1) Apply online by clicking on this link:  http://goo.gl/mXZAC

OR

2) Complete this application and email it in PDF format to Becky at countonme@enactussfu.ca

The deadline to apply is Wednesday May 29th 11:59PM.

You can also visit http://enactussfu.com/recruitment/ to view a detailed job description.

Thank you and good luck!

TFSA or RRSP?

Whether you are saving for your dream car, a new home, or retirement, it can be quite confusing with so many investment options and advantages available. Here, we’ll focus on the Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) and the registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP), so you can decide which works best for you and your needs.

What is the TFSA?

The TFSA provides Canadians with the opportunity to have tax-free investment income. Canadians aged 18 and over can contribute, with a yearly maximum of $5500 (as on January 2013). TFSA contributions are not tax-deductible. However, you won’t have to pay tax on the contributions and any earnings you gain from the investment.

What is the RRSP?

An RRSP also allows you to save on a tax-sheltered basis up until you are aged 71. Similar to the TFSA, it can contain a variety of investments such as savings deposits, guaranteed investment certificates (GIC’s), mutual funds, and more. However, with the RRSP, contributions are tax-deductible, which is an advantage that the TFSA does not have.

So which do I choose?

First, ask yourself these questions:

Am I saving for the long-term or short-term?

An RRSP is generally more suitable for retirement due to the higher contribution limit. You can only put $5,500/year into a TFSA, but the RRSP limit is 18 per cent of the previous year’s earned income to a maximum of $23,820. Unused contribution room can be carried forward for both the TFSA and RRSP, but RRSP withdrawals are likely to be made when you are no longer working and therefore likely to be taxed at a lower rate.

The TFSA can accommodate short-term goals more easily, since any amount can be withdrawn, tax-free, at any time. In addition, you can re-contribute the full amount of your withdrawal later on. It is also the best choice for an emergency fund. If something unexpected happens, such as a job loss, you’ll want to be able to get at your money quickly, without having to worry about taxes.

Do I want to maintain my eligibility for income-tested federal government benefits?

Because TFSA withdrawals do not count as income, they don’t affect your eligibility for income-tested federal government benefits such as the Canada Child Tax Benefit, GST credit, Employment Insurance benefits and others. RRSP withdrawals count as income, so, in this case, the TFSA may be the better option.

Although there are other factors to consider, note that the main difference between the TFSA and RRSP is the timing of the taxes. You may want to visit your financial advisor to get the most benefit from your investments. Perhaps consider whether you can invest in both to maximize your tax savings.

Good luck and happy saving!

 —

References:

www.cra-arc.gc.c

http://www.tfsa.gc.ca/tfsarrsp-eng.html

http://www.thestar.com/business/personal_finance/2013/02/17/tfsa_or_rrsp_try_these_five_tests.html

Credit Reports

Taxes are almost due, so why not take the extra time to look through your credit report and see how well your credit is? To find your credit report, you can choose between the two credit bureaus of Canada: Equifax and Transunion.

Credit bureaus summarize your credit using a report. The credit report is one of the main things lenders look at when they decide whether or not to give you credit or increase your loan. A credit report contains your history of credit use, your credit ratings, and your credit score. An easy way to think about how these relate to each other is to think of the credit bureau as a school. The credit report is your report card. The credit rating is your grades in each subject. The credit score is your overall grade point average.

I have my credit report, but how do I read it?

Well, all account ratings contain a number and a letter. The letter is an R, I, or O. This refers to the type of credit you have.

R” stands for revolving credit.  This type of credit that does not have a fixed number of payments. An example would be your credit card.

I” is for installment credit. It’s the type of credit that has a fixed number of payments, like a mortgage, student loans or car payments.

O” stands for open credit. This is the kind of credit where you get a monthly bill in the mail and you are expected to pay it in full. Examples include a phone bill or utility bill.

Each credit account also gets a number rating on a scale between 0 and 9. R1 means you pay your bills on time according to the terms of your credit agreement. R9 means you have not paid your bills as agreed and the account has been placed for collection. The lower the number the better! It’s also the only time where getting a low number on your report is ideal.

So how well will people view your report? Are you creditworthy?

References: 

http://www.theccfl.ca

http://www.123creditfacts.com