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Dominica weekly is a personal weblog about the nature island of Dominica.


Yesterday I wrote a post on how powerful your piggy bank can be just by collecting the extra change in your pocket at the end of each day, and I thought it would be fun to write a post on the different ways to trick yourself, to get around obstacles, to boost your accounts, without it hurting.

For a lot of people in Dominica improving their finances improves their happiness – in general. I know lots of people who are happy only when they’ve money to spend. So I though it would be important to share stuff that’s worked for me.

I’m in the best financial shape in my life, despite having one source of regular income which is my job. Thanks to my penny-pinching program 🙂 I’ve eliminated all my debts and I now able to save as much as I can.

Here’s what works for me — please note that, I’m not saying they’ll work for everybody. Share your tips and tricks in the comments!

Use more cash. Instead of charging things to credit cards or debit cards. In the past three years it’s much easier to own a credit card(s) – in fact banks now are literally begging you to apply for a card. Using cash for non-bill spending such as eating out, gas, groceries makes the spending more real, and there’s an added advantage of knowing when you’re out of cash, instead of spending more than you own.

Small monthly savings transfers. I got this idea from my grandma, who automatically deducts $20 a week from her check to savings. I decided that I could live with $100/month without really feeling it — it’s a relatively small transfer that I barely notice, and I save about $1200 a year.

Stay home. Going out makes you more likely to spend unnecessarily. You eat at restaurants or go out drinking with your friends every weekend. It’s hard to avoid spending when you’re on the road. Instead, stay home, and find free entertainment. It’s also a great way to get closer with your family.

Cook at home. I know, it seems more difficult than eating out. But it doesn’t have to be hard. Throw together a quick stir-fry with some vegetables and either boneless chicken or (my favorite) mince meat. Not only is this much cheaper than eating out, but it’s healthier.

Exercise. Staying healthy is the best way to avoid costly medical bills later.

Pay savings and debt first. When you sit down to pay your bills, make the first bills you pay be your savings transfer and your debt payments. If not, if you pay them last … you’ll often end up shortchanging them. But if you pay them first, make sure you can still pay your rent or mortgage, utilities, groceries and gas …

Find happiness in life, not spending. Many times I meet people buying lots stuff because they think (subconsciously perhaps) that it will bring them happiness. They just HAVE to have the latest gadget or shoes or cars. It’s so fun! And yet, you buy that stuff, and you’re only happy for a day or two at most. Then you just need to buy more. It’s a never-ending story. Instead, learn to love life. Find joy in nature and the people around you. Do something you love, be it exercising or reading. There’s so much in life to make us happy, there’s no need to find it in spending.

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Recently I signed-up for online Banking, I watch my transaction carefully and I’m confident that if my account is compromised, I will know soon enough to stop any damage, maybe this is false pretense on my part.

Some of the Banks in the Caribbean like ( and ) are now providing online banking to their customers, we put a great deal of trust into these sites, giving them a lot of person information.

All too often, these websites ask for a lot of trust from visitors but don’t give it in return. Recently I visited a new site that promised to “budget, plan, forecast, organize and analyze your personal finances to achieve your goals”. It sounded like the perfect site to profile for a post here at DW. After sign up, when you’re expected to enter all your personal financial information (account numbers or pins). The site had no ‘About Us’? or ‘FAQ’ page. The payment for the ‘enhanced’ service was handled through a third Party (PayPal) and even the domain was registered through Domains by Proxy (which hides the owner contact information)…I don’t think so.

Many sites use the ‘About’ or ‘FAQ’ page to talk about their hopes and dreams. That’s nice. But now tell us why we should trust you. I have done some research on Google and Yahoo, the people behind internet technology …found some ways we can safeguard our personal data. Nowadays, a https:// link isn’t enough to put anyone’s mind at ease. Going on instinct, I look for things like Truste or BBBOnline verification on the sites. Search for independent information about the company or site. Nothing is 100%, of course. But I believe that the more a site asks from me, the more steps I expect the site to take to not only protect my data, but to be transparent about the methods they are using to do so.

Before you hit that Sign Up button…..read the site security policy.

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Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CM.TO: QuoteProfile , Research) is interested in further expansion in the Caribbean. The bank recently took a large chuck of  hq.

Presently, the bank  is scouting for potential acquisition opportunities in the Caribbean, as CIBC is sitting on vast amounts of excess capital for the next three years. CIBC made no indication on winch  will be the suitable (audition) Targets …….and by suitable CIBC means:

  • Hitting  the banks criteria
  • Right value point
  • Strategic rationale

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