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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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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How To Save Money on Moving Expenses

howtosavemoneyonmovingexpenses.jpgThe cost of moving from one home to another comes with a hefty price tag.

The cheapest option by far?

Doing it yourself (DIY) - which is what I’ve done in the past.

If you want to do the move yourself, get the best deal on a moving truck rental.

But DIY moving may not be realistic for everyone...

If you’re using a moving company, shop around for the best deal and use a reputable company with adequate insurance. You may also want to consider getting your own moving insurance.

Whatever route you choose, consider these tips to save money on moving expenses.

DIY Moving Cuts Your Costs

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10 Ways to Save on Home Insurance

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If you have a mortgage, then chances are you have home insurance too.

But if your home is mortgage-free (congratulations!), then insurance becomes an option.

Why should we insure our homes in either case?

Because most of us do not have the money sitting in the bank to buy another house right away if it were to burn to the ground.

We received the annual bill to renew our home insurance recently. And because it’s the same company as our car insurance, we decided to bundle up.

But before signing up, I made sure we had all the discounts available to us to get the best value of my money.

In fact, each successive year, I’d check and see if new discounts became available (like a new loyalty discount we’d be eligible for).

We've been with the same company for seven years. Here’s my drill: I ask if there are any discounts we're not using, and then double-check the facts they have on file.

If you’re completely new to insurance, then here’s a quick primer from The Globe and Mail.

10 Ways to Save on Home Insurance

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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

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Save Money Challenge #2: Save On Taxes

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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

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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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Free Internet TV - A Complete Guide For Canadians

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When I first published this guide more than 5 years ago - internet TV in Canada was a primitive beast...

Canadian television networks were just starting to put full episodes online and it was only for the purpose of their cable or satellite subscribers to be able to catch up on recent shows they missed. The stream quality was often poor and laggy and few people actually knew the content existed.

Those that did know usually watched hunched over their laptops - not from the comfort of their couches using a remote control.

Times have changed.

There are now more than 30 Canadian networks (listed below) streaming full episodes of their shows online using top quality media players. Many of them even have mobile apps for viewing on your phone or tablet.

The best part is it is all free - supported by far fewer commercials that you have the "privilege" of paying to watch with cable or satellite.

When you're done reading this guide - you should be ready to cut the cord yourself. You'll know exactly where to go to get full TV episodes free and legally along with all the tools and equipment you need to make your internet TV viewing experience a pleasant one.

Ready to cut the cord? Download the PDF version of this step-by-step guide.

In This Guide

Can I Really Get TV For Free?

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