Thank you so much Robins ... comforting thoughts indeed
I try my best..
Been away for a few days and oh so busy as heck. People, whoever reads this and is planning to come and settle in, I personally am taking care of stuff that requires 4 hands, 6 heads and pairs of eyes, ears and a few mouths, a car, driver and all but all on my own and so far so good, so if you ever start to doubt about yourself and if you are doing the right thing, I am doing it already and it is all fine, so you will be fine too, and if you are with family and have close relatives and/or family here too or have secured a job, then take it easy and be good.
Normally one should reckon on 2 months to really start settling in, but in my case I am doing it all in just 5 weeks! Anyway ...
I want to share this one with you for sure:
Shopping / Grocery:
I found out that Shopper Drug Mart has started to compete with many larger super markets and so they also sell Milk, Eggs, Cereals, Juices etc and at a lower price. So, check at the closest Shoppers Drug Mart where you live and see if they do sell these and you bet they are cheaper.
Apply for a Shoppers Drug Mart customer card, called: Optimum card. Get yourself one and start earning points. Even if you do small grocery and/or buy toothpaste, tissue's etc, you shall easily earn points and from time to time, get items for free or with discount. OK?
Secondly, IF you want to buy good stuff, at reasonable prices for your home, just go to Home Outfitters, they have loads of high quality stuff, way cheaper than at The Bay (in case you buy some stuff there) and offering great space efficient options for in rather small condo's in here. You apply for a Hudson Company Rewards card and also earn points at either The Bay, Zellers and/or Home Outfitters.
If you 've bought anything at Zellers or The Bay, keep the receipts and go to Guest Services of any Bay close to you and ask them to register the points on your card. This helps really well to use special offers and discounts when needing to purchase new stuff or if you shop online.
VERY imporant for those of you who struggle with a bank account.
I was told to choose for CIBC last year when I did my first landing by a few local people who I met and became friend with and so I did.
Re-entering Canada a few weeks ago, I went to CIBC bank branch close to my hotel and opened a Chequing account and had them register my SIN into the account which is necessary and a few days later, when I 'd an address, went back to provide them with my new address etc.
All well but they didn't tell me that I better not choose for Paperless option, why? I had a paperless savings account last year given the fact I was not here and didn't want my family whose address I had used to open the account, see my bank account statements. OK? wise choice and sure a good advice to follow by CIBC.
BUT NOT when you re-enter Canada and just have found your new home and condo.
I try to apply for my Health Card already 3 times.
First time, their system was down nationwide, so I 'd to come back. Second time, long long queue and almost closing time, so I decided to go and come back another day. Third time, on a Thursday evening, after 5 o'clock, please note that OHIP is open until late, till 7 o'clock on Thursday and Friday's, so better to go there late in the afternoon. So, third time I am there, happy and glad I made it this time, then I hear: do you have your PR card? Yes, I do.
Do you have your COPR document with you? Yes, I do.
Do you have a driving license? No, I don't. ehhhmmmm.... Do you have a Utility bill instead on which is shown you 've an address and live here? No, it is the first month I live here and am waiting for the very first pay due to be processed and billed. Ehmmmmm .... Do you have a bank account statement instead that IS MAILED to your address instead M'me? No, I don't have that either, because I 've chosen for Paperless option that my own bank did told me to choose.
Oh, M'me, I am so sorry, but your bank should have told you that you better, once you 've an address and it is confirmed and lease contract is signed, to NOT choose for paperless and have your bank account statements being mailed to you for some time just in case you might need it for anything, anywhere.
So, please go and come back another day when you 've at least one of the above mentioned documents! all the best and goodbye.
I was ... yep!
Disappointed for sure ... Another option would have been my leasing contract for the condo, BUT then you have to hand in the ORIGINAL lease contract and not the copy of it. They don't accept the copy, oK? so, do your math and use your head if you are going to apply for your health card soon.
Then ... here is the good one:
I went to CIBC bank branch next to me this morning, waiting and waiting, staff unfriendly and not really well informed, they say: Oh, sorry to hear that, we can now change that but please bear in mind that it is already near the end of the month and the last statements are already mailed so you need to wait until mid November when you will have your very first bank account statement and then go to OHIP> I am not that happy but hey, what else can I do eh?
Then I remember another issue and try to fix that one: hey, why my partner did receive a Credit Card from CIBC as we have both applied for it but not me? could you please take a look at it?
Yes, sure M'me. A few moments later, she turns to me and with a quite sad face and kind of agitated, she replies: Sorry, but we had forgotten to apply for a Credit Card on your name upon request, so, do you want me to help you apply for it now? Ehmmm.... hey, that is not fun at all, I thought that I was rejected or not approved etc, never got an answer, and now this?
She replied: it happens when the advisor isn't doing his/her job properly, we apologize for the inconvenience. Ok, how long does it take to get me a Credit Card and start building a healthy CC history then? ... ehmmm... a few days, perhaps two weeks for sure. OkAY and what will be the maximum? oh, just like 500$ and you can work up to a higher amount in a few months if recorded positive bla bla bla.
I got mad and said: You know what honey? do you see the sign across the street? ( pointing at Scotia Bank) and continue saying: THAT IS A BANK! NOT THIS ugly worn out place! I am sorry, but you just lost a client, goodbye!
And as I said that, I hear this guy behind me wondering what was happening and so I told him the story in short and he appeared to be a new comer too and well, he decided to follow me.
We went to Scotia bank, in the meantime I see the girl following me from behind her desk and see if I am was joking or not, but no, I am not called Cruela de Vil for nothing! ... I went there, set up an appointment immediately and within half an hour I was received with a big smile by this lovely Australian gentleman who was so glad to help me out.
1 hour later, I stepped out of the Scotia Bank with a big wide small, having a new Chequing account, Savings account, Western Union Account, Safety Deposit Box, a Visa Credit Card maxed out to 1000$ and 4x cheques that I can use just in case (really handy and useful for those who rent a condo, I myself was asked to pay the first and last month due using a cheque by landlord, but had none and CIBC had to order them for me and didn't even give me any in advance, not even ONE, just in case! so go and figure how shocked I was that the guy handed me in 4x of them!!!!) and a beautiful bank card in red and with sparkles on it and a whole other bunch of possibilities to finance a car, or a mortgage etc.
The package is called: StartRight and includes:
1. Free Day to Day Banking for One Year
2. Build a credit history with a no-fee Scotia Moneyback VISA card and earn up to 1% moneyback reward every year on your card purchases
3. A free of charge Safety Deposit Box
4. A specially designed financing at select dealerships to buy a car!
5. Grow your savings with Scotia Bank's Money Master Savings account
6. Western Union Money Transfer services at Scotia Bank
7. Get a specially designed Mortgage, solution to assit one in purchasing a home in Canada
8. One Year Cashable Guaranteed Investement Certificate (GIC) with an Interest Rate Bonus
9. Purchase Gold and other precious metals, PM's, thorugh services provided by ScotiaMocatta at Scotia Plaza bank ONLY! not the branches
(but then you should be a milionair I suppose if you wanna buy gold eh? hahaha) anyway
And what did CIBC offered me? headaches, misery, spending money using my European VISA and MasterCard and now paying them off on time to maintain a good healthy credit history in Europe!!! duaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhh and hours of waiting and waiting spent on nothing....
My advise for you:
DON'T GO TO CIBC, GO TO SCOTIA BANK!
All I can say and according to the bank themselves, they are the best and TD Bank is second. They have a better customer services but they don't do much in these regards anyway and offer not much.
So, what is more important? a cool customer service that works from Monday to Saturday but offering less options or a bank that starting November 1st is also going to open its Customer Services from Monday to Saturday, between 9 to 7?!!! and offers so many Options?
Scotia Bank off course
so, do you best and be good ...
To be continued ...
(and if you need a condo, let me know, my neighbour is looking for a tenant)