The Dough Report

With Oil Below $50, Alberta's Housing Market Looks Grim

For anyone involved in Alberta’s energy sector, it’s a pretty scary time.
 
As oil continues to languish below $50 per barrel, there’s little doubt Alberta’s economy will take it on the chin. Layoffs are already starting in the oil patch, with household names like Suncor and Shell cutting thousands of workers from their oil sands operations. According to most energy analysts, those layoffs are just the beginning of a bigger trend, especially if oil doesn’t recover right away.
 
But what does it all mean for Alberta’s housing market? Let’s take a closer look.

10 Monthly Household Expenses You Can Cut for Big Savings

You’ve heard all about it, but you had your doubts. How is it possible? How can you live like that?
 
Haters beware: it’s true. You can live without cable TV. Or a home phone, a gym subscription, and a slew of other pricey household expenses.

What Every Homeowner Needs to Know About Mortgage Penalties

 
Chances are, at some point in your life it’ll happen. For whatever reason you’ll be looking to sell your house and be forced to break the mortgage early.
 
We’ve all heard the horror stories about how that can cost tens of thousands in fees. How exactly is that legal? And more importantly, how do you make sure that you get enough flexibility to ensure you’re not paying those huge penalties?

We Grow and Develop Because We Learn From a Good Story

ABC Life Literacy Canada is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping Canadians improve their literacy skills. In 1999, the organization created Family Literacy Day, a national awareness initiative revolving around activities that inspire families to improve the literacy of their children. Notable children’s author Robert Munsch is the Honourary Chair of Family Literacy Day.

Financial Wisdom on the Small Screen: 5 Money Lessons Learned from Our Favourite TV Shows

The next time someone tells you that “TV will rot your brain!” it may be worth showing them this list.
 
Sure, it’s probably not a good idea to binge-watch Netflix until your eyes hurt, but every so often the small screen serves up some serious nuggets of financial wisdom.

Why Do Borrowers With Small Down Payments Get Better Rates?

On the surface, it makes no sense at all.
 
One borrower goes to get a mortgage, barely scraping together the minimum required down payment of 5%. Meanwhile, somebody else works their tail off and manages to save up enough to put 30% down. Not only are these two borrowers likely paying the same rate, but sometimes the borrower with 5% down will actually be paying a lower rate!
 
Let’s take a closer look at exactly why this happens.

Shock Bank of Canada Rate Cut: What It Means for Borrowers

The Bank of Canada stunned markets today with a surprise quarter point rate cut, lowering the benchmark interest rate from 1% to .75%. And yes, it really was a surprise: of the 22 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News prior to the announcement, fully zero predicted the Bank would take rates lower.

It’s Almost Family Literacy Day! 6 Ways to Save on Books

That’s it, that’s the last page.
 
I close the book and clutch it to my chest. After all the struggle, the late nights reading by Micky Mouse night light, the intense storytime sessions spent sounding out strange words, I’ve finally claimed my prize. There’s only one thing left to do – announce it to the world.
 
“Mom, Dad, I finished reading it all by myself!”

How 15 Minutes Really Did Save Me Money on Car Insurance

 
Back in 2008, I had an auto insurance problem. Specifically, I thought I was paying too darn much for it.

Best Credit Card Bets for 2015

Tired of the plastic you’ve got in your wallet? Want a total credit card overhaul in 2015? Or are you just looking for a solid first-ever card? Whatever the conundrum, we’ve got you covered.

Up To You To Crush Your Debt And Set Yourself Free

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The Situation

When I finished college, I was in my share of personal debt. My situation, one shared by millions of new graduates, was made even worse by graduating in the heart of the 2008 recession. The recession all but eliminated entry level jobs for those of us fresh out of school.

To Buy or Not to Buy (in Bulk) – 5 Not-So-Obvious Items You Should Bulk Buy

It’s easy to poke fun at that grocery shopper loading up 40 rolls of TP onto the checkout. Sometimes, buying in bulk can seem silly and unnecessary. But the reality is that buying certain items in bulk can legitimately save you money, and lots of it.

Get Paid to Go to the Store: Here's How

One thing every Canadian can do to improve their finances in 2015 is get serious about credit card rewards points.
 
There are simply too many of us who are using a credit card with a pitiful rewards program. Getting 0.5% cash back might seem like a good idea when the alternative is nothing, but you’re leaving some serious rewards on the table. Let’s take a look at a couple of rewards credit cards and just how much free money you can earn from them.

Fixed or Variable: Which Mortgage Should You Choose in 2015?

When I was a mortgage broker, customers tended to care about one thing mainly: interest rates.
 
Even though variable rates have traditionally been cheaper than fixed rates, approximately 80% of Canadians opt for a fixed rate mortgage. We happen to like the security of not having to worry about interest rates for as long as the mortgage’s term, usually five years.

Conquer Your Debt the Balance Transfer Way

Are your finances in tatters from all that holiday spending? You’re not alone. While January is the month for resolutions and fresh starts, it’s also the time of year when Canadians are faced with the harsh reality of too much debt. 

Ways to Save Wednesdays: Cool Deals You Can Only Get In January

It’s 2015! We hope you had a wonderful holiday and a fantastic start to the new year.
 
It’s no secret that here at LowestRates.ca, we’re all about saving you money. That’s why we’re excited to present a new weekly blog series focused on helping you save even more all year round. It’s called Ways to Save Wednesdays, and it’s exactly what it sounds like!

Take These Five Steps to Secure Your Finances in 2015

The tree is taken down, the stockings are put back into storage, and all the leftover turkey is either already eaten or thrown into the garbage in frustration. Yes, 2014 is finally behind us.

Now it’s time to focus on 2015. New Years’ resolutions can range from the mundane to the life-changing, but they usually include something aimed at sprucing up your finances. With that in mind, here are 5 easy steps you can take to start 2015 off on the right financial foot.

LowestRates.ca Proud to Donate to Yonge Street Mission

The holiday season encourages us to be generous and thoughtful. It reminds us that we should be thankful for all that we have and celebrate our love for one another with joy and merriment. It is also a time to think of those who do not have the same luxuries and comforts we often take for granted. At LowestRates.ca, we reflected on this and challenged ourselves to make the lives of those less fortunate than us a little better over the holiday season.

The Dough Report Year in Review: Favourite Blog Posts of 2014

2015 is almost here! And as December comes to a close, it’s a great time to reflect on the past year. 2014 has seen its fair share of economic ups and downs, and through it all LowestRates.ca has been keeping readers up to speed on hot-button personal finance issues.
 
So, in the spirit of reflection, we’d like to take a look back at some of our favourite (and most useful) blog posts of 2014.

4 Easy Ways to Shed Your Holiday Debt

For most Canadians, the holidays were expensive. In 2013, the average Canadian spent approximately $1,800 on the festive season. This included $689 on travel, $674 on gifts, and the rest on incidentals like food, booze, and earplugs after your nephew gets a new toy that makes a bunch of noise. 

Chances are the holidays also left you with a whack of debt. Here are some easy strategies to slay those credit card bills and start 2015 right.

Infographic: 14 Key Moments from 2014

One thing's for sure – 2014 has been a very interesting year. Mortgage rates defied prediction by sinking even lower, while home prices continued to climb higher – sometimes much higher – in several key Canadian cities.

Want to see how the year in personal finance played out? Check out our infographic below:

Season's Greetings from All of Us!

Hey, the holidays are here! And that means family, food, and much-deserved time off. Whether you’re lighting the Menorah, gathering around the Christmas tree, or just relaxing by the fireplace with a mug of hot cocoa, we’d like to wish you a very happy holiday!

From the entire LowestRates.ca team, Season’s Greetings and all the best in the New Year!

5 Financial Resolutions for 2015 – And How to Actually Keep Them!

The holiday season is still in full swing, but as the year comes to a close, many of us will be resolving to better ourselves in 2015. Our resolutions won't be entirely about hitting the gym and quitting the gin though – in fact, many Canadians' New Year's resolutions revolve around financial fitness.

Calgary Real Estate: Why 2015 Could Be Ugly

So far, it seems like the city of Calgary is almost entirely unaffected by the bloodbath in the oil sector.

The price of crude has cratered from nearly $110 per barrel in June, all the way to current levels around $55, a swing of almost 50%. Canada’s energy giants have been forced to adapt in a number of ways, including cutting capital expenditures, slashing dividends, and delaying new projects, especially in the oil sands.

6 Painless Ways to Save Money on Utilities

Considering it’s winter for approximately 11.5 months per year in Canada, saving money on heating is important to everyone. I know I sure don’t like to go outside in the cold. But it’s not just heating costs that can add up. Between heat, electricity, water, phone, and internet, most of us are spending hundreds each month on utilities. Since there’s no avoiding them, wouldn’t it be nice to save a few bucks just by making some painless changes?
 
Here are some tips to keep your utility bills reasonable.

10 Budget-Friendly DIY Holiday Gifts (That People Will Actually Want!)

The holiday countdown is on! Christmas is just days away, and, while many Canadians have wrapped up their holiday shopping, some of us last-minute folks have yet to cross everything off of our to-buy list. The clock may be ticking, but time isn’t the only factor at play – holiday shopping can cost a bundle, too.

Telematics: An Easy Way to Save on Car Insurance

If you own a TV, you’ve seen the commercials. There’s a little gecko with a British accent getting into all sorts of fun situations, always getting the last word with a witty comment. The commercials always end with an offer to call and save up to 15% on your car insurance.

8 Winter Driving Mistakes – And How to Avoid Them!

WINTER Driving Mistakes & How to Avoid Them
 
Some love it, some hate it, but the holidays in Canada just wouldn't be the same without it. I'm talking about snow – nature's winter décor. It's so pretty on rooftops, tree branches and Christmas cards, but a few inches on the road? Instant commuter chaos.

'Tis the Season for Free Car Insurance from LowestRates.ca!

Editor's Note: Effective immediately, due to unforeseen regulations, we have been forced to end this contest. We apologize greatly. All participants will be notified by December 31, 2014 directly.

Credit Card Debt: Why You Should Play the Balance Transfer Game

Being in credit card debt isn’t a lot of fun.

For most folks serious about getting back to zero, dealing with credit card debt consists of a lot of cheap, homemade meals, having a nonexistent entertainment budget, and saying no to anything but the cheapest of vacations. After all, paying back credit cards is expensive. If it wasn’t, there wouldn’t be a problem in the first place.

How Much Do We Spend On The Holiday Season?

The holidays are almost here! Stores are bustling with sales and flights are being booked to warmer climates (not that we’re jealous or anything...). But as people plan their vacations and make their shopping lists we began to wonder -- just how much does the average Canadian spend during the festive season?

Mortgage Life Insurance: Why You Need to Choose Wisely

 
For many homeowners, it’s the forgotten part of the mortgage process.
 
When buying a home, it seems like there are a million things to take care of. You need to get an almost endless amount of paperwork to both the Realtor and lender. You need to rent a truck and bribe some friends to come help you haul stuff. Even little things like switching your address can take more time than anticipated.

Saving With Your Smartphone: Part 4 – Travel, Gas, and More

  
It’s official: we’re hooked on money-saving apps. In parts 1 to 3 of our series, we’ve wandered through the world of digital coupons, grocery helpers, and mobile deal-finders. We’ve used our smartphones to save a bundle at the supermarket, and snag the hottest gadgets and fashions at seriously discounted prices.

5 Easy Ways To Save Money On Your Mortgage

For most Canadians, buying a house is the largest financial commitment they’ll ever make.

On the surface, it seems pretty simple – you call up a Realtor, look at a few houses, and make a decision. Once a mortgage lender agrees to lend you the money, you’re all set to move in. No fuss, no muss. There’s just one problem. That mortgage you just took out?  You have to pay that back. With interest. For all the mortgage newbies out there, here are five easy ways to make that as painless as possible.

Use The Power Of Social Media To Ensure A Meal This Holiday

The holiday season is upon us, which means we will spend much of our time shopping for gifts, preparing hearty meals, and making room for family in our homes. We are also encouraged to support the less fortunate who may be unable to enjoy the type of holiday that many of us take for granted.

Getting in Gear for Black Friday: 8 Essential Tips for Canadian Shoppers

Hold onto your shopping bags – Black Friday is almost here. In less than 24 hours, Canadians from coast to coast will be lining up outside retailers’ doors, ready to bag some serious bargains. But this year, the Black Friday news is not all rosy. According to a recently-released report from Vancity credit union, when it comes to savings, some retailers’ just aren’t dishing out the real deal.

7 Ways to Cut Your Energy Bill This Winter

Canadians know that winter weather often doesn’t wait for December – around these parts, the chill comes much sooner than that, and this year’s been no different. Freezing temperatures seen in much of the country can take a toll on even the hardiest of Canadians, and on their heating bills.

Tips To Improve Your Credit Score And Financial Know How

Well hi there! I’m Shannon Lee Simmons, financial planner and all around money geek. I’m super stoked to be a regular contributor to LowestRates.ca! Today, I’m going to drop some awesome tips on how to improve your credit score and improve financial awesomeness.

Saving With Your Smartphone: Part 3 – Deal Finder Apps

 
So far in our money-saving apps series, we’ve counted down coupon clippers and helped you stretch your hard-earned dollars at the grocery store. But what about all those other times you’ve wished you could snag a bargain? Have no fear, there’s an app for every I-wish-I-could-get-this-cheaper moment, and they can help you save on everything from electronics to apparel to local (or international) getaways.
 

The Pledge Lives: Bill to Reduce Auto Insurance Rates by 15 Percent Passes in Ontario Legislature

 

Who says elections don’t matter? This morning, Ontario's legislature passed a bill aimed at lowering auto insurance premiums 15 percent by next August. Provincial Liberals say the new law will bring much-needed relief to drivers by reducing fraud and expanding provincial oversight of the claims process. 

12 Essential Snowbird Insurance Questions Answered

  
It’s that time of year again – the time when Canadians dream of sandy beaches and sunshine. And many of us do more than just dream – over three and a half million Canucks visited Florida alone last year!
 
The true snowbirds among us have to think about a lot more than just how long they want to fly the Canadian coop though, because spending winter down south brings its fair share of insurance hassles. Below we answer the 12 essential snowbird insurance questions that seem to come up every year when the weather turns chilly. 

Toronto Star Columnist Ellen Roseman’s 4 Simple Secrets To Credit

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Hi everyone! My name is Sara, and I’m the new Social Media and Outreach Executive here at LowestRates.ca – welcome to my first blog post!

Saving With Your Smartphone: Part 2 – Grocery Store Apps

You already know what to do to save money at the supermarket. But clipping coupons, flipping through flyers, and comparing prices the old fashioned way takes time – something that most people just don’t have. Luckily, there’s an easier way, and all it takes is some swiping and tapping. 

Join Toronto Star Columnist Ellen Roseman at LowestRates.ca for a Live Webinar!

To celebrate Financial Literacy Month, LowestRates.ca is proud to host Toronto Star columnist and personal finance author Ellen Roseman in a live webinar, 4 Simple Secrets To Credit Building.

Sign Up For Car Insurance And Help Support Movember

Now that Halloween has come and gone, Canadians turn their attention to November. That means preparing for the holidays, honouring veterans on Remembrance Day, and for Canadian men, growing moustaches in support of Movember.

Saving With Your Smartphone: Part 1 – Coupon Apps

 
Want to save money on the go? There’s an app for that. We use our beloved smartphones to play games, catch up on TV shows, or even buy car insurance. These days, there’s an app for just about everything – including saving money.

Get a No-Obligation Evaluation of Your Home AND Save up to $1500 in Legal Fees!

 

 
Getting a great deal on your mortgage is one thing, but finding a real estate team you can trust can be a bit more complicated. And in today’s hot housing market, having a tough, experienced realtor by your side is invaluable – especially in the GTA, where house hunting can be an intense, even searing experience for many.

10 Grocery Store Hacks to Save You Money

Have you ever found yourself with a suddenly-full shopping cart, thinking I only meant to buy bread and milk? Or had a case of sticker shock at the checkout, when the total came up to more than you bargained for?
 

You’ll Love These Capital One® Aspire Credit Cards – We’re Even Throwing In a Free $50 Gift Card Upon Approval!

We’ve all heard of Capital One. You see their advertisements on TV and occasionally get their offers in the mail. What you may not know is that right now Capital One boasts some of the best premium rewards credit cards on the market with their Aspire credit card line. Dollar for dollar, reward mile for reward mile, these cards really deliver!

Get To Know The Finalists In The MyKindaScary Contest

Did you submit your scariest financial story to the #MyKindaScary contest? Are you ready to help others learn from your experiences by sharing your story online?

Spooky Season Savings: Part 3 – The Party

You’ve got the costume and you’ve set up the decorations, now all that’s left is to put them to good use for your upcoming Halloween party. Setting up your big event on a budget doesn’t have to be scary, though – avoid spooky party sticker shock with these 5 tips!
 

New to Canada? Follow These 5 Steps to Build Credit Fast

Canada has long been known as a “cultural mosaic”, and for good reason. Walk through the streets of Toronto, Vancouver or even Halifax and the diversity is easy to see. According to Statistics Canada, one in every five of us was born in another country!

Trouble Financing Your Vehicle? Our Car Loan Service Boasts 100% Acceptance Nationwide!

At LowestRates.ca we know that some of you are having a tough time getting financing for your vehicle. Maybe you’re new to the country and don’t yet have a credit history, maybe you’ve had a credit setback or two – whatever the reason, sometimes securing a car loan can be difficult.
 

MyKindaScary Finalist #1: Fatima

Meet Fatima, who learned how challenging it can be to buy a new home while also selling the old home. Fatima and her husband struggled to come up with the money for their new house as they struggled to sell their old home.

MyKindaScary Finalist #2: Daniel

Meet Daniel, who learned that being approved for a credit card isn’t a gateway to free money. After charging expenses to two cards for a few months, unexpected financial circumstances prevented Daniel from paying off the balance.

MyKindaScary Finalist #3: Shannon

Meet Shannon, who applied for one credit card, and received notices of preapproval for several other cards in the mail. At the time, Shannon was unaware of how high credit card interest rates could be on her outstanding balances, and she says those extra charges have kept her trapped in a cycle of credit card debt to this day.

MyKindaScary Finalist #4: Jillianne

Meet Jillianne who was approved for a mortgage on a new home pending the sale of the previous home. Jillianne and her husband were locked into a closing date on the new home, and were required to do what was necessary to sell the old home – including spending thousands on renovations and reducing the asking price to complete the sale.

MyKindaScary Finalist #5: Donna

Meet Donna, a full time student attempting to provide a good living for her 4 year old daughter. Donna was required to apply for loans worth tens of thousands of dollars as she attends school, pays the bills, and figures out a plan to pay back her debt.

MyKindaScary Finalist #6: Sarah

Meet Sarah who was convinced by an advertised low interest rate to transfer money from her credit card to her bank account. Paying off that credit card has been challenging for Sarah, who is struggling to make more than the minimum payments and leave her debt behind.

MyKindaScary Finalist #7: Susan

Meet Susan who was stuck with credit card debt on a joint account after splitting up with her partner. Susan was tempted by a low interest credit card offer to transfer her balance to a new card, but the fine print included terms and conditions that left Susan vulnerable to more expensive interest penalties.

MyKindaScary Finalist #8: Solange

Meet Solange who was approved for a line of credit only a few months before she was scheduled for maternity leave. After leaving the workplace, Solange found herself struggling to make ends meet. She and her daughter moved into a smaller home as they made sacrifices to pay the bills as well as pay back the line of credit.

MyKindaScary Finalist #9: Precious

Meet Precious who was left with thousands of dollars in debt after leaving school. Precious was the breadwinner for her younger siblings, and struggled to find work. She was expecting a tax return to help keep food on the table, but her outstanding debt took away from her plans.

MyKindaScary Finalist #10: Matthew

Meet Matthew who reminds any cardholder to closely monitor their credit card account. Matthew was charged a fee by his provider despite not using his credit card for a long time.

Spooky Season Savings: Part 2 – The Decorations

Have you seen prices for the latest Halloween decorations? There are some inflatable designs that can cost over $200, and even life size skeletons average between $30 and $70.

5 Car Maintenance Myths Busted

When it comes to car maintenance, many drivers assume it’s best to trust the professionals. After all, most mechanics know what they’re doing, and all those oil changes and pricey tune-ups must be necessary... right?
 
Wrong – in fact, there are many things your mechanics aren’t telling you, things that can end up costing you thousands of dollars in unnecessary car maintenance.

Share Your Chilling Personal Finance Stories for a Chance to Win $400 in Prizes with #MyKindaScary

With Halloween fast approaching, things are starting to get spooky as Canadians prepare for the ghosts and ghouls to come out on October 31.

Spooky Season Savings: Part 1 – The Costume

Think that last slasher flick you saw was scary? Check out the price tags on many popular Halloween costumes this year! It doesn’t have to be that way though – save money and stay on budget this Halloween with these quick tips. 

Wow! A Guarantee To Bring You The Lowest Mortgage Rates!

It goes without saying that when you’re shopping for a mortgage, one of the most important pieces of the process is to find the lowest rate. Lower mortgage rates mean lower monthly payments and less money spent on interest. Locking in a mortgage at the lowest possible rate can save you tens of thousands of dollars over the lifetime of your loan!

What’s in a (Financial) Name? Popular Financial Terms and Their Interesting Origins

Mortgage, equity, amortization. Liability and arbitration. All those financial terms are enough to make your head spin, and can lead to some serious confusion when reading up on insurance and home buying. 

Car Insurance Goes Local With LowestRates.ca’s New City–Specific Auto Insurance Pages!

Want to get the inside scoop on car insurance in YOUR city? Now you can with LowestRates.ca’s new city-specific auto insurance pages

Dashboard Confessional Part Two: Do YOU Know These Dashboard Warning Symbols?

Drivers know that when your car speaks, you should listen. A few weeks ago, we tested your dashboard decoding skills with the first in our series of dashboard warning light quizzes. This week, we’ve got a fresh new batch of symbols, and we're testing your knowledge once again with our second dashboard warning lights quiz.

Fighting That Credit Card Late Fee: How to Get a Late Payment Fee Waived

You’re always on time, always organized – this kind of thing never happens to you. But between working and studying and packing for that next weekend getaway, you’ve been hit with an unexpected surprise on your credit card bill: a late payment fee.

10 Fall Maintenance Tips to Ready Your Home for the Season

Believe it or not, another summer has come and gone. There's a nip in the air and pumpkin spice on every menu, and that can only mean one thing – it’s autumn in Canada. We all know what to do to get our wardrobes ready for the season, but how do you prepare your house for those chilly months to come?

LowestRates.ca's Back to School Money Saving Guide For Students


Plastic’s Out, Mobile’s In – Or Is It? Apple Pay Takes to the Mobile Wallet Stage

It’s official – the new iPhone is here. And from the sound of all that media buzz, this update was a whopper.

Putting Off Your Home Purchase? It Could Cost You!

High home prices got you down? You’re not alone – when it comes to Canadian housing, it’s a jungle out there.

Dashboard Confessional: Do YOU Know These Dashboard Warning Symbols?

Ask anyone who drives and they’ll tell you: cars have a language all their own. While there might not be any actual verbal exchanges between you and your ride (Pixar movies aside), your car’s speaking to you. 

Lunchbox Season is Here! 8 Budget-Friendly Back-to-School Lunch Ideas

Believe it or not September is here, and with it the start of a new school year. It’s time for students to dust off those backpacks, because ‘tis the season for heading back to class – whether the kids want to or not.

Toronto Penthouse Costs $33 Million, How Much Is The Mortgage?

image by Darren Calabrese with the National Post

If you live in or have visited the financial district in Toronto since 2011, you likely noticed the Trump International Hotel & Tower near the corners of Bay and Adelaide Streets.  The tower is named after US real estate and investment guru Donald Trump, who is also a minority shareholder in the skyscraper.

Summer’s Last Hurrah: Exploring Labour Day Past and Present

 
For most Canadians, Labour Day means a few things – the end of an all-too-short summer, the imminent return of the school year, and a last chance to squeeze in a sunny day at the beach before the chilly start of autumn.

Crooks Love a Civic: Model Takes #1 Spot on List of Most Stolen Cars in Canada

 
On Monday, the U.S. National Insurance Crime Bureau released its yearly list of top ten most stolen cars in the U.S.A. What does that have to do with Canada, you ask? As it turns out, the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) releases its own top ten stolen vehicles report every year, and there’s some overlap between the two lists.

Canadian Celeb Car Insurance Series: Justin Bieber’s Pricey Premiums

Have you ever been jealous of a celeb’s ride? Maybe you’ve stared longingly at Kim Kardashian’s Ferrari, or drooled over Jay Leno’s luxury car collection. While we all get jealous of celebs from to time, one thing we don’t need to be jealous of is the astronomical car insurance premiums many are paying to insure their sweet rides.

Banking on Satisfaction: How Canadians Really Feel About Their Banks

A dash of customer service, a spoonful of financial products, a pinch of problem resolution – is this the perfect recipe for banking satisfaction? J.D. Power and Associates tried to figure out just that with its latest Canadian Retail Banking Customer Satisfaction Study. As it turns out, TD Canada Trust and Tangerine have the recipe down-pat, both ranking 1st in their segments.

CBC Says Goodbye As CTV Says Hello To Kevin O’Leary

Financial and investment gurus are likely sharing in the heartbreak of CBC’s Chief Business Correspondent Amanda Lang.  Lang’s longtime business show partner and foil Kevin O’Leary is leaving the CBC’s Lang & O’Leary Exchange for a similar program on CTV.  Lang will remain with CBC and begin hosting a new business show in the fall.

10 Ways to Save on School Supplies This Year

While it might seem like you were watching Canada Day fireworks just yesterday, the dog days of summer are slipping by. And even though that means soccer and swimming and playing on the beach, it also means good old back-to-school shopping. Penny pinching parents are already on the hunt for the best deals – they know that when it comes to back-to-school, now is the best time to strike. As September approaches, here are ten ways to save money on your children's school supplies. 

Having Trouble with Your Finances? Try Turning to the Classics

 
In June, we took a look at seven of the top personal finance books on the market, gleaning wisdom from the best financial advisors out there. Since then, I haven’t been able to shake the feeling that there’s more to be learned from the printed word – but this time, in the fiction aisle.

What’s the Deal with One-Way Auto Insurance?

We get a lot of people asking about so-called “one-way” auto insurance policies.  But is one-way car insurance a good idea, and does it actually save you money? The answer is that it really depends on what kind of car you drive and how much risk you feel like taking – read on to find out if one-way car insurance is right for you.

Say “I Don’t” to Debt: How to Cut Your Wedding Costs This Summer

 
 
It’s midsummer in Canada, and love is in the air. Wedding season is in full swing as happy couples from coast to coast say “I do”.  And while the big day is all about family, friends, and fond memories, it’s also laced with expenses that can clean out a wallet faster than Uncle Ted’s Moonwalk cleans out the dance floor. According to WeddingBells.ca, the average Canadian wedding checks in at a whopping $31,685!

What’s The Best American Express Aeroplan Card? It Depends . . .

 
It’s no secret that the Aeroplan travel points program is wildly popular in Canada, and that American Express leads the pack with its Aeroplan credit card offerings. At LowestRates.ca one question we get asked a lot is, “which Amex Aeroplan credit card should I get?”

6 Financial Lessons Learned from Our Immigrant Parents

 
 
“You know, we came here with nothing,” says my mother.
 
It’s the line I’ve heard time and time again – I know the story well. My mom uses this line when trying to convince me not to make an impulse purchase, or spend money on something I don’t really need.

Blindsided: 7 Sneaky HST Surprises

The $30,000 real estate commission you just forked over to your realtor? Yeah, you’re going to have to pay HST on that.
 
Unfortunately, it’s hard to go through life without getting blindsided by the good old HST from time to time. And although bureaucrats have designed a wonderful name for this pernicious little tax (who doesn’t like something “harmonized”?), it can still strike when you least expect it.
 
Here are seven instances where Canadians often get blindsided by the HST. Protect yourself now (or at least be prepared to write a check!)

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.

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