Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Personal Finance: American Tribute Edition

Yesterday I half-watched the Suze Orman podcast where Suze and Oprah field Skype questions (free on iTunes). Although it was, well, slightly culty (I'm afraid to look into the eyes of the Suze! I feel like she will steal my financial soul, a little), it was better than the book.

My favorite part was when she told viewers not to be desperate, or at least not to appear it. It's a little law-of-attraction (a horrible philosophy, having been to a lot of countries in the world where Thinking Happy Thoughts will not attract a Mercedes and working in shelters where I don't believe people were ruminating on abuse when it started), but also a reminder: KEEP YOUR CHIN UP!


I'm heading to the USA next weekend! Things I love about visiting America:

(1) Cheap Duty-Free Alcohol
(2) Greater clothing selection & sales
(3) Inexpensive groceries

Things I don't:

(1) The beer, no matter how cheap (sorry!)
(2) The exchange rate
(3) American-cut clothing (i.e. Gap Thighs)

I like hitting duty free a couple times per year to stock my bar or to have bottles on hand for hostess presents. I don't think most Americans realize how heavily taxed Canadian alcohol is: even non-duty free American liquor is ridiculously cheap to us (this may also explain why so many Canadians have at least one passport... we must flee the country to really be able to enjoy most vices these days). So that's a definite purchase.

The rest I'm having trouble with. What's my discretionary threshold?

Do I want to budget for a suit? I know I'll be working in a city where good women's suiting is hard to find. What if I find the perfect pair of jeans/LBD/white shirt - on sale?

I've considered avoiding shopping altogether.

I don't expect to be as tempted as I would have been last summer, given the exchange rate. Before going, I want to review my closet and assess. It's a lot easier for me to not buy when I can visualize an item I have that will serve the purpose of whatever I'm holding for the next two years.

It's a really interesting time to be visiting the United States, I've spent significant periods of time in the country over the last few years and felt like I had a good sense of the zeitgeist; I want to compare. Although I absolutely hate the airport security, I'm looking forward to the legendary hospitality of Americans and intend to gorge myself on Chipotle and Cinnabon. God Bless America, indeed.

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