Bills

Calling Customer Service: Your Ticket To A Better Deal

Calling customer service: your ticket to a better deal

Dealing with real people – especially when shopping online – is often the last thing on our minds.

We’ll compare prices, hunt for sales, look for coupons and even use portals for extra cash back…

But, when something goes wrong during the checkout process (and let’s be honest, that happens much more than it should), we’ll accept the wasted time and just abandon our cart.

It’s a frustrating customer experience, and I’m sure we’ve all been there. When you’re looking for the best deal, things can and do go wrong because you’re doing something outside the norm.

People and websites are good at handling norms, but when you throw them a curveball things can slow to a crawl or completely crumble.

I’ve personally had problems with pretty much all the major sites at one time or another (Amazon, Best Buy, Staples, Cineplex, you name it).

In store, I’ve waited for more than 30 minutes while poorly trained front-line staff go back and forth with equally poorly trained managers about a simple coupon, promotion, or price match more often than I’d like to admit.

It’s infuriating but, if you have patience, it pays off. That’s especially true online.

Getting The Deal You’re Entitled To

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$166 – My Cost For High Speed Internet, TV, 2 Cell Phones, Home Phone, Long Distance, And Movies

My cost for high speed Internet, TV, 2 cell phones, home phone, long distance, and movies

Canadians pay some of the highest costs in the world for their communications and entertainment needs.

These costs can do serious damage to your long term financial health because they silently drain your bank account every single month. They're even subject to regular rate hikes to maximize profits for your service provider, often outpacing the rate of inflation.

Knowing that, I try to review my service costs regularly and keep them as low as I can while not depriving myself of what I really need. Now that I have a home office, I need top speed and rock solid internet for example. I also need reliable cell phones with lots of minutes and data - whereas I used to be able to get by without that in years past.

Here's a breakdown of my current services for my household of 2 adults and 2 children - all prices include taxes and fees.

$85.04 – High Speed Internet (130mbps Down / 50mbps Up)

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11 Ways To Lower Your Power & Utility Bills

11 ways to lower your power and utility billsUtility 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!

magicJack in Canada review, 5 years laterI 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

Tips on watching sports for lessI 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

5 ways to save money on your cell phone billWho 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 carThis 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

The ultimate guide to saving money on your taxesWhen 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

Free Internet TV - a complete guide for Canadians

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

Laundry done better: Save money, energy, time and hassle Laundry 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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