Do You Struggle With Credit Card Debt?

doyoustrugglewithcreditcarddebt.jpgIt’s no secret that I’m a big fan of using credit cards as a tool to positively impact on your finances through increased safety, great rewards, awesome bonuses, free insurance, and tons of other perks.

In an ideal world, each person would pay off their balance every month, not overspend due to the ease of paying with credit, and never put large emergency purchases on their credit card when disaster strikes. That’s the kind of usage I try to teach around here, but we all know that isn’t a reality for many people.

There is a much darker side to credit cards: the cycle of continually growing high interest debt that comes from living above your means and using credit cards to finance it.

Being in credit card debt is nothing to be ashamed of though. You are in good company after all, as anywhere from one third to one half of Canadians have credit card debt that they don’t pay off every month (depending on which report you read). As many as 1 in 20 believe that they may never be able to pay off their credit card debt - now that’s scary.

Debt Is Very Emotional

The Best Use Of Petro Points


Petro-Canada offers the Petro-Points loyalty program. Members can collect points and exchange them for fuel, car repair and store purchases at any of the 1,500 Suncor branded gas stations.

There is no annual membership fee associated with the Petro-Points program. Sign up at a station to receive a card immediately. Signing up online gives the option to print a temporary card until one arrives in the mail. In each instance, an online account will need to be created and the card number registered. Rewards are redeemed using the online account.

Here’s everything you need to know about collecting Petro-points with Petro-Canada.

Earning Petro-Points

Saving Money On Currency Conversion

savingmoneyoncurrencyconversion.jpgTravel can be expensive and one of the extra costs is currency conversion. When you pay for purchases in a foreign currency there is almost always an extra cost involved. If you are travelling for a long time or spend a lot of money when travelling, your costs can be significant. Whenever I travel I always try to think ahead about how I can save costs on converting my money. I tend to avoid converting cash at the big banks because they are usually more money and I avoid converting currency at an airport because it’s the most expensive option.

Cheapest Exchange Options

Here is a quick guide to the cheapest ways to convert cash (beginning with the cheapest and ending with the most expensive option). Keep reading » about Saving Money On Currency Conversion

Free Gift Card Offers (Up To $100 To Popular Stores)

free_gift_card_offers_up_to_100_to_popular_stores2.jpgI've been touting free gift card offers on this site for a long time now: see here, here, and here. Most of them have been a free $100 gift card to or another popular Canadian store in return for applying for an awesome credit card that earns you even more free money in cash back or travel rewards.

These credit cards usually also come with no annual fee (at least for the first year) and sometimes a hefty points sign up bonus to boot. Then, after the first year, there is no obligation to continue with the card if you decide it isn't for you. It's really a fantastic deal and one I've taken advantage of several times myself.

Since this has become a pretty regular thing, I thought I should make a permanent page that lists legitimate free gift card offers that I am aware of and will continue to update at the beginning of every month.

Proof That It Works

The Best Bang For Your Esso Extra Points

thebestbangforyouressoextrapoints.jpgEsso Extra is a loyalty program offered by Esso, one of the largest gas retailers in Canada. It offers everyday rewards like car washes, gift cards and fuel to entice drivers to fill up at one of the 1,700 Imperial Oil branded gas stations.

The Esso Extra program is free to join and there are no annual membership fees. You can join online or become a member at any station with your name, a valid email and Canadian address. Once the Esso Extra card has been received, you will need to create an online account to register the card number. The online account is also used for redeeming rewards.

With the current price of regular running about $1.05/L, an average Canadian family that drives 20,000 KM/year in a vehicle with a combined city/hwy fuel economy of 9L/100 KM would pay $1,890 for a year’s worth of fuel. How many points would be accumulated and what would be the best way to use those points? Here’s what you need to know.

Earning Esso Extra Points