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Black Friday & Cyber Monday Deals You Can Actually Use

BlackFriday.jpgThe Black Friday & Cyber Monday frenzy is building by the minute but most of the deals are on specific items you may or may not need or use. That's why I wanted to put together a quick list of deals that would appeal to a bigger group of people - not just those looking for a specific product. Here we go:

1) $50 Free Gift Card with Capital One Aspire Travel World MasterCard

If you're looking for a travel rewards card that is tops in flexibility, travel rewards, and insurance coverage then the Capital One Aspire Travel World MasterCard can't be beat. It gives you 2% cash rewards that are applicable to ANY travel purchase from ANY travel provider. You can go ahead, book that red hot airline seat sale or a 50% discounted hotel on Priceline.

In terms of insurance, this card rivals the insurance coverage of the most expensive credit cards in Canada and even beats them in some categories and it only has an effective $20 annual fee after you account for the free $100 worth of points they credit your account every year. My $699 annual fee Amex can't even keep up with it in many cases. Most notably it has:

  • Trip cancellation insurance - not just trip interruption.
  • 22 days of emergency medical - instead of the standard 0-15 days.
  • 2 years of extended warranty - instead of the standard 1.
  • 120 days of purchase protection - instead of the standard 90 days.
  • Price protection - not many cards offer that at all!
  • Higher coverage amounts than most other comparable cards.

In addition to the $50 gift card, you get 350,000 points as a sign up bonus which works out to $350 off any travel purchase you want to make. Then you get 100,000 bonus points every year on your anniversary date, which is worth about $100. The annual fee is $120, but after you account for the free $100 yearly it is really just $20.

I actually had this card myself for several  years and would have kept it except I was able to get 2% cash back card that isn't available for new applications with no annual fee. 2% cash is obviously better than 2% on travel, but I still had a hard time cancelling the Capital One card because the insurance coverage is SO good.

Get Your Free $50 Gift Card and $350 In Travel

2) 20% Cash Back At Shop.ca

Get Paid To Take Online Surveys?

Making money online has always intrigued me and when I first took a stab at it, I tried all kinds of crazy things! I installed toolbars that were supposed to pay me to surf the web. I was selling my stuff on Ebay left and right. I even sought out rewards and survey companies that would reward me for sharing my opinion and shopping habits with them.

That was years ago when the internet was still young, undeveloped, and wild resulting in most of those attempts being a big fail. I’m not sure I ever got paid from the toolbar before that company went under. I sold a few things on Ebay, and still do sometimes, but eventually ran out of things to sell. I did earn a few bucks from surveys but I found it really hard to find surveys that I actually qualified for and that paid a decent amount of money or rewards for my time.

Since then, I’ve always wanted to explore the survey side of things again and maybe even write a how-to guide on getting the most out of them. This thought has sat dormant in the back of my mind for years…

My Frustration With Online Surveys

Back in the early 2000s I was signing up on all kinds of survey sites just Googling around. I tried companies like MyPoints, Global Opinion Panel, and Asking Canadians. It’s not that they were all bad but there were many frustrations:

  • It was very hard to find reputable companies that actually paid.
  • These companies were still very new and not many of them catered to Canadians.
  • Those I did find frequently had very few surveys to offer me. I could go weeks without getting a notification of a new survey.
  • When I did find a survey to participate in, I’d often be disqualified after the first few questions.
  • The software for taking the actual surveys was still in the dark ages - buggy and slow.
  • Rewards were inconsistent to earn clumsy to redeem.

A Better Way To Find Surveys

$1000 Cash HUGE Christmas Giveaway!

$1000ChristmasGiveaway.jpgLast year I gave away $1000 of my own money for the first time while I was barely earning anything from this site. Back then I had a full time day job and worked on How To Save Money in the evenings - it was still hard to part with that much money, but I'm glad I did! 

Turns out it was a great success and this year the site is earning considerably more money, mostly from advertising and partially thanks to last year's giveaway. However, recently I made the decision to try and make my living online full time and have seen my income take a huge nosedive - *gulp*. The giveaway was so popular before though that I really wanted to bring it back again this year, so here it is again!

The Prizes

The prizes from me are going to be the same as last year, all cash coming straight out of my pocket!

I'm not going to try and source prizes from other bloggers this year because I feel like I tapped them out last year and don't want to always be coming after the same people for money. Thanks for the donations in 2013 guys, if you really want to participate again this year, let me know.

Fortunately, Luke from Tinker and Hack stepped up at the last minute to generously donate $250 worth of free technology of the winner's choice as an amazing 6th prize so there's even more than $1000 available to win again this year.

  • 1st Prize - $500 cash
  • 2nd Prize - $250 cash
  • 3rd Prize - $150 cash
  • 4th Prize - $50 cash
  • 5th Prize - $50 cash
  • 6th Prize - $250 custom technology prize package (courtesy of Tinker And Hack)
    • ​Your choice of $250 worth of any products that they sell shipped to your door hopefully in time for Christmas!

Total Prize Value: $1250

Enter Here:

Entering is easy, you simply need to follow the instructions in the giveaway entry form immediately below. You can pick and choose which ways you would like to enter the giveaway using the entry form and it will keep track your entries up to a maximum possible of 15 entries per person.

You can use an email address or your Facebook account to access the giveaway form. We respect your privacy. Your email address or Facebook account will only be used to contact you if you are selected as a giveaway winner and for nothing else.

To ensure your entries will count, please read and follow the instructions for every step you choose to complete carefully. It is NOT enough to just click the the big green buttons.

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How To Maximize My Starbucks Rewards

StarbucksRewards.jpgStarbucks seems like the last place you’d want to go to save money and I definitely wouldn’t suggest people take up a daily latte habit if they don’t want to drink all their money away!

However, the fact remains that Starbucks is an immensely popular spot and people flock there in droves - maybe not quite as much as Tim Hortons here in Canada, but they sure aren’t suffering either. Profit margins on coffee and beverages are INSANE - so it’s definitely a good business to be in.

I have a deep dark secret though … I buy the occasional Tazo Awake Tea at Starbucks. It actually tastes better than Tim Horton’s tea, which I also like because it is pre-brewed, and it isn’t that much more expensive than Tim’s either. The same goes for standard coffee. It only gets really expensive once you start ordering the specialty drinks, which I do a few times a year as a nice treat. You can make them yourself if you want, but I prefer the convenience and experience of picking one up on the go.

The real reason I frequent Starbucks though is for the cheap office space - it can’t get any cheaper really - but more on that later!

How The Program Works

The Starbucks rewards program is unfortunately based around gift cards. You need to have a gift card to join the program and once you use that to sign up, the best thing to do is to load that gift card and any future gift cards into the Starbucks app. You can then use your phone to both pay for your purchases as well as to earn and track your rewards. It’s pretty convenient in that sense.

Earning Stars

The program is based on stars. You earn one star for every purchase you make at Starbucks. It doesn’t matter how big or small the purchase is, you always get 1 star per purchase. Then once you’ve accumulated enough stars, you start reaping the rewards.

Welcome Reward Level (less than 5 stars)

New Way To Share & $50 Giveaway: Win-Win-Win #3

WinWinWin.jpgGreat news - sharing articles just got a whole lot easier!

You'll now notice a fancy new floating share bar on the left hand side of the site when viewing any article. It allows you to instantly share the article you are viewing via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Email, or Google+. Just click the appropriate button! Even more sharing options come up if you click the little crown button at the bottom including Digg, StumbleUpon, Reddit, and LinkedIn. 

ShareButton.jpgIf your browser window is too small or you are on a mobile device, then there will be single button in the bottom left that looks like this. When you click it all the sharing options will pop up. This stops the share bar from obscuring the actual article if there isn't enough room for it to float on the left.

There were 166 entries last month, a nice improvement from the previous month so thank you to all who participated. Let's keep the momentum going!

Enter The $50 Giveaway

Use the following form to enter the giveaway. If you're new to the giveaway, read the "How It Works" section below.

Remember: If you are getting my money saving tips emails (i.e. you're an email subscriber), then you can get a free entry into the contest just by clicking a button in the form below. You can do this every month for a free entry!

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