Canadian University/College Money saving guide

It has been almost 15 years since I graduated university (you can do the math to see how old I am), but some things never change – school is expensive.

I was fortunate to be living less than a 20 minute walk to my university and I was able to save so much going to school in my home town but I realize that many students don’t have that good fortune.

I have some money saving tips and some great links that hopefully will save you some cash this year!

1. Take advantage of generous student discounts.


Amazon Prime for Students offers college and university students free two-day shipping for six months, and then 50% off Amazon Prime. Amazon Student members receive two-day shipping on millions of items, unlimited cloud photo storage with Prime Photos, and exclusive Student deals.


Shop at the Apple Store for Education and save up to $250 on a new Mac, and up to $20 on a new iPad. Education pricing is available to post-secondary students, students accepted into a post-secondary institution, parents buying for post-secondary students, teachers and staff at all levels.

The International Student Identity Card (ISIC) is your passport to fantastic discounts and services at home and around the world. The ISIC card is the only internationally-recognised student ID, making ISIC card holders are members of a truly global club. Every year more than 4.5 million students from 120 countries use their student card to take advantage of offers on travel, shopping, museums and more, worldwide.


Compared to impulse buying in the store, shopping online gives you more of a chance to calculate costs, cross-compare between retailers and search for any relevant coupons. Plus, if you can snag all of your supplies from the same store, you may be able to reach the retailer’s minimum threshold for free shipping.

Always check before you pay to see if you can get a student discount (doesn’t hurt anyone to ask).

2. Be a savvy shopper.

When possible, try to price match your way to a great deal. If you see an identical product on sale for a cheaper price at a competitor, ask the store you’re shopping at to match the price. As always, you’ll want to check the fine print of a retailer’s price-matching policy to see which products qualify.

3. Read your university/college’s tips for getting ahead or any discounts available.

A great all-around guide I found is this student guide with valuable information on how to save money.

Check with your school’s finance department as they may have a specific information for your city/town or secrets that only apply to that local school.

4. Understand the big picture.

On top of planning to finance your tuition, you’ll also need to factor in additional expenses, including costs for books and supplies, insurance, travel, phone, food, personal items, etc.

Remember that college/university will go by quickly and try to remember the good times but don’t go into too much debt as when you start your career you don’t want to have to take a job just to pay off debt.

Couponing as a Personal Finance Practice – Is It Worth It?

Couponing has been around for decades, centuries probably, but in the last 5 or 10 years, it has really become more popular than ever. It really exploded sometime around 2010 when The Wall Street journal introduced the concept of “extreme couponing” and when TLC started broadcasting their Extreme Couponing TV show. In 2010, nearly four fifths of all people in the US regularly used coupons.


What we are interested in today is whether it is all worth it. We will be looking at a few factors and try and come up with an objective verdict. So, if you are interested, please stick with us.

Different Types of Couponing

If you are “new” to the world of couponing or if you have very little knowledge about it, you would be very surprised as to the amount of divisions, types, sub-types and expressions there are in the world of couponing. If we are to try and figure out whether couponing is worth it, we need to take a look at the different types of couponing.

For instance, there are the “occasional” couponers who do it from time to time, finding a few coupons here and there and using them the next time when they go to the store. There are also couponers who do it a bit more organized, saving coupons and finding sales which make coupons even more worth the hassle. Then, there are the extreme couponers who spend hours every day trying to find the best deals, who are ready to drive for hours to get the deals and who have entire stockpiles of different products they bought with coupons.

The reason why we had to differentiate between the different types is that they will spend varying amounts of time actually doing the couponing and because they will be making varying savings in the end.

The Time you Spend

Couponing can be quite time-consuming, especially if you wish to be really serious about it. You will need to spend quite a bit of time finding all the coupons, organizing them and finding the stores and the deals. You will also need to find the time to go to the stores even if you weren’t planning so that your coupons do not expire.

For some people, it is easier to find the time than for others. For example, when you work long hours, have other errands, perhaps a side job as well, it will be quite difficult to find the time needed to do serious couponing.

Other Expenses

Another thing that we need to factor in our final “formula” are additional expenses that you might need to procure in order to find and get all the best deals. For instance, there are the newspapers and coupon books that you will have to pay for. There is also the gas you will have to spend in order to drive to all the stores that have coupon deals. If you are a really extreme couponer, you will also need to stock up on your stock room, so to say, perhaps invest in a deep freezer and new storage space.

Bottom Line

In the end, you will need to factor all of this in your calculation. You will want to monitor your pre-couponing and couponing grocery store trips and find out how much you have saved over a certain period of time. Then, you will want to see how much time you spent and see how much money you could have made working instead of couponing. Finally, you will want to factor in other expenses. In the end, you will be able to see if the savings outweighed the money you spent or wasted by not working instead.

Our Opinion

In our opinion and the opinion of most experts, couponing makes sense in moderation. There are savings to be made, especially if you go for Amazon promotional codes and other internet coupons. You just need to figure out what is working for you and what is not. Make sure it makes financial sense for you.

Money Management and Attitudes Are Important

Everyone has their own ideas about money. The vast majority would like more of it of course. What is important is that everyone handles it responsibly but the indications are that in the USA that is not always the case. It is easy to blame the recession for the problems it caused but it cannot hide the fact that before it and after, right up to today the level of debt the average American is carrying is a matter of concern. Mortgage debt is excusable. It should be a positive way for a family to build up assets. Once again the recession has affected real estate values but they should grow again and are regarded as long term in the majority of cases. The real problem is the level of other debt with credit and store card debt often far too high for comfort.


There are people who discipline themselves to save but others seemingly spend beyond their means using credit cards to subsidize their lifestyles; they are spending more than they earn in many cases and ignore the problems that they are gradually building up.

Differing Attitudes

Money is everything from a guarantee of survival to the means to enjoy material things, a nice automobile, fine home and world travel. Some accumulate money as an end in itself while others save for fear of being unable to meet bills in later life. There is no obvious reason why different people within a similar environment take a different approach to it. Those who are fairly complacent but in reality are living beyond their needs may be eternal optimists. As a matter of urgency they should sit down and think of the consequences of reaching a day when they can’t pay their bills.

There are many people whose attitude to money changes as other factors within their lives change. Quality of life is not just a matter of having money. Health and strong relationships are very important. Those lucky enough to be in good health and settled in life may be best able to avoid financial problems. Whether they are able to build up significant assets through life is another question but they should be generally free of problems and stress.

If one of those two elements, good health or a strong relationship breaks down things can change. Poor health increases the need for finance outside normal monthly expenditure of course. The breakdown of a relationship can certainly have financial consequences as well.

Some Pointers

Forgetting the recession for a moment, because that left many people helpless in the face of sudden economic changes, there are some basic rules that if followed should allow people to live a life without financial stress as long as they are prepared to work. Employment figures are back to pre-recession levels so work is generally available for those that want it. Once someone has regular income there are ways to get out of debt and gradually build a solid future.

There will always be temptation; credit cards certainly fall into that category. They should only be used for convenience, not to buy things that are otherwise unaffordable. The balance that can build up will receive a penal level of interest at the end of each month. Without taking positive action that debt will not go away. The best way to remove it is to take out a personal loan and pay it off in full. Those with regular income who appear able to make monthly instalment repayments for the full term of the loan at should be approved if they are realistic.

Down in Black & White

Those people who prepare a thorough budget will see the picture quite clearly when all the figures are in front of them. Expenditure must be below income and where too much money is going out to pay off debt, typically credit card debt, a personal loan may be the answer. So what are the rules? A budget, the self-discipline and determination to follow it and eradicating expensive debt are guidelines that represent an excellent start. As for individual’s attitude to money, it is a means to live a happy life as long as …

How to compare bank loans

Whether you want to make a major purchase, buy a new car, renovate your home, borrow to invest or consolidate debt it pays to look around for a new bank loan.


With the Internet making it easier for consumers to compare rates and banks’ services, consumers are certainly saving some money.

Before starting to compare banks and if they need to make an inquiry on your credit score, ask them to do a soft inquiry. This allows them to view select information from your credit report without having to register a hard inquiry and affecting your score.

The most popular loans are debt consolidation loans, student loans, car loans, RRSP loans, and business loans.

If you find you cannot afford your monthly payments on your credit cards and are only able to make the minimum payments, consolidate your debt. This will allow you to get a lower interest rate and allow you to pay off the debt in about five years.

Always ask if you can make a lump sum payment on your loan without penalties. Apply every bit of extra money towards the loan principle. You will pay your loan faster and you can start saving for big financial goals.

Loan applications are approved based on your annual income qualification and credit rating.

How much can you borrow?

It will of course depend on your circumstances. It is usually the first question many people ask themselves when considering taking out a personal loan. The answer to that varies from loan company to loan company. It is crucial how stable and large your income is.

What about collateral?

There are several major advantages to taking out a loan without collateral. Firstly, the processing time is very much faster than conventional loans in which the bank takes a mortgage on something you own.

The other advantage is that you are free to spend the money on anything.

Use a loan calculator to test your budget.

Find a good loan calculator to determine how much you want to borrow and how long you want to spread the repayment over. Then you should be instantly provided with what your monthly costs will be when you shall lend money. This gives you the ability to find the loan that best suits.

One of the best comparison websites to compare loans from the biggest banks in Norway is

How to Learn Investment Without Risking Too Much

A lot of people in their 20s and 30s today are cautious with money. They have every right to be, after all, after having lived through the worst of the Financial Crisis of 2008 and beyond.

Golden nest egg representing retirement savings

These people realize that the money you have could easily be lost, especially if you have it invested at an inopportune time or place. This is keeping many people from investing at all. While this allays most risks associated with investment, it also prevents dividends and wealth growth from happening at all. That’s not a winning strategy, so it’s vital that people who are too scared of investment to invest should learn how to invest well instead of not investing at all.

Investment balances three elements: Risk, Time, and Return. If you have a lot of one, it throws the balance of the others out of whack. For example, high risk investments tend to be low on time. That’s because they offer the investor the chance to see a huge profit very quickly. Because opportunities like that are rare, and usually pretty uncertain, the Risk value is much higher here than it would be in more modest investments. Similarly, if you want to max out Return, you’ll probably have to either accept a big Time commitment, or you’ll have to endure tons of risk.

Investing well is all about finding a personal balance of all of these factors. In CFD Trading with a CMC Markets Demo Account, you’ll learn the basics of how you tolerate these different factors. Luckily, with a demo account, you won’t be risking any real money. This gives you the valuable chance to test how you would hold up when faced with high Risk, low Time, and High Reward investment scenarios.

CFD presents investors with a variety of financial products and asks them how they think the values will change over a short period of time. If the investor gets it right, there are proportionate dividends to the amount the price changed in the desired direction, and the amount that the investor had invested. Obviously, without being omniscient, no investor can know how prices are going to change over time. But it’s not all a matter of guessing either.

This is an example of how experience and insight can lower the Risk factor, while keeping the short Time and high Reward levels in place. Insight and knowledge give investors an edge to plan good investments and ignore bad ones. With CFD, you can pretty much become an expert on the market factors which influence one specific financial product’s behaviors. If you use a demo account long enough, you’ll be able to see patterns and learn trends which could make you big money once you go into the real investment brokerage portion of CMC Markets.

These strategies are the basis of all good investment: analyzing risk, then lowering it by educating yourself about the factors which will direct the course of your investment. Without knowledge, investment is just gambling. But with knowledge, your investment becomes driven less by risk and more by your confident insight about markets and their causes.

Simple, Yet Effective Ways to Save Money During Daily Life

On paper, it might appear that people are financially doing better now than ever before considering the fact that there are now more millionaire American and Canadian households than ever. Surprisingly, 76 percent of Americans  are living paycheck to paycheck and 36 percent do not have a retirement savings. For many, the thought of even putting aside $50 into an RRSP or 401(K) might seem impossible as they need it for essential living. At the same time, most people know that the job market has changed and true job security and a livable wage after retirement are a thing of the past. Luckily, there are plenty of ways you can cut back on unnecessary expenses.

Brew Your Own Coffee

Stopping in a Starbucks every day before work might be your morning routine, but it’s an expensive habit that costs Americans $1,092 a year. Save your money and avoid lines by bringing your own home-brew coffee into work. Sure it might not be a Frappucino, but it only cost you a couple cents.

Get Rid of Your Debt

No one likes being in debt and yet the average household owes $7,149 on their credit cards. When you are living paycheck to paycheck, paying the minimum might seem like a good option, but ultimately you as it will take you much longer to pay off the card, thus forcing you to continue paying interest on your amount. Even paying $20 over the minimum can help you save in the long term.

Cook Your Own Food

53 percent of people eat out at least once per week. While this might not seem like a lot, it definitely adds up especially for those that eat out every day for lunch. It might be convenient to order take out, but you can whip up a delicious and hot meal in around the same time it takes a restaurant to deliver your food. After all, cooking doesn’t have to be a formal affair. Some of the best meals take less than 30 minutes to prepare and cook. If you don’t have time during your work week to cook, batch cook your meals on your days off and make enough to pack for lunch.

Use Your Coupons

Couponing has become an art for many people, so much so that there was even a TLC show on it. While you don’t need to be as focused on finding coupons, you should take advantage of the ones you receive from stores you frequent. On average, couponers save $11.20 on their shopping trips. As well, make sure to take a look at the store’s circulars for the weekly deals.

Stop Smoking

Of course, this only applies to smokers but if you are one it’s a good time to stop. Not only is there a strong correlation between smoking and lung cancer, but it is also an expensive habit. The price of a single pack of cigarette varies but on average it is $5.75. Depending on how much you smoke, kicking the habit could save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars.

Challenge Yourself

If you’re already doing the above, look at other ways you can minimize spending in your life. Track all of your expenses for a couple months and see where your money is going. It might surprise you. Once you’ve done that, create a monthly budget for yourself and stick to it. At the end of the month you might actually see that you have more money left over than you expect.

Income tax filing deadline extended to May 5

Great news today!

Canadians are getting more time to file their taxes due to a mistake by the Canada Revenue Agency.

The deadline for most Canadians was set for the end of the month.

However, due to a human error, incorrect notification was sent to tax preparers last week indicating the deadline was May 5.

A spokesman for Revenue Minister Kerry-Lynne Findlay says the minister has directed her officials to ensure no Canadians are penalized for the CRA’s error.

Canadians who file their taxes before May 5 will not face any penalty.

CRA extended the deadline to May 5 last year after the Heartbleed bug forced a five-day shutdown of its E-file and Netfile services.

Canadians Still Cautious about Shopping Online

With almost 90% of Canadians now using the internet, it’s no surprise that e-commerce is on the rise in this country. Yet lingering concerns over cyber and mobile security mean the majority of shoppers still prefer spending their dollars at the mall rather than online – making secure payment options a priority for online retailers.

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Consumers worry about credit card security

Statistics Canada reports that Canucks spent $18.9 billion online in 2012, with new research indicating steady growth in the e-commerce sector over the next decade. Nevertheless we continue to have a preference for traditional brick-and-mortar experience over the internet – spending around $450 billion in-store each year according to Industry Canada.

Many consumers simply prefer the immediacy of in-person shopping, seeing it as a way to avoid ill-fitting clothing or faulty products. But concern about cyber security is also clearly fueling this vast discrepancy in our spending habits. A recent study conducted by Ipsos Reid on behalf of Visa Canada reveals that 48% of Canadian credit card holders worry about falling victim to fraud while shopping online. The study also shows that two thirds of us (68%) are more focused on security while we shop than on convenience or speed.

Online retailers offering alternative payment methods

These figures have left e-businesses scratching their heads over how to put cyber customers at ease. Increasingly, retailers are offering consumers alternative payment methods to credit cards at the checkout. Pre-paid cards are a popular solution appearing across the Canadian e-commerce landscape. With a paysafecard, for instance, shoppers aren’t required to share personal data with online retailers. This can eliminate the risk of identity theft or other fraudulent behavior.

It remains to be seen, however, whether these strategies can lure Canadians away from their beloved malls back to the comfort of their own homes. But the verdict is clear: online businesses need to focus on security if they want to make a significant dent in the country’s competitive retail market.

Why Outsourcing to a Bookkeeper is a Good Idea

When you run a small business in Calgary or anywhere in Canada, it really is essential that you maintain a good set of books which are regularly and contemporaneously up-to-date. The tax man will not be pleased with records that were tossed together at the year’s ending.

Lauralee - see-thru-money

Tax preparation is really a crucial reason to keep an in depth set of books; however there are other aspects at play. It is vital that you understand how much money your company is generating as well as how and where the cash is being invested. Make a comparison of your results to industry standards to figure out where you have to improve your business. You must also compare this year’s product sales and costs to the prior years to make a note of your improvement in the business world. Critiquing the balance sheet accounts of this year (liabilities, cash, receivables, and so on ) to earlier years will even help establish revenue and product sales objectives.

Why Outsource?

Outsourcing your business’s bookkeeping to a certified Calgary bookkeeping provider can help you save operating costs, staffing overhead, administration time, clearing up important capital and boosting your abilities so you can operate your business more proficiently.

Your full-time bookkeeper will perform the tasks that you do not have the time, skills or wish to do. Those irritating bookkeeping jobs that keep you from the core of your business can become the burden of your bookkeeper instead.  These jobs include:

  • Documenting and reconciling banking activity
  • Documenting and reconciling charge card activity
  • Preparing product sales return
  • Documenting payroll
  • Printing financial statements

A typical misconception is that a company proprietor will lose control when they delegate their bookkeeping. With the correct techniques in place, the business owner keeps all administration decisions and the bookkeeper just tracks and correctly records the accounting activities.Having a certified bookkeeper on your side, your company could be much more profitable, more effective and more competitive. You will get precise reports highlighting your company activities so that you can make choices which will keep your company moving forward. Not to mention, all those deadlines you have will be fulfilled without you having to give them a second thought.

As a business, you have to be really careful of the money and income flow. Likewise, the costs too should be documented and regulated. In this circumstance, you will find the job of a bookkeeper to be very useful. If you are not in a position to maintain a record of your transactions in your financial ledgers, you will most likely end up with false earnings statements as well as an unmatched balance sheet. This should be prevented no matter what.

In addition, the professionals you will be employing from the Calgary bookkeeping services are usually well qualified. What this means is the overall efficiency of the worker will be a lot more than any other conventional full time bookkeeper. For that reason you have to consider getting bookkeeping services from the specialists as quickly as possible.

It is one thing to have a precise and updated snapshot of your business’s financial records. It is another to comprehend just what it means when it comes to your company’s development. With regards to analyzing cash flow statements, determining burn rate and knowing other essential monetary information, a financial bookkeeper will help a start-up company stay in front of competitors.

What You Should Know About Inflation and Deflation

Understanding the value of your Canadian dollar is important, but it can be tricky to know exactly how much that dollar will be worth tomorrow, next week or a year from now. When you know the basics of inflation in a financial sense, you start to understand just how local and global events influence how much your money is worth. Let’s talk a little about what inflation and deflation are and how they impact your finances.

How Inflation Impacts Your Finances

Inflation refers to the increased value of money as well as the increased cost to purchase a product. Most developed nations try to keep inflation to about 2 percent per year as a means to keep the economy on steady ground. If prices increase too much, it may make it more difficult for workers to purchase the goods and services that they need.

More often than not, inflation tends to happen faster in a robust economy. This is why banks will increase interest rates to ensure that the amount of money being processed through the economy stays at a reasonable rate. However, inflation can take place even during a neutral period in the economy or during a recession.

Although inflation may seem like a bad thing for consumers, it can be a good thing in the long-term. As prices go up, wages tend to go up to keep pace with that inflation. This can make the cost of installment loans easier to handle as time goes on. If you were paying $200 a month for a car loan at a time when you made $2,000 a month, you would be paying 10 percent of your income each month for that loan.

However, if your monthly pay increases 2 percent each year, you would make over $2,100 per month after three years. Despite the fact that the payment didn’t change, the percentage of your income going to that payment decreased, which makes the car more affordable in the long run.

What Is Deflation and How Does it Impact Your Finances?

Deflation is the exact opposite of inflation. Instead of prices or wages going up, they go down. When an economy feels deflationary pressure, it could cause unemployment rates to shoot up and fewer goods being purchased by consumers. While lower prices should make consumers want to purchase more goods, they may hold off because they know the prices may be even lower tomorrow or next week.

In addition, they have less money to make purchases with. Therefore, more of their income may go toward paying for gas, food and shelter. As these are considered staple items, the cost of food or the cost of an apartment tends to rise. Apartment prices tend to go higher in weaker economies because renting is often seen as easier than buying for those who may not have a stable income.

While gas prices may go down for awhile, they can only go down so far, and once again, lower incomes may negate any benefit that consumers see. During times of deflation, interest rates on loans tend to go down as a means of encouraging consumers to borrow money and start spending again. The hope is that this will spark demand and get the economy going. Fortunately, the economy rarely goes through deflationary cycles even when economic conditions are as poor as they were during the Great Recession.

What About Stagflation?

When wages stay stagnant despite the costs of goods going up, it is referred to as stagflation. Technically, workers aren’t losing any money in terms of real dollars, but workers lose purchasing power because their money doesn’t get them as much as it did in the past. This is one reason why economists plan for at least 2 percent inflation each year. Doing so allows companies to simply hold the line on wages to effectively cut costs without having to lower wages or let go of workers.

Understanding the concept of inflation and deflation can help you become a better consumer. It can help you determine whether borrowing money is good for your wallet today and in the long-term. When you don’t overspend to get access to capital, you can limit your debt to a reasonable level while ensuring that you have enough cash to pay your bills and cover everyday expenses.

Canadian personal finance website in simple terms from a Canadian perspective. Focusing on savings, investing, budgeting, taxes, and more. Includes Investing, Loans, RRSP, RESP, Credit Cards, Money Savings, Tax Savings, Retirement, Real Estate.