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Getting Off The Credit Card Mouse Wheel

Mouse On WheelCredit cards are a handy tool for making purchases quickly and easily. They're also nice to have so we don't have to carry large amounts of cash around with us. The downside to this convenience is when it gets to be too easy to use the card and the balance grows to an amount that can't be paid off every month.

In order to avoid paying the outrageous interest charges on credit cards, it's widely accepted that we should pay off the balance every month. That's where the convenience of credit cards becomes a burden, and in some cases, a nightmare.

The Wheel Starts Turning

When we get to a point where the balance on the credit card gets to be too high to pay off each month, that's when the trouble starts. In our minds, we still know that we have to pay off the card each month to avoid paying interest, so we try. We throw every available dollar at the credit card, and at first we feel good that we have put as much money as possible on the card, telling ourselves that next month we'll pay off the rest.

But then reality hits.

While the intention was good, there's an old expression that the road to the land of fire and brimstone is paved with good intentions. Sometime before the end of the month we find that there's not enough money left to make it to the end of the month, and that's when we find ourselves on the credit card mouse wheel. That cycle of dipping back into the credit card and taking back some or all of what we paid to begin with.

Here are three ways that can be used to regain control of your finances and get off that wheel:

Erase Your Debt Fast By Lowering Interest Rates

Erase Your DebtIt's a fact, many Canadians are deeply in debt!

Not just mortgage debt either, but consumer debt like credit cards, car loans, payday loans, and lines of credit. According to The Globe And Mail, non-mortgage debt will rise to its highest level ever by the end of 2014 coming in at $28,853 per person.

If you're in debt, I hope you're working hard to get out of it as fast as you can. It isn't always possible because of unfortunate circumstances, but it really isn't a place you want to be for long either.

Once debt rises to a high enough level, it becomes crippling and the interest payments make it almost impossible to make any progress on the principle amount owed. Some people will recommend cutting your expenses to the bone, others will suggest a second job, while still others will say to pay yourself first.

These are all good suggestions, but I think the best place to start is cutting and juggling your interest rates as much as possible so you immediately have more cash flow to pay down your debts much faster.

First - A Warning

Some of the methods I'm going to speak about here can make it seem like you all of a sudden have extra money and breathing room, which can prompt some individuals to increase spending and run up even more debt. That's exactly what you want to avoid!

If you don't have the discipline to handle more available credit, then many of these strategies are not for you. You might be better served by that second job or cutting up all your plastic and trying a debt snowball.

How To Reduce Your Debt Interest Rates

All Canadian Retailer Price Matching Policies

Best Price GuaranteePrice matching is a great way to save money, allowing you to get the lowest price without having to drive to every store to get the best sales.

Even better, many stores will actually beat the competitor's prices so you aren't only saving time and money on gas, the overall cost of the stuff you buy is even less than the combined sale prices of the items you bought. Throw in a few coupons, and you have a steal of a deal on your hands!

However, price matching can be a somewhat arduous affair if you aren't well prepared in advance. One way to prepare is to arm yourself with the price matching policies of every store you shop at so that you can make sure your price match isn't being denied unfairly.

Below you find just that, a collection of all the price match policies we could find for Canadian stores all in one place!

Jump To A Price Match Policy

The RDSP: IF You Qualify, Don’t Leave Money On The Table

Wheelchair ParkingAt the start of 2009, Canada's financial world experienced a tremendous buzz when the Tax Free Savings Account was rolled out. But just one month earlier, there was another program unveiled that has not been given its proper due. If you're eligible for it and you haven't acted on it yet, I encourage you to read on.

The Registered Disability Savings Plan, or RDSP, was introduced in December 2008 to help people with disabilities have a more stable financial future. I am a big fan of this program and think that anybody who qualifies for the program should enroll. There is a lot of money on the table in the form of Canada Disability Savings Bonds and Canada Disability Savings Grants for those who can benefit from this program.

What is the RDSP?

The RDSP is a program designed somewhat like the Registered Education Savings Plan that helps parents fund their children's education. The RDSP provides an annual matching grant that the government will kick in when money is contributed to the plan.

The amount of the grant depends on the family income of the person with the disability, but we'll get to that in a moment. For beneficiaries with a lower income, there is also an annual Canada Disability Savings Bond of up to $1,000 that can be accessed without contributing any money to the plan, again based on the level of income.

Who Qualifies for the RDSP?

Get Loads Of Free Movies With Scene Rewards

Scene Rewards CardI've been collecting Scene rewards since late last year because that is when Cineplex FINALLY came to my area after buying out Empire Theatres who had a monopoly around here. Now Cineplex has the monopoly … but at least we have points!

Given that movies at the theatre are outrageously expensive, the program is actually quite generous and there are LOTS of opportunities to maximize your points so you can get free movies almost until your heart's content.

Rob, from Boomer and Echo touched on this subject recently which inspired me to put together my own tips and tricks as I've really been loving and benefiting from this rewards program lately.

When you're done here, you'll also want to check out my guide to saving money at the movies and apply those tips in conjunction with your Scene points to get maximum value.

The Normal (Slow) Way To Earn

The normal way to earn points is simply by joining the program and then either showing your scene card each time you watch a movie at a Cineplex affiliated theatre or getting them to scan the barcode on your Cineplex mobile app.

You typically earn 100 points per movie watched and it takes 1000 points to get a free, no-restrictions, admission ticket to any movie (yes, that means 3D and other upgraded movies too).

Supercharge Your Points Earning Potential

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