Credit Cards

Getting Off The Credit Card Mouse Wheel

gettingoffthecreditcardmousewheel.jpgCredit 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: Keep reading » about Getting Off The Credit Card Mouse Wheel

BMO Air Miles Mastercard Review

Class Standard
Type MasterCard
Issuer Bank of Montreal
Annual Fee $0
Interest Rate 19.90%
Min. Income N/A
Reward Type Points
Reward 1 mile / $20 spent
Reward Return 0.5% to 0.75% of spending
Sign Up Bonus 400 500 miles (limited time)
Grace Period 21 days
Apply Sign Up!
The BMO Air Miles Mastercard is a good choice for anyone with low to moderate annual spending on their credit card that wants to collect Air Miles without paying an annual fee.

Positives:

  • No annual fee (no fee for additional cards).
  • 25% bonus (Air Miles) at Shell locations, 50% bonus (Air Miles) at National and Alamo Car Rental.
  • No limit to the amount of Air Miles rewarded.
  • Easy to use, straight forward online account access through BMO.
  • No minimum annual income requirement, great way for those with low credit scores to build their credit history.
  • Extended warranty coverage on purchases (up to one year) and purchase protection against theft or damage (up to 90 days).

Negatives:

Keep reading » about BMO Air Miles Mastercard Review

Best Deal EVER On The Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite 4% Cash Back Credit Card

Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite Credit Card

The Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite has been one of the best cash back credit card available to Canadians for the past couple of years after the MBNA Smart Cash was slightly devalued, but there were two big things stopping many Canadians, including myself, from applying for one.

  1. The $99 annual fee.
  2. No sign up bonus for applying, so why switch?

Starting in 2014 Scotiabank has been having regular promotions that really make applying for this card worthwhile. At first it was the annual fee waived for the first year and a $100 gift card if you applied through RateSupermarket. The current 2017 offer is also worth a look:

  • Increased 5% cash back on the first $3,000 in purchases on the card - worth up to $150.

To get the latest deal, use the link below.

Link: 5% cash back on first $3,000 spent

Why It's One Of The Best Cash Back Cards In Canada

Keep reading » about Best Deal EVER On The Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite 4% Cash Back Credit Card

My Simple Strategy for Maximizing Air Miles

Air Miles CardThere are a wide variety of sponsors that allow you to earn Air Miles, but each one rewards you with varying amounts of miles based on their own one-of-a-kind rewards structure. It can all get very confusing very quickly.

If you want to know all the ways you can earn, redeem and maximize Air Miles, then Stephen has already written a complete guide, which may just overwhelm you. However, I have found that we can earn a decent amount of Air Miles quickly and easily simply by shopping at a select few high earning sponsors as well as using a good Air Miles credit card.

I think it’s important for each individual to craft their own unique strategy based on what works for them taking into account your available time and energy to put into it. Settle on something repeatable that gives you maximum rewards per amount of time invested.

Maximizing Air Miles at Participating Sponsors

Keep reading » about My Simple Strategy for Maximizing Air Miles

The Platinum Card: Get 100,000 Aeroplan Miles FAST

American Express The Platinum CardLast week I told you how I got a $400 DSLR camera essentially free, which is a deal I think anyone would jump on given the chance. Today I’m doing an about face by breaking the news that I just signed up for a credit card with a $700 annual fee! Have I gone stark raving mad?

For a guy that professes to like saving money, that doesn’t seem like a very sensible thing to do now does it? Well, bear with me because while this strategy definitely isn’t for everyone, it does make a lot of sense.

Why Would I Ever Spend $700 On A Credit Card?

Keep reading » about The Platinum Card: Get 100,000 Aeroplan Miles FAST

It's Back: $100 In FREE Gift Cards And Up To 5% Cash Back On Gas & Groceries!

Over a year ago, I wrote about a very lucrative deal where people could get a $100 gift card to one of four well known Canadian stores and restaurants simply by signing up for one of the best no fee cash back credit cards available to Canadians. It was very popular amongst my readers and a lot of people took advantage of it including myself and my wife.

I’m happy to announce that the same deal is back again, only this time it’s even better! Now, RateSupermarket is offering $100 worth of free gift cards from over 50 Canadian stores and restaurants including all the big names instead of just 4 like before. With that many choices, there is bound to be at least one choice that will please everyone!

How You Can Get Your $100 In Free Gift Cards

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Stop Using Your Debit Card Canada!

stopusingyourdebitcardcanada.jpgCanadians love their debit cards and I, for the life of me, can’t exactly figure out why. I think it would be safe to say that most adult Canadians also have at least one rewards credit card in their wallets in addition to their debit card, but still many of them simply leave it in their pocket when it comes to making everyday purchases. I see this happen time and time again when I’m watching people in check out lines and when I’m out with acquaintances.

If you’re going to be purchasing something anyway and you can earn somewhere in the range of 1 to 10 percent of the value of the item you are purchasing in rewards, then why not utilize that as much as possible? Of course, the reward you will get depends heavily on how good your credit card is and how good you are at maximizing your rewards, but still something is better than nothing right?

Reasons To Use Your Credit Card For Everything

Not everything that you might need to purchase can be bought with a credit card, but most things can. In some cases, even things like tuition and insurance can be paid with a credit card and be eligible for rewards. Keep reading » about Stop Using Your Debit Card Canada!

Free Money: $100 Gift Card And Up To 5% Cash Back On Gas & Groceries

It’s time for another one of those posts where I talk about some company giving away practically free money for doing something that requires very little effort. Last time it was Aeroplan and it worked out VERY well! This time it’s time it’s in the form of a free $100 gift card for signing up for a credit card with no annual fee that I heavily endorse all the time and that is a great addition to your wallet anyway.

Anyone who has spent any time on my site knows that I highly recommend the Smart Cash MasterCard by MBNA because it was the best cash back credit card in Canada for a long time. It used to give 3% cash back on your gas and grocery purchases (5% for new cardholders in the first 6 months) and 1% cash back on all your other purchases, which is a great deal. Unfortunately, MBNA recently announced some changes to the card (you can read about them here) so it isn’t quite as good anymore. But, it is still well above average as far as credit cards go and I currently have two of them in my household and still use them for all our gas and grocery purchases.

How To Get The Free $100 Gift Card

Our friends over at RateSuperMarket.ca are putting on a holiday promotion where if you apply and are approved for the Smart Cash card I mentioned above, they will send you $100 gift card to your choice of Amazon.ca, Toys R Us, Futureshop, or Boston Pizza. Here’s how it works: Keep reading » about Free Money: $100 Gift Card And Up To 5% Cash Back On Gas & Groceries

Using The MBNA Alaska Airlines MasterCard To Earn Nearly Free Flights Fast

flying for freeA few weeks back, I mentioned booking a pair of flights to Los Angeles for my wife and I using rewards points as a way to save money on our vacation. At the time, I indicated I would follow up with more details on exactly how we did it and, although it took a little longer than expected, here are said details:

What Would These Flights Normally Cost?

Before I go into all the details about the rewards points, you should first know the stakes. How much exactly would the flights have cost us if we were to have booked them through regular means without spending many hours hunting down a once in a lifetime seat sale?

Well, seeing as this is pretty much a coast to coast flight across North America, these tickets do not come cheap. Comparable seats were going for $856.50 per person including all taxes and fees. For both of us, that works out to be $1713.00 – clearly a lot of money!

How Much Money Did We Save By Using Airline Miles?

Most people know that booking reward flights is not 100% free. There are always taxes, fees, and the odd surcharge that has to be paid on top of the actual fare for the ticket. Also, when dealing with rewards points, there may be some costs associated with obtaining the rewards. I’m not talking about spending money you would have spent anyway to earn rewards on your credit card, but instead additional costs associated with obtaining the reward miles or points.

In this particular instance, I calculated the final cost of our flights including all taxes, fees, surcharges, and rewards acquisition costs to be $323.76, which is a savings of 81.2%.

What Steps Were Taken To Make These Cheap Flights Possible?

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The Famous RBC Avion Transfer Promotions Are Back!

For those who don’t already know, I am a huge advocate of credit cards for people who are capable of using them responsibly as a means of earning thousands of dollars in rewards each year. More importantly if you choose to have a credit card then you should have one of the best credit cards available that gives you the maximum return for the money you spend on the card. If you are unfamiliar with credit cards or unsure if you have the best possible card for your needs, then you should read through our comprehensive credit cards section to get up to speed.

The Royal Bank Avion Platinum or Infinite credit card is one of the best and most flexible travel rewards credit cards in Canada. It is actually the card ranked 3rd in the travel category of our study of the best credit cards available in Canada.

One of the main reasons this card is so good is that you can transfer your points at a 1:1 ratio to either the British Airways Executive Club or the American Airlines AAdvantage rewards programs. Doing so is already a good idea because it eliminates the dollar amount caps on point values that are part of the standard RBC Avion point redemption process. This allows you to book the most expensive routes within a given part of the world without paying more points and thus giving you much greater value. Keep reading » about The Famous RBC Avion Transfer Promotions Are Back!

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