Travel

Money Saving Tips: Use Synthetic Oil In Your Car

Using synthetic oil in your carRecently I wrote about bringing your own oil when you take your vehicle in for an oil change and how to save money on synthetic oil in the process. Essentially by bringing your own synthetic oil that you can buy for $20 or less in the United States or for about $35 on sale in Canada you can save a bundle because most garages mark up a synthetic oil change by $50 to $70.

That said, there are many more merits to using synthetic oil that will save you even more money. The exact amount is hard to calculate but I can at least give you a rough idea why it is worth it.

Related: Car Parts And Repairs For Up To 90% Off!

Significantly Reduced Engine Wear

The whole point of synthetic oil is to lubricate the fast moving components of your engine so the metallic parts don’t chafe next to each other causing friction, high heat, expansion, and sheering off of little metal bits into the engine oil that can potentially cause even more damage later. I’m no expert on this, but I’ve read that oil breaks down in addition to getting dirty over time which is one of the main reasons it needs to be changed often. Synthetic oil breaks down much more slowly in addition to lubricating better and generally causing your engine to run smoother.

There are large internet communities dedicated just to car oil, one of the biggest being Bob Is The Oil Guy. The enthusiasts on those forums regularly compare oils and send their used oil in for a used oil analysis which tells them exactly what is in the oil so they can really see how well the oil is working. They will know if there is any sheered metal, dirt and gunk in the oil and if the oil started breaking down or if it was still in good shape and ready to go more significantly more kilometers. All of these enthusiasts recommend synthetic oil based on their findings and I’m now a believer as well. I think you should be too.

Of course, this will save you money on costly engine repairs in the long run.

Fewer Oil Changes

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Money Saving Tips: Bring Your Own Oil For An Oil Change

Bring your own oil for an oil changeMost people think the only reason to buy their own engine oil for their vehicle would be if they wanted to change the oil themselves to avoid paying someone else to do it. The truth is most garages and dealerships will allow you to bring your own oil if you simply ask. They will even charge you less for the oil change because they typically remove the cost of the bulk oil they would normally be putting in your car from the bill.

Changing your own oil can be a huge pain because you have to learn how to do it first of all, then buy the oil, filter, and other necessary stuff, then get dirty doing it, and finally find an environmentally responsible way of disposing of the oil. When a standard oil change can be as cheap as $30, it hardly sounds worth all that hassle to me!

Related: Car Parts And Repairs For Up To 90% Off!

However, simply buying your own oil and bringing it with you to the oil change is so dead easy that anyone could do it. But, the real question is: will it save you money?

If you are using standard engine oil and buying it at the regular price at Canadian Tire, then the answer is almost certainly no. If you are using synthetic oil on the other hand and getting it at a good price, then the savings can be huge. Keep reading » about Money Saving Tips: Bring Your Own Oil For An Oil Change

The Best Hotel Deals I’ve Ever Had

The best hotel deals I’ve ever hadIfs you were to visit the websites of many upscale hotels you would see that their rooms are almost always listed for well over $200 per night and you have to ask yourself: how do they do it? How can they sell hundreds of these rooms every night of the year for such an insanely high price? The answer is, THEY CAN’T! That’s right, other than during the busiest times of the year or when major events are taking place near the hotel in question, a large number of their rooms would sit vacant if they were to try and sell every single one of them at those high prices.

Thankfully years ago I learned this little secret about the hotel industry: they are desperate to sell their rooms! Why? Because it makes very little business sense as a hotel manager to let a large portion of your rooms sit vacant every night. Some money is better than no money, right? On the other hand, hotels don’t want to damage their brand and the upscale image of their hotel by dropping their rates to bargain basement prices just so they can sell their remaining rooms either. The hotels especially don’t want their high paying customers to know that the room they just purchased for $300, they would actually be willing to sell for $50 if it meant that it wouldn’t remain vacant for the night!

So how do these hotels ensure that their rooms are occupied while at the same time protecting their reputation so that everyone doesn’t know that they are selling their rooms so cheaply? The answer is they sell off their surplus inventory of rooms through 3rd party discount travel providers like Priceline and Hotwire at massive discounts.

Try Priceline Now!

How Does Booking On Priceline And Hotwire Work?

Booking hotels through Priceline and Hotwire works slightly differently, but the basic concept is that they only provide a very rough description of the hotel and the general area where it is located without actually naming the hotel. The true identity of the hotel is only revealed after the person booking the hotel has already paid for their stay in full. They will also not be given the option to change or cancel their reservation meaning that the revenue from that sale becomes guaranteed for the hotel the instant that the room is booked. By doing things this way, the hotel’s brand is protected because their hotel is never publicly listed alongside the rock bottom price on their own website nor on any third party travel provider’s website either.

Related: Complete Guide To Aeroplan

I know, those are some pretty serious restrictions, but what if I told you that you could save up to 70% off the regular nightly rates for 3 and 4 star hotels in most major cities? Would it be worth it then? To me it definitely is and you’ll soon see why!

Here Are Some Actual Hotel Deals I’ve Scored

Based on my own personal experience, I have to tell you that staying in a hotel right in the heart of the city you are visiting with direct access to everything the city has to offer is much more enjoyable than paying more money to stay at a run down motel that is miles away. Here are a few of the cheap hotel deals I’ve managed to score by using Priceline and Hotwire over the past several years. Keep reading » about The Best Hotel Deals I’ve Ever Had

The Aeroplan Star Challenge: Earn 16,500 Aeroplan Miles Basically Free

The focus of this site is mostly on learning repeatable strategies that can save you tons of money in the long term. It isn’t about the latest deal that crops up and goes away just as quickly, as there are lot of other sites that cover those deals. However, when a deal comes along that essentially gives you hundreds of dollars in free money, it’s hard to ignore and I just have to write a post about it. This is one of those deals.

Aeroplan has launched a new promotion for the month of May (May 1st to May 28th 2012) called “The Aeroplan Star Challenge” where they are giving you a chance to earn up to 16,500 miles for shopping at their partners. Normally there are big catches with these types of promotions in that you need to shop at 5-10 different partners, only get 1 credit for shopping at the same partner multiple times, have to spend a minimum of $20 at each partner to qualify, and the list of terms and conditions goes on and on.

Not the case for this promotion! I have read through the entire terms and conditions myself and it has been confirmed by an Aeroplan employee as well that you can shop at the same partner as many times as you want and still get credit and there is no minimum purchase other than you have to buy enough to earn 1 aeroplan mile in a transaction to qualify.

How The Promotion Works

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11 Car Buying Tips To Get The Best New Car Price

11 car-buying tips to get the best new car priceOver the years I’ve learned many car buying tips and tricks from various friends and relatives as well as from my own online and offline research. I have been buying vehicles for about 18 years and these tips can and do work very well. Some are easier to use then others, but if it means saving a few hundred or thousands of dollars, it’s worth it!

Buying a new car isn’t like buying a pair of jeans; you’re spending a huge amount of money. Of course if you’re buying a $500 used car that looks like “The Old Jalopy” from the Archie comics, then you won’t have much to negotiate on.

Keep in mind, I have only used these car buying tips at actual dealerships. Buying privately is different and you don’t have as many techniques to work with, and cars sold privately are always sold as is. I personally have never bought a vehicle privately.

11 Car Buying Tips You Can Use At Any Dealership:

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US Bank Account Comparison For Canadians

US bank account comparison for CanadiansIf you have to deal with US currency on a semi-regular basis, then you know how quickly currency conversion costs can eat into your money! Your credit card charges you at least 2.5% off the top whenever you make a purchase in US dollars and the banks typically charge even more than that for buying US currency unless it is a large volume transaction. Worse still, if you ever get paid in US dollars, then you can wind up converting money to Canadian dollars when you receive payment and then BACK into US dollars when making a USD purchase. You are also at the mercy of ever-fluctuating exchange rates if you don’t have a US dollar bank account.

Are you paying monthly fees for your CANADIAN bank account?
Why not give Tangerine no-fee banking a try?

Running this website, I do occasionally receive advertising or affiliate payments in USD so I frequently find myself in costly currency conversion situations and it’s starting to get really expensive. I always knew US dollar bank accounts were out there and I had done some preliminary research surrounding them, but I’m getting much more serious about it these days and I plan to open a US bank account at a Canadian bank very soon to reduce these currency exchange costs.

How A US Dollar Bank Account Reduces Currency Exchange Costs

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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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ACT NOW! The Best Deal On Winter Tires You Will Ever Find!

actnowthebestdealsonwintertiresyouwilleverfind.jpgUpdate: This deal is still ongoing. I have added a new 15% off coupon (AJGN738) to replace the one that expired. I also added a comment indicating that I received my four General Altimax Arctic tires on October 14th just as expected without any additional fees to pay. Some sizes may be sold out or on back order, but you should definitely still try to get in on this deal!

If you’ve read my other post on Cross Border Shopping you would know that I tend to buy my tires from the United States at TireRack.com and have them shipped to the border where I pick them up later. The reason I do that is they are often up to 50% cheaper in the US. However, paying the shipping, duty, and brokerage fees to have them shipped directly to Canada is so expensive that all the savings are usually lost.

Well, today I discovered an amazing deal on winter tires in the RedFlagDeals hot deals forum at JCWhitney.com. It includes shipping directly to my house for practically no cost and you pay no taxes or brokerage fees whatsoever – not even GST, PST, or HST!!! The tires are still heavily discounted off the prices you will find here in Canada, so you end up with a smoking hot deal on tires that you may never see again!

The Tires

Although you can buy any tires that you want with this deal, the tires I am talking about specifically are the General Altimax Arctics (see them @ TireRack). Previous to today, I have actually done a ton of research into winter tires and you should know that these are the number 1 ranked tire giving you the best snow and ice performance at the lowest possible price. If you look at the Tirerack customer survey results for all of the winter tires that they carry, they rank 1st in the Light Snow Traction, Deep Snow Traction, and Would Buy Again? categories. They rank 2nd in the Ice Traction and Hydroplaning Resistance categories.

As far as I’m concerned, those are the most important categories when choosing winter tires and these tires dominated in all of them. The number of competitors wasn’t small either with a total field of 23 different tires being rated. Not only that, but I have also read about these tires on several car forums and looked at tire benchmarking tests done by ConsumerReports.org as well and they are always recommended very highly!

How Much Can You Save?

The exact amount you will save is going to vary on a case by case basis, because the car you drive and the size of the tire you need are big factors. However, I can share with you how much I saved! Keep reading » about ACT NOW! The Best Deal On Winter Tires You Will Ever Find!

Earn Thousands Of Dollars In Credit Card Rewards

Earn thousands of dollars in credit card rewardsHave you ever wondered what the best credit card available in Canada is? Should you choose one with an annual fee or not? Are travel rewards credit cards worth the hassle, or should you just stick to a simple cash back credit card? Is signing up for a credit card even a good idea at all? These are all very good questions and, with the number of credit cards available in the Canadian marketplace today, making the right choice can seem nearly impossible.

With people like you in mind who are overwhelmed with the choices and not sure if it is even possible to determine “the best” credit card, we have put together a complete credit card guide that seeks to answer almost any question you might have in regards to credit cards. Not only that, but we have done a thorough analysis of the best credit cards on the market and come up with our own custom scoring system for comparing them in an objective manner. It takes many important factors into consideration such as the return a typical person can get on their credit card spending, the maximum return you can possibly achieve if you do everything just right, how flexible the credit card rewards are, and the quality of the insurance package that comes with the card.

It is actually our belief that every person who can qualify for a rewards credit card should be using one for every possible purchase that they make, so long as you are able to pay the balance in full every month! Unfortunately, not all people can handle the responsibility of having a credit card and when using one they find themselves overspending and getting deep in debt by spending money they don’t have. But, if you are a responsible spender or saver and you aren’t using a credit card, then you are leaving a lot of money on the table that would otherwise be in your pocket!

How Much Can You Really Earn With Credit Cards?

So all of this sounds nice, but when it comes right down to it, how much can you really earn with credit card rewards? Keep reading » about Earn Thousands Of Dollars In Credit Card Rewards

Get The Most Value From Your Aeroplan Miles

Now that you’ve earned a ton of Aeroplan miles, you need to know how to effectively spend them so all of your hard work earning them isn’t wasted.  You want to get the absolute best value for your miles possible while still redeeming them for an award you actually want and can use.  The information found here will help you to squeeze every possible penny out of your Aeroplan miles!

Choosing The Right Reward

When it comes to choosing the right reward with Aeroplan, there is no discussion necessary.  There is only one viable option, flights!  All the other reward options will give at most 50% of the value you could obtain by booking a flight.  You can still look into the other reward options if they interest you, but just know that 99.9% of the time you will be throwing many more miles away than you should be.  If you are considering redeeming your miles for something other than flights you should consider the following options instead:

  • If you ever will need to fly in the future, save the miles for then and buy the item you really want with the money saved.
  • Redeem a ticket for a family member who is flying anyway and have them pay you back the cost of the ticket as a favour to you.
  • Use your miles to gift a ticket or trip to a family member and again use the money saved how you wish.

Where To Fly

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