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Interac has created a soundtrack designed to make people feel calmer and to give them a higher level of satisfaction with their purchases.Fred Lum/the Globe and Mail

So how about a musical answer to your spending challenges? Interac, the people who run the electronic banking network in Canada, have commissioned a mellow soundtrack called Sound Shopping for people to play while in stores. Check out a sample here, or listen to the entire 24:30 on Spotify.

Interac says the soundtrack is designed to promote mindful shopping by acting as a counterpoint to the pop music commonly played in stores. The music was found in some testing to make people feel calmer and to give them a higher level of satisfaction with their purchases. If you feel torqued when out shopping, give it a try.

Another thought from Interac about financial stress is, whaddya know, to use its debit network when paying for things. There’s something to this – debit purchases take the money out of your bank account in real time, whereas a month’s credit card purchase all drop on your head at once. Of course, cash remains an option for those who resist the many benefits of electronic banking.

Transaction data from Interac show how rising prices changed our spending over the summer. Debit purchases at restaurants jumped almost 60 per cent compared with summer 2021, but spending habits in stores showed the strain of rising prices. Debit spending at discount stores was up 7 per cent during the summer compared with 2021, while spending at premium stores dipped 1.5 per cent.

Inflation may have peaked during the summer, but it’s still running at levels high enough to prompt further interest rate increases. If you need some help mellowing your mind in this increasingly expensive world we live in, try listening to Sound Shopping on your phone when you next hit the mall.


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Rob’s personal finance reading list

Have you tried this for saving on gas?

A personal finance blogger documents how much your fuel economy improves when you slow down, and how little extra time you’ll use up.

So you think you hate bonds

Bonds have been absolutely slaughtered this year – that is not hyperbole, given the 11.5 per cent drop year to date in the benchmark FTSE Canada Universe Bond Index. Are bonds more attractive looking ahead? A portfolio manager argues here that the answer is yes.

Stocks to hold for a lifetime

I quite enjoyed reading through this list of Canadian and U.S. stocks to consider as the foundation of a portfolio to be held indefinitely. Sensibly, there’s a dividend focus here. I own a bunch of the stocks listed.

Reward yourself

Thoughts on planning a winter vacation using travel rewards. Included here is a listing of top travel reward credit cards. The card that ranks first is one my wife and I use, and I expect it to cover a good chunk of the flight costs for the winter vacation we’re looking at.


Ask Rob

Q: I have a large sum of money in U.S. dollars located in a savings account at Tangerine Bank. The account pays an interest rate of 0.10 per cent. Where can I get a better interest rate?

A: EQ Bank offers 1.4 per cent interest on its U.S.-dollar savings account. Here are some other choices, as rounded up by the Savvy New Canadians blog.

Do you have a question for me? Send it my way. Sorry I can't answer every one personally. Questions and answers are edited for length and clarity.


Today’s financial tool

Top three retirement calculators – answers to questions like how long your money will last.


The Money-Free Zone

I just caught up with the 2020 album called Black on Purpose. Producer Salaam Remi and collaborators like Black Thought, Common and Jennifer Hudson, who adds gospely vocals to a highlight song called Yonder.


Watch this

Canada Deposit Insurance Corp. explains why it advertises the protection it offers.


Listen to this

Our aging demographic means there’s going to be a wave of people springing into action as executors for the estates of friends and families. If you’re an executor, check out the Executor Help podcast by David Edey. In this episode, a woman acting as an executor for her mom talks about how at one point she had to pull over the side of the road to sob.


In case you missed these Globe and Mail personal finance-related stories

More Rob Carrick and money coverage

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