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Cheap Cell Phone And Data Plans For Traveling To The USA

Traveling Cell PhoneI'm going to be leaving for the American personal finance bloggers conference called FinCon in a couple of days to meet up with like minded people and try to learn ways to make HowToSaveMoney.ca better.

While there, I'm going want to be able to use my cell phone to call home as well as have data access for Google Maps, keeping up on email, checking on my site, looking up restaurants and attractions, tethering to my surface so I can work anywhere, and the list goes on.

There are a lot of options out there and not everyone is aware that you have more choices than just paying through the nose with your existing provider. Here are a few of the choices you have:

The Easiest Way To Go

The easiest thing to do is to check with your current cell phone provider to see what kind of add-ons they have for traveling to the USA. If you plan to use your phone for more than 1 or 2 calls or texts, then this is almost certainly a better option than paying per use.

Pay per use rates are typically around $1.50 per minute talked, up to $1 per text sent, and as much as 5 cents per kilobyte of data used which works out to $500 for 100MB of data, which is insane. Pay per use rates vary by provider, but they are never very attractively priced.

Only considering a combination of talk, text, and data, these are the cheapest rates offered by some popular Canadian providers in no particular order.

* In some cases I had to piece together rates for a talk, text, and data plan where no such plan was offered. In cases where a period of less than 1 month was available, I chose pricing for packages of 7-10 days in duration which would cover the length of a typical vacation.

Provider

Price

Talk

Data

Text (Sent)

Period

Rogers

$40

50 minutes

200MB

Unlimited

31 days

Bell

$50

100 minutes

100MB

1000 messages

30 days

Telus

$25

50 minutes

50MB

150 messages

30 days

Koodo

$40

Unlimited

250MB

Unlimited

10 days

Fido

$40

50 minutes

200MB

Unlimited

31 days

Virgin

$50

100 minutes

100MB

1000 messages

30 days

Wind

$15

Unlimited

Unlimited

Unlimited

1 month

The Pretty Cheap And Pretty Easy Way To Go

36 Canadian Computer And Electronics Stores You’ve Never Heard Of

Work Station '13 by Robby GreenWhen it comes to buying computer and electronics, I mean business. As a software engineer by trade, I've been a geek all my life. I love technology, I love computers (when I don't want to throw them out the window), I love video games, and I love consumer electronics. What I don't love is paying more for my technology than I have to!

You already know that I will use price comparison sites to quickly try and find the lowest price when making a purchase, but often times I actually go further than that, much further. I actually have a bookmarks collection of electronics stores and I will open the entire list in a set of new tabs when making an electronics purchase. I then copy and paste the model number into each of these stores search boxes to see how much they are selling it for.

Why do I do this? Well, price comparison sites exist to make money so they often only list products on sites they have a partnership with resulting in many stores getting left out. Their prices can also end up being slightly stale, so if you want the most up to date price, then you have to visit the store itself.

That said, I've made purchases from many of the stores on this list at least once and I'm listing them in order my most to least favourite.

My Top 10 Sites For Technology Lovers

Travel Hacking for Canadians Winners

Giveaway WinnerIt turns out a lot of people are interested in saving money on travel as there was a total of 113 comments on the travel hacking for Canadians giveaway article. Granted, some of those comments were my own, but I think there were roughly 80 entrants in total.

The 5 Book Winners

I picked the winners and notified them earlier this week and here they are:

  1. Cindy from Lethbridge, Alberta
  2. Melwyn from Mississauga, Ontario
  3. Jennifer from Guelph, Ontario
  4. Mike from Richmond, British Columbia
  5. Cheryl from Burnaby, British Columbia

Enjoy your books everyone and may you find traveling much more affordable in the future!

Get Your Own Copy

If you didn't win but still want to drastically reduce your travel costs then

Get Your Own Copy

Win-Win-Win Monthly Giveaway

Win Win WinAfter the success of my most recent book giveaway with 110 comments and my $1000 giveaway last Christmas with 6853 entries, I figured now would be a good time to launch a regular monthly giveaway on my site that I've been thinking of doing for quite some time.

Why Win-Win-Win?

People always like to talk about win-win scenarios in life where two people manage to forge a deal that is beneficial to both parties. That is the kind of thing we should be striving for because everyone can walk away happy. We all like to win, so it's great when everyone actually does!

Win #1

The first winner is you. By participating in the giveaway, you will have the chance to win $50 in cash that I will be giving away to my readers on a monthly basis.

Win #2

The second winners are your friends. The point of this giveaway is to encourage my readers to engage and interact with my content as well as share it with their friends. By reading the articles that you share, your friends will become winners through learning money saving strategies that can make a real difference to their finances and quality of life!

Win #3

The third winner is me. Any website needs readers and visitors to be successful and by getting more readers through this giveaway, I also become a winner.

I could pay Google, Facebook, or Twitter to get my name out there through advertising, and I sometimes do. However instead, I can pay you, my readers, through this regular giveaway and my hope is that will have much more impact and be of greater help to all of you.

I think paying you guys is the better way to go, don't you?

Air Miles Credit Cards Comparison

Air Miles is probably the most popular rewards program in Canada with over 10 million collectors representing two thirds of Canadian households. Strictly speaking it is very different than airline rewards programs like Air Canada's Aeroplan or WestJet Dollars because it isn't tied to any one airline and it actually isn't that strongly linked to air travel at all. It's more of a shopping or retail rewards program actually because you typically earn miles for shopping, not flying.

However, just like any rewards program, if you are a serious collector you will want to have a credit card that will earn you more points or miles for your everyday spending and figuring out which one is best can be challenging. To help you make a better choice, I've done all the comparing for you across all available Air Miles credit cards analyzing such things as: miles earned per dollar spent, bonus miles you get for signing up, cost of annual fees as well as fees for secondary cardholders, free insurance benefits, and other specialized perks each card has to offer.

Using that data, I produced the table below that lists the cards from best to worst by combining the scores given in 5 categories mentioned above. I gave double weight to the "Reward Rating" and "Annual Fee Rating" categories because those are the things I consider to be of utmost importance to the average person.

The Best Air Miles Credit Cards

The cards in the table are ordered from best to worst. Also please note that the table scrolls horizontally by using the slider at the bottom.

  Credit Card
Apply American Express Air Miles Platinum Credit Card
Apply American Express Air Miles Reserve Credit Card
Apply BMO Air Miles World MasterCard
Apply American Express Air Miles Credit Card
Apply BMO Sobeys Air Miles MasterCard
Apply RBC Avion Visa Infinite Privilege
Apply BMO Air Miles MasterCard
Apply Hudson's Bay MasterCard
Apply Signature RBC Rewards Visa
Apply RBC Visa Infinite Avion
Apply RBC Visa Platinum Avion
Apply RBC Esso Visa
Apply RBC Rewards Visa Gold
Miles Per $100 Spent 1 Bonus Miles 2 Annual Fee First Year Free? Extra Cardholders Overall Rating 3 Rewards Rating Bonus Rating Annual Fee Rating Insurance Rating Perks Rating
7.84 1,000 $65 Yes Free 5.0 5.0 4.0 4.0 2.5 3.0
7.84 2,500 $299 No $50 4.6 5.0 5.0 1.0 3.5 5.0
7.04 2,000 $99 No $15 4.5 4.0 4.5 2.5 4.5 3.0
5.25 500 $0 Yes Free 4.1 3.0 2.5 5.0 1.0 3.0
5.75 400 $0 Yes Free 4.0 3.5 2.0 5.0 2.0 1.0
5.83 1166 $399 No $99 3.7 3.5 4.0 0.0 5.0 4.5
5.28 400 $0 Yes Free 3.6 3.0 2.0 5.0 2.0 0.0
5.21 0 $0 Yes Free 3.2 3.0 0.0 5.0 0.0 1.5
4.66 0 $39 No Free 3.0 2.0 0.0 4.0 3.0 1.5
4.72 700 $120 No $50 3.0 2.0 3.0 1.5 4.5 2.0
4.66 700 $120 No $50 2.7 2.0 3.0 1.5 4.0 1.0
3.08 126 $0 Yes Free 2.7 1.0 1.0 5.0 2.0 0.0
2.33 0 $0 Yes Free 2.4 0.0 0.0 5.0 3.0 0.0

1 Miles Per $100 Spent was arrived at by combining the accrual rate for normal spending with the accrual rate for spending in bonus categories, typically gas, grocery, drug store purchases, and Air Miles partners. For the purposes of this calculation, roughly 70% percent was allocated towards normal spending and 30% was allocated towards bonus category spending.
2 In the cases where the credit card in question earns points of another kind than Air Miles, points are assumed to be converted to Air Miles in the most favorable way possible.
3 The Overall Rating is an average of all the other ratings with the top ranked credit card automatically receiving a ranking of 5.

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