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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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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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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Free Internet TV - A Complete Guide For Canadians

freeinternettvacompleteguideforcanadians.jpg

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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Laundry Done Better: Save Money, Energy, Time And Hassle

laundrydonebettersavemoneyenergytimeandhassle.jpgLaundry is one of life’s necessary evils. We’ve come a long way from our grandmother’s (or great grandmother’s) washboard, heavy metal irons, and washing our clothes in the river, but the number of options available have multiplied like bacteria in a petri dish.

Have you seen the fancy features the new washing machines come with lately? I’ve seen some that have over ten different wash cycles, including the “baby laundry” cycle to the “stain remover” cycle. Some have countdown timers so you know exactly when the laundry will be finished. Some even play music when the cycle is done. On one model, I saw an “Eco Bubble” feature on one particular model, which sounded like an exotic spa for your clothes.

Is there something wrong with your machine? There’s an app for that, and there is an error monitoring system that can detect and diagnose problems without you calling for a repairman. Wow.

Thank goodness for the simple things in life, such as saving money on laundry. I no longer feel capable of choosing a washer/dryer, but with the amount of laundry I’ve done in our household, I can certainly list a few things that have helped us get the job done better.

Understanding Wash Symbols

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Cell Phone Contracts Are Evil (Except When They’re Not)

cellphonecontractsareevilexceptwhentheyrenot.jpgI’ve never been a fan of cell phone contracts.

Why? Well, they typically lock you into paying absurdly high monthly rates for a long period of time all so you can get the latest and greatest $800 cell phone for “free” or nearly free.

Want to change your plan or cancel? You either can’t do it at all, have tight restrictions on plans to choose from, or have to pay very high cancellation penalties for every month you have left on your contract. Ouch!

Cell Phones Are NOT Free!

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Erase Your Debt Fast By Lowering Interest Rates

eraseyourdebtfastbyloweringinterestrates.jpgIt'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 is on the rise again coming in at an average of $21,428 per person!

If you include mortgages, then the numbers get bigger, MUCH bigger. We're talking $1,529,000,000,000 (1.53 trillion) spread across all Canadians, which works out to 1.63 dollars for every dollar of disposable income earned. That means someone who takes home $50,000 in income after taxes would have $81,500 in debt.

If you're in debt, I hope you're working hard to get out of it as fast as you can!

Avoiding debt isn't always possible because of unfortunate circumstances, but it really isn't a burden you want to carry with you for long either. You see, 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 loans 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 Loan Interest Rates

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