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3
Oct

How to Save Money with Coupons

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Using coupons is a great way to save money. It takes time to understand how to maximize your savings with coupons. Most areas, including in Canada, have social media groups dedicated to couponing. It is a good idea to join one or two of these groups to see the weekly grocer match-ups and where the best discounts are.

Physical Coupons

One of the negatives of coupons in Canada is that their values are often less than what shoppers in the US experience. Most retailers in Canada do not double coupons either. While this makes saving money difficult, you just have to be smart about using the coupons at the right time. Every section of a grocery store has quarterly sales, so try to learn the rotation.

Use physical coupons only on items that are on sale to maximize your savings. Coupons used on retail priced items will provide only minimal savings.

Coupon Codes

If you shop online with a particular retailer, make sure to read the fine print on the coupon. International retailers often have different codes for US and Canadian consumers. Coupon codes for US customers will not work in Canada. To prevent this from happening, only use coupon codes for Canadian based retailers.

Using Online Coupon Resources

Most online coupon resources like coupons.com, as an example, are only valid for US shoppers. Search for the coupon with a Canadian resource or visit the manufacturer’s website directly as many offer coupons directly on their websites. Always check for the validity of the coupons in your area as every coupon has a disclaimer at the bottom.

Request Coupons from Manufacturers Directly

If you have a favorite brand and rarely see usable coupons for it, contact the manufacturer directly. In most cases, the retailer will be happy to oblige and wills end a few coupons your way. Explain that you are a Canadian resident and love their product. Also explain that the item is rarely on sale and you are struggling financially. You will likely receive a piece of mail with a few coupons from them.

When using coupons it is important to match the coupons you have with what is on sale. If the coupons are set to expire in a short period of time, wait until the last possible day to shop. You may find the item on sale. Take all of your coupons shopping with you because you may find items on clearance or unadvertised sales that can get you bigger discounts on favorite items.

2
Oct

Sneaky Credit Card Details Companies Hope You Don’t Notice

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Credit cards can make our lives easier in many ways. They ensure that we can pay for items that we do not immediately have the cash for and they can help us build a credit history so that we can buy homes and cars in the future. Unfortunately, using the credit cards incorrectly can result in a host of financial problems that can take years to undo. Many credit card companies have several sneaky details embedded in the terms and conditions of the credit card designed to wring more money out of you at any given chance. Here are some of the sneaky credit card details that companies are hoping you don’t notice when you sign up for the credit card.

Multiple Penalties For A Late Payment

Circumstances can sometimes cause issues where you are forced to pay a bill after its due date. When it comes to credit cards, a late payment can result in multiple penalties that can cost you a significant amount of money. The first penalty is a late payment fee that is charged directly to the balance of the account as soon as the payment is missed. This fee typically ranges between $20 and $35 per occurrence. The second penalty is an increase in the interest rate of the credit card, often to as much as 29.99 percent APR. This increase can be devastating to someone who carries a balance on their credit card. The best course of action is to pay at least the minimum payment by the due date every month so you do not incur these additional costs.

Double-Cycle Billing Can Result In Double Interest Payments

Another sneaky detail hiding in the terms and conditions of your credit card agreement may allow the credit card company to charge you double the interest on your balance due to double-cycle billing. With double-cycle billing, the credit card company uses your average daily balance over two consecutive months to calculate the amount of interest you will be charged. If in one of those months you make a payment late, your card company can impose two months’ interest on the balance. Once again, it doesn’t pay to make a credit card payment late, so avoid paying late at all costs.

Minimum Payments Can Keep You Trapped In Debt For Decades

Many people spend more than they should on their credit cards because the minimum amount that they must pay each month is a small fraction of their balance. This can give you the illusion that you are paying less when actually you will be paying more over time in interest payments for the charges. By law, credit card companies are only obligated to collect 2 percent of the balance plus the amount of the fees charged that month in each minimum payment. Disclosure has become a little better now that the credit card companies are required to put on the credit card statement how long it would take to pay off the balance making only the minimum payments. In most cases with high debt levels, paying off the balance could take decades when only making the minimum payments.

29
Sep

These Unthinking Actions Can Kill Your Credit Score

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Most people are diligent about protecting their credit score from the most common actions that are known for lowering a credit score, such as making payments late or maxing out their credit cards. They are less diligent about some of the lesser known ways to damage their credit score and are often surprised to find that their credit is less than perfect when they feel as if they have been doing everything right. Some of these actions insidiously drain your credit score a few points at a time while others cause a dramatic drop quickly. Here are some unthinking actions to avoid if you want to keep your credit score high and your interest rates low.

Lots Of Credit Inquiries

Many people do not realize that filling out a lot of credit applications and having many companies performing credit checks on them is actually lowering their credit score. When an inquiry is made in the pursuit of obtaining additional credit, often called a hard inquiry, several points are deducted from your credit score. When a lot of inquiries are made all at once, it could cause a significant drop in your credit score right when you need it the most. It is important to apply for credit sparingly and only when necessary, not at every checkout counter where a salesperson is paid to ask you to sign up for a store credit card.

Paying Less Than The Minimum Payment

Paying less than the minimum payment required for your credit card is another way to harm your credit score more than you might think. While you may think that it is better to get credit for paying something towards your balance, making a payment that is less than the minimum is treated the same as missing a payment completely. The minimum payment amount for a credit card is generally the amount of interest charged for the period plus 1 percent to 2 percent of the balance. Paying less than the minimum means that the credit card company is not getting all of the interest it was promised in the contract and will result in a drop in the offender’s credit score. Always make sure to pay at least the minimum amount due and if you are having trouble making the payments, contact the lender and see if you can work out some type of payment plan before you default on the account.

29
Sep

What’s Trending in the Australian House Market?

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Several recent trends in the Australian housing market have created the perfect climate for investor activity which in some cases leads to a refinance situation. In fact, real-estate investors now make up a large percentage of the market because of the high returns and the potential to create a steady stream of revenue through rental homes.

According to the latest statistics from RP Data and Core Logic, home prices in the capital cities rose by 4.2 percent in the three-month span between June 1 and August 31, 2014. This is the highest winter increase in the last seven years. This rate also keeps the growth for the past 12 months in the double digits at 10.9 percent.

In a statement to ABC News Online, Cameron Kusher, a senior research analyst for RP Data, stated that it was very unusual for prices to remain so strong over the course of the winter.

“We thought that perhaps the momentum in the market was slowing, but today’s data shows that’s not the case,” said Kusher.

He went on to say that this marks the second year of strong house prices in the winter even though momentum slowed during the spring months.

“Last year we saw values increase by 4 percent in winter, which was abnormally strong at that time, and throughout spring, we saw values increase by about 3.5 percent,” Kusher stated. “Maybe we’ll see similar conditions again this year, but another 3 percent growth over the next three months is obviously very strong in light of the fact that we’ve already had about 28 months of growth in the housing market.”

The highest gains were made in Australia’s two largest cities: Sydney and Melbourne. In August, prices in Sydney were up by 1.8 percent while they were up 5 percent through the winter and 16.2 over the last 12 months. Although Melbourne only saw a 0.8 percent increase last month, the city experienced a rise of 6.4 percent this winter and 11.7 percent since last year.

Other markets with high gains over the winter include Adelaide, Brisbane and Darwin while the weakest markets were Canberra at 1.4 percent, Hobart at 2.8 percent and Perth at 3.5 percent.

Kusher believes that investors are driving the markets in Sydney and Melbourne. “It’s just the attractiveness of investing into the two largest housing markets we have, and also, those markets are seeing the strongest level of capital growth at the moment. Clearly they’re chasing that capital growth,” he said.