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The Best Way To Use Your Save On More Rewards Points

Save On Foods StoreEver wonder just what's the best way to redeem those More Rewards Points offered by Save on Foods, Pricesmart, Overwaitea Food Group, and Urban Fare? Or are you like most people who think they'll never add up to much anyway and just spend them when the cashier offers to redeem your points for a 'free' product? Admittedly, these aren't life changing amounts of money, but here are some tips on how to play "the game" more efficiently. After all, if one is allowing one's buying patterns to be used for data mining, why not get the most value for it?

Tips For EARNING Extra Save-on More Points

Let's say you are an avid collector - you just love buying the Big White passes each year for Christmas gifts and the feeling of getting a great deal! Or perhaps you love the idea of taking a 'free' flight. Here are a few tips on how to boost your points balances.

Earning In-Store

Besides collecting of the points themselves, value can also be found in using the card in store. It is becoming increasingly the case that you only get a discounted price on your grocery purchases if you scan your points card at the checkout. (The irony is that one of their major competitors, Safeway, has recently backed off of forcing their customers to bring in their membership to get discounted prices on groceries!)

Typically, "More Rewards" points are earned at a rate of 1 point per dollar spent when you shop at their grocery stores, including Urban Fare. It's a good idea to watch for double points days as well as bonus points that are offered quite regularly. Here are few in-store examples of how to earn points.

  • Bonus points on products - just keep an eye for the little blue shelf signs while shopping in store.
  • Multi-buy specials - A typical offer would be "Buy four boxes of Kelloggs cereal and receive 2000-3000 points." You usually don't need to clip the coupon from the flyer, just buy the product and the points show up on your receipt automatically. If you use the FLIPP app on your phone to find the product on sale cheaper locally elsewhere, you can save even more. (This app is fantastic, you can search for ANY advertised item and find out who has it on sale - click here to check it out.) Note: Some stores still won't accept price matching requests unless you have the paper flyer, so bring the flyer in when you shop if that's the case. Ask the cashier to price-match the items. You'll still get the points that are associated with those items, as they are automatically added by the system giving you more points per dollar spent.
  • Manager's specials - Each store is responsible for distributing their own points. Some Store managers offer a 1000 point incentive if you fill out one of their feedback surveys. Just bring in the confirmation sheet after filling out your survey, or fill it out online at the kiosk provided in select stores.
  • Share your account - Be sure everyone in your family has a card, they come on key-chain tags as well, so everyone can easily earn.
  • Use the kiosk - Most stores now offer a More Rewards kiosk close to the entrance where you can scan your card and receive bonus offers for spending set amounts. Typically one receives 375 points for a $35 spend, but the amounts are often MUCH larger if you spend more. Each card is allowed one scan per day. The highest value coupons are only offered to each cardholder occasionally, it seems.

Ways To Earn Outside Of The Grocery Store

Travel In Heaven Instead Of Hell

Travel In HeavenThe act of traveling abroad, particularly by air, can be a grating experience. Long lines, delayed flights, customs forms, expensive food, small uncomfortable seats, endless waiting at airports, getting almost naked to clear security, lack of affordable cell phone coverage, overpriced hotels … the list goes on. Fortunately, there are lots of little hacks to make it MUCH more seamless and enjoyable.

Although I'm not a business road warrior by any means, I've had my fair share of experience traveling to far-off destinations thanks mostly to airline miles, reward points, and cheap hotel tricks. I am currently at the airport on my way back from FinCon 2014 which took place in New Orleans, so it's the perfect time to share all the little hacks I've developed over time.

Before You Leave

  • Be sure to pack the following:
    • Noise isolating headphones (i.e. ear buds). These will help you sleep, relax, entertain yourself, and get work done. That way you won't have to pay to buy something cheap and inferiour.
    • Pen and paper. You'll need a real pen to fill out those customs forms and for jotting notes if your cell dies.
    • Portable phone charger. There are usually outlets at airports and sometimes on planes, but do you really want to be stuck in one place charging your phone? Portable chargers are so cheap, just get one.
    • Empty water bottle. You can fill it after you clear security so you can always stay hydrated without buying expensive drinks.
    • Credit card(s). There a many things you just can't do while traveling without one. More than one is preferred in case one gets frozen, which commonly happens while traveling.
    • A good book. Electronic devices often aren't allowed during takeoff and landing on most airlines but books are fine.
  • Figure out a better plan for your cell phone. You actually don't need to pay through the nose for talk, text, or data in foreign countries (see how here).
  • Get your hotel accommodations in order:
    • Check Trip Advisor for traveler tips and photos for your hotel so you can request a newly renovated or well-located room. Not all rooms are created equal.
    • Call and confirm reservation and dates to make sure the hotel has you in their system, especially if you booked through a third party. Mix-ups do happen!
    • Give your rewards program number if they don't have it already, especially if you have some sort of status.
    • Get the right room. Ask for the type of room you want or even an upgrade. This is also the time to provide them with any special requests you may have.
    • Ask for a discount. If you're booking directly with the hotel, you can try calling them and asking for a discount instead of booking online. Tell them you'll just go to Priceline or Hotwire if they can't give you a better rate.
    • Print out your reservation confirmation to take with you.
  • Check-in online 24 hours in advance:
    • Many airlines don't let you choose your seat until the time of check-in unless you pay extra. Checking in online as soon as you can gets you the pick of the best seats.
    • Your goal is to have your seats chosen, your boarding passes in hand (or on your phone), and your baggage tickets ready before you hit the airport.
    • Now you'll be able to skip through the check-in line and get to security much faster.
    • All of this can usually be done via your phone if you want to take the time to set it up.
  • How to pick the best seat on any airplane:
    • You typically want to be near the front of the plane:
      • You can get off the plane much faster, which also helps with lines at security, customs, baggage claim, and getting a taxi.
      • You get food and beverage service first so you can settle in or go to sleep faster.
      • There is less engine noise at the front of the plane.
      • Your window view won't be obstructed by the plane's own wing.
      • You'll probably be closer to bathrooms (at least on larger planes).
    • Type your flight number into Google or sites like SeatGuru to see the exact plane type and layout along with information about each seat:
      • Some seats have more leg room (exit rows or bulkheads).
      • Avoid seats that don't recline (back of plane).
      • Make sure you get an electrical outlet.
      • Avoid seats without a window and more…
    • If you can't find your exact flight on SeatGuru, figuring out the plane model using your flight number through Google and then punching that directly into SeatGuru can help.
  • Dream of this while you sleep...Sleep really well the night before you leave. Pack a few days early and force yourself into bed at a reasonable hour the night before you leave. You'll have a much better time when you arrive if you do.
  • Learn how to put your electronic devices in airplane mode. Do this when you are on the plane and after you land to both conserve battery (it drains really fast when the phone can't get a signal), comply with airline regulations, and avoid costly data charges in foreign countries.
  • Confirm flight departure times. Type your flight number into Google to make sure it is on schedule. Call the airline if you want to be extra sure.
  • Check airport parking rates and options before you leave.
    • You might be able to find a coupon online, especially if you're using Park 'N Fly.
    • Get a friend to drive you or take public transit if that is possible.
  • Research airport transfer options at your destination airport:
    • Options typically include bus, subway, shuttle, taxi, or limousine.
    • For some airports, getting a taxi is totally worth it. For others, public transport is quick, cheap, and easy. Be smart and not excessively frugal here.
    • Look for coupons or discounts if you book in advance.

At The Airport

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

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