All posts by Steve @ Canadian Personal Finance

How to watch NHL hockey without cable?

I am a big hockey fan (playing not watching) but many fellow Canucks love to watch the NHL.


I wanted to share the various ways you can watch without an expensive cable subscription in Canada.

1. Try HockeyStreams and get all the games streamed live!

Or this one, or Reddit.

2. Purchase GameCenter at a discount.

GameCentre Live isn’t really an option for some as many games are blacked out (only shown on Sportsnet).

3. Rogers customers who have either Internet or Rogers Cellphone, can take advantage of the following promo:
Enjoy a free subscription to Rogers NHL GameCentre LIVE until December 31st with any internet or wireless data plan.

What other options are there?


Alternatives to Payday Advances

Many consumers try to do everything possible to avoid having to take out a payday advance. This is because there are high fees and high interest rates associated with them. The loan is often close to the amount of an entire paycheck.


When you’re already on a limited budget, it is a big financial risk to take a payday advance because it can put you further behind.

Auto Title Loan

Auto title loans are paid back in installment payments over time.  The loan amount is determined based upon the value of your vehicle. The value is determined by the age and condition based upon Kelley Blue Book values. The loan amounts are broken down into small payments on a monthly payment schedule. In the beginning, most of the payment goes toward the administrative fees and interest.

Online Installment Loan

Some consumers with poor credit can get a short term online installment loan. These will have high interest rates attached to them. It comes with the territory of having poor credit and needing funding for emergent situations.

These loans are typically paid off over a 12 month periods unless it is a significant amount.

Organize a Sale

If obtaining a loan is not an option, you can always organize a sale. When preparing for the sale, watch for free items advertised online and decide whether they are in good enough condition to resell. You can also post online via social media or Craigslist that you are looking to have a yard sale to help buy groceries, pay a utility disconnection notice or pay the rent/mortgage. Advertise the sale and mention that if anyone has items to donate to help raise the funds to contact you. This may bring in a lot more items that you can sell to pay the bill, purchase prescriptions with or purchase groceries with.

Another option that may seem easier is visiting a pawn shop with valuables to sell or obtain a short term loan on.  This may not get you as much money but it is something to start with. When you need money and can’t wait on a traditional loan, use some of these options. Creativity helps pay the bills sometimes. If you have nothing to sell and don’t have a bank account to get a loan, consider offering services such as skilled trades, house cleaning and shopping services. These can end up being a lucrative part time job.

Get $250 Cash for transferring to Questrade

You’re in the market to build your assets. Kick start your portfolio with up to $250 in cold hard cash when you open a new account.

$250 CASH

in your account

Fund a new account with a minimum of $100,000

$100 CAS

in your account

Fund a new account with a minimum of $50,000

Plus transferFOR FREE

Move an account from another Canadian broker with at least $25,000 and we’ll pay your transfer out fees up to $150.

And you’ll enjoy Canada’s lowest commissions

  •  stock trades with the Questrade Advantage®
  • New, even lower option commissions: from $4.95 + 75¢ / contract
  • Buy ETFs commission-free
  • Mutual fund rebates up to 1% (or more) per year
  • Trade USD in your RSP
  • Never any annual fees

Offer is available here.

Insurance concept

What You Need to Consider When Buying Life Insurance

Life insurance is an essential component of nearly all financial plans. Having this coverage in place can help to protect income, and to keep assets in place – where they belong – in case of the unexpected.

Insurance concept

Yet, prior to purchasing a policy, it is important to know how much coverage will be necessary, as having too much or too little life insurance can turn out to be an irreversible financial mistake. This is something that survivors don’t want to discover after it’s too late.

Evaluating Your Life Insurance Needs

The proceeds that are received from a life insurance policy can be used in a variety of ways, depending of the purpose of the coverage. With that in mind, it is wise to estimate how much would be needed for survivors or beneficiaries going forward.

Unfortunately, many people far underestimate how much their loved ones may need in the event of their death. While there are several “rules of thumb” such as simply purchasing a policy that is double the amount of your annual income, this typically has nothing at all to do with the amount of coverage that a person actually requires.

Rather, when determining an appropriate amount of life insurance, you will be much better off considering actual financial needs of what it is you are covering. For example, if the policy will be purchased to cover final expenses, it’s a good idea to do some research on just how much you may need. In this case, the average funeral today is estimated to cost around $9,000. (1)

Likewise, if the policy will be purchased to replace income for a spouse and children in the event of a breadwinner’s death, there are a number of factors to keep in mind, such as the amount of annual income to replace, as well as how long that income would need to be replaced. In addition, rising future inflation must also be considered.

As Your Life Changes, So Should Your Life Insurance Coverage

It is also important that as your life changes, so should your life insurance coverage. This is especially the case as your family expands and your current – and future – expenses tend to increase. Future college and wedding expenses should be allocated for, as should ongoing living costs like maintaining the family home, utility payments, and the cost of food and clothing. It all adds up.

By reviewing your current coverage at least once per year, you can determine whether or not any additional life insurance should be purchased in order to cover your expanded business or personal needs.

Taking the Next Step

While coming up with an approximate amount of necessary coverage is a good start, it is always a good idea to meet with a life insurance professional prior to actually purchasing a policy. This way, you will be able to obtain a more accurate figure, as well as determine what type of life insurance protection may be best for your specific situation and needs.

Pay Day Loans Getting Out.

Tips for Getting Out from Under a Payday Loan

Once a payday loan is taken, most consumers get into a cycle of paying one off and getting another. In some cases, another payday loan is taken to pay a different one off.

Pay Day Loans Getting Out.
Pay Day Loans Getting Out.

This is a vicious cycle that costs consumers a lot of money in administrative fees and interest. It is best to get out from under these loans as quickly as possible to reset your finances. In Canada, financial emergencies happen and the easiest way for those with less than perfect credit to secure the funds needed is through payday loans.

Repay the Loan on Time

Repaying a payday loan on time is absolutely important. If you fail to make the payment, the lender will deposit the check left with them into your bank account. If the check is declined or comes back as nonsufficient funds, collections actions begin and eventually, you’ll be summoned to appear in court. The consequences of not paying back a payday loan are far more extreme than paying the high interest you agreed to pay when taking the loan.

Do Not Obtain another Payday Loan

Once you pay a payday loan in full, refrain from getting another. This is how that vicious cycle begins. So you might be a little broke financially for a week or two, you’ll find a way to make ends meet. Payday loans are designed to help those in need of funds with a stable job to get the emergency funds needed. They are not intended to be used like a revolving door obtaining one to pay another and so forth.

Consider Selling Unneeded Items to Replace the Funds

When you know that the payday loan is going to strap you slightly after paying it back, organize a yard sale or take items of value to a pawn shop to sell. There are several ways to get around being left short after repaying a quick cash loan. It takes a lot of will power to not go and get another loan. Simply find items around the home that never get used and advertise a yard sale.  Offering items for sale in an online Canadian classified situation is another option. It will help to offset the funds lost paying back a payday loan.

Payday loans are great when you’re in a pinch but paying them back causes more financial strain. Those that seek the financial assistance of payday loans are generally unable to obtain a traditional personal loan. Some consumers feel trapped by these types of loans and find it impossible to get out from under them. It takes a lot of strength on your part to stick out having a little less money for a week or so.

Tips for millennials to stay out of debt

While many young people may be concerned about their financial future, this could be put on hold due to mounting debt issues. It is important to stay on top of debt, as it can become dangerous if they let it go too long.


 There are many aspects of debt that can end up hurting young people. According to, one of the major issues is dealing with interest payments. When using credit cards, this can become a significant problem, as it will be harder to pay these bills back, and they will not be able to use these funds to save.

Many young people worry about debt

Debt dangers can be a big issue, as there are many who are already struggling. According to Wells Fargo, 40 percent of those polled noted that their debt levels were overwhelming. Just 23 percent of baby boomers said the same.

“The silver lining of the recession that started over five years ago is that a majority of millennials get that saving is a necessity and even equate it with ‘surviving’ tough times,” said Karen Wimbish, director of retail retirement at Wells Fargo. “But millennial women are starting out their working lives making far less than men and, as a consequence, are saving less and feeling less contentment at the start of their working lives.”

Some solutions available

It is important to keep in mind that those who are taking advantage of options that will cut their debt may be in the best position to not only keep their personal finance plan in good shape now, but also come closer to securing a financial future.

 It can be important to create a financial strategy, as it will help determine how the money an individual earns is being used to take care of necessary expenses, noted. It is also crucial to consider paying more than just a minimum payment each month. Doing this will help cut down the level, even if the increase is not that much more significant. It also may not be easy, but looking for a job that pays more can also make a difference.

 Being patient and seeking out a number of ways to cut debt – while preventing significant additions of other debt – may be a good strategy going forward. There isn’t usually a quick fix, so staying mindful of the importance of discipline may be best.


Celebrating the Digital Banking Revolution

Do you remember a time when you needed to go to the bank just about every week to cash your paycheck and to withdraw money?


With the advent of digital banking, the world has changed, and for all of us, it has gotten so much more convenient! The money that is ours is virtually always available, and it has never been easier for you to get things done! Don’t believe us? Look at some of these changes.
Digital Point of Sale Machines
Instead of simply sticking with cash and checks, vendors large and small can now take their wares on the road while meeting credit card demands. Devices like the Square turn your smartphone into a single-step card-taker, and this can change the way you do business.

Banking Apps
Do you want to check your balance? Do you want to make sure that your money is exactly where it needs to be? That is what a banking app is for. Suddenly, everything you can do at the bank is available to you except for getting out actual money!

Quick Account Transfers
There was a time when it could take as long as twenty four hours to make changes to your account. That could make things a little dicey if you had rent to pay and you needed to get your money from one account to another. At the time, it was easy to get annoyed because, after all, that was all your money! Now you can move money from one account to another without a single bit of trouble and with a bare second’s worth of delay!

Better Business Opportunities
For a long time, the only people who could do business were those who were willing to go through exhaustive processes with banks. Now, instead you can simply set up a merchant account with a service like Paypal and be ready to go. Services like this allow people to pay you with no risk whatsoever to yourself, and they make a huge difference for small business owners everywhere.

Instant Payment
If you are a freelancer or if you simply sell goods or services through the mail, you may remember how long you might go between paychecks. Things could get lost in the mail or people would tell you that they were. With instant pay services available everywhere, you can see the money in your account in a very short amount of time!

Invest Yourself!
With the advent of the digital banking revolution, you have also been placed in control of your own investing. Through the use of direct investing, you can invest your money through a digital interface, making all of your own decisions and deciding on what you are going to do with your cash.

Digital banking equals independence, so figure out what you might not have been doing and join in!


CIBC Promo – Get $400 cash back with new VISA and new bank account

You should at least get $300 profit from this, depending on how long you keep the account.

All the information for the promotion is here.

The tim hortons double double visa card have the following welcome bonus:
-Receive $20 in Tim Cash as a Welcome Bonus when you spend $200 anywhere2.
-That’s enough for 11 large coffees.

Here’s the complete terms and conditions, in case anybody needs the details:

† The offer period begins on July 2, 2014 at 12:01a.m. (EST) and ends on October 31, 2014 at 11:59 p.m. (EST). Only offered to residents of Canada who: (i) have reached the age of majority; (ii) at the start of the offers period, were not a holder (or joint holder) of a CIBC chequing account; and; (iii) have applied to be the primary cardholder of the new CIBC Tim Hortons Double Double™ Visa Card during the offer period (and, within 3 calendar months of such application, have been approved). With the exception of the CIBC Everyday® Banking Bundle and the CIBC Homeowner™ Banking Bundle, the offer cannot be combined with any other offer or rebate. To qualify, an eligible client must first open a: (i) CIBC EverydayPlus™ Chequing Account; (ii) CIBC Unlimited® Chequing Account; or (iii) CIBC PremierService® Account. Next, within 3 calendar months; register for CIBC Online Banking or CIBC Mobile Banking and then pay a bill or send an Interac e-Transfer® to be eligible to receive a $100 CAD cash reward; and/or set up at least one (1) eligible recurring direct deposit or at least two (2) different eligible recurring pre-authorized debits to be eligible to receive a $300 CAD cash reward. Further terms and conditions apply, see the Terms and Conditions for full offer details.

1 Tim Cash is earned on all CIBC Tim Hortons Double Double Visa Card credit purchases less returns, and not on cash advances, interest, fees, balance transfers, payments, CIBC Convenience Cheques or Tim Cash redemptions. Double Double Visa Card program may change without notice. Taxes, fees and other charges may apply to redemption of Tim Cash. Tim Cash is awarded to the primary cardholder’s Tim Card® Account immediately upon processing of CIBC Tim Hortons Double Double Visa Card credit purchases, provided that your card is open in good standing at the time of purchase). See Program Terms for details.

2 Interest rates will change from time to time on at least 30 days prior notice to primary cardholders. “Cash” means cash advances, balance transfer and convenience cheques.

3 CIBC Mobile Banking ranked first in Canada by Forrester Research Inc., “2004 Canadian Mobile Banking Functionality Benchmark” Report, May, 2014.

4 Within 3 months of the New Account open, ensure that at least (1) eligible recurring direct deposit; OR at least two (2) different and eligible pre-authorized debits goes through your New Account. Other conditions apply.

Tips on setting up your life insurance without being duped

Protecting singles and their survivors’ interests upon their departure from Earth means factoring in financial planning, costs of burials and even unpaid bills one may possibly leave behind. While humans certainly cannot predict tomorrow, they can definitely have sufficient life insurance in place to cover the unknown. Receiving the most comprehensive policy, however, isn’t always easy – especially with the very real possibility an underwriter or agent may dupe buyers.


Here’s some interesting telltale signs buyers are being ripped off or being forced to ‘sign their life away’ when, in essence, they’re simply trying to protect it.

“Guaranteed acceptance”

When consumers read the words ‘guaranteed’, they should run like the wind. Fly-by-night companies offer no medical exam, guaranteed acceptance life insurance – many without proper licensure. They’ll smell the fraudulence from miles away upon paying the first month’s fee; unfortunately for some, they’ll find out the hardest way possible – when staking claim to survivor or burial payments.

Check to make sure provincial or national licensure has been secured by the insurance company. Don’t be afraid of these company’s most hated scenario – asking too many questions. Finally, remember that the only guaranteed statements written about life protection come from companies that are reputable.

“The fine print”

Existing within all forms of life insurance are underlying ulterior motives behind their notorious pitches – yes, even the more widely renowned ones. Whether it’s forcing consumers to sign a long-term agreement spanning 30 years, making singles purchase something they don’t need (waivers, etc.) or misinforming the general public of what’s actually covered, life insurance agents live by a common modus operandi: earn massive commissions. It’s unfortunate, but that’s how life insurance works in this generation.

To assuage buying unnecessary coverage, consumers must read the bottom line of every life insurance policy that is written down to the letter. Also, buyers must continually drill their assigned agent to make sure they’re getting every qualified discount specific to their situation and the lowest possible deductible allowed by local, provincial or national law.

Scores of hard-working Canadians are misled by life insurance companies every day and, with the plethora of informative writings provided by experienced insurance agencies, buyers can surely save considerable amount of time, expound fewer resources and get miles ahead of life insurance enterprises so when their time to life insurance shop has come, they’ll get what coverage is deserved without breaking their bank account or being stuck in someone’s duplicitous game.

Food for thought

Ultimately, your immediate goal should be to spot and stop life insurance scams before they ruin your financial security. Quite frankly, as many shall soon see, today’s buffet of life insurance companies wish to only pander their coverage to Canadian citizens while banking their commission to spoil themselves on BMW’s, caviar and Gucci suits.

With a small dose of common knowledge of how to spot fraudulence or over-coverage, time otherwise spent reversing your signature can be spent living, working and having fun throughout life. Read the various review sites in existence to see how others dealt with underwriter irrationalities, and avoided overindulgence in life insurance. Should your personal financial situation unexpectedly turn south, consumers shouldn’t have to throw away their policies because the premiums are ridiculously high.


Switch To BMO – BMO Bank of Montreal and earn $300!

Kick back, relax and switch your banking to BMO. And they will give you up to $300.


Follow these 3 easy steps

Step 1
 : To get first $100, open a chequing account with a recurring direct deposit

Step 2 
: To get a second $100, set up a pre-authorized bill payment and log into the BMO® Mobile Banking app or BMO Online Banking.

Step 3
 : And to get a third $100, open a savings account and deposit $3,000

*Cash bonus(es) for the Chequing Account Offer will be paid into the Chequing Account by December 31, 2014. 

Cash bonus for the Savings Account Offer will be paid into the Chequing Account by February 28, 2015.

These offers are available from June 1, 2014, – August 31, 2014, inclusive. You have the opportunity to earn up to $300 in cash bonuses when you open a new Chequing Account and a new Savings Account (both terms are defined below):

Step 1: To qualify for the first $100 cash bonus you must: Open a new Canadian Dollar Primary Chequing Account (“Chequing Account”) within a new Plus Plan, Performance Plan or Premium Plan (collectively a “Plan”) and make a deposit of any amount by August 31, 2014. Any Plan part of the New Canadians, Canadian Defense Community Banking packages, Senior and BMO Registered Disability Savings Plan discounted banking programs qualifies for the offer; AndSet up a recurring direct deposit from your employer or your pension into the Chequing Account and have the direct deposit transaction credited to the Chequing Account by October 31, 2014 

Step 2: To qualify for the second $100 cash bonus you must:Meet all the requirements listed in Step 1; AndSet up a recurring pre-authorized bill payment from the Chequing Account and have the pre-authorized bill payment transaction debited from the Chequing Account by October 31, 2014. AndSign-up for and log in to BMO Online Banking by October 31, 2014

Step 3: To qualify for the third $100 cash bonus you must:Meet all the requirements of Step 1 and Step 2 of the Chequing Account OfferAndOpen a new Smart Saver Account or Canadian Dollar Premium Rate Savings Account (collectively a “Savings Account”) and make an initial deposit of at least $3,000 by August 31, 2014 AndMaintain a balance of at least $3,000 in the Savings Account at all times until December 31, 2014 to qualifyExclusions: Customers who have an existing Canadian or U.S. Dollar Primary Chequing Account, Canadian or U.S. Dollar Interest Chequing Account, BMO Sobeys AIR MILES Chequing Account, BMO Club Sobeys Chequing Account, BMO IGA AIR MILES Chequing Account (collectively “Existing Chequing Account”) or those who closed their Existing Chequing Account between March 1, 2014, – August 31, 2014, and subsequently open a new Chequing Account are not eligible Customers who have an existing Canadian or U.S. Dollar Premium Rate Savings Account, Smart Saver Account, BMO Sobeys AIR MILES Savings Account, BMO Club Sobeys Savings Account, BMO IGA AIR MILES Savings Account (collectively “Existing Savings Account”) or those who closed their Existing Savings Account between March 1, 2014, – August 31, 2014, and subsequently open a new Savings Account are not eligible for the Savings Account offer For Joint Accounts: If two customers open a joint Chequing Account, no bonus will be paid if either customer has an Existing Chequing Account or closes their Existing Chequing Account between March 1, 2014, – August 31, 2014, and subsequently opens a new Chequing Account. If two customers open a joint Savings Account, no bonus will be paid for the Savings Account offer if either customer has an Existing Savings Account or closes their Existing Savings Account between March 1, 2014, – August 31, 2014, and subsequently opens a new Savings AccountEmployees of Bank of Montreal and those with whom such employees are domiciledOther: Limit of $200 in cash bonuses per Chequing Account and $100 cash bonus per Savings Account per customer. Customers who open a joint account(s) will only qualify to receive one (1) cash bonus of $100 under Step 1 and one (1) cash bonus under Step 2 of the Chequing Account Offers and one (1) $100 cash bonus under Step 3 of the Savings Account Offer. Chequing Account must be open, be in good standing and in an eligible Plan at the time the cash bonus(es) is (are) paid. Cash bonus(es) for the Chequing Account Offer will be paid into the Chequing Account by December 31, 2014. Cash bonus for the Savings Account Offer will be paid into the Chequing Account by February 28, 2015. Offers may be changed, withdrawn or extended at any time without notice. This offer cannot be combined with any other offer, promotion or discounted banking program (e.g. Kids, Teens and Students/Recent Graduates).2The monthly Bank Plan fee can be eliminated by maintaining the minimum monthly balance at all times in a Primary Chequing Account that has been designated as the lead account for your Bank Plan. The lead account is the one you designate to pay any fees required by your banking for example, monthly Plan fees, transaction fees, etc.

Here are the details.