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Toronto-based freelancer Allan Britnell is an award-winning writer with nearly 20 years’ experience. He covers a diverse range of topics, including DIY and professional home renovation projects, nature and the environment, small business, personal finance, and family and health issues. He is also the managing editor of Renovation Contractor, the publication written for small- and medium-sized contracting and custom home building companies. He lives in Toronto with his wife, two daughters, and their dog, Oscar.
For those on a budget this summer, here are some low-cost last-minute ways to “vacation”, as well as some ways you can prepare for a dream holiday next year…
Applying for a mortgage? Already own a home? The federal Liberals have announced mortgage changes that will have an impact on homebuyers and homeowners. Read on to find out what these are and how they will affect you.
Fixed rate mortgages are pretty straightforward, but a variable rate mortgage depends on the Bank of Canada’s overnight lending rate. So what happens if that rate should change? Read on to find out!
With Canada’s hottest housing markets showing no sign of cooling in the near future, co-op housing may be seen as a practical alternative. Read on to find out whether it’s a good option for you.
You’ve accepted an offer and sold your home. Now what? Here’s a list of all the closing costs to keep in mind prior to leaving your current property.
It can be easy to focus on interest rates when choosing a mortgage, but deciding on a long or short term mortgage can have a big impact on your payments. Read on to explore the pros and cons of each – and what to expect if you try to break your mortgage term early.
Water damage is the leading cause of insurance claims in Canada, but most home insurance policies specifically exclude flood damage.
High home prices aren’t stopping buyers – new reports find luxury real estate is the fastest growing segment of the Canadian housing market. Read on for our market-by-market breakdown.
There are new debt warnings from the Bank of Canada, as the level of highly indebted households have doubled since the financial crisis. Are you at risk? Read on for our breakdown.
In markets like Vancouver, steep prices and limited real estate mean competition among buyers can be cut-throat. Now, that’s gone to a whole new level with contract assignments, a practice where successful bidding war buyers put their homes immediately back on the market to command even higher prices.
Buying a condo? Better brush on your condo rules – most developments have strict requirements when it comes to renovations, noise and even what you can keep on your balcony. Here’s what prospective buyers should know.
Prepaid credit cards are the next big thing among Canada’s big banks, who are touting them as a risk-free way to shop online, teach kids about credit use, and securely replace cash. However, they come with a healthy helping of fees. Here’s what you should know.
The depressed price of oil, and the resulting inflation lag, are the main drivers behind the Bank of Canada's (BoC) current monetary policy.
Will Apple Pay Canada ever be a reality? Apple has announced its intentions to enter the Canadian market – but the tech giant needs to convince our big banks first. Here’s what you need to know about how Apple Pay and NFC payments work – and when we might access it north of the border.
CMHC and Genworth have announced they are increasing their insurance premiums for mortgage borrowers paying less than 10% down on their home purchases by 15%.
Travel rewards cardholders have become increasingly frustrated when trying to cash in their Aeroplan rewards – as the number of users expands, there are fewer trips to go around. Here’s what you should consider when choosing a travel rewards credit card.
Alternative Online Lenders are growing in popularity as steeper mortgage rules prevent some would-be buyers from getting traditional loans. Here’s what you need to know about them.
Canada’s dollar continues to drop as oil prices slide and the U.S. greenback strengthens. While a lower Loonie is good news for our exporting industry, consumers could find themselves paying more. Here’s how you could be affected.
Millennials are the most likely to use mobile banking apps offered by their banks – and would even switch lenders for a better mobile experience, according to a consumer survey by Google.
As Black Friday grows in popularity, many Canadian retailers are getting in on the action with events and sales of their own. While everyone loves steep savings, though, participating in the Black Friday madness may not always be worth its while. Here’s how to identify which items are worth braving the crowds for.
As of 2008, home buyers must pay a minimum of 5% on their home purchase when taking out a mortgage from a federally-regulated lender.
It’s every homeowner’s worst nightmare; an unforeseen financial crisis renders you unable to pay your monthly mortgage payment. A recent survey finds 61% of Canadians don’t know what to do in this situation – but you DO have options.
In Canada’s hottest housing markets, buyers must often fight for their dream homes in bidding wars – and it may be tempting to drop offer conditions such as upon financing, or home inspections to get ahead. Doing so, however, can make a buyer financially vulnerable. Here’s what you need to know.
LIBOR and CDOR are methods used to set interest rate prices in England and Canada – but the practice has been under fire lately, as scandal surrounds British interest rate rigging. Could this affect your investments?
Discovering you have a terminal illness is hard enough – ensuring whether your family will be provided for after your death makes a tough time even more challenging. Fortunately, there are options for those with illness or severe injury. Read on to learn more about them.
What will $350,000 get you in the Canadian house market? We break down condo affordability in four major cities.
What would you do if someone else laid claim to your home? It’s a move known as title fraud – and any home owner can fall victim. Here’s what you need to know about this type of fraud, how to prevent it, and the tell-tale signs that your ID may have been compromised.
The idea is to mimic the way corporations and wealthy individuals routinely convert debt into tax deductions.
Retails rewards credit cards, offered by many gas and grocery stores, are designed to promote consumer loyalty through freebies and savings – but are they really worth carrying in your wallet? Here, we break down the reward return of some of the most popular reward cards on the market.
Gift cards seem to the be perfect gift – a stress-free way to give the gift of a shopping spree. However, each year, billions of dollars are wasted in the form of expired cards. Don’t toss out your money – here are 3 creative gift card ideas that will sure to be cashed in.
If you’re a savvy deal shopper, chances are you never leave home without your coupons. Be an online shopping expert as well with digital coupon codes. Learn how these codes work to save you money – and the best places to find them.
Forget for a moment the health and safety risks you pose to yourself, your passengers, and all the potential innocent victims on the road around you when you speed. Factoring in traffic tickets, speeding just doesn’t add up.
Life insurance is vital to ensuring your loved ones will be financially safe for years to come. Finding the best coverage, however, is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Read on for ways to assess your personal and financial needs when choosing your insurance.
Leaving a nest egg for your kids is not as straightforward as it used to be. With seniors living longer than ever before, and with less wealth to go around, bereaved family members are advised to not count their chickens before they hatch.
Back-to-school shopping season is upon us! Did you know Canadians will spend an average of $677 in the month of August to prepare their kids for the classroom? Check out our tips for cutting down on the cost of clothes, school supplies, lunches and more.
Uprooting your entire life to settle in a new country is challenging enough – and for many immigrants to Canada, it means starting over with their credit history. Often, the quickest way to build that all-important rating is with responsible credit card use. We’ve outlined a few options here for new immigrants starting fresh with their finances.
Does the motto “sharing is caring” extend to your bank account? For many couples who cohabitate, opening a joint account to deal with combined financial responsibility just makes sense. However, there are warnings to heed before you truly share the wealth.
Perks may abound for the self-employed, but one notable side effect of being your own boss is the lack of company health benefits. Even with Canada’s enviable healthcare system, unexpected expenses incurred by prescriptions, disability or long term illness is enough to make anyone ill.
We compare RBC and TD credit cards head-to-head in the second round of our credit card face off series. For consumers, choices abound, whether you’re on the hunt for low interest or rewards credit card options.
As wonderful as parenthood is, there are two undeniable realities associated with it…for one it’s expensive, and secondly it can be exhausting. So, while you may desperately need a little (or a LOT) of R&R, you may not be able to afford it. Or at least not the luxury getaways you had prior to having kids. So, here, I’ve compiled a list of four great (and cheap) ideas for vacations for families with young kids, like mine.
According to the Canadian Bankers Association, Canadians collectively held 74.5 million Visa and MasterCard credit cards in 2011. That works out to nearly three cards per adult. And that’s just Visa and MasterCard cards.
The self-employed (including small business owners) have always had a hard time getting mortgages. And pity those who’ve gone through a divorce, which can hurt in countless ways. A friend recently revealed that when she first separated from her husband, she had no credit rating. Here’s what to do when you don’t qualify for a mortgage.
As much as we all like seeing the balance in our savings accounts grow, aside from having enough cash on hand to pay your bills and daily expenses, it almost always makes more sense to pay off your debts first. Here are why – and a couple of exceptions to that rule.
Who doesn’t like free stuff? The question is rhetorical, but given that roughly nine out of ten Canadian households belong to at least one loyalty program it’s pretty obvious we really like to receive free stuff for shopping.
At first glance, getting a second mortgage may seem like adding insult to injury. If you already find it hard enough to meet your monthly (or bi-weekly) payments on your first mortgage, why would you want a second one?
Don’t fancy yourself as a day trader, but would still like to dabble in the stock market a bit? There are a number of online brokerages that let you do just that, at a fraction of the fees and commissions a flesh-and-blood broker would charge.
For a while now we’ve been reading headlines about how interest rates are at “historic lows.” Which is great news for anyone with a variable-rate mortgage, line of credit debt, or who is looking to negotiate for things like car loans or fixed-rate mortgages.
For nearly 40 years, my Dad drove a Brinks truck around suburban Toronto. As part of our family’s financial plan, I used to joke that he should bring the company car home one night… Instead, he’d keep the salt and pepper packets from his fast food lunches and occasionally sit at our kitchen table and empty them into our salt and pepper shakers.
First off, congratulations to you. You followed your gut instincts and launched a business. Now, truly against the odds, it’s not only survived but is flourishing. However, owning a successful business does not necessarily equate to a successful retirement plan.
There are many people who have maxed out their credit card, or can’t get credit, and may have no money in the bank between cheques, that have urgent needs for funds. With a Payday Loan, they can pay that bill and avoid late payment charges and they won’t incur any overdraft or NSF charges, that can be many times more than the loan amount.
While the key criteria for selling a house may be “location, location, location,” there are two very distinct strategies for setting the selling price for your home: ask for more-or-less what you want, or lowball and hope for a bidding war.