Monthly Archives

September 2012

From Coast Capital to ING DIRECT: Where My Bank Loyalty Lies

September 27, 2012

In 2006, my boyfriend at the time convinced me to move all of my bank accounts from CIBC to Coast Capital Savings Credit Union. His first selling point was that it would be easier for us to transfer money to each other and then I was (obviously) sold on the idea of no longer having to pay any banking fees. But it didn’t take long for me to see that Coast Capital offered more than free banking.

After a few months of banking with them, I experienced something that never happened in all the years I entered CIBC’s doors: I was greeted by my first name. From that day on, “Hi Caitlin!” was the warm greeting I received every time Starr saw me walk into the James Bay branch in Victoria. She would then ask me how I was doing and whether I was there to see Matt or Erin. Starr knew me and she knew who I dealt with.

Because of this, and all of the great experiences I have had with Matt, Erin, and various tellers, I’ve been heartbroken at the thought of not being able to bank with them in Toronto. Just days before leaving, I went into the James Bay branch and told Starr I was moving. I also told her she’d be missed. “No bank in Toronto is going to greet you by name, Caitlin!” No, they probably aren’t.

And so began my search for a new bank.

With years of free banking under my belt, I was having a hard time stomaching the idea of paying anyone, so I looked for a chequing account with benefits that could potentially outweigh the cost. Scotiabank’s Moneyback Account seemed like it could possibly break even. The Unlimited Chequing Account with CIBC came with a ton of Aeroplan Miles. And RBC and Shoppers Drug Mart had a nice offer too.

But I couldn’t get past the concept of having to pay for something that didn’t need to be paid for. So, I looked at ING DIRECT. I already have a THRiVE Chequing account with ING, as well as a couple of savings accounts, so you would think the answer to my banking dilemma would have been simple. My one hesitation was the fact that there are no actual banking institutions you can visit.

Stepping into the ING DIRECT Café on Yonge Street, earlier this week, took away most of my concerns. The staff were friendly and answered all of my questions, in an environment that made me feel both smart and at ease (unlike most traditional banks). I still have concerns (is it possible to get a bank draft from ING!?) but, overall, I know I will be happy doing my daily banking with them.

It also doesn’t hurt that ING DIRECT does an incredible job of reaching out to people through social media. I’ve had numerous interactions with ING on Twitter but, just days before my move, I was surprised to see this congratulatory tweet with a link to my post. It may not have been in Starr’s voice, but I think I’ve found another bank who will greet my “by name”.

How did you choose who to bank with? What keeps you with them?

How I Moved Across the Country in 3 Weeks

September 24, 2012

There are so many things I want to write here… you can expect a lot of posts over the next few weeks, to make up for my lack of posts all month! But I know I should start by answering some of the FAQ’s people asked before I left.

What are you taking with you?

My fall/winter wardrobe, a few books, and my laptop. And yes, that’s all.

What are you doing with all of your stuff?

First, I downsized. Because I didn’t have a lot of time, I made some executive decisions. If I wouldn’t move it across the country one day, it wasn’t going in a box. I sold shelves, a dresser, and two nightstands, and gave books, candles, etc. to friends. And then I moved everything I had left (bed, couches, TV, boxes) to my parents’ house.

What about your car?

I put storage insurance on my car and am also storing it at my parents’ house. (Thanks, Mom and Dad! xo)

Are you going to bring/sell your car one day?

I have no idea. I love my little Bandit, and would be sad to sell him, but I also know you don’t really need a car in Toronto. And until I get my own place, know what my routine looks like, etc. I can’t make a decision on what to do with it. I’ll probably try to decide in the spring.

Do you have a place to live?

Yes. And, to be honest, this move wouldn’t have been possible without my friend having a fully furnished spare room (and her willingness to let me stay in it).

Are you going to get a place of your own?

Yes. Once I know what my monthly budget will look like, and check out some neighbourhoods, I’ll get a place of my own. If I’ve learned anything in all of this, it’s that I don’t need a lot of space to live in and be happy. So I’ll probably start looking for a bachelor or small one-bedroom apartment, in a few months.

When will you be back to visit?

Next month! I am flying home on Saturday, October 20th to attend my convocation on Tuesday, October 23rd. And then I’ll be back again for a week at Christmas.

This post really only answered the logistics of my move. There is so much more to it, including the financial stuff, so I’ll get to that later this week. For now, just know that I’m unpacked, settled in, and am probably on my way to my first day of work as you read this!

Any more questions? :)

It’s Not Brave If You’re Not Afraid

September 18, 2012

I’m sorry for springing that surprise update on you all and then disappearing! I can’t remember the last time I went so long without checking my blog stats, replying to comments, etc. But for anyone who has ever moved across a province, state, country or further, you will know that the to-do lists are long. And every time you cross one thing off the list, it seems like three more things are added to it.

As I write this, it’s Tuesday night. I just finished packing my bags and am now sipping a steaming hot mug of ginger mint tea. I’m on Day 6 of a round of antibiotics for a sinus infection and my ears are still so plugged that the pharmacist had to give me extra decongestants today. Apparently, I have run myself down. Which should come as no surprise to anyone, especially myself, based on how quickly my life is changing…

Not even three weeks ago, I accepted my new job offer with RateHub.ca, gave notice at my apartment, and told my family I was moving. The next day, I gave notice at work and started to tell friends. A few days after that, I flew to Denver for 5 days, and came home with only 9 days left to pack, move, and say my goodbye’s (or, as I like to call them, see you later’s).

I threw one last party at my apartment (apparently 16+ people can fit into 500 sq. ft.). I moved. I cleaned. I changed all of my addresses and researched health insurance information for cross-country moves. I took the driving insurance off my car, parked it, and bought storage insurance. Oh, and of course I packed (and unpacked and packed again).

As for my finances, my chequing account is actually pretty happy right now. Yes, I’ve had to fork out a couple chunks of change… but I’m also expecting some back. In the end, I expect this move will cost me no more than $1,000. Until I receive my security deposit and a few refund cheques in the mail, I’ll keep my receipts and save that post for another day.

Having had no time to waste, I also have no answer to the question, “does it seem real yet?” That I’m leaving? Not at all. That tomorrow morning I will say one last see you later to my family and board a plane to my new life? It seems impossible. But it’s happening. And now I can only hope I’ve seen everyone I wanted to see, done everything I wanted to do, and have forgotten nothing important.

One thing I keep hearing/reading is how brave this decision is; well, that’s not an adjective I’ve ever used to describe myself. But I do believe there are risks involved. While I am confident in my decision to go, it doesn’t mean I’m not scared to fail. But there are new challenges to take on; new experiences to live. And, as my beautiful friend Clare always quotes, “it’s not brave if you’re not afraid.”

The next time I write, it’ll be from Toronto. See you then and there, friends!