Tipping, Taxes and Tithing

The money here is a bit hard to get used to. It is different colors, different sizes and the coins are very heavy. It's strange that the 2-dollar coin is as small as our dime, yet the 20¢ coin is larger and heavier than our silver-dollar. Every time I receive one, I want to rip off the silver packaging and eat the chocolate inside. There are no pennies. Hooray? Maybe it's a good idea, but I have no idea how anyone balances anything as prices are not always even. The price at the registrar is rounded, either up or down. If something is $19.52, you don't have to pay the .02¢, however if something is $19.53, you have to pay an extra .02¢...so strange. The bills are all different lengths, that's always fun. When Ben and I first went to an ATM, we pulled out a bright red bill and both said 'who's that guy?' making us realize our ignorance and need of financial education. 
There is also no tipping or taxes.  Wow, what a fairy land this is! Well, that's not exactly true, it's just the tip and the 10% tax (yep, flat 10% tax on everything with a gazillion exceptions) is already added into the price, making things seem extremely more expensive from the beginning. If a dozen eggs are labeled $4.50, that is exactly what you pay the clerk, if an umbrella is labeled $7.99, you pay $8.00, no pennies remember? 
The lack of tipping is a strange concept for me. I feel like I'm stealing as I leave a restaurant, looking over my shoulder and waiting for an angry server to complain. What if someone is truly great? What if someone is awful? How do I let them know that? I like tipping. Of course they get paid exceptionally well, so I don't have to have a moral dilemma over it, I just feel like a bad person when I walk away. 
Tithing is not a new concept for us, it's part of who we are. What is new, is that tithing to a church is not 'charitable donation' here, so there are no special receipts or tax brackets for us anymore. In fact, not even all charities are tax-deductible. Not that this matters to us, we won't stop tithing or donating to places we support, it's just a strange concept for a government to tell you where you should donate your money. 
I know we'll get used to it. I remember laughing out loud when we first moved to Alberta and I saw there were cartoon children playing hockey on the back of a blue $5 bill. Or thinking someone was trying to pull a fast one when they said the coins were called 'loonies' and 'toonies'. I know people hate going to the US where everything is tinted green and all looks the same. Money is a strange thing. Maybe someday we'll go back to trading goods and services instead of paper and electronic numbers floating in the air. Hmmm, I guess it works for now. 


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