Why I am Paying Down My Mortgage More Aggressively

I never thought I would say this because initially when I bought my condo I thought I would use the mortgage interest to offset my work at home income or to offset future rental income when I end up renting out my condo to save on income taxes.  However, a couple things kind of put a little bug in my ear to get me to think otherwise.  Mainly I have to thank my boyfriend who is very debt averse who spoke to me about my mortgage debt (yes, I am dating someone more financially savvy than me, how wonderful!).

When You Sell Your Home You Should Add in the Mortgage Interest Cost

You know that price you have in your head when you first bought the home?  And you get excited to see what it’s worth now because you’re selling for a profit?  Well, if you think about it, you’re not selling for as much profit as you think when you factor in the mortgage interest that you already paid for your home.  That mortgage interest does not go into your home equity, it does not pass “go” on the game of Monopoly.  It only passes go to the big wallets of the bank, of course.

Related: What To Consider Before Buying A Condo

In This Low Interest Rate Environment It Doesn’t “Pay” to Invest in “High Interest” Savings (If You Have a Fixed Mortgage)

Why I am Paying Down My Mortgage More AggressivelyWith the recent cut in the bank cut rates the high interest savings account are yielding even less money for investing your hard earned cash with them.  If you have a variable mortgage this is pretty good news for you.  However, if you have a fixed mortgage, the money you have in cash, just sitting there, could be working to cut down on the thousands of dollars of interest income you have to pay on your mortgage.  It might be a good idea to put it to work.

I have a bit of cash (about 20% of my net worth) in high interest savings accounts earning a very measly 1.25% or so (haven’t recently checked) and my fixed mortgage interest rate is at least double that.

I haven’t even mentioned how the high interest savings accounts or GIC’s doesn’t even keep up with inflation too!Continue Reading

Canada’s Newest Money-Saving Shopping App: Wanit

I remember the first time used Coupon Sherpa when I was on that most Canadian of Holidays: the Great American Shopping Trip.

I loved the simplicity of an app that could tell what stores were close to me, and then download money-saving bar codes right to my screen in roughly 1.5 seconds.  I knew it was too good to be true when I came back to Canada and found that the carriage had turned back into a pumpkin.  Sure, a dedicated Canadian coupon clipper can still survey the consumer landscape before leaving their house and print off skads of online deals – but that takes time and effort – neither of which I like to part with easily.

People who actually enjoy the “sport” of shopping can still sniff around endlessly all weekend in order to stretch their budget – but that’s just not me.  I want the lazy-man’s convenience of a simple app I can download on my phone, that will track my movements, and tell me what deals I can get as I walk into the store.  This is 2015 people, the Jetsons told us we’d be zooming around in floating cars by now!

Related: Is Couponing Really Worth Your Time?

wanitCanada’s newest foray into the coupon market is Wanit, and it isn’t quite Coupon Sherpa-esque… yet, but we’re getting there.  App creators assure me that coupons are in the works, but until then take ten seconds to download the app and see what it can do for you the next time you’re in a shopping mall.  While coupons will make the app even more appealing to financially-savvy users, the current version isn’t too shabby.  Instead of singing up for all of your store’s email lists, that then might email you a generic deals copy instead of something specific to the location you will be visiting that weekend, Wanit will give you an update as you’re walking into the mall on all of the deals specific to that location.  For some of you that might ruin the fun of battling hordes of crowds and rushes to find diamonds in the rough, but for people like me who just want to get in and get out, it’s gold.

Wanit will allow you to keep special tabs on your favorite brands, stores, or even specific deals.  There are also quick sharing options if you want to tag team the deal-finding effort with a friend.  Here’s a quick cheat sheet on what the new app offers:

* See a list of all deals at your nearest shopping mallContinue Reading

Kuaui On The Cheap

On my first visit to the Garden Isle, also known as the beautiful island of Kuaui, I was pleasantly surprised by its beauty and simplicity.  As someone who has only been to Oahu on my Hawaiian island adventures, I thought Kuaui was beautiful and well worth a visit.

Although I only stayed for about three days, I was able to go around the whole island and see the Napali coast.  Kuaui is famous for the beautiful Napali coast and the Napali coast hike.

Here are some ways in which you can save money on your next trip to the Garden Isle:

Save on Accommodation

One thing I found apparent when we were researching places to stay in Kuaui in comparison to Oahu is that the condos and hotels in Kuaui are expenive in comparison to Oahu and Waikiki.  To be honest there wasn’t much selection.  There are a few popular places to stay on Kuaui, Poipu in the souhern part of the island is probably the most popular place to stay, then Princeville in the northern part of the island.  Because we were coming in on a late flight, we chose Lihue (on the eastern part of the island) because it was only about a 10-15 minute drive from the airport.  We were happy with Lihue because it was in the middle of the island and allowed us easy access to other parts of the island.

Related: Backpacking and Hostels

Kuaui On The CheapInstead of booking through hotel booking sites like Kayak, Trivago, Expedia, and Orbitz (which showed average hotel costs to be well over $200 a night) we looked on VRBO (Vacation Rental by Owner) and Homeaway.  We found a lovely studio unit that was about $120 a night and included a very basic kitchenette.Continue Reading