Author Topic: Any Canadians out there?  (Read 19981 times)

MrCash

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Any Canadians out there?
« on: March 17, 2014, 11:22:23 AM »
What finance tips do you have that are specific to Canada? 

EDIT:  Since many people are saying how much things vary from province to province, note which province you are talking about when giving your tips.  I'll try to summarize all the advice I receive and include it on my site at:  http://ourcashhouse.com/finance-around-the-world/canada/
« Last Edit: March 17, 2014, 11:15:11 PM by MrCash »

Joan-eh?

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Re: Any Canadians out there?
« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2014, 12:15:28 PM »
I, too, would love to hear from Canadians about cheaper house contents insurance (currently$2000 for contents only for condo!) and car insurance ($2500 for hubbies' car-- I walk or take TTC) . How to go cheaper on the "home phone" front - (currently 84$ for internet and house phone with great long distance package).  I find the US examples difficult to hear - it seems life here in the north is more expensive.  I hope this thread takes off with great clues/links/ideas!! I'm in Toronto and don't want to relocate, I love my job.

Toronto Specific:
I will offer up two ideas to start:
HouseSeats.ca as an awesome way to engage in Toronto entertainment for $100/year, also lots of free arts/shows/concerts at our many universities.

---of course, TFSA and RRSPs- Frugal Toque has covered those nicely.

also- has anyone bought into the Vangard Canadian ETFs?  what were you choices? your weighting?
« Last Edit: March 17, 2014, 12:23:00 PM by Joanie »

MrCash

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Re: Any Canadians out there?
« Reply #2 on: March 17, 2014, 12:19:22 PM »

---of course, TFSA and RRSPs- Frugal Toque has covered those nicely.

Where could I find this advice?

Joan-eh?

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Re: Any Canadians out there?
« Reply #3 on: March 17, 2014, 12:21:47 PM »
He has be guest poster in the main section of the website...there was a part one (sept 21) and part deux (Dec 15)
« Last Edit: March 17, 2014, 12:24:48 PM by Joanie »

yyc-phil

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Re: Any Canadians out there?
« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2014, 12:32:04 PM »
It is sometimes difficult for us in Canada to relate to the US context, especially for real estate prices. I'm shopping for a small acreage to build a tiny house on Vancouver island in the Victoria-Nanaimo corridor and can't find anything affordable (i.e. under $200,000 per acre). Just across the border in Washington or Oregon, real estate can be had for so much less!

Regarding the comment about condo contents insurance, I pay only $105 per year for mine, for a basic owner-occupied contents/liability coverage. I pay about the same for another condo I rent out, but with limited contents protection. Unless you have antiques or expensive items you wish to insure, I find that basic coverage is enough, as I can easily self-insure standard furniture and other personal items in case of damage or loss. Both condos are insured with AMA/CAA, which is where I also get my car insurance ($1,000/year, full coverage, but vehicle is insured for recreation only, not for work) and my wife's commercial coverage for her consignment store ($1,095/year).

Joan-eh?

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Re: Any Canadians out there?
« Reply #5 on: March 17, 2014, 12:37:36 PM »
WOW! I do have some antiques, but that's a big difference. I will check out your line on CAA! thank you! Are those prices for coverage in YK? 
« Last Edit: March 17, 2014, 12:42:22 PM by Joanie »

GuitarStv

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Re: Any Canadians out there?
« Reply #6 on: March 17, 2014, 12:40:55 PM »
How to go cheaper on the "home phone" front - (currently 84$ for internet and house phone with great long distance package).

Go with TekSavvy, not Rogers or Bell.  Our home phone is 12$ a month through them with a decent long distance package and we pay around 30$ for internet.  Customer service is significantly better than the big two phone companies as well.  Give them a call, because they have cheaper options than are listed on their website (at least for phone).

swick

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Re: Any Canadians out there?
« Reply #7 on: March 17, 2014, 12:42:47 PM »
I, too, would love to hear from Canadians about cheaper house contents insurance (currently$2000 for contents only for condo!) and car insurance ($2500 for hubbies' car-- I walk or take TTC)

Wow Joanie, you have to shop around! We found our cheapest insurance through BCAA ...if you are a member of any auto organizations it is worth checking into - or even if you are not, they still have decent rates. When we were renting, our content insurance was 39.00 a month (different provider)

You might want to go through your insurance policy and see what the details actually are. For example some cover you up to a certain amount for coins/bullion, some cover up to a certain amount for media, a certain amount for furs!?! all of these usually cost extra or can be removed to lover the cost.

What we realized though when we were shopping for house insurance is that yes we need liability and coverage in case the roof goes or a pipe bursts for the house burns down, but we don't need a lot of the content insurance because most of our furniture and things are either second hand or irreplaceable - and having a healthy emergency fund that could be drawn on in the case of a true emergency would cover the new things we would have to replace.

I do sometimes find it frustrating because a lot of the prices, we can't go that low on, but there is always room for improvement. We pay 85.00 for our home phone/internet because cell's are highway robbery here and we don't really want to be available 24/7. But I'm going to check out tekSavvy and see if it is an option here...thanks GuitarStv!


Spudd

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Re: Any Canadians out there?
« Reply #8 on: March 17, 2014, 12:43:23 PM »
I, too, would love to hear from Canadians about cheaper house contents insurance (currently$2000 for contents only for condo!) and car insurance ($2500 for hubbies' car-- I walk or take TTC) . How to go cheaper on the "home phone" front - (currently 84$ for internet and house phone with great long distance package).

also- has anyone bought into the Vangard Canadian ETFs?  what were you choices? your weighting?

I have my house insurance through TD insurance and am paying around $90/mo for contents and structure for a detached house. It seems you should be able to get a much better deal than you have right now! Try with TD. We were also with them for car insurance when we had a car (which we no longer do).

For internet we use start.ca for $45/mo including tax. I really recommend them, they're a small company, very responsive, and the service has been very reliable.

For home phone, if either of you is technically inclined, we use Voip.ms for our home phone. This gives us all the calling features for $2/mo, plus usage fees of 1c/min within Canada or higher for long distance. However, there's a bit of a learning curve setting it up.

I use VRE for REIT's (10% of my portfolio) and that's it for now, for their Canadian offerings. I also use VTI (20%) and VNQ (10%) on the US side.

yyc-phil

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Re: Any Canadians out there?
« Reply #9 on: March 17, 2014, 01:07:09 PM »
WOW! I do have some antiques, but that's a big difference. I will check out your line on CAA! thank you! Are those prices for coverage in YK?

My coverage is for the two condos in Calgary (a 2-bed/2-bath unit we occupy, and a rented studio loft). In YK, a small city with a high cost of living, I live practically free by not having a vehicle and instead biking year-round, and by house-sitting, a great gig which also involves eating whatever food is left in my host's fridges and pantries, using the car, etc.  :)

For land line and internet, we pay $65/month with Shaw. Cheapest package available, we don't watch TV or download anything from the internet, so speed/bandwidth is not an issue for us. Ideally we would ditch the land line but we must have a real line just to buzz people in the building. What a waste.

daverobev

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Re: Any Canadians out there?
« Reply #10 on: March 17, 2014, 01:25:21 PM »
Try the Cooperators - they were much better for our auto insurance. But The Center of the Universe is expensive for auto insurance, and that's that, I think.

Also try Belair Direct - but I have read bad things about them if you actually have to claim..

For internet, if you can get DSL, try Velcom - $30/month for 7 meg, 100Gb. No need for a home phone; use Netflix and OTA rather than cable TV.

I find that Canada is very different from province to province, so even help from BC might not be that enlightening!

Um.. ok, there is a program/app called 'Fongo' which does entirely free calling within Canada - runs on a PC, Android, I think iOS too. Or Skype.

Use President's Choice Financial - if you pay for banking you're crazy :) Free cheques, free unlimited everything.

Check out RedFlagDeals - the forum is good (but a bit.. acidic at times!) in terms of deals.

Zikoris

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Re: Any Canadians out there?
« Reply #11 on: March 17, 2014, 02:32:42 PM »
I, too, would love to hear from Canadians about cheaper house contents insurance (currently$2000 for contents only for condo!) and car insurance ($2500 for hubbies' car-- I walk or take TTC) . How to go cheaper on the "home phone" front - (currently 84$ for internet and house phone with great long distance package).  I find the US examples difficult to hear - it seems life here in the north is more expensive.  I hope this thread takes off with great clues/links/ideas!! I'm in Toronto and don't want to relocate, I love my job.

We pay $188/year for renters insurance through Co-operators, and live in Vancouver. We don't even like paying for that, but our apartment complex makes us get it as a lease requirement, so we hold our noses and buy it.

We pay $28/month for internet through Novus, a small Vancouver provider. We pay $65/month for two cell phones, Telus and Koodo, soon to be $60 when my Telus contract runs out. No landline.

As far as housing itself goes, Vancouver has some great options for cheap housing - 1 bedroom apartments in the many housing co-ops tend to range from about $600-$800/month, and there are a LOT of houses that have had extra walls, doors, bathrooms, and kitchens installed to make them into little mini apartment building (that looks like a house from the outside) with five or six units for around $500-$700/month. There's also a developer downtown that buys up old hotels and renovates them into little tiny efficiency suites (sometimes with shared bathrooms, but otherwise a normal heritage apartment building) and rents them out for between about $400/month and $700/month - these units are VERY convenient because they're right in the middle of downtown, walking distance to everything, so you don't even need a transit pass if you live there.

Echoing other people, I think Canada is very region-specific as far as this stuff goes.

TrMama

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Re: Any Canadians out there?
« Reply #12 on: March 17, 2014, 02:34:19 PM »
Your contents insurance is nuts. We pay half that for full coverage on a 3000 sqft house + contents. Try The Personal for home insurance. Another strategy is to increase the deductible. MMM wrote a great post on how being over-insured is a big waste of money.

Ditto for car insurance. Increase the deductible, swap the car for a less valuable one, drop comprehensive and drive less. Here in BC, I insure my 2006 Corolla for recreational use only (saved me $80) since I usually bike commute. I also dropped comprehensive this year since it's only worth $5-6K and I can easily cover that. However, to protect our growing 'stache, I increased the liability to the max BCAA offers ;-)

I'm another PC Financial customer. Love them. I also have a Mastercard with them and like that it earns me a bit of grocery money just for using it. You can "spend" your points at any Loblaws owned grocery store.

My other trick is to file form T1213 with CRA every fall. It allows you to have less tax taken off your paychecks based on how much you promise to contribute to RSPs or childcare.

MrCash

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Re: Any Canadians out there?
« Reply #13 on: March 17, 2014, 02:49:00 PM »
He has be guest poster in the main section of the website...there was a part one (sept 21) and part deux (Dec 15)

Thanks!

Prairie Stash

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Re: Any Canadians out there?
« Reply #14 on: March 17, 2014, 03:00:42 PM »
Saskatchewan Advice - RESP gets a 10% match, on top of the 20% federal (they both match up to $2500/year) there's some additional rules, that's enough to get going. The provincial match is still pretty new.

I pay too much for cell phones, SaskTel.  Bell and Telus have decent coverage here, all 3 seem to be the same prices.  Does anyone have great cell phone plans?

Internet is under $40 with taxes. SaskTel is pretty decent there.

Jomar

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Re: Any Canadians out there?
« Reply #15 on: March 17, 2014, 08:56:09 PM »
I'm glad this post was created! I'll reiterate what everyone else has said about contents insurance- 2k is insane. We pay around $130 in Winnipeg for our condo. I'm curious about other peoples' car insurance rates though. We have public insurance in Manitoba, so there's no option. We pay $970 a year for our 1998 Subaru Forester. The only way we could drop that rate would be to insure it as a "leisure" vehicle... and that would save us $20 or so, and since I use the car for work, it would also be fraudulent. I tried to talk to someone at MPI (Manitoba Public Insurance) about getting the "All Perils Collision Insurance" removed from my plan, but to no avail. It's all or nothing. Everyone in Manitoba is convinced that we have it made with our public insurance, but I'm not so sure. What do you all pay to insure your vehicles?

MrCash

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Re: Any Canadians out there?
« Reply #16 on: March 17, 2014, 11:14:49 PM »
I'll try to summarize all the advice I receive and include it on my site at:  http://ourcashhouse.com/finance-around-the-world/canada/

Spudd

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Re: Any Canadians out there?
« Reply #17 on: March 18, 2014, 07:44:37 AM »
Jomar, you totally have it made compared to Torontonians, at least. When we still had a car we were paying $250/month for an 8-year-old Elantra classified as leisure only. That's why we don't have a car anymore.

KMMK

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Re: Any Canadians out there?
« Reply #18 on: March 18, 2014, 07:56:29 AM »
Jamor, you're the first other Winnipeger I've seen here.
Hello.

About the money stuff I'm on vacation so am not going to look up numbers at the moment but I am working on a website with mostly Canadian financial content. It's not ready for viewing yet, unfortunately. When I see threads like this I wish my site was ready yesterday, but nothing happens instantly and there'll always be Canadians looking for info in the future, too.

MrCash

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Re: Any Canadians out there?
« Reply #19 on: March 18, 2014, 09:02:57 AM »
Jamor, you're the first other Winnipeger I've seen here.
Hello.

About the money stuff I'm on vacation so am not going to look up numbers at the moment but I am working on a website with mostly Canadian financial content. It's not ready for viewing yet, unfortunately. When I see threads like this I wish my site was ready yesterday, but nothing happens instantly and there'll always be Canadians looking for info in the future, too.

Just let me know when your site is up and I'll include a link to it on my site.

andru365

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Re: Any Canadians out there?
« Reply #20 on: March 18, 2014, 09:26:04 AM »
Some tips I have learned and implemented

TV: We have an OTA TV antenna hooked up to a Tivo HD unit.  Initial outlay was $900 CAD, but we haven't had a cable bill in 4 years.

Home Phone: We user Voip.ms.  Total cost per month is around $15

Internet:  Teksavvy is great.  $31 per month, 6Mb per second download with 70Gb cap

Cell:  We use a Rogers corporate plan.  $55/mo for an iPhone with 6GB of data, unlimited local call and text (I know this doesn't help anybody else, as its only available through my employer)

going2ER

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Re: Any Canadians out there?
« Reply #21 on: March 18, 2014, 12:18:58 PM »
Another PC banker here. I love that there are no fees. Has anyone used their TFSA mutual funds? We have used their GIC's and had a good return on them. Also have a mortgage with them for 2.25% which no other bank could touch.

I will be looking into Teksavvy as we have been looking to cut out cable and home phone, but most of the prices I saw were not much cheaper than the package we have now so once we added on Netflix there was no real savings. Teksavvy seems to be cheaper, just to see if they cover our area.

I'm in NS and we have great farmers markets in this area, great produce and much cheaper than the grocery store. Plus all the money goes to the farmer. Housing is also cheap here. Gas and groceries are expensive.

MrCash

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Re: Any Canadians out there?
« Reply #22 on: March 18, 2014, 01:51:15 PM »
I'll try to summarize all the advice I receive and include it on my site at:  http://ourcashhouse.com/finance-around-the-world/canada/

Just wondering about the appropriateness of taking this community conversation inspired by MMM and moving it to your own website, without the permissions of MMM or these contributors. I work a lot with privacy issues and intellectual property and this just feels strange to me.  Maybe I'm crazy?  That has been suggested before :-)

Respectfully submitted,
J

I'm definitely not trying to steal any intellectual property or violate anyone's privacy.  And I'll take it down if people feel that it's inappropriate.  I just thought it was a good idea to try and aggregate advice that would be relevant to people in different geographical regions.  That way the information becomes more helpful since it is all in one place. 

Also, when I post info to this page, I try to do some research into the company or service in order to write a brief description for it.

swick

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Re: Any Canadians out there?
« Reply #23 on: March 18, 2014, 02:55:02 PM »
MrCrash - BCAA is worth looking into for HOME insurance. When we looked into their auto insurance, their basic package was actually more expensive because of a few extra add on they put in their base quote. If you are insuring for businesses or commercial or brand new vehicles it might be cheaper but for most people in the MMM situation they actually admitted they might not be the best choice. In BC we are all required to pay whatever rate ICBC quotes us as a minimum. Purchasing additional coverage is up to us. Just thought I'd mention the distinction for your website.

MrCash

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Re: Any Canadians out there?
« Reply #24 on: March 18, 2014, 03:03:18 PM »
MrCrash - BCAA is worth looking into for HOME insurance. When we looked into their auto insurance, their basic package was actually more expensive because of a few extra add on they put in their base quote. If you are insuring for businesses or commercial or brand new vehicles it might be cheaper but for most people in the MMM situation they actually admitted they might not be the best choice. In BC we are all required to pay whatever rate ICBC quotes us as a minimum. Purchasing additional coverage is up to us. Just thought I'd mention the distinction for your website.

That's good to know.  Thanks for this!  I just assumed auto because of the name.  I will update it shortly.

sleepyguy

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Re: Any Canadians out there?
« Reply #25 on: March 21, 2014, 10:07:06 AM »

ScienceSexSavings

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Re: Any Canadians out there?
« Reply #26 on: March 21, 2014, 02:43:27 PM »
Another PC banker here. I love that there are no fees. Has anyone used their TFSA mutual funds? We have used their GIC's and had a good return on them. Also have a mortgage with them for 2.25% which no other bank could touch.

I will be looking into Teksavvy as we have been looking to cut out cable and home phone, but most of the prices I saw were not much cheaper than the package we have now so once we added on Netflix there was no real savings. Teksavvy seems to be cheaper, just to see if they cover our area.

I'm in NS and we have great farmers markets in this area, great produce and much cheaper than the grocery store. Plus all the money goes to the farmer. Housing is also cheap here. Gas and groceries are expensive.

Eastlink is generally your best bet in NS, although that can vary slightly by region (some places are still on dial-up!) Unless things have changed in the last 7 months, Teksavvy does not exist out east. I would also add that NS Power is outrageous.

yyc-phil

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Re: Any Canadians out there?
« Reply #27 on: March 21, 2014, 03:07:33 PM »
Also for the older crowd who wants to go to school for fun.

http://www.thestar.com/business/personal_finance/retirement/2012/04/19/york_ryerson_offer_free_tuition_for_seniors.html

Pretty cool.

Thanks for the information, this is the first time I hear of this. I don't think I would be interested in anything academic after I retire from my day job, but I can think of a few practical courses I'd love to take, in permaculture/agronomy, nature photography, environmental design, wastewater/water treatment, etc. We are planning to move to one of the Gulf islands near Nanaimo in a few years, I'll start looking at the offerings at the universities and colleges of the area.

Suzaloo

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Re: Any Canadians out there?
« Reply #28 on: March 21, 2014, 08:06:01 PM »
Alberta here..and an insurance agent.  My advice is to really shop around for insurance. Property insurance is going through a major re-evaluation as companies try to figure out ways to make it profitable again. Many companies will be increasing premiums quite a bit this year, and/or limiting coverage as the companies have endured quite a hit on claims in the last few years.It is really, really important to not just look at the price, but look at the coverage, limitations and/or exclusions.  Some companies are limiting sewer back up coverage for example or charging you an increased premium if you want more than they offer. General advice to save money is to increase your deductible, bundle your policies together (auto and property) with the same company, see if you qualify for any company specific discounts.   

lifejoy

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Re: Any Canadians out there?
« Reply #29 on: March 21, 2014, 10:30:32 PM »
I, too, would love to hear from Canadians about cheaper house contents insurance (currently$2000 for contents only for condo!) and car insurance ($2500 for hubbies' car-- I walk or take TTC) . How to go cheaper on the "home phone" front - (currently 84$ for internet and house phone with great long distance package).  I find the US examples difficult to hear - it seems life here in the north is more expensive.  I hope this thread takes off with great clues/links/ideas!! I'm in Toronto and don't want to relocate, I love my job.

We pay $188/year for renters insurance through Co-operators, and live in Vancouver. We don't even like paying for that, but our apartment complex makes us get it as a lease requirement, so we hold our noses and buy it.

We pay $28/month for internet through Novus, a small Vancouver provider. We pay $65/month for two cell phones, Telus and Koodo, soon to be $60 when my Telus contract runs out. No landline.

As far as housing itself goes, Vancouver has some great options for cheap housing - 1 bedroom apartments in the many housing co-ops tend to range from about $600-$800/month, and there are a LOT of houses that have had extra walls, doors, bathrooms, and kitchens installed to make them into little mini apartment building (that looks like a house from the outside) with five or six units for around $500-$700/month. There's also a developer downtown that buys up old hotels and renovates them into little tiny efficiency suites (sometimes with shared bathrooms, but otherwise a normal heritage apartment building) and rents them out for between about $400/month and $700/month - these units are VERY convenient because they're right in the middle of downtown, walking distance to everything, so you don't even need a transit pass if you live there.

Echoing other people, I think Canada is very region-specific as far as this stuff goes.

Have you looked into wind mobile? They have great plans! From what I have seen...

lifejoy

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Re: Any Canadians out there?
« Reply #30 on: March 21, 2014, 10:36:13 PM »
Saskatchewan Advice - RESP gets a 10% match, on top of the 20% federal (they both match up to $2500/year) there's some additional rules, that's enough to get going. The provincial match is still pretty new.

I pay too much for cell phones, SaskTel.  Bell and Telus have decent coverage here, all 3 seem to be the same prices.  Does anyone have great cell phone plans?

Internet is under $40 with taxes. SaskTel is pretty decent there.

I am paying $14/month for the "granny plan" (or so my friends call it!). Rogers had a promo sk-only plan, it gives me about 100 daytime minutes and unlimited evenings and weekends. No data plan. Unlimited texting, including picture texting. Now here's the awesome bit: Rogers has a thing called "Rogers One Number". You can make calls over your computer, similar to Skype, except it will show the call as coming from your regular cell number. What I do is make the calls on my iPad. That way I still get my app fix, my free long-distance calls, and web browsing when wifi is around (almost everywhere I go). So... It's great! PM me if you have questions.

lifejoy

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Re: Any Canadians out there?
« Reply #31 on: March 21, 2014, 10:37:50 PM »
Right now I'm with RBC, doing mutual funds until I have enough money to do some hands-on direct investing. I hope to follow the Canadian couch potato plan.

Anyone have Canadian specific investing advice?

Also for SK: look into the graduate retention rebate when doing your taxes! It could mean a few thousand bucks for ya if you're a recent grad :)

Zikoris

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Re: Any Canadians out there?
« Reply #32 on: March 21, 2014, 11:02:29 PM »
Quote
Have you looked into wind mobile? They have great plans! From what I have seen...

We considered, but there are two issues that have prevented us from picking them so far: coverage and the fact that they seem to be on the brink of bankruptcy (not totally sure what's going on with this now). They don't work in the underground skytrains since only the big 3 got "wired in" or whatever when the new lines were being built, and some areas apparently have pretty iffy coverage. My contract expires in July though, and I haven't decided who to switch to for certain yet

lifejoy

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Re: Any Canadians out there?
« Reply #33 on: March 22, 2014, 09:15:54 AM »
Quote
Have you looked into wind mobile? They have great plans! From what I have seen...

We considered, but there are two issues that have prevented us from picking them so far: coverage and the fact that they seem to be on the brink of bankruptcy (not totally sure what's going on with this now). They don't work in the underground skytrains since only the big 3 got "wired in" or whatever when the new lines were being built, and some areas apparently have pretty iffy coverage. My contract expires in July though, and I haven't decided who to switch to for certain yet

Actually, this makes me feel better about Wind not being available in SK. :) Thanks!

yyc-phil

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Re: Any Canadians out there?
« Reply #34 on: March 22, 2014, 11:22:34 AM »
If you don't care about download/upload speed and data volume, and you live in a Wind area, the Wind $30 plan is great, with unlimited province-wide calling, unlimited Canada-wide Wind-to-Wind calling, Caller ID, Missed Call Alerts, Conference Calling, Call Forwarding, Call Waiting, unlimited Canada-wide texting, and unlimited data (of course, speed seriously slow after you reach a certain cap). My friend uses her smartphone as an access point for her home computer so she got rid of her expensive home internet plan. Obviously, if you are into internet music/video, this is not for you, but if you are like me and only need basic internet to read news, do a bit of research, check emails, etc., it is more than enough. I would use Wind but it is not offered in Yellowknife where I work so I am stuck with Bell Mobility.

parkette

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Re: Any Canadians out there?
« Reply #35 on: March 22, 2014, 01:24:20 PM »
We use Koodo for phones $40/mth taxes in for 300mb data, 400 mins Canada-wide, unlimited texting etc., but that was a special deal that isn't available anymore. I am considering switching to their prepaid though- I use very few minutes (and could use even less with little effort) and can keep my data to a minimum. Prepaid is $15/mth for texting plus add-ons for calling and data that are good for a year. I figure I could cut my cell bill down $100-$150/yr. Rogers also has a $99/yr prepaid plan that looks interesting, but Rogers' service is terrible on PEI.

I've shopped around a lot for insurance. Comparing rates is hugely useful; it's on my list to do again in April. I found CAA was great for auto insurance; they took my insurance from $1,500/yr with Cooperators down to $400/yr for twice the liability coverage. We now insure through a local broker; we have 4 houses and 2 cars so we have a bit more buying power and get better rates.

I just set up an account with Questrade to trade ETFs. I'm roughly following the Canadian couch potato plan. They don't recommend small investors (<$50,000) trade ETFs, but that's just because it usually costs to trade and that's not the case with Questrade.

I mostly bank with ING Direct (changing name to Tangerine shortly). They have great over-the-phone service and I maintain my credit union bank account for any teller needs I have. They have pretty much no fees, better interest rates and occasionally give financial incentives to use their features. Shameless plug: if you want to sign up we both get $25 if you use my referral code- 35488713S1.

Otherwise- Netflix is great. We also pay a very small premium (unmustachian?) with a company called Bullfrog Energy that purchases green energy based on your electricity consumption. I haven't thought about this much in recent years but in theory I still like the idea of it. We pay for it through our rental income.

Joan-eh?

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Re: Any Canadians out there?
« Reply #36 on: March 22, 2014, 01:35:05 PM »
Cell/mobile plans:---I use Rogers pay as you go and love it!  I only use  the phone call service in emergency/critical situations what save me time (25cents/min) and use the 5$ text package (250 texts per month) . Sometimes the 10$ text package (2000 texts per month) , depending on how much daughter texts. I don't pay more than  80-100$/year for the convenience of texting and the peace of mind for being able to reach others or be available to others.  I don't pay for data... Use wireless - it's everywhere. But I can pay a few dollars a day if I really need to.    I love the "user pays" notion, rather than unlimited feature.

Bullseye

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Re: Any Canadians out there?
« Reply #37 on: March 23, 2014, 05:56:05 AM »
GTA member here (Burlington).    Any others nearby?

Start.ca is awesome if you're in Cogeco-land, $40 for fast access with lots of data.

Fongo - $5/month for phone

Cable - don't waste your money or your life.  Get an OTA antenae, or just stream everything though XBMC on a laptop to your TV for free.  TIP - if you have cable, try cancelling it and then plugging the 'dead' cable directly into your TV.  Run a channel scan and see what you get!  We get many channels this way, as the techs don't bother putting all the necessary filters on in our local box.  This is quite common, but different for everyone.

Insurance - try TD Meloche Monnex.  Check insurancehotline.com for best rates.  We're paying $40/month for detached owned home, $155 for two vehicles (soon to be one!)

TD e-Series for accumulating savings, then Vanguard Canada ETF's for investing larger chunks.

Credit card rewards - Capital One Aspire is our favourite, 2% on every dollar of spending, no limit.

Mortgages - use a broker to get best rates!  Not your bank.  Shop around, a 5 year can be had for under 3%. 

Banking - if you want 'big bank' services, get a line of credit with one of them, use it as a free unlimited chequing account, just keep balance overpaid always. 

Gaming the system - MBNA has a deal where you can borrow money at 0% for 12 months (1% transfer fee).  I've done this for 5 years!  With $20k.  I use the money to invest or pay down mortgage.


Joan-eh?

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Re: Any Canadians out there?
« Reply #38 on: March 23, 2014, 11:44:56 AM »
Bullseye!  toronto here, but love visiting family and friends in Burlington :-) We used to live in bronte. :-)

The MBNA game sounds intriguing ! 

I've only 90k left on mortgage, - is there a strategy to get this done earlier with the free money??

Usually pay 2500/month and then another 10,000 in extra payments over the year.

Ideas?

daverobev

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Re: Any Canadians out there?
« Reply #39 on: March 23, 2014, 02:41:55 PM »
Bullseye!  toronto here, but love visiting family and friends in Burlington :-) We used to live in bronte. :-)

The MBNA game sounds intriguing ! 

I've only 90k left on mortgage, - is there a strategy to get this done earlier with the free money??

Usually pay 2500/month and then another 10,000 in extra payments over the year.

Ideas?

Take as much money as you can from MBNA. Pay off the mortgage by that amount. Pay off MBNA 1% each month. With the rest of the money that would've gone to the mortgage, instead put it into either a 2% unregistered account or 3% People's Trust TFSA (3%), so that when it comes time to pay MBNA back you have the money ready.

Pay MBNA back.

Go back to step 1!

Joan-eh?

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Re: Any Canadians out there?
« Reply #40 on: March 23, 2014, 02:59:48 PM »
What an awesome 'life hack'! Thank you! Is it that you have their credit card, and you take the loan with that? I don't see loans on their website.
« Last Edit: March 23, 2014, 03:11:55 PM by Joanie »

Joan-eh?

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Re: Any Canadians out there?
« Reply #41 on: March 23, 2014, 03:07:49 PM »
Bullseye...if I could ask another question....

You say;
TD e-Series for accumulating savings, then Vanguard Canada ETF's for investing larger chunks.

Is everything in Vangard-Canada ? I have done well owning individual stocks over my life, and have been slowly moving to Mawer Funds. though there is a fee, they beat the market every time (in my choices anyway)... But I am looking to sell the rest of my stocks and move into Vanguard. Would you mind sharing your distribution within the ETF choices?   

Regards,



sleepyguy

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Re: Any Canadians out there?
« Reply #42 on: March 23, 2014, 03:23:57 PM »
sup Bullseye! :)  Fellow rfd member :)

MBNA is pretty sweet, we used it to buy both our cars in cash outright to get the cash incentive.  I think we're at 35k or something limit on it.  This round we're paying down the mortgage, we're like 5 yrs in.

I was from Oakville and was in Burlington alot as well.  Fantastic areas but just VERY VERY pricey.  Talking like 600k for a bungalow.


Joan-eh?

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Re: Any Canadians out there?
« Reply #43 on: March 23, 2014, 04:55:35 PM »


MBNA is pretty sweet, we used it to buy both our cars in cash outright to get the cash incentive.  I think we're at 35k or something limit on it.  This round we're paying down the mortgage, we're like 5 yrs in.


Is this done through their credit cards? What I see online is transferring credit card balances...but that's all.

sleepyguy

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Re: Any Canadians out there?
« Reply #44 on: March 23, 2014, 06:18:43 PM »
Yes you apply online, then do a balance transfer to your checking account, they charge a 1% transfer fee.  Then the monthly minimum payment is like 1% or something... at the end of 12-15mths you have to pay the entire amount back.  After you pay back the entire amount, you just reapply for a another card then transfer the limit over and transfer over balance to your checking acct again.  Rinse and repeat.  They started giving me a 20k limit... I think i'm on the 5th or 6th card now, and at 35k or something.



MBNA is pretty sweet, we used it to buy both our cars in cash outright to get the cash incentive.  I think we're at 35k or something limit on it.  This round we're paying down the mortgage, we're like 5 yrs in.


Is this done through their credit cards? What I see online is transferring credit card balances...but that's all.

Bullseye

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Re: Any Canadians out there?
« Reply #45 on: March 24, 2014, 05:10:13 AM »
Good to see some locals here!  And not surprised to see you Sleepyguy!  We're of the same mind, yet again.

I run the riskier route with the MBNA deal, instead of putting savings aside, I depend on a home equity line of credit (4%) to pay off the balance when the 12 months are up.  I've been able to flip the balance back to a new card every time so far, so line of credit is zero, but when the deal eventually runs dry, if I can't find another, I know we can quickly pay it off with out monthly cash flow that now goes to the mortgage. 

For my investments, I use Vanguard/iShares for most, but hold CDN equities directly.  My logic is that the TSX is not very big, and it's easy to somewhat replicate the market this way, and to make it even cheaper.  I can also focus on dividends more.

I use the following asset allocation targets;

20% CDN equities (about 25 stocks)
22.5% XUS (iShares U.S. market)
22.5% VDU (International developed markets)
5% VRE (CDN REIT's)
5% VEE (International developing markets)
5% TDB8150 (TD's high interest savings account)
5% ZRR (Real return bond index)
15% VSB (CDN short term bond index)

Silverwood

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Re: Any Canadians out there?
« Reply #46 on: March 24, 2014, 10:54:36 AM »
I'm in Winnipeg.Nice to see a few others from here as well.

I drive an 03 Honda civic and have an 04 scooter.  Insurance is about 1200 a year.Which is pretty good. I get a discount on my license. I'd bike more but it's almost April and there is still about 5 ft of snow. It's dangerous driving the car never mind biking

I have house insurance through The personal? I think that's what it is called  lol I should probably know that. It's through work and I pay about 800.

TrMama

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Re: Any Canadians out there?
« Reply #47 on: March 24, 2014, 11:17:43 AM »

Insurance -  Check insurancehotline.com for best rates.  We're paying $40/month for detached owned home, $155 for two vehicles (soon to be one!)

Thanks for this. I think you just saved me $500/yr.

Ottawa

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Re: Any Canadians out there?
« Reply #48 on: March 24, 2014, 12:03:19 PM »
How to go cheaper on the "home phone" front - (currently 84$ for internet and house phone with great long distance package).

Go with TekSavvy, not Rogers or Bell.  Our home phone is 12$ a month through them with a decent long distance package and we pay around 30$ for internet.  Customer service is significantly better than the big two phone companies as well.  Give them a call, because they have cheaper options than are listed on their website (at least for phone).

Hey GS - We're with TekSavvy and pay 22.95 plus T for the unlimited.  We find we use around 400-500 minutes per month...mostly Ontario.  12$ is pretty good - what is that giving you for long distance? 

CHeers!

Joan-eh?

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Re: Any Canadians out there?
« Reply #49 on: March 24, 2014, 01:33:37 PM »
Good to see some locals here!  And not surprised to see you Sleepyguy!  We're of the same mind, yet again.

I run the riskier route with the MBNA deal, instead of putting savings aside, I depend on a home equity line of credit (4%) to pay off the balance when the 12 months are up.  I've been able to flip the balance back to a new card every time so far, so line of credit is zero, but when the deal eventually runs dry, if I can't find another, I know we can quickly pay it off with out monthly cash flow that now goes to the mortgage. 

For my investments, I use Vanguard/iShares for most, but hold CDN equities directly.  My logic is that the TSX is not very big, and it's easy to somewhat replicate the market this way, and to make it even cheaper.  I can also focus on dividends more.

I use the following asset allocation targets;

20% CDN equities (about 25 stocks)
22.5% XUS (iShares U.S. market)
22.5% VDU (International developed markets)
5% VRE (CDN REIT's)
5% VEE (International developing markets)
5% TDB8150 (TD's high interest savings account)
5% ZRR (Real return bond index)
15% VSB (CDN short term bond index)


Thank you so very much for sharing!