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$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.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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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Articles To Share

Repair Broken Electronics To Save Money And Reduce Waste

RepairBrokenElectronics.jpgIf it ain't broke, don't fix it. But, when it comes to electronics and all their intricate parts, they will break one way or another. Unfortunately, the age old idiom doesn't mention what to do when things do break!

When my electronics stop working, I instinctively grumble a few choice words while calculating how much a replacement would cost. Rarely has my initial reaction been to consider the option of trying to repair what's been broken.

Why Repair

Repairing extends the life of electronics, keeping them out of landfills longer. The sheer number of electronics manufactured, consumed and discarded puts an unsustainable strain on the environment.

The more obvious reason to repair a broken electronic is to save money. There is great potential cost savings realized against having to replace the item. There is no point in discarding something in its entirety if only a small component is rendering it unusable. Fixing an electronic yourself - in DIY fashion - can be the cheapest way to refurbish and render a potentially useless item functional again.

Sound daunting? It often isn't that bad when you give it a shot!

Before You Start DIY Repairs

Best Credit Cards For Gas Discounts

Best Credit Cards For Gas DiscountsLast week I told you all the ways you can save money on gas that don't involve buying a Tesla or a Smart car. This week I'm going to fill you in on which credit cards give you the best discounts when you buy gas.

This is a great way to ease the heavy burden of going to the pumps these days as prices continue to rise. Can the days of 50 cent gas come back please? Is ANYONE listening??

There's a better chance of the Leafs winning the Stanley Cup than that happening. Even I know that and I don't watch hockey! So you might as well get the best possible card for gas discounts rather than waiting around for prices to fall.

Here are the cards that will help keep your wallet happy:

Amex Gold Rewards (~5.8% Return)

If you're into collecting Aeroplan miles, this is the best card currently available in terms of overall value. It shines in the gas bonus department as well because it gives you fully double the reward points you would normally earn on gas purchases. That's much better than the 50% bonus or no bonus that most other travel rewards cards offer.

If you read my guide to Aeroplan (link above), you'll see that I value Aeroplan miles at about 2.8 cents each. If you double that because you're earning two per dollar spent at the pumps, then this becomes a 5.8% return on spending. It isn't cash, but that's definitely an attractive return!

Apply

Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite (4% Return)

This is currently the best cash back card in Canada for many reasons - one of the biggest being that it gives you 4% cash back on gas. There is a cap on how much you can earn in a given year, but who spends $25,000 a year on gas anyway? You'd have to run a trucking company or own a super yacht for that! It comes with a $99 annual fee, but it's currently being waived for the first year and it's worth it!

There is also the Scotia Momentum Visa ($39 fee - 2% on gas) and Scotia Momentum No Fee Visa (1% on gas) cards that have lower annual fees and lower rewards, but they both still offer a bonus for gas purchases. As long as you have a decent amount of spending, then the Infinite card typically makes the most sense after you do the math.

Apply

CIBC Aerogold Visa Infinite (~4.2% Return)

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