a cup of coffee with a heart shape toned with a retro vintage in

What you need to know about Chris and I is that we are firm believers of equity among all people and have a tremendous discomfort in being “class-ified.” As Canadians, being catered to or receiving privilege when others don’t, just doesn’t feel right in our world. So on our Mt. Kilimanjaro climb, it was important for us to get to know our guides leading us on the trip.

Thanks to Intrepid Travel we had an incredible group of professional guides on our team. Simon (our lead guide), Soster, Dismas and Joaquim were our saviours on the climb. They got us to the top and kept us going through the 6 day trek. As we walked, we talked about their families, their village, their way of life.

Our Kili crew
Our whole Intrepid Kili Crew

It was surreal for us discovering how high Tanzanian unemployment was, how grateful they were to pick up these treks up the mountain (Guiding Kilimanjaro expeditions being their only source of income), how essential it was to them to provide an education for their children and how for them, family was everything.

When we came home, we looked up and found the average annual salary in Tanzania was $1500 for the year.


Take note the next time you think of hashtagging #FirstWorldProblems.

We have been working with The Intrepid Foundation to match any donations we raised with our #TeamPowell Kili Climb on a quest to support, (Village Education Project Kilimanjaro), which provides educational opportunities for boys & girls in Tanzania. This rings so true in our hearts.

So this easily became our goal for the @Manulife #CentsAbility Challenge.

To fund a year’s worth of salary for and help bring equity and education to an area that 100% needs our help.

Here is a rundown on how we changed it up for October to help create change.

1) We had a Garage Sale.

There is something other-worldly coming home to so much stuff when you meet children who have no bed. So we immediately set out to have a garage sale and get rid some of the “stuff” suffocating us here at our house.

Next time your kid whines about not getting something, talk to them about children their age having nothing… no clean water, no extra clothes, no bed, no school. Funny how that quiets them down.

Money Raised: $240

 2) Changing up my “office”

Working as a mobile office, Starbucks tends to be my stop between meetings ,which I have to say is not good for my wallet or my waistline. I started actively seeking out libraries or common areas to head to to do my work as an alternative to the usual.

Library over Starbucks 15 Days/mth X average bill of $10/visit

Money saved this month: $150

(Cost Savings per year say at $100/mth = $1200)

 3) Active couponing

I am not a great couponer but after I was introduced to the Flipp App at the Manulife #CentsAbility lunch at BlissDom Canada, I am feeling a lot more game to give it a try. The cool part of this app is that it collects all of your favourite shops in one location and provides you their weekly flyer. This gave us the ability to flag the coupons we wanted and add them to our shopping list so it was RIGHT where when we needed it. PERFECT. Over the last 4 weeks, the hubs and I have managed to save at least $20/week via smart coupon decisions.

We also have been accumulating cash on our PC Plus Card for Loblaws (a grocery store in Canada) which provides savings offers and a cash back on all your grocery purchases. Perfect time to redeem that accumulating cash on the card.

Money Saved this month: $ 80

(Cost Savings per year $ 960)

Using our PC Plus Rewards to redeem at Loblaws $30

4) Cancelling a number of our monthly auto pay subscriptions

Listen, if I was using problem but when I realized that I had been paying for a Weight Watchers Subscription ($20/mth), a GoodLife Membership ($50/mth), a monthly magazine subscription ($10/mth), too many royalty free stock image sites to count ($20/mth) and we weren’t using any of, it was time to shut ‘er down.

Money Saved this month: $100

(Cost Savings per year $1200)

5) Changing up work habits

I do a lot of client meetings and find the best form of meeting is a casual one over a meal.

However, explaining what we were doing, I found common place with a number of clients who were tired of the usual lunch meetings and were game when I suggested we meet for exercise or a walk instead. Rather than spending an average bill of $35-50 taking them out for a meal, we got healthy AND I stuck to the #CentsAbility Challenge.

I also made the simple effort of switching lunch meetings to coffee meetings which greatly changed my daily work spend.

The last part was while travelling for business to Vancouver.  I was introduced to the benefits of the Fairmont’s President’s Club  (Many Thanks Rob!).  As I was staying at two different ones for two conferences this couldn’t have been better advice. Signing up for the President’s Club provided free wifi, a host of value adds & because their customer service is so epic, they shuttled my luggage to the other hotel saving me the cost of a taxi to take over my stuff across town.

Hosting 2 meetings while suggesting exercising vs lunch $70/week

Money saved this month $ 280

(Cost Savings per year $ 3,360)

Switching 1 lunch meeting to coffee meeting $5 vs $35/week

Money Saved this month $ 120

(Cost Savings per year $ 1,440)

Fairmont’s President’s Club Benefits

Money Saved this month  $55

So the month has come to end as has our #CentsAbility Challenge and we are SO very proud to say that with the efforts we put towards being financially conscious in October we managed to raise/save $1,055.

With the Intrepid Foundations match we will be sending $ 2,110 to help support this worthy cause!

It also showed us what saving money better could do for us on a yearly basis and help us strive for our next goal….

To go back to Africa with our kids.

I can’t thank Manulife enough for putting this out there as a goal for us to try to achieve. It has truly been life-changing.


Our Intrepid Guides - Simon, Soster and Joaquim
Our Intrepid Guides – Simon, Soster and Joaquim


For information on the @Manulife #CentsAbility Challenge .

Other #CentsAbility Challengers: CommonCentsMom , DaddyBlogger, MyDirt, CristaClips, Shasherslife, 3Chickensanda Boat

Tags : BudgetingCentsAbility ChallengeManulife Financial Literacy challengeSave money for a monthSaving money for charityTake back your paychequeTips to save on monthly budget
Jenn & Chris

The author Jenn & Chris

Jenn & Chris are #TeamPowell Two adventurous souls who love the off-the-beaten path part of life. Mom & Dad to two kooky kids, they focus on living life without regret, living in kindness and living in the now.


  1. Oh my goodness! This is fabulous J! Good for you guys.

    Changing subscriptions is probably something not a lot of people would think about as many just come out automatically. Great tip. Also, love your idea of having a healthy work lunch (walking instead of eating out!).

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