Finances

Free Gift Card Offers (Up To $100 To Popular Stores)

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I've been touting free gift card offers on this site for a long time now: see here, here, and here. Most of them have been a free $100 gift card to Amazon.ca or another popular Canadian store in return for applying for an awesome credit card that earns you even more free money in cash back or travel rewards.

These credit cards usually also come with no annual fee (at least for the first year) and sometimes a hefty points sign up bonus to boot. Then, after the first year, there is no obligation to continue with the card if you decide it isn't for you. It's really a fantastic deal and one I've taken advantage of several times myself.

Since this has become a pretty regular thing, I thought I should make a permanent page that lists legitimate free gift card offers that I am aware of and will continue to update at the beginning of every month.

Proof That It Works

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Your Free Money - 14 Ways To Claim It Now

yourfreemoney-14waystoclaimitnow.jpgIs free money too good to be true?

If someone comes up to you and offers you free money, no strings attached - what would you do?

I know. You’d probably keep walking in the other direction…But here’s the thing:

There is actually a ton of free money available to most Canadians just waiting to be taken advantage of.

But first - let’s answer a couple of questions...

Where does (legit) free money come from?

It could come from the government, your employer, a business looking for new customers - or simply by choosing to give your bank less money (because they have enough of it for goodness sake!).

What do I require from you to get access to all this money?

The willingness to spend a little time and take ACTION. You need to get organized and follow through on making some simple changes to your life. Then, watch the free money and savings start rolling in.

If that sounds good to you - then let’s get started.

A Note About Claiming Your Free Money

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How To Get Your Free Credit Score And Report in Canada

howtogetyourfreecreditscoreandreportincanada.jpgChecking your credit score for free has long been possible in the USA, but here in Canada you always had to fork over roughly $20 to either Equifax or Transunion to see your score.

There was, and still is, a clever way around this that I will tell you about later - but the big news is that you can now get free instant access to your credit score!

Unsurprisingly, there are a few small strings attached - but I think you will find them quite reasonable. I know I did when I decided to get my own score for free a couple of weeks ago.

Before I get into the free scores, I want explain what credit scores are and why you should know yours. But, if you just want get your score ASAP, here you go:

Get Your Free Credit Score Now

What Are Credit Scores And Credit Reports?

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Better Money Habits in 3 Easy Steps

bettermoneyhabitsin3easysteps.jpgWhy do we do the things we do?

As creatures of habit - how exactly were our habits formed?

According to Charles Duhigg author of The Power of Habit, our brains have a 3-step process for forming a habit:

  1. Cue - a trigger that activates an action or routine
  2. Routine - an action or response we’ve learned to do that gives us access to a predictable reward
  3. Reward - something our brain craves.

The key to forming a habit is through repetition. Then after enough repetition, actions and routines become automatic. There’s no more thinking required from our part...we just DO.

We’ve picked up many habits we’ve observed and learned over the years...

But how many of these habits were intentional?

How many were accidental - those habits we had no control over and were the result of the situation we were in at that time?

Can we create new habits that we want?

And can we break old habits we no longer want?

Let’s explore...

Create Habits You Want

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How To Get A Credit Card Annual Fee Refund

howtogetacreditcardannualfeerefund.jpgHave you ever considered signing up for a credit card but decided against it because of the annual fee?

I use two main cards right now for almost all spending and they both have annual fees - Scotiabank Momentum Visa Infinite ($99) and the Capital One Aspire Travel World Mastercard ($120). When I got these cards I considered the annual fees and still decided having them would pay off.

The Scotiabank card pays 4% cash back on gas and grocery purchases, and you’d need to spend over $200 per month on gas and groceries alone for the card to be worth it. I easily meet this threshold and last year I earned about $500 with this one card.

The Capital One card has an annual fee of $120 but when I applied for it also came with an annual bonus (no longer available) of 10,000 reward miles worth $100 - that means the annual fee is essentially $20. Not bad for a card that pays 2% back on all spending with no category restrictions.

Annual fees need to be taken into account when determining which card is right for you, but there is also the possibility of having your annual fee waived or refunded.

How To Get Your Annual Fee Refunded

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10 Best No Fee Cash Back Credit Cards in Canada for 2016

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It's pretty much universal - everyone hates fees!

I go out of my way to avoid fees whenever possible. For instance, I haven't paid any bank fees for nearly my entire life. I hopped right from a free student account into a no-fee President's Choice Financial account and haven't looked back.

But, there are actually some times when it makes sense to pay a fee.

As you can see from my all-inclusive cash back credit card rankings, most of the top ranked cards have an annual cost. The light bulb moment happens when you do the math and realize that any money you pay in fees quickly gets refunded to you and more through increased cash back earnings. As long as you funnel all your spending through your credit card and pay it off every month, you can earn at least 50% more than a no fee card will net you.

That said, there are still many people who still want to completely avoid fees. Fees suck and you may even be worried that paying the fee will pressure you to overspend. If so, then the following list of top no fee cash back cards is just the thing for you.

Canadian No Fee Cash Back Credit Card Rankings for 2016

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The Best Credit Cards In Canada 2016

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Can there really be one single BEST credit card?

Honestly, nailing that down is pretty hard because everyone's preferences are different. Credit cards offer so many types of rewards, features, insurance, and perks that comparing them against each in an apples to apples way seems nearly impossible...

But, I was foolish enough to try.

5 years ago I made my first attempt at ranking Canadian credit cards. That first attempt was good but not great - I held back from naming THE best card. I continued to track more cards and improve the system year over year. Thousands of hours have been invested...

Today, 124 cards of all types are tracked and ranked using 40+ unique ranking factors to determine which are really best. Finally, there can be one true champion that is best for most Canadians.

Of course, the decision of whether the winner meets your needs is all yours ... but you won't find a better starting point than this: Keep reading » about The Best Credit Cards In Canada 2016

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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Do You Really Need Car Rental Insurance?

doyoureallyneedcarrentalinsurance.jpgThis article was written in partnership with LowestRates.

Car rental insurance is ridiculously expensive…

… taking both the liability insurance and car damage or replacement coverage can easily double the daily cost of a rental.

The question is: do you need those expensive car rental insurance extras?

The answer is often no - or at least you can find much cheaper alternatives to get the same coverage.

You have to be careful though, because laws and coverage specifics vary from place to place and policy to policy. If you find yourself in a foreign province or country without the correct coverage, you could be on the hook for huge sums of money.

Use this guide as a starting point, then double check with your insurer and the rental agency to make sure you’re covered.

Vastly Different Types of Coverage

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You Only Live Once, So Don’t Blow It!

you_only_live_once_so_dont_blow_it.jpgTo save or to yolo? That’s the question.

Can the battle between frugality and “living life” cease to exist? And if so...

How do you strike that elusive balance?

Let’s examine “balance”, shall we?

It’s a soothing word to smooth over underlying conflict between two camps.

First, there’s work-life balance. A conflict of time spent between work and life outside of work.

Then there’s the balanced diet. A conflict between different food types. Natural food vs. junk food. High-fat vs. low-fat. High-carb vs. high-protein. And so on.

And not to be outdone…

There’s also the balanced budget. In personal finance, it’s taking the money we earn (after tax) and allocating chunks of it to: fixed and variable costs, savings, investments, debt payments, etc. A balanced budget is achieved when 100% of our money is properly allocated.

The conflict comes when we overspend in one area because it takes away from other areas.

Excess can be avoided with balance.

But - is balance just unicorns and rainbows?

YOLO Isn't a License to Blow Your Money

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