Lent has begun (it started on Wednesday), and what are you planning on doing  for Lent (in terms of your finances)? You can go simple with the pledge to bring your lunch to work (instead of buying lunch) and putting the money into a savings plan of some kind, or you could simply read more things about money to have a better understanding how things work, but do something, it is the perfect time to try a 7 week experiment. Maybe try exercising more, or just park your car further from work so you have to walk farther ? No need to get too complicated just try something new.



The Frigid Winter of 2015 continues on with no day in February (in Ottawa) going above Zero (Celsius). Maybe the Rideau Canal will be open in April this year? It looks like it will assuredly be open in March. We really could use some more heat here.

Last week the value of Apple (the technologies company not the fruit) was over $700B which is actually more than Switzerland (the country) is worth. Interesting how a once almost broke Tech Giant can rebound like that. Rumors of Apple either setting up an Electric Car division, or buying Tesla outright persists, which means Electric cars will need to add a “Hipster” mode to their normal “Eco” and “Sport” modes.

The Canadian Flag turned 50 this week as well, I think it’s a pretty darn cool flag. I am proud of our flag.

Hope your RRSP Season is going well, still haven’t found any RRSP Carols or what I should hang on the door during this festive financial phase of the year.

My Writings for Week Ending February 20th

Did you enjoy pancakes on Tuesday? I did, I do like Shrove Tuesday :

  • I sent out the winning e-mails for the Turbotax Contest and Quick Review, you must really be careful with the “clear” button, in Turbotax you will create a great deal of issues if you accidentally hit it.
  • The flood of bills that comes to me every month has now changed and I must check in many places to make sure I pay on time and it is easily turning into Bill Notification Overload.
  • It is now the Lunar Year of the Horned Mammal (i.e. Goat, Ram, Sheep, etc.,) celebrate, good times, c’mon!

TigerDirect (CA)

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RRSPs, Valentines, 50 Shades of Debt and #BestOfThisWeek

It is RRSP season, if you have not noticed, and there is still time for you to put money into your RRSP and claim it for your 2014 taxes. You should have done this a long time ago, but if this is how you do things, you still have about 16 days to get this done. A word of warning, you are not buying an RRSP, you are either (1) Setting up an RRSP account and depositing money into the account, to purchase or set up a savings vehicle, like GICs, Bonds, Securities, Mutual Funds or the like, or (2) You are adding money to an existing RRSP account, where you will purchase or set up a savings vehicle. You are not “buying an RRSP”, please don’t say that.

Valentines Day

An Apropos Sentiment for tomorrow

This Valentine’s Day Weekend remember your loved ones, and show them that you love them in some fashion, that does not completely bankrupt you. No matter what the diamond industry says, 3 months gross income is far too much to spend on anything that dangles off your loved one, or slides onto a part of their body. Just remember that Lent starts this coming Wednesday, so start getting your Shrove together as well.

Speaking of Valentine’s Day, a truly lovely romantic movie is coming out, 50 Shades of Grey, is being touted as a beautiful love story. I have read 2 of the books, and I can assure you, that is not how I read them (I couldn’t get through the final book it was, “too beaucoup”). The books are quite graphic, which makes me wonder how the movie will cover some of the more interesting parts of the books, but it is not likely that I will see the movies, unless I get a free copy, or it appears on NetFlix (and even then, I think I’d rather watch House of Cards (U.S. and UK versions) or the IT Crowd). The one interesting prognostication I have seen is that the sales of “sex toys” may sky rocket thanks to this movie, so all you We-Vibe stock holders must be rubbing your hands with glee (at least I hope that is your hands).

And I do have a partially written article entitled 50 Shades of Debt, but I can’t quite get it right. Oh and yesterday was my 2700th post as well, I guess that is what 10 years of writing will do for you.

My Writings for Week Ending February 13th

I had only planned on 2 articles this week, but the extra “Valentine’s Doom” post just wrote itself:

  • The Canadian economy seems quite adept at creating Part-Time jobs, but how Stats Canada counts them is still incorrect (imho) as we saw in More Part Time Jobs in Canada in January
  • Retirement is a wonderful thing to dream about, but if you die before you get there, what is the point of saving all that money? That is at the core of Going to the Gym to Work on My Retirement. Either way pick up Seasick Steve’s album, well worth the price.
  • Society seems to condone the concept that Money is Love, and the retail industry not only agrees with this, they think you are not spending enough.

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Superb Decisions, Gas Going Up, Rugby and #BestThisWeek

As a football fan, Sunday taught me the importance of making good and timely decisions, as all (who watched the game) saw. There have been explanations, but at the end of it, it could be the single worst play decision since Pickett’s Charge at Gettysburg. An entertaining game (none the less), and I was glad to see that the Giants are the only team to have defeated the Brady/Belicheck Patriots in a Super Bowl. To put a financial spin on things, don’t ever assume you have all that money, until you have it in your hands (i.e. don’t count your chickens until they are hatched), because there might be a way to lose it all with one decision.

CIS Rugby

Some fine CIS Rugby

Did you realize that the man who brought us Ketchup Potato Chips died this past week? Did you know he was Canadian? Herman Neff (a German immigrant) is that man, and I for one, thank him for that forbidden snack flavor.

Gas prices in Ottawa have jumped about 15% over the past week, and look like they will not be slowing down any time soon, which will make for very interesting stats on Inflation next month. Even with Oil going up in price, the Canadian Dollar has not started to rebound, which could make for some interesting “re-thinks” on the part of the Government in terms of tax breaks and such.

The RBS 6 Nations Cup starts today, with England playing Wales, and I’ll be watching (somehow). In 1972 the (then) 5 Nations Cup ended up tied each team went 2-2, so they all shared in the championship.

My Writings for Week Ending February 6th

Back to my regular 2 a week schedule, which is interesting because right now I have about 175 unfinished articles sitting in my “drafts” folder, I should have a contest to have a lucky writer finish one of those fine topics :

  • I think a financial fit bit might be a cool thing to have, or at least some kind of interface to monitor spending, that maybe shares with your spouse, you spending habits?
  • Car Insurance Savings Devices is me being a paranoid consumer, but there is an excellent (and civilized I might add) discussion with “Chris” who works in the industry about how this might all work. Well worth a read.
  • One of my favorite old stories is the Financial Shock Collar as a spending control device. My view is that any time I can add Star Trek (the original series) into an idea, it makes it much better.

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The predicted snowmagedon for New York didn’t really appear, however, Boston took it on the nose as did the Maritime provinces, Ottawa continues to be storm free (for now). Ottawa’s weather has been cold but lacking in precipitation, but we still have February and March to get through yet.

A signature success/Un succès sur toute la ligne

Can I have this one?

This week we heard about SmartSaver which looks like a good program to make sure that the folks who the CLB (Canada Learning Bond) was designed for, receive the money they deserve. I also got mentioned by Rob Carrick so lots of new eyes have been wandering across the site, let us hope a few of you have stayed around to continue visiting.

The Canadian Dollar is now below 80 cents US, and how this changes the economy remains to be seen. Imports will start getting more expensive (again), but will this help Canadian Manufacturing? It also means that there most likely won’t be an NHL team in Quebec City for a good long time (this will hurt the Canadian NHL teams in terms of having to pay their payroll in US Funds, but earning their income in Canadian Funds).

It is also time to start thinking about your taxes, joy! Better start making a list of all the forms you will need to be able to file your return, and try to get it in as soon as possible (unless you owe money, but even then, you can file early and then only pay on the last day (on-line at your bank)).

Evidently there is a celebration of Owls this weekend, and a quest to find the one that is the most Superb? It’s called the Super Bowl? Oh, well that makes more sense then, good luck to both teams, and I hope they both lose (being a Giants fan).

My Writings for Week Ending January 30th

Something must be in the air, I wrote 5 articles this week? Haven’t done that for a good long while :

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Looser Money, Plummeting Loons and #BestThisWeek

The Bank of Canada threw us all a knuckleball this week when they announced a quarter point drop of their key overnight rate (on Wednesday). The rate is now at 3/4% dropping a 1/4, and it seems the Bank assumes the economy needs even more stimulus.

The telling statement from their announcement is the final paragraph of their statement:

The oil price shock increases both downside risks to the inflation profile and financial stability risks. The Bank’s policy action is intended to provide insurance against these risks, support the sectoral adjustment needed to strengthen investment and growth, and bring the Canadian economy back to full capacity and inflation to target within the projection horizon.

Money RESP

Shrinking Money (never machine wash money)

This suggests that the very commodity reliant, Canadian economy is going to take a hoof in the “lower abdomen” thanks to plummeting oil prices. Lower inflation, but higher unemployment seems to be on the event horizon.

The Canadian dollar continues to plummet, thanks to very low oil prices, which may slow down the cross border shopping insanity that has been going on for the past little while. Maybe we shall see more of our American family dropping by in Canada this summer? Is this lower interest rate simply going to accelerate the drop of the Dollar’s value? Some experts feel this is going to cause a Canadian dollar back around the 70 cent level (compared to the US dollar), we shall see whether that comes to pass.

My Writings for Week Ending January 23rd

The cold of Ottawa in January constantly begs the question, why do we live here? :

  • I had another run at some of the Best Financial Tweets of the week. I thought I wasn’t going to be able to find many, but the real problem is, there are too many, and my Twitter feed is too large (I miss far too much).
  • I did finally get my money out of the TD RESP account for my daughter, but it took longer than I wanted and I highlight the issues I created by trying to use lower MER Mutual funds with TD E-series RESP Bear Trap.
  • How do you eat an elephant ? Here is an idea, don’t order the frigging elephant!!
  • RESPs are too hard for Mommies? My regular readers could spot the Swerve title, but I am just not too sure why I have seen so much mainstream media (TV) pushing this Giraffe & Friends RESP thing, and yes, Mrs. C8j was really quite insulted by the pitch.

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