Tuesday, June 29, 2010

An Inexpensive Getaway for Canada Day

Canada Day long weekend is coming up which is one of the greatest holidays of the year. For those of you who don't currently have plans, you might be trying to think of things to do that are inexpensive. There is no better way of spending Canada Day long weekend than experiencing what the great Canadian outdoors has to offer.

Camping is one of the most inexpensive vacation getaways. There are no expensive hotels necessary, just pitch a tent or sleep under the stars on a warm summer night. There is some camping equipment that is quite personal that you probably wouldn't want to buy used, but there is some equipment that presents opportunities for savings. Examples of equipment that you can purchase used would be a camp stove, lamps, canoe, water filtering devices, storage containers and camp chairs. Camping is a great way to get in touch with nature and bond with your family and friends. Get out there and get some fresh air in your lungs!
For more information about camping in Ontario visit this link: http://www.ontarioparks.com/

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Hang Dry Clothes for Big Savings!

Here is another green savings tip. Instead of powering up the drier you can hang dry your clothes. Now that summer has started those of you with back yards can set up a clothes line. If you don't have the luxury of a back yard you can always just set up a rack in a room with some windows. This is a great savings tip that only requires some patience.

Hang drying is also better for your clothes. Driers can be rough on clothes, subjecting them to intense heat and agitation. Hang drying will make your clothes last longer which is another cost saving advantage. In my building we have coin laundry and to use the drier takes $2. Hang drying is definitely the best alternative. I don't have a backyard so I just use a rack in the bedroom. It only takes a couple hours and they're dry. This can even be done indoors in the winter. Just don't leave your clothes out in the rain!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Save 30% on Your Home Cooling Bills with this Simple Tip!

The temperature is really heating up this summer. Those of us that a fortunate to have a central air system can stay comfortably indoors without breaking a sweat. However, blasting the AC all the time can have dramatic effects on our electricity bills. A quick tip that could save upwards of 30% on your AC electric bill is have a programmable thermostat installed. The larger your home the more significant your savings can be.

This is a very simple do it yourself project. The cost of a programmable thermostat ranges from $20-40, but the savings can be significant. The savings come by setting the temperature a few degrees warming when you're out of the house, say between the hours of 9 am-5 pm and while you're asleep say between 11 am to 7 am. This dramatically cuts down the time your AC is spent on and cooling a home that nobody is in. More expensive programmable thermostats allow you to set 4 day time cycles such as morning, afternoon, evening and night. Better ones also allow you to set for weekday and weekend modes.

There was a special incentive from Union Gas, when I installed mine. They took $20 off my gas bill with proof of purchase. Check your local utility providers for extra incentives. If you are a renter and pay your own utility bills you can ask your landlord to have one installed or install one yourself and just switch the thermostats back when you move out. This is not only a great way to save but an environmentally friendly initiative.

Easy Money by Filling Out Online Surveys at Home

I have recently received a cheque for $5.70 US. I know it's not much but I wasn't exactly busting my hump earning it. I got it from filling out some online surveys. There are a lot of scams on the internet that advertise about getting rich at home. One of the reasons I gave this website a shot was that it didn't make claims about getting rich over night.

The name of the website is http://www.opinionoutpost.com/. The way it works is you set up an account with all the usual information: name, email, etc... . Then you have to wait for email notification about available surveys. The emails state roughly how long the survey takes and how many points it is worth. The longer the survey the more points it's worth. You have to accumulate at least 50 points before you can cash in and request a cheque. Each point is worth 10 cents so that's a minimum of a $5 cheque. Also, whenever you refer someone else to the site by providing an email address you can earn another 20 points. The person with the email address has to register with an account and complete one full survey before you get your referral points.

Whenever you are sent a survey there are a set of preliminary questions to try to find if you are within the demographics in which marketers need information. If you qualify you can complete the survey and get the points. If you don't you get your choice of entering a draw or contributing a couple cents to a charity. I highly recommend trying it out. This is not going to replace your day job by any means, but this is something you can do in the comfort of your home while watching TV.

Friday, June 25, 2010

One of the Best Personal Finance Reads - "The Wealthy Barber"

One of the best personal finance books that I've ever read is the Wealthy Barber by David Chilton. The story starts with some friends looking for financial advice. They end up finding advice from a very unlikely source, their local barber. Their local barber is someone who is not expected to be wealthy but they soon find that he is very well off. The wealthy barber's finanacial status is not through an exceedingly high income but through extremely wise spending habits. I highly recommend spending the time to read this book. It covers a lot of personal finance topics such as life insurance, education funds and real estate.

One of the main messages of this book was to pay yourself first. This can be done by setting up a separate savings account that you will not access and putting aside a set amount of money every week or month into the account. It may be hard at first to stretch an already tight budget, but usually we spend what is within our grasp. Putting a set portion of funds aside on a systematic basis will divert funds that are available at your finger tips that you might spend impulsively and allows you to build wealth. It would be a good idea to start small i.e. $5 a week and slowly build it up as time goes by. When the money has accumulated into a significant amount it would be wise to invest it to accelerate its growth.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Buy Used Rather Than New

We are often dazzled by things that a new and shiny, but forget how much we can save by buying used. Purchasing used goods is especially useful for furniture, cars and other larger more expensive goods.

Used cars are a good example of how much you can save. Sure some people will argue that by buying new you may avoid a lemon car, let those guys be the suckers. As soon as you drive that car off the lot it loses 30% of its value. A car loses most of it's value between 2 to 3 years while still maintaining good years ahead of it. It's important to have a good mechanic who can do a proper inspection. It's also important to shop around. You may be able to find someone who cannot afford their car and is forced to sell quickly. With a bit of patience and a good eye for deals you can save bundles here.

Start Small

Building wealth is not just about saving money, but also trying to increase your income. Besides asking your boss for a raise which might lead to you getting fired, it may be best to start your own business. Starting your own business can be risky but if successful the rewards would be worth it. I recently read a great book written by a co-founder of the Subway restaurant chains. He initially wanted to earn some money to pay his way through college. When a family friend offered him $1000 starting capital to invest in his first shop, Subway was born. With little starting capital he was able to build a sandwich empire. This book is not only about the Subway story but also includes several other entrepreneurs who started with a small idea. It is very inspiring and worth reading.

The book is entitled: Start Small, Finish Big: 15 Key Lessons to Start--and Run--Your Own Successful Business by Fred DeLuca

Check you local library or it's available used at:


A dollar saved is two dollars earned!

A lot of people cringe when they think of clipping coupons to try to save a few pennies or waiting for a sale on their favourite items. The truth of the matter is that trying to save and cut your expenses is worth more to you than you think.

When we earn our money a lot of it gets eaten up in taxes. In actuality the first person to be paid is usually Stephen Harper. These expenses come right off our pay cheques such as: Canada Pension Plan (CPP), Employment Insurance (EI), and Income Tax. In addition are employee benefits (if you have any). Usually these expenses take away about 30% of our income. There is also the expense of getting to work, child care and lunch. So when it's all said and done we're not taking home as much as we really think.

So really when we save a dollar on our shopping it's really worth 2 dollars that we'd earn in the working world. Incredible! Now you'll be clipping coupons and waiting for that sale rather then just opening up your wallets to vendors and saying "take what you want."

Always pick up the penny!

Whenever we're walking about the streets there are always instances when there is some change on the ground. Particularly pennies. Usually people don't bother to pick such minuscule change up. However, it is rare that you get something for nothing, so when the opportunity presents itself it's best just to do the work and pick it up. You can never forget that with enough pennies you'll eventually end up with dollars. Also, you can think of it as 1% interest on your dollar. Not bad for not a lot of work!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Saving Cash

Building wealth is a lot like losing weight. To lose weight you have to burn more calories than you take in. This can be done by exercising more or dieting. To build wealth you have to take in more money and spend less. The principals are simple but it takes a lot of discipline to execute.

So in order to build wealth you must either increase your income or find ways to make your money go further. Increasing your income could be as easy as finding a part time job or investing in some venture. Lowering your costs could be as easy as trying to find out the things in your life that aren't completely necessary and cutting them out.

Go out for lunch less often. If you prepare a larger supper and pack some away for the next day's lunch you could save bundles. Going out for lunch should be more of a treat than a regular routine. Try to limit going out for lunch to once a week.

5 Easy Ways to Save

How to Save at Starbucks!

Voted most popular tip (and most hilarious)!

here's a handy tip to save a few bucks at Starbucks!