The War On Debt: The Work Has Just Begun

The War On Debt: The Work Has Just BegunWe have come to the end of our six-month blog experiment to kill The Colossus, which stretched into a year – and stretched us along with it.

Overall, this financial overhaul has been a difficult journey, not only because we had to curtail some bad habits – and in some cases, fight for a better deal…

But also because of stresses in our personal lives which have coincided with our financial crisis.

Report from the Job Front

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How To Unlock Your Cell Phone For Free (Canadian Guide)

How to unlock your cell phone for free

Unlocking your cell phone just got a whole lot easier and cheaper!

With the new CRTC Wireless Code coming into effect on December 1st, 2017, Canadian cell phone carriers are now banned from charging a fee for unlocking any phone and all new phones must be sold unlocked.

Previously the unlocking fees charged directly by your service provider typically rang in at $50, but there was some variance among providers. In 2016 alone, those fees added up to $37.7M in revenue for the cell phone companies which came from 943,000 phone unlock requests - an average of $40 per device.

Today, all you have to is contact them and they will either unlock your device for you or instruct you how to do so yourself completely free of charge.

If you’re still confused about what unlocking even means, check out our guide that answers the question what is cell phone unlocking?

Also don’t miss our phone unlocking frequently asked questions below.

What You Need To Unlock Your Phone

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Why New Year’s Money Resolutions Won’t Work – And What Will

Why new year’s money resolutions won’t work – and what will

New year, NEW resolutions – this is the year we’re definitely going to make things happen, right?

But there’s a problem...

These resolutions – which yes, sounds nice and smart and so motivational – actually set us up to fail.

Why? Because, too often, they’re an emotional impulse-checklist that lacks a concrete plan for action. And action is the ONLY thing that matters in making a successful life change.

Not to mention, New Year’s resolutions are so timing dependent. If we fail to meet this abstract timeline, have we then lost our chance for the rest of the year?

Starting our resolution late or screwing up early, within the first few days or weeks, feels like a license to put it off until next year. Surely then positive lasting change will finally happen. Ya… right.

We’re in control all year long

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My 25 Favourite Ways To Save Money On Life's Most Important Things

Favourite ways to save money on life's most important things

Today's post is from Andrew Daniels -- founder of Family Money Plan and Millennial Homeowner

Some people are just born a certain way.

Some are skilled hockey players. Others can write an amazing song.

For me I was born to save money. Saving money has always been a passion of mine: I’m always on the lookout for a great way to keep more of my hard earned money.

The way I see it, there are three big areas in your life that make up most of your daily spending:

If you focus on finding savings on these three first, you can do yourself a huge service down the road. So, let’s get going on how to save on all these ones...

Here are my favourite ways to save money.

How I Love To Cut Our Food Costs

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The One Sneaky Category of Expenses You Need to Watch Out For

The one sneaky category of expenses you need to watch out for

You’d probably think it was hard in some way, like that I spent a ton of time working on securing these savings, or that I cut back on something I didn’t want to cut back on.

What if I added that I made these cuts in about an hour, and I didn’t have to sacrifice anything I really liked doing to get there?

Now that I’ve got your attention, I want to talk to you about recurring charges.

These are the purchases that get posted to your debit or credit card every month without you doing a single thing about it, beyond that one time when you signed up and gave the vendor permission to charge you monthly.

This could be anything from an insurance bill to a gym membership to a Netflix subscription – and unless they’re really big expenses, you probably don’t even notice them when they hit your account.

But if you take the time to notice them, and figure out how much value you’re really getting out of them...

You could save big bucks, just like I did.

How to Get Started

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31 Money Apps, Products, and Tools You Should Be Using

31 money apps, products, and tools you should be using

There are so many tools, products, and apps out there that it’s hard to know which ones to use. There’s so much choice that it’s easy to pass by some great money saving apps and tools without a second look.

It’s even harder to find stuff that works well for Canadians – nearly everything is targeted at Americans because of their larger population.

Even though I’m a tech-savvy guy, I still don’t use as many money tools as I probably should to truly maximize my money.

Some of it is due to privacy concerns – I don’t want to link up directly to my bank, credit card, or investing accounts. But, most of it is that initial barrier to entry of learning something new when what I already do works well enough.

It really helps when someone vets and recommends useful tools first before giving them a try yourself, don’t you think?

So here is a collection of apps, financial tools, and products I either use myself or think are worth using based on the reviews and features they offer.

You can find even more money saving deals and tools that I use everyday on our deals and tools page.

Best Money Saving & Personal Finance Apps

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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

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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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