Bills

11 Ways To Lower Your Power & Utility Bills

11waystoloweryourpowerandutilitybills.jpgUtility costs are a fact of life.

Water and heat (like food) are non-negotiables…

But it doesn’t mean we can’t find ways to shrink this monthly expense now, does it?

There are plenty of ways to save money on utility costs. And anyone can do some of these simple changes.

Whether you live in an older, less efficient home or a new build - there are lots of tips and tricks you can use to save and lower your bills.

Let’s get started.

Minor Household Changes

Here are 4 minor changes you can make to your home to save on your utility bills: Keep reading » about 11 Ways To Lower Your Power & Utility Bills

magicJack In Canada - My Review 5 Years Later!

magicjackincanada-5yearslater.jpgI first reviewed magicJack more than 5 years ago when I chose it to replace my home phone service while going internet-only.

It was a rocky start - but once I ironed out all the issues the lack of monthly phone bills has been amazing!

Home phone service costs about $30 + tax every month. Five years worth of that is $2,070.

With magicJack, I paid $50 for the original device which came with 12 months of service and cost around $20 per year thereafter + $10 a year for a Canadian phone number (all figures in US Dollars).

A couple of years later, I decided to purchase an upgraded magicJack Plus so I could plug it directly into my router without needing to keep the computer on. That one cost $80 including shipping and offered another 12 months of free service. The price of additional service for the new device rose to $35 per year + $10 for my Canadian number.

All told, I’ve spent $429 CAD at today’s currency conversion rates for devices and service over the last 5 years - an impressive savings of 79% when compared to the cost of a regular home phone.

I also enjoyed big additional savings from the unlimited long distance to Canada & USA included with magicJack and the long list of calling features it has at no extra charge.

magicJack Is Incredibly Simple To Use

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How to Watch Sports for Less

howtowatchsportsforless.jpgI love watching sports. Especially LIVE in person...

In fact, I go to a couple hockey games per year. And then watch the rest at home.

The main reason comes down to this:

Money and time.

It’d cost thousands of dollars to attend all games during the year. Not to mention the time factor driving to and from the venue, finding a decent parking spot, and the hunt to find your seats.

Then there’s the snacks...And maybe souvenirs, if you’re really splurging.

YES - it’s a thrill to watch a game in person. But let’s face it:

There are cheaper alternatives...

Watching at Home

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12 Easy Ways To Increase Your Credit Score

12easywaystoincreaseyourcreditscore.jpgCredit scores are important - really important actually - but most people don’t even know what theirs is. Don’t let that be you…

Even if you don’t know your score, there are some basic things you can do to keep it healthy.

But, why should you even care?

Credit scores are increasingly being used for more than just loan applications - that’s why. I’m talking employers, landlords, and service companies.

Can you imagine missing out on a high paying job, the apartment you love, or even utilities and services like your cell phone because you didn’t take care of your score? Keep reading » about 12 Easy Ways To Increase Your Credit Score

5 Ways to Hack Your Cell Phone Bill

5waystohackyourcellphonebill.jpgWho doesn’t have a smartphone these days?

In fact, two thirds of Canadians own a smartphone.

And as their capabilities become greater, so do the data requirements...and costs.

Here are some easy ways I save money on my cell phone bill:

  • use wifi whenever possible to avoid extra data charges,
  • use a separate sim card when travelling to the US, and
  • use a smaller service provider.

Want to slash your cell phone bill even more? Read on...

5 Ways to Hack Your Cell Phone Bill

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6 Alternatives to Owning a Car

6_alternatives_to_owning_a_car.jpgThis is no stunning revelation. But vehicles cost a lot of money to maintain.

Things like insurance, fuel, parking, tires, maintenance and repairs can add up at an accelerated rate.

One way to keep your monthly costs low is to find an alternative to owning a vehicle.

When I was in university I owned a vehicle but only had it insured during the summer months. This meant I didn’t have to pay for vehicle costs for about 8 months of the year and was able to save big.

At that time I had no choice - I was a student with little to no income, so I had to cut costs where I could. Even today, after graduating, I still try to drive as little as possible as I know vehicles can be expensive, especially with the rising cost of fuel.

Mr. Money Mustache, a Canadian-born engineer who retired at 30 and now lives in the United States, explains that vehicles are costly for most of us and advocates using a vehicle as little as possible.

6 Alternatives To Cut Your Costs

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Are Real Estate Agents Worth It? (And How To Get One For Less)

arerealestateagentsworthit-andhowtogetoneforless.jpgThis post was sponsored by FeeDuck but it’s 100% my story and written by me.

I bought my first home nearly a decade ago in 2006 and at the time I was dead set against using a realtor…

After reading stories of big commissions for little work, conflicts of interest, poor service, and how “easy” it was to DIY when buying and selling a house - I was convinced I didn’t need one.

In my home province of New Brunswick, commissions of 5-6% split equally by the buying and selling agents are common. Even with our lower housing prices, that still seemed like a lot of money to me.

So, I set out to buy a house without an agent...

Why I Didn’t Use A Realtor When Buying My First House

Keep reading » about Are Real Estate Agents Worth It? (And How To Get One For Less)

Save Money Challenge #2: Save On Taxes

savemoneychallenge2saveontaxes.jpg

Challenge Complete
This challenge is now over but there will be more to come. Congratulations to everyone who did the challenge and saved on taxes! If you missed the challenge, you can still check out all the great resources below to find tax savings for yourself.

Be sure to sign up for my emails by clicking the Get Challenge Updates button so you always get notified when a new challenge is starting. The comments for this challenge are now closed - I look forward to hearing from you in the next challenge.

If you want to see all the previous challenges, check out the main Save Money Challenge post.

Get Challenge Updates

I have a confession ... I HATE tax season - with a passion!

Do I hate it because I have to pay taxes to the government?... Actually no, that's not it. We live in a great country which is helped by our government and I'm more than willing to pay for that.

I hate it because my taxes are so complicated I have to invest many hours of my life energy into meticulously filing them just so I can give my money to the government. I'd rather just take 15 seconds to cut the government a cheque once a year and be done with it. All the insane accounting and bookkeeping fuss drives me up the wall.

Maybe for you it's easier - I sure hope so. I have family members that can file their taxes in under an hour and I'm pretty jealous.

Do you know what isn't easy?

As Canadians we work almost half the year just to pay our tax bill?

According to the Frasier Institute, who calculates "Tax Freedem Day" every year, most Canadians essentially have to give 100% of their income to the government until about the middle of June before they can start keeping the rest of the money for themselves. Tax Freedom Day was June 10th in 2015.

Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to reduce your tax bill, particularly your income taxes. That's what this challenge is all about - spotting those deductions, tax credits, and saving opportunities you didn't know about before so you can keep a little more of the money you've worked so hard to earn.

5 Simple Steps To Participate

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The Ultimate Guide To Saving Money On Your Taxes

theultimateguidetosavingmoneyonyourtaxes.jpgWhen it comes to saving money on your taxes, there are some simple tips and tricks that everyone can follow to maximize their tax savings or refund. For instance, almost everyone knows an RRSP contribution will reduce taxable income, but not many people know that you don’t even need cash to contribute to a TFSA or that you get to keep your TFSA if you leave Canada.

Knowing what tax savings opportunities are available to you, let alone how to maximize them, is a difficult task for anyone. In this article, we’ll dive in deep and give you an overview of most of the ways you can reduce your tax bill along with tips for making the most of each deduction or strategy.

Pick A Topic

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Save Money Challenge #1: Slash Your TV Cost

savemoneychallenge1slashyourtvcost.jpg

Challenge Complete
This challenge is now over but there will be more to come. Congratulations to everyone who did the challenge and slashed their TV costs! If you missed the challenge, you can still check out all the great resources below and read the comments for tons of tips on how to slash your own TV costs.

Be sure to sign up for my emails below so you always get notified when a new challenge is starting. The comments for this challenge are now closed - I look forward to hearing from you in the next challenge. The two recipients of the 'HTS swag' will be notified by email. If you want to see all the previous challenges, check out the main Save Money Challenge post.

Get Challenge Updates

After a long hard day … there’s just something about putting your feet up, grabbing a cold drink, and letting your mind be completely free while relaxing in front of the TV.

It’s a guilty convenient pleasure for most of us Canadians. I mean, honestly what else is there to do when it’s -20 outside with snow up the eavestroughs half the year anyway?

Cable and satellite TV companies know we love the convenience of TV on demand and are happy to charge an arm and a leg to provide this service to millions of addicted viewers.

Yes - it’s EXPENSIVE.

According to this CBC article, Canadians pay $53.56/mth on average for TV service alone. Even that to me seems low. A quick check of my local providers shows that bare bones TV costs a minimum of $60/mth with one provider and $40 per month with another before taxes.

But then, most people have PVRs, added specialty or movie channels, and other bells and whistles that raise the cost substantially. That quickly adds up to $100 a month or more after you factor in all those added costs and tack on the taxes.

Then, after you’re an established customer, the service providers are happy to raise your prices by about 4% per year like clockwork too - just because they can.

When do you say enough is enough?

You have options - it’s time to fight back and lower your bill!

5 Simple Steps To Participate

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