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Insurance

J. Ross Quigley

CEO

Medipac International Inc.

I

n mid-January, the peak snowbird

season, the cost of one U.S. dollar

was one dollar and 45 cents

Canadian. Two and three years

ago, we were getting rather used to a

par dollar, but times change quickly in

these uncertain days of volatility.

We expected quite a change in our

snowbird lifestyle this year, with some of

the costs being so high due to the dollar

but, in reality, we made few changes

to our normal patterns and appear to

have financially survived quite well.

Our costs for gasoline and energy were

reduced substantially and the grocery

bill seemed about the same. The one

thing we occasionally missed were the

signs saying, “We take Canadian dollars

at par.” No one was doing that anymore.

The things we wanted to, or had to, buy

were very reasonably priced, even in

U.S. dollars. We made extensive use of

Amazon.com

(free delivery) and, to a

lesser extent, Costco and Sam’s Club and

I think that their low prices helped to save the day. We

bought everything from dog food to novels to reading

glasses and roast beef at less than half the price we would

normally pay in Canada. Publix grocery stores also

seemed to have unending specials on all of the things

that we normally like to eat.

The girls in our family are addicted to Bealls so, on

Tuesdays (Seniors’ Day), they would gather up all their

coupons and march off to “war.” They never spent very

much, but they always seemed to come home with

extraordinary bargains. I will never understand how

anyone could sell, or buy, an article of clothing for $3

but I am a man, so what would I know. I must say that

they all dress very well.

At the gas station, I would fill up my large car for $30 and the

automatic dollar calculator in my head would say that it really cost

me $30 X 1.5, or $45 Canadian. I tend to be rather conservative with

my money, so I overestimate the cost somewhat. That compares

with the $75-80 per fill-up when we left Canada. Having two cars,

that adds up to a lot of savings. I will be interested to see what the

cost of a fill-up is when we return in a few days.

Recently, we bought an additional $2 million worth of U.S. dollars to

pay some of this month’s claims and our cost was $1.30 Canadian for

each U.S. dollar. That rate is a lot better than the January, February

and March rates, so things are looking much more positive for the

upcoming year.

Have a great Canadian summer!

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