Want an Eye Opener for your Finances? Do This

In my planning for the year to see if I can reach the $385,000 or $400,000 net worth by the end of the year, I did something that I usually don’t do.  I calculated my budget for the year on expenses that I usually pay (e.g. fixed expenses) and expenses that I usually spend.

As you know, I am a big fan of “setting it and forgetting it” where I do automatic deductions from my main chequeing account and move it to my savings account.  Since last year my net worth didn’t increase as dramatically as I had hoped, I thought it might be prudent to calculate where my money is going.

Related: YNAB (You Need a Budget) Personal Finance Software Review

Want an Eye Opener for your Finances? Do ThisSo I did what any good personal finance fan would do, I looked at what I spend my money on.

  • I added up my car insurance
  • I added up the maintenance fees on my condo (the small fee adds up to a large sum at the end of the year)!
  • I added up the interest I pay on my mortgage (which was another wake up sign because I should really pay this down since I am paying interest, which adds to the cost of the home and affects how much I actually “take home” if I were to sell this home later on)
  • I added up my phone bill and my internet bill
  • I added up my hydro, my property tax
  • I added up how much I would usually spend on my pet
  • I added up how much I spend on beauty products, haircuts, and grooming (I already limit myself to pedicures only four times a year haha)
  • I also added up how much I usually spend on entertainment, food, and gas

The numbers sort of “blew my mind”…Continue Reading

How to Get Your First Year Free with RBC Visa Infinite Avion

I initially had my first experience with the Royal Bank Visa Infinite Avion a few years back (2011 to 2012 to be precise).  You can read about my RBC Infinite Avion Visa review here.  I was a big fan.  It was easy to use, there were no black out dates, I was able to transfer my points easily to the Airlines Awards and there is a great promotion to transfer your points (and get 50% more points at that) to British Airways Avios a few times a year.  The 15,000 bonus Avion points that are awarded when you make your first purchase becomes 22,500 British Airways Avios points when you convert it.  There really wasn’t much to NOT like.

Unfortunately the RBC Visa Infinite Avion card is so great that it charges an annual fee.  An annual fee of $120 per year.  As many of you probably know, I have an illogical aversion to paying an annual fee.  Unfortunately, I recall that they were pretty strict about the annual fee after the first year (meaning there’s not much you can do to sweet talk the customer service rep into giving you another year for free).

Related: Credit Card Travel Hacking Spree

The great thing is that you get 15,000 RBC Avion points with your first purchase.

How to Get Your First Year Free With RBC Visa Infinite Avion

Royal-Bank-Visa-Infinite-Avion-cardThis works if you are already an RBC customer.  With their banking package, if you have a number of services with them,  you are eligible to receive the first year free of your RBC Visa Infinite Avion.  This is called the “VIP Banking package”

For example if you have:

  • An RBC mortgage
  • An RBC banking account
  • An RBC investing account (you can just even open up a TFSA with them and fund it with $100)

You will be eligible to receive an RBC Visa Infinite Avion first year free.

Here is Another Way to Get your First Year Free With RBC Visa Infinite Avion

Another way to get the first year free with the RBC Visa Infinite Avion if you are not an extensive RBC customer (e.g. if you do not have a mortgage with them, if you do not bank with them, and if you do not invest with them) you can get the first year free if you have an premium Visa card from another credit card issuer.Continue Reading

Best Small Cars of 2015

I should admit right up front that I’m not much of a car guy – which is a blessing if you’re trying to be a personal finance guy.  Luxury cars with exotic Spanish or German brand names cost a mint upfront, a small fortune every time they need repairs, and overall they represent more of a status badge than a true exploration of engineering genius in my humble opinion.

Given that admission, it likely surprises no one that I’m a fan of small workhorse cars that get someone from A to B and that can run forever.  For people like me that are looking for fuel-efficient rides that won’t break the budget, the last ten years or so have been a godsend.  The world’s car makers have seriously competed to gain market share in the compact space and the results are great deals for a savvy consumers.  The other good (if slightly confusing) news is that many of these cars are now so close in terms of performance and price points, that it really becomes a matter of taste when any attempt at rankings is considered.  The boom line is that these three cars represent outstanding quality-per-dollar if you’re in the market for a new car.  They all look great coming off the lot, won’t cost you half of your paycheque at the gas pump, and will ride fairly smoothly considering you’re still driving a small car and not the gas-guzzling boats of yesteryear.

Chevy Cruze

The most impressive/unique thing about the Chevy Cruze is the connectivity the car boasts.  You truly feel as if the future has arrived when you get behind the wheel and take in the technology at your fingertips.  Of course Bluetooth capability is a given at this point, but the Cruze also offers new additions such as onboard Wifi, the my Chevrolet8 and OnStar RemoteLink9 mobile app connections.  These nice little features allow you to start your car remotely, check your diagnostics, contact roadside assistance, track your maintenance schedule (after all, if you’re like me, you want your car to last as long as possible before having to spring for a new one), and even unlock your doors if you manage to leave your keys in.  When it comes to less pragmatic pursuits, the Cruze allows you to tune into SmartRadioTM, catch your favorite Sirius XM stations, as well as catching a podcast (we recommend ours of course) on Stitcher.  The Cruze’s display will even you your favorite album’s cover art as it plays!  Finally, you can always play your own MP3s through a flash drive and/or MP3 player.Continue Reading