The Dough Report

Sean Pynaert And His Family Are #MyKindaCup Champions

Meet Sean Pynaert, the lucky winner of the #MyKindaCup promotion powered by LowestRates.ca throughout the World Cup.  Sean and his family are big fans of soccer, and thoroughly enjoyed the conclusion to the world’s biggest soccer game.

The #MyKindaCup promo asked fans to correctly guess which team they think would be the eventual winner of the World Cup.  Each person that correctly picked the winning team, which turned out to be Germany, was entered into a draw to win the prize – $300 in cash or a gift card to Sport Chek at the same value.

Busted! 5 Common Money Myths Debunked

“Money doesn’t buy happiness.”

Ever heard that phrase? Of course you have. How about this one: “If you rent, you’re throwing your money away!” Or this one – “Just pay with cash, forget credit cards.”
 
These myths have unfortunately burrowed their way into our collective financial consciousness. What’s worse, the devotees of money superstitions are everywhere, from the credulous grandpa who’s never owned a credit card in his life, to the mother that’s always dropping hints about how you should “wait to buy it on sale!”

5 Scams Canadians Can’t Afford to Ignore in 2014

I got a call from The Captain the other day. In fact, I’ve been getting calls from The Captain for a while now. It’s always the same message – a foghorn blares into my ear, followed by the sea-farer’s robotic voice: “This is your Captain speaking …” He wanted me to know that I’ve won a free cruise to the Bahamas. I don’t wait for the “Captain’s” voice anymore – now I hang up as soon as I hear the foghorn.

Even if you haven’t been personally called by The Captain yet, you’ve probably heard of his shenanigans already. This telemarketing scam has been going on since 2011 and continues to frustrate those on the receiving end. Unfortunately, it’s not the only scam testing Canadians’ patience (and grabbing at their wallets). New scams are cropping up all the time, and changing to reflect our modern world. That’s why it’s important to stay informed – check out our list below to acquaint yourself with 5 common Canadian scams from the past year.           

Comparing Cash Back Credit Cards: Five Tips and a Head-to-Head Match-Up!

There is something undeniably appealing about earning cash as you make purchases with your credit card. Money might not grow on trees, but sometimes cash back rewards really do feel like the next best thing. That’s probably why cash back is by far the most popular credit card category, surpassing even travel points.

The Barter Babe Comes To LowestRates.ca

The way that Canadian families and households manage their money has dramatically changed since the global recession of 2008.  Gone are the days of easy access to credit, or mapping out long term financial plans that are set in stone.  The world has changed, and people must adapt to it.

5 Ways to Celebrate Canada Day on a Dime

Want to have some frugal Canada Day fun, but not sure what to do? We’ve got 5 free (or really cheap) things to do this July 1st so you can celebrate our nation’s birthday on a budget!

7 Summer Personal Finance Reads

When it comes to personal finance, everyone’s a critic. At one time or another we’ve all been bombarded with advice on how to save, spend, and invest our money. If you try to listen to all that advice, though, you might just go crazy. Step into any bookstore and you’ll be flooded with how-to guides that promise to fatten your wallet and make your bank account sing – that’s why it’s a good idea to listen to the experts and tune out all the background noise. 
 
To keep you from having to flip through the plethora of personal finance books out there, we’ve narrowed it down to a cool top seven to help on your money management journey this summer.  

How To Improve Your Credit Score: Six Tips

Thinking about taking out a mortgage or applying for a credit card? If so, you should definitely make sure your credit score is as good as it can possibly be. Here are six tips to help you take your credit score from good to great.

Stolen Credit Cards Being Peddled on YouTube? Shocking Report Shines Light on Fraudsters

If you’re reading this right now, you probably surf the web pretty often, maybe even every day. There’s also a good chance you visit YouTube at least once a week, perhaps to get some DIY tips on anything from makeup to origami to fixing that leaky toilet. 
 
YouTube is overflowing with handy do-it-yourself videos, but one type that’s been garnering a lot of attention recently isn’t so harmless – it turns out that credit card fraudsters have taken to YouTube to make some DIY videos of their own.

6 Ways to Teach Your Kids about Money This Summer

It’s the middle of June already, and for most Canadian kids, that means school’s (almost) out for summer! In a week, elementary schoolchildren across the country will be ditching the notebooks and agendas for two blissful months of fun in the sun. Kids love summer vacation, but parents don’t exactly love the brain drain that often accompanies their sunny two months off.

Money Doesn’t Buy Security: Shooting Shocks Residents of Upscale Toronto Area

It’s a sombre day for Avenue Road and Brookdale Avenue residents. Neighbours are reeling after the second attempted armoured car robbery this month.

What Housing Boom? Cottage Sales Stuck in the Doldrums

Canadians just don’t seem to be buying cottages like they used to. New spring sales numbers show a recreational property market that isn’t participating in the broader housing boom – in fact, by some measures, it’s a market in decline, and new CMHC regulations could hamper activity further.

Wynne’s Big Win: What Does It Mean For Ontario Auto Insurance Premiums?

The Ontario provincial election is over and Kathleen Wynne has swept in with an unexpected majority Liberal government. Tim Hudak has stepped down as Progressive Conservative leader, and a wounded Andrea Horwath will keep fighting for the New Democrats with a mere fraction of the power she held before voting against the budget in May.
 
Newly re-elected premier Wynne told reporters yesterday “I’m thrilled to be here and I’m really eager to get on with it.”
 
Now that the election is over and Kathleen Wynne is ready to go, one question on many Ontario drivers’ minds is “Will she follow through with those proposed auto insurance cuts?”

Get World Cup Fever by Entering Our #MyKindaCup Contest!

Four years have passed since the last World Cup, and the 2014 tournament is ready to kick off in Brazil on June 12.  The World Cup is beloved by millions – no, make that billions – of fans around the world, including the LowestRates.ca team!

What Is #MyKindaCup?

5 Awesome (and Frugal) Father’s Day Gift Ideas for Dad

Father’s Day is a mere six days away, and for those of us that haven’t quite figured out what to get Dad this June 15th, it’s time to hustle. Even though he would probably insist that “it’s the thought that counts”, it’s still nice to get Dad a little something that shows how much he means to you.   

While there are plenty of ideas for thoughtful (and downright awesome) Father’s Day gifts out there, it can be tough to get something that says “I love you” while sticking to a budget. With that in mind, we’ve got five thrifty – yet still pretty awesome – gift ideas that will make Dad proud this Father’s Day.

Would You Bank With Google? New Survey Says Many Young Consumers Would

Would you bank with Google? How about Apple, or Amazon? If you’re part of the younger generation of Canadians, a new survey says there’s a good chance you would.
 
Last week, Accenture released a survey that’s confirmed what we already suspect – younger Canadians would make the leap to alternative banking options much more readily than older ones.

School’s Out! 7 Tips to Help Students Stay on Budget This Summer

The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, the barbeques are coming out of hibernation. This can only mean one thing – summer is coming to Canada. And for students across the country, that means school’s out.

If you’re like most college or university students, after finishing that last exam you just want to ditch the textbooks and timetable for a few months of sunshine and sleeping in. But if you’re not careful, you could end up burning through your budget this summer.  
 
There are a few things you should keep in mind – even during your hard-earned vacation – to help make sure that this summer, you don’t break the bank. Read on to find out what you can do to help stay on budget between now and September.

Get Even More Free Flicks with the Scotiabank Scene Card this Summer!

Everyone loves a freebie. Almost everyone loves a good movie. Put them together, and you’ve got the premise for the Scotiabank Scene credit card. For the past seven years, the Scene card has helped Canadians catch the latest flicks for free.
 
This year, Scene cardholders have something else to celebrate besides the arrival of summer blockbusters – Scotiabank is doubling their sign-up bonus for accounts opened by October 31, 2014. This means that new members will earn 4,000 bonus points for opening an account, as opposed to the usual 2,000 points. That’s four free movie tickets, just for signing up!

Don't Give Up on Plastic – Go Guaranteed

It’s frustrating to have a credit card application denied time and time again. If you’ve gone through a rough patch financially, and your credit score has taken a hit, you may wonder if you’ll ever be able to use credit cards again. Don’t give up on plastic just yet though, because there’s a card out there for you, and your approval is virtually guaranteed - it’s called (very fittingly!) a guaranteed card.

Unless Interest Rates Spike, Mortgage Debt Not a Problem in Canada: DBRS Report

Mortgage servicing costs as a percentage of Canadians’ income are at their lowest level on record, according to a new report from credit rating agency DBRS. The findings cast even more doubt on the idea that Canada is in the throes of a housing bubble. 
 
DBRS released the comprehensive analysis of Canadian debt on Thursday.
 
“Mortgage debt servicing fell to 3.7 percent (in Q1), the lowest level since record keeping started in 1990,” the report said.

Ditch Those Annual Fees with a Great No Fee Credit Card

 “You can’t get something for nothing” – how many times have we all heard that phrase? In a society that’s taught us to always watch out for the catch, it might be hard to believe that sometimes, you can get something for nothing. There are plenty of credit cards out there that won’t cost you a dime, and they’re not second rate either. These days, many no fee cards even come with solid rewards programs, so those Air Miles and fancy perks aren’t just for big spenders.

Speak To Your Bank For Ways To Save On Banking Fees

There’s an old saying that it costs money to make money, but Canadians argued for years it should not cost money to access money.  Bank fees, ATM charges, and processing fees are all costs that people incur each time they use their debit or credit cards – adding up expenses every month on banking statements.

Auto Insurance in the Upcoming Ontario Elections

 With the Ontario general election only a few weeks away, the province’s three major parties have their campaigns in full swing. As with every election in the province, there’s been no shortage of attack ads and campaign lawn signs sporting the red, orange and blue. 

Liberal leader Kathleen Wynne, NDP leader Andrea Horwath, and PC leader Tim Hudak have been holding rallies and debating the hot button issues. This year, it’s becoming increasingly clear that the spotlight is on auto insurance in Ontario. With hundreds of news articles and countless video clips of politicians sounding off on the subject, we thought it would be helpful to outline what you can expect from each party when it comes to car insurance in Ontario.

Inflation Surge Could Take Rate Cut Off Table

 Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, Canadian inflation surged this month on higher fuel and food prices. Statistics Canada reported on Friday that the consumer price index(CPI) jumped 2 percent on an annualized basis in April, the highest rate in more than two years. The figure is significant because it likely takes a rate cut by the Bank of Canada off the table, at least in the near term.
 

Four Ways That a Business Credit Card Makes Running Your Business Easier

 You’ve put in the long hours and the hard work, and now your small business is off the ground. It's all worth it though, because you can finally call yourself a proud business owner. The last thing you need after all of that is to be stuck sorting piles of receipts and bills when tax time rolls around. Enter the small business credit card.

This powerful piece of plastic can make your life (and job) so much easier. A small business credit card will help streamline your finances, separate your personal and business spending, and make bookkeeping a whole lot easier. If you use it wisely, a small business card is a great tool that can help your business thrive. Here are four ways that a small business card can make running a small business easier.

Let the Good Times Roll: Alberta Housing Hot as Ever in 2014

Talk of a housing slowdown seems a world away in Alberta. The province’s real estate sector is on fire, according to a new report from the Alberta Treasury Board. The agency’s in-depth review of Alberta housing found scorching demand for single-family homes, rising prices, and an outright boom in construction starts. As home sales slow in the rest of Canada, the board says Alberta real estate will be a standout performer in the years ahead.

Money Management in a Mobile World: Our Top 5 Financial Apps

Although the financial crisis is behind us, and Canadians seem to be budgeting well, when it comes to keeping track of finances everyone can use a little help. There are plenty of tried-and-tested methods of money management out there, but as the world has shifted from paper to online, the days of keeping your receipts in a shoe box are long gone. The mobile industry has become more and more sophisticated, and it seems like these days there’s an app for everything, including managing your money.

A Closer Look at the Investors Group 1.99% Mortgage: What You Need to Know

Investors Group roiled the Canadian mortgage market this week when it announced it was cutting its 36-month variable mortgage rate to 1.99 percent, the lowest rate offered to borrowers in more than two years.  The move stunned many economists and prompted talk of a price war among lenders this summer. With all the buzz surrounding this mortgage product, we decided to dig a little deeper to make sure borrowers don’t get any surprises if they decide to sign up with Investors Group.

Leavin’ on a Jet Plane (But Not Without my Travel Insurance!)

Thinking about getting away this summer for a much-needed vacation? Whether you’re trekking across Europe, scuba diving in the Tropics, or going on an African Safari adventure, there are a few things to think about before you start packing those bags, and travel insurance happens to be one of them.

They’ve Arrived! Capital One Credit Cards Debut At LowestRates.ca

This week we’ve added even more horsepower to our credit card section with the introduction of six new Capital One credit cards. These additions are particularly exciting because Capital One is known for consistently fielding some of the best credit cards on the market, whether it’s in the budget categories, the high-end categories, or anywhere in between.

Does Going Green Increase Premiums?

Nobody likes high gas prices. If you’re like most drivers, you’ve probably gotten sticker shock more than a few times when taking a look at how much it costs to fill your tank. Maybe that’s when you first thought about switching to a hybrid. Some drivers have switched to hybrid vehicles for exactly that reason – to save money on gas. Most, however, have adopted these “green cars” as part of a lifestyle choice. But before making the switch, you may be wondering if a hybrid will cost you more in insurance premiums.

For Young Canadians, Student Credit Card Key to Establishing Good Credit

 Between getting good grades, making new friends, and learning how to be on your own for the first time, post-secondary students have a lot to worry about. Many are so busy with their studies that they forget about the importance of building a credit history before they graduate from college or university. Guess what: the best way to establish good credit while still enrolled in school is by regularly using a quality student credit card, and finding one has never been easier!

As part of our ongoing credit card series, we’ve put together some tips and tricks students can use as they shop for a student credit card.

Announcing the Finalists - Cast Your Vote In The MyKindaMom Contest

Have you been treating the maternal figure in your family to a heartwarming Mother’s Day?  The team at LowestRates.ca wishes all families a Happy Mother’s Day today, and wishes to thank all participants who submitted financial advice from their mothers into the MyKindaMom Mother’s Day contest.

Finalist #1: Evan – MyKindaMom

Meet Evan who learned about the consequences of speeding shortly after acquiring his G2.  Realizing that his car insurance premiums would skyrocket without being a responsible driver, Evan’s mother had her son pay his own insurance for a whole year after acquiring two speeding tickets – an experience that he says will follow him forever.

Finalist #2: Leona – MyKindaMom

Meet Leona who came from a large family with very little money to spare.  Leona credits her mom for teaching her a valuable lesson – money will not look after you, you must look after your money no matter how much or how little you may have attached to your name.

Finalist #3: Raheel – MyKindaMom

Meet Raheel who arrived in Canada as a young boy from Pakistan, and who describes his mother as his role model.  Raheel was taught the value of money at a young age, and that to truly appreciate and respect the importance of money, he would earn his way to acquire the things he wanted to own.

Finalist #4: Lyle – MyKindaMom

Meet Lyle who was taught the true value of money by learning how to squeeze every penny out of household products.  Lyle’s mother introduced her son to couponing, bargain hunting, and how to get the most out of every item in the home.

Finalist #5: Linda – MyKindaMom

Meet Linda who learned from her mom that opening a bank account with a small balance encourages a child to earn and save more money.  Beginning with only $5 in the bank, Linda followed her mother’s advice to become a self sufficient, hard working woman with a comfortable lifestyle.

Finalist #6: Erik – MyKindaMom

Meet Erik who learned the hard way that saving money over the long term is more valuable than spending money on flashy products today.  Erik’s mom allowed her son to make his own decisions with the money he saved, and this learn by experience lesson taught him the value of saving.

Finalist #7: Jody – MyKindaMom

Meet Jody who learned from her mom that debt may be a four letter word, but carries a lot of weight.  Jody’s mother advised her daughter that making payments as fast as possible and above the minimum required balance, lowers total interest and saves money over the long term.

Finalist #8: Samantha – MyKindaMom

Meet Samantha who entered into the MyKindaMom contest with a story about earning, saving, and ultimately investing.  Rather than indulge in a shopping spree she initially wanted, Samantha learned from her mom that saving and investing her money is a far more rewarding experience.

Finalist #9: Laura – MyKindaMom

Meet Laura who submitted a list of money saving tips she learned from her mother as a young girl.  Laura’s advice is an excellent checklist for households to ensure they remain on budget, and live within their means.

Finalist #10: Beth – MyKindaMom

Meet Beth who submitted a story from her past describing how her mother’s advice taught her a valuable lesson about money.  Sometimes we may feel like we need something that catches our eye, but if we commit to save enough money before buying the item, we may find we lost interest in the item.

Managing Passwords in a Post-Heartbleed Net

It’s been about a month since the Heartbleed bug caused Internet-wide panic, and left many wondering whether their beloved daily-browsed sites were hacked. Our worst online fears were confirmed when it turned out that many of them were vulnerable to attack. From Facebook to Gmail to the Canada Revenue Agency and Healthcare.gov, many popular websites were affected, and users were sent scrambling to change their passwords on one site after another.

Will Driverless Cars Affect Auto Insurance?

Remember that 90’s sci-fi flick Total Recall, where Arnold Schwarzenegger takes a ride in a driverless taxi? Or that scene in I, Robot, where Will Smith relaxes behind the wheel of his self-driving car as it speeds through futuristic traffic?

Well, the future is near, and that means driverless cars are no longer just a thing of science fiction. Google has driverless technology moving ahead at full speed with the Google Chauffeur, and traditional automakers like Ford and GM have teamed up with researchers to be part of the game.

Spring is in the Air! 5 Tips to Get Your Car Ready for the Season

Everyone knows that there are a few things you should do to prepare your car for winter. Change your tires, have your breaks checked – you know the drill. But what to do when the snowy season’s over? Auto repair shops are pushing their spring service specials, but what can a winter-weary driver do at home now that spring has sprung?

To help your vehicle adjust to the road after the deep freeze of 2013, here are a few tips to rejuvenate your car for spring.

Ditch the Monthly Balance Blues with a Low Interest Credit Card

So far in our credit card series, we’ve discussed two types of cards that can help you get a fresh start on your finances – low balance transfer cards and secured cards. But what if you’re one of those cardholders who tends to run a monthly balance, and you’re sick of paying high interest rates month after month? In this case, the best (and most obvious) answer to your dilemma is to get yourself a low interest card. 

Celebrate Mothers Day and Get the Chance to Win $300 in Cash or Prizes with LowestRates.ca #MyKindaMom Contest!

It’s no secret that Mothers really do know best, and if you’re like many people, some of the most important lessons in life you’ve learned from your Mom. With Mother’s Day just around the corner, at LowestRates.ca we’re celebrating the wisdom of Moms across the country this May with our #MyKindaMom short story contest.

A Driver’s Twilight Zone: The Blind Spot

Most people have heard the term “blind spot” enough times to know that it’s definitely something worth worrying about when you’re behind the wheel.  When rolling down the highway, you might be pretty confident in your quick reflexes and rear-view mirrors, but there’s a sneaky driver’s Twilight Zone hiding from view. This is called the “blind spot,” and has been posing a threat to drivers ever since their wheels first rattled down the road.

Counting Credit Cards: How Much Plastic is Too Much?

For many people, the decision to use credit cards is a no-brainer. Given the option of only-paper-forever or only plastic, many of us would surely cling to our MasterCards and Visas. In a society that’s become more and more dependent on credit cards, there are a few basic questions that seem to crop up a lot, and perhaps none more so than “how many is too many?”

Out with the Old, in with the New: Take Charge of Your Debts with a Balance Transfer Card

Earlier in the week, we covered the ins-and-outs of secured credit cards, and how they can help you get a fresh start on your finances. While that option may work well for someone new to the workforce or recovering from a personal bankruptcy, it doesn’t really help you if you’re wading through debt left over from other cards. That’s where a low balance transfer credit card can come in handy.

Spring is a Time of New Beginnings – The Same Goes for Your Credit

After a long, cold winter for most of the country, spring is (finally!) in the air. The sun has come out, the snow has melted, and the biting cold of the polar vortex is a distant memory.

OSFI Set to Tighten Mortgage Insurance Standards

Spring is in the air, which means it’s once again time for the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) to call for tighter lending standards in Canada.

Last May, OSFI officials mused about reducing the maximum amortization period for mortgages from 35 years to 25 years, while in the spring of 2012, the regulator imposed more rigorous mortgage underwriting guidelines on banks. 

The World Within a Block: The Past and Future of St. James Town, Toronto

St. James Town has been called many things over the years. The Toronto neighbourhood has been deemed Canada’s most densely populated community, and because of the wide range of immigrant populations, is sometimes even known as “the world within a block”.

Nestled between Parliament, Sherbourne, Wellesley and Bloor, in the northeast corner of Ontario’s capital, this neighborhood has history that goes all the way back to the 1870's. But despite its rich history, cultural diversity, and downtown location, St. James Town has had a difficult past, and is facing an uncertain future.

CREA Report Shows Tale of Two Housing Markets

The Canadian Real Estate Association’s (CREA) latest report paints a very mixed picture on Canadian housing. Metro markets across the country appear to be starting to diverge in a way they have not done for some time, with sales in the East slowing dramatically while the West continues to outperform.

Credit Card Arbitrage: Free Money or Risky Bet?

It’s a common personal finance trope that credit card companies always win, no matter how generous their rewards programs or how many cool features they offer to customers. Whether it’s through hidden fees, surcharges or sky-high interest rates, in the end, the theory goes, credit cards are just like casinos: the house always wins.

Enter LowestRates.ca’s MyKindaHoops Contest for a Chance to Win an Ipad Mini, Samsung Note 8 or $500 in Cash!

With spring just around the corner, LowestRates.ca is excited to announce its MyKindaHoops college basketball contest.

Playing is easy: all you have to do is correctly guess which team will win the Men’s Division 1 US College Basketball Tournament for a chance to win $500 in your choice of cash or prizes!

What To Expect In 2014 Province By Province: Newfoundland And Labrador

The most eastern province in Canada and the last to join Confederation in 1949, Newfoundland and Labrador (NL) is interesting in how the population inhabits the province.  The mainland of Labrador, by far the largest portion of the province, is only home to approximately 31,000 Newfoundland and Labradorians, while the island of Newfoundland and smaller islets are home to the remaining 495,000 people.

Warm Up the Winter with this Hot Credit Card Offer!

We are always looking for ways to save you money and for fantastic personal finance products we think you will love.  So we are really excited to tell you about this great credit card that essentially provides you with a no interest loan for a year!  We had never heard of a credit card with this sort of offer before, and definitely wanted to share it with you.

Toronto Is 180 And The Housing Market Shows The City Set In Its Years

Last week was the 180th birthday of the city of Toronto, a milestone that outpaces the age of Canada as a country.  The anniversary follows on the heels of another landmark reached in 2013, when Toronto became the fourth largest metropolitan city in North America – trailing only Mexico City, along with New York City and Los Angeles in the US.

What To Expect In 2014 Province By Province: Prince Edward Island

As the smallest province in Canada, the size of the housing market in Prince Edward Island is substantially less than the rest of the country.  But the province is one of the most important in Canadian history, recognized as “the Birthplace of Confederation” when the Charlottetown Conference laid the framework for what would later become Canada.

Infographic: Who Buys Car Insurance Online?

What kind of motorists shop for insurance online? You’d be surprised! To celebrate our 15,000th auto insurance quote, we crunched our auto insurance user data with rather interesting results.

It’s Baaack! American Express Relaunches Its Legendary Gold with Cash Back Card

Many shoppers prefer cash back to other types of credit card rewards. Cash is cash – it can be used anywhere, it’s simple to understand, and it’s not subject to the constantly changing terms and conditions seen in many loyalty rewards programs.

CMHC To Raise Mortgage Premiums

Starting May 1, homebuyers in Canada with less than 20 percent down will be paying more for their mortgage insurance. The CMHC announced today that it will be boosting its premiums by 0.10 to 0.45 percent. The changes, while notable, will not substantially raise borrowers’ monthly carrying costs.

Housing Fears Still Linger Among Economists, According to Reuters Poll

 Canada’s real estate market is on shaky ground, according to economists surveyed in a Reuters poll this week. The well-known news service canvassed 16 housing experts and the consensus opinion seems to be that Canadian house prices will decline over the medium term.

What To Expect In 2014 Province By Province: Nova Scotia

Smaller than all provinces but PEI, yet retaining one of the most densely populated landmasses in all of Canada, Nova Scotia was home to one of the first permanent settlements from European explorers in the 1600s.  The urban population is spread out across three major regional municipalities, while over half of Nova Scotians live in rural regions of the province. 

Close Analysis Shows Absence of Condo Bubble in Canada: CIBC

With everyone from the Bank of Canada to the Minister of Finance to The New York Times fretting about a condo bubble in Canada, CIBC economist Benjamin Tal recently decided to crunch the numbers himself to see what’s really going on. His verdict: condo owners can relax because vacancy rates will increase only slightly in 2014, despite a record number of units coming to market.

What a Deal! LowestRates.ca Offers 5-Year Variable Mortgages in Ontario at 2.35% – With Up to $500 Cash-Back!

What better place for Canadians to find the lowest rates on mortgages than at LowestRates.ca? Kind of makes sense, right?

What To Expect In 2014 Province By Province: New Brunswick

New Brunswick is unique as Canada’s only constitutionally bilingual province, with English and French both culturally accepted.  The province is also the western border of the Bay of Fundy, which was a finalist to become one of the new natural wonders of the world in 2009 – a title that was ultimately passed onto other bodies of nature.

What To Expect In 2014 Province By Province: Quebec

Physically the largest province in Canada and the second largest physical jurisdiction after Nunavut, Quebec is the predominant home of Canada’s French speaking population.  The demographics of the province will help maintain demand for housing in the first half of 2014.

Five Way-Too-Common Credit Card Traps to Avoid

As movie dialogue goes, “it’s a trap!” has become the very furniture of cliche, rivalling other mind-numbing groaners like “we’ve got company” “don’t look down” and “it’s quiet . . . too quiet.” The worn-out line should be banished from Hollywood scripts and inserted where it really belongs: at the top of way-too-many credit card contracts. 

What To Expect In 2014 Province By Province: Ontario

Canada’s largest province by population, Ontario is the manufacturing heartland and onetime economic powerhouse of the country.  The provincial capital is the largest housing market in Canada, and second most expensive in the country, trailing only Vancouver in BC.

Canadian House Prices to Come Under Pressure This Year: PIMCO

If Canadian homebuyers had a nickel for every report that came out about the country’s housing market, they probably wouldn’t need to bother applying for a mortgage. From banks and ratings agencies to magazines and think-tanks, predictions about Canadian house prices seem to be a national – and international – pastime. 

Falling Loonie A Good Thing? Higher Travel Costs Make You Think Twice

When Len Dvorkin saves up enough Aeroplan points each year, he redeems them for plane tickets for his family. However, frequent flyers know that the term “free plane tickets” is slightly misleading.

Falling Mortgage Rates Should Spur Caution Among Canadian Homebuyers

Unless you’ve been out ice-fishing for the last week and a half, you’ve probably heard about mortgage rates falling. Last week most Canadian lenders cut their two, three, four and five year fixed rate mortgages by 10 to 20 basis points to reflect a drop in bond yields. 

What To Expect In 2014 Province By Province: Manitoba

The gateway between Canada’s traditional manufacturing heartland and the newer resource sectors, Manitoba is changing in ways that are unlike many of the other provinces.  Whereas many regions across the country are seeing limited economic investments from the private sector, the ratio of private vs. public growth in Manitoba actually favours the private market.

What To Expect In 2014 Province By Province: Saskatchewan

Ever since 2007, the economy of Saskatchewan has been booming stronger than any province in Canada, rivaling the economic strength of Alberta.  Economic growth contributed to strong net gains in housing sales and average prices, with new housing starts rising or falling based on supply. 

Here Comes the Rate Cut

The conventional wisdom in Canada that “mortgage rates have nowhere to go but up” has been proven wrong – again. Yesterday RBC cut most of its fixed rates by 10 basis points in response to “competitor pricing,” and other banks are expected to follow suit. Even more significant is the growing likelihood that variable rates will fall too as the Bank of Canada considers cutting the overnight rate. That’s right – borrowers who rolled the dice and went variable will soon have some extra money in their pockets thanks to BoC governor Stephen Poloz. The freshman governor will be cutting rates in a matter of months if current economic trends continue.

How A Denied Credit Card Application Affects A Credit Score

Applying for a rewards credit card is a thrilling experience for many of us.  We start thinking about all the points we can collect and the benefits those points can provide us.  Cashback rewards, rebates for purchases, discounts on flights to exotic destinations – there is much to look forward to when applying for a rewards credit card.

What To Expect In 2014 Province By Province: Alberta

Arguably the strongest market in Canada, Alberta’s housing sector is growing strongly along with the provincial economy.  Home to two of the fastest growing regional markets in the country, as well as being the backbone of the Canadian economy, thousands of people are migrating to Alberta from all over the country new opportunities.

How To Handle The Holiday Hangover Credit Card Debt

Have you received your January credit card bill yet?  Canadians coast to coast to coast are awaiting their first post-holiday credit card statements.  Some of us have little to be concerned about, while others prepare for a long and painful payback process.

What To Expect In 2014 Province By Province: BC

British Columbia is one of the most interesting housing submarkets in Canada.  The province is home to the largest and most expensive regional market in the country, but also offers more affordable homes along the interior and to the north.

Does that mean you can afford a home in the country’s most western province?  Well that depends on a number of factors, including what BC can expect from 2014 onward.

Consolidating Your Debts In 2014? These Balance Transfer Credit Cards Can Help

 
Like so many Canadians, you probably went on a bit of a spending binge over the holidays. With all those credit card bills now coming due, the new year is a great time to consolidate your debts and get your financial house in order.
 
Balance transfer credit cards are a useful tool for Canadians whose debts have piled up because they allow you to transfer balances from one card to another. The interest rate relief you’ll experience is immediate – instead of paying upwards of 20% on your credit card debts, you’ll be paying 0-3% on the new card.
 
Here are some of the best balance transfer cards available in 2014:

Put An Extra $1 Into Savings A Week And Watch The Account Swell

Did you make a New Year’s resolution in the closing hours or minutes of 2013?  Many people resolve to save more money to steer clear of unmanageable debts, or relying extensively on credit cards to pay for everyday expenses.

How To Use Insurance To Recover From The Powerful Ice Storm

Eastern Canada is still recovering from the powerful ice storm last weekend that left hundreds of thousands without power.  Now that power is returning to most homes, many people are wondering how to pay for the damages.

Happy Holidays To All From Everyone At LowestRates.ca

Christmas Day has arrived, and families are preparing for their morning rituals surrounding the tree.  Thoughts of holiday credit card bills and committing to sound New Year's resolutions are pushed aside this morning as the spirit of the season takes hold across Canada.

How Much Should My First Offer Be?

The following is a guest post by Eric Tippelt, a professor at Loyalist College who also goes by Uncle E.

Baby, It’s Cold Outside! Eight Tips to Winterize Your Home

With much of the country in an early deep-freeze, it’s time to get to work on winterizing your home if you haven’t already done so. The Farmer’s Almanac says this winter will be extra-frigid, so you shouldn’t delay any longer! Winter-proofing prevents damage to your home, lowers your heating bill, and above all, keeps family and visitors warm and safe.  

Here are eight key winter-proofing tips you need to know as we head into the chilly winter months.

Tips To Prevent Credit Card Scammers From Ruining Your Holiday

It’s that time of year when most Canadians are focused on holiday shopping.  The malls are filled with people, products are being pulled from the shelves, and online sales help others avoid the frenzy at the malls.

Have You Got Your Winter Tires Attached For Winter Driving?

Are you ready for winter?  Have you attached winter tires to your car?  If you live west of Quebec, odds are a majority of your fellow drivers either delay or choose not to attach winter tires at all throughout the season.

How Might Higher Mortgage Insurance Premiums Affect The Cost Of A Loan

There are rumblings in the mortgage insurance sector about raising premiums, which inevitably will increase the cost of buying a home.  The talk is strictly rumours at this stage, but if the rumours are followed up by concrete actions, they will undoubtedly affect anyone interested in buying a home in the short to medium term.

The Six Best Ways to Lower Your Teen’s Auto Insurance Premiums

The thought of insuring a teen driver is enough to make some parents clutch their wallets in terror – teens and auto insurance can be an expensive combination!

Families often see their insurance premiums more than double because teens are considered to be ‘high risk’ drivers, and the statistics bear this out – teens are far more likely to be involved in accidents than any other age group.
 
The good news is that in 2013 there are more ways than ever to get your teen’s car insurance bill out of the stratosphere. Here are six of the best:

How Reviewing Insurance Terms And Conditions Can Help Save Money

Insurance is a very complicated concept for many of us.  Questions of how much insurance do we need, what are the most affordable rates, how long should insurance plans remain in effect – all important questions with answers that will be unique to each one of us.

Average Costs Of Owning Compared To Renting A Home In Canada

Stats Canada data from 2006 through 2011 show that a greater percentage of Canadian renters devote a larger portion of their monthly earnings to their household expenses than homeowners.  The actual monthly cost in dollars for homeowners is higher than for renters, but a larger proportion of renters are devoting over one third of their earnings to keeping a roof over their heads.

Mortgage Lending Rules Crimping Affordability For Eligible Homebuyers

Ottawa’s efforts to tighten the country’s mortgage rules last year seemed to work – for a while. Sales fell and prices stopped climbing as many Canadians found it tougher to get a loan. Many first-time buyers were particularly hard hit by the clampdown, because they had to save for a larger down payment and needed larger incomes to qualify for a mortgage.

How To Plan For Canada’s Own Black Friday Shopping Experience

This weekend is the American Thanksgiving, which is cited by airports across North America as one of the busiest travel times of the year.  Family members attempt to catch last minute flights home for the holiday, while shoppers on both sides of the border prepare for holiday sales.

What To Do When Applying For A Mortgage Through A Broker Or A Banker

Whether you're moving out for the first time, need more space or you're just tired of renting, before you can buy your first home, you need to find your mortgage. After all, buying a home will be one of the largest purchases of your life.

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