Archive for the 'saving' Category

Fast track to early retirement inspiration

I randomly came across the blog Early Retirement Extreme today while not even looking for anything to do with the topic, but wow is it ever a good extra push for me!

The points on maximizing savings are good ones. I always thought my 15%+ guideline was good enough, but I can definitely push it higher if that means reaching financial independence sooner! I worked with my numbers and while I can’t do the 75% without some major life changes (moving would be one big one, I do after all live in downtown Vancouver and rents are what they are), I figure I should be able to easily do 41%. If my math is right, that means I should be able to reach financial independence by 50. Not quite the 37 I’m aiming for but better than 65.

That is a good start and I am happy with that. If I were willing to spend the next 19 years without leaving Vancouver, I could do 51%, but life is for living and I’m willing to postpone financial independence another 4 years for a vacation once in a while.

So this is how I’m going to be dividing my pay cheques:

  • 45% on all monthly spending – including regular expenses and splurging (previously it was 60%)
  • 10% on long term savings – vacations and other life enhancing goodness (previously 20%, half of which was supposed to be for education and other knowledge enhancing activities)
  • 4% on gifts – could be readjusted but i want to see how this goes (down from 5%)
  • 41% savings and investments – (previously 15%)

Let’s see how this rolls!

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Frequent Flyer miles

This article from the NYT on the difficulties of trying to redeem frequent flyer miles (via Canadian Capitalist) really hit home with me because I was just trying to book a flight with frequent flyer miles a few days ago and found it to be a total exercise in futility. It’s not only finding the available flights on the dates I want, but also finding a reasonable flight that doesn’t have three hundred stop overs!

On the topic of finding good deals on airfares, farecast.com has some fun aps to play around with as far as trying to figure out when the best time to buy a ticket is, although their destinations from my city of departure are limited enough that it’s not super useful. But it does have potential, so I’ll be watching that site.

Coupon code

I was on the bus today and saw an ad for ClearlyContacts.ca (which is where I order my contact lenses) that offers $10 off any order of $99 or more with the coupon code TRANSIT. Will have to keep that in mind, I’ve got to order contacts soon.

It pays to be informed

I’m finding it a little tough to get back in to the swing of posting. I guess that’s what I get for taking such a long break!

Anyway, I’m slowly but surely learning to ask for breaks and better deals in order to save money. The funny thing is that each small victory makes it easier to do it again the next time. I totally used to be the person who would just take whatever was thrown at me and was always too scared to ask for a discount or anything like that. But stories in the pf blogsphere, such as Ramit’s account of how to negotiate out of bank fees have inspired to me to at least give it a try. The worst they can do is say no, right?

In preparation for my upcoming move, I requested to have my cell phone number changed to the new area code and had the $10 fee waived. How did I do that? I just asked. As simple as that. It actually surprised me at how easy it was.

When I told the CSR that I would like my number changed, she informed that there would be a $10 fee to do so. However, having done my research beforehand, I’d seen on a web forum that other users of the same service had had their numbers changed for free. This information gave me the confidence to question the CSR about the $10 fee, and she immediately offered that in some cases it could be waived and that she would do that for me.  So in the end I got my number changed for free and saved $10. But even better than the $10 is that this experience has given me a boost in confidence when it comes to asking for silly fees to be waived.

Save on travel insurance.

Well this was totally perfect timing. I was just reading MDJ’s 25 Ways I Save Money post and clicked on the link to kanetix.ca, the insurance comparison online tool because as it happens on my to-do list for today was to buy travel insurance. I’m going overseas in a couple of days and of course I always leave everything until the last minute. But in this 909311___corporate__.jpgcase, it’s a good thing I did because I was ready to buy more expensive insurance from the travel agent where I bought my ticket. Instead, I was quoted a better rate from kanetix.ca and went with that.

When I went on a major long-term trip a couple of years ago, my friend and I were scouring the internet for travel insurance companies, and calling them all up, giving them all our information so that they could give us a quote and then comparing all the quotes we got. Even between the two of us, it was a lot of work. So I’m sure glad I discovered this kanetix.ca site.

Ironically, the service was so useful at getting me a great deal that I won’t be needing to buy any more travel insurance for at least the next year. Turns out that a plan that covered me for the whole year was cheaper than one to cover just this upcoming trip. So any trips I take in the next year are covered, which is great. I just wish I’d known about it when I paid just slightly less than I’m paying for this year coverage back in October to cover me for the week I went to LA. Oh well, pay to learn!

No better price than free!

The other day Wooly Woman posted about finding a bunch of deals at smartcanuks.ca. I followed the rainbow to the pot of gold and hope to soon enjoy a free book361322_start_of_rainbow.jpg (via free air miles turned Chapters gift card), free movie tickets, a free movie rental, and free paper towels. I’ll definitely be keeping my eye on that blog.

While going through the old offers, it occurred to me that maybe it’s folly to ever pay full price. There were so many promotions and coupons that had me going “I could have used that!”. Usually when I order something online, I’ll do a quick google search to see if there aren’t some free coupon codes for that store, but it never occurred to me to do the same for brick and mortar stores. Ah well, pay to learn as one of my old coworkers used to say.

One more thing, most of these promotions aren’t actually really free. They don’t cost money, but what they do want is your personal information, including your email address. Since I’m giving them my email for marketing purposes, I don’t completely 100% trust that it’s never going to end up in the hands of spammers. So I’ve taken to using a free email forwarding service, SpamBob, that way if I start getting spam at the forwarding address, it’s a cinch to change it, get rid of the spam, and I don’t have to email everyone I know to tell them I have a new email address.

PC Financial Savings accounts and interest

Wow! I’m so impressed because this blog has already caused me to better my finances! Yesterday when I wrote the post on comparing bank accounts, I did some digging around the PC Financial site as research for the post and found out that they actually have two different savings accounts, with two different rates. I had no idea there were two, and didn’t know what kind I had.

Turns out, I had an Interest First™ savings account, with a current interest rate of 3.05%. But, the Interest Plus™ savings account has an interest rate of 4.25% on balances above $1000.01. So needless, to say, I put in a request to open an Interest Plus account and will be transferring my money over. Like in the article by JD in Ramit‘s Guide to Kicking Ass, it pays to sit down on a regular basis to scope out what offers are out there and make sure you are getting the best deal with your banking (and all other recurring expenses like cell phone, cable bill, etc).