Tag Archives: Savings

Wednesday/Thursday is the day to book flights for Delta!

16 Aug

Guess what?  I’m heading off to Costa Rica for ten days end of November 2013!  It’s not a trip that I really want to go on (money-wise), but somehow I got roped into going with a few girl friends.  They all make more than I do, so it’s easy for them to just take off on a whim.  This will definitely set me back a couple grand.  I will sell my LIQUOR stock to cover the trip, hopefully by then, it will recover above my buy in price.  Ah, I’m just joking, I do have reserves outside from my stock portfolio.  Just I don’t like to see it go down, since my condo is finishing up around the same time when I’m gone come to think of it.  Ah, hectic times!

Back on the topic of what days to book cheaper flights during the week.  After Capital One Mastercard received my $200 payment, I ended up booking my flight at Delta on Tuesday night just before midnight for $788.91.  All my friends had booked their flights on the previous night on Monday.

I’m the type of person who is compulsive checker.  Come Wednesday night, I  decided to check the same flights on Delta to see if there was a price difference.  It quoted me $733.91!  It was $55 cheaper.  Being the deal saver I am, I called Capital One Mastercard first to ask if I can get a credit of $55.  One of their benefits on their card is price protection.  But guess what, I’d have to call back during regular working hours from 8am-8pm eastern time for their World Travel Benefits hotline.  So no luck there.

Not giving up, I called Delta directly and explained my situation.  Since, it was within a 24 hour period, Delta was willing to void my first ticket, but I would have to re-purchase the flight again on the cheaper quote.  This means that I will get a full refund on my Capital One Mastercard, and the refund will not show up on my account for another 5-7 business days.  Once again, the $3000 credit limit is screwing me again!  I can’t put the re-purchase back on my Capital One Mastercard, cause I just don’t have enough credit!

I weighed my options:  Savings of $55 vs Capital One 1.5% cashback ($11.83) plus other travel protection perks from the card.  I decided to go ahead and re-purchase the flight at $733.91 on another credit card.

Wednesday/Thursday is the day to book flights for Delta Airlines.  Usually mid week, prices goes down for some reason.  It’s Friday today, I checked again.  Prices for the same flights are back at $788.91.

So my whole debacle with Capital One not giving me enough credit saved me $55 in the end.  Too bad, I didn’t get the 1.5% cashback.  Oh wells, c’est la vie!


No Cable & No Data

21 Jun

OMG, you don’t have cable or data on your phone?  In this day and age, it is pretty standard for most people to have these “essentials” for their enjoyment.  But at what costs?

Nope, we don’t have cable at home!  We don’t have endless of channels to flip through when we are bored, jumping from channel to channel to find a decent show to watch for the time being.

We use HDTV antenna to watch a few given selected local channels.  HDTV antenna is a one time investment versus a monthly cable bill.   Most of the time, we download our favorite shows from the internet to watch it commercial free after it is aired on cable.

These are the channels we get from our HDTV antenna in the greater Vancouver area that we watch the most:

  1. 2.1 – CBC
  2. 8.1 – Global
  3. 17.1 – A Channel
  4. 32.1 – CTV
  5. 42.1 – Omni

Be warned:  Reception may not be best at times.  We lost a couple of channels recently.

Nope, I don’t have data on my LG Nexus 4!  Most of the time, I’m either at work or at home.  Both places, I have easy internet access.  If I am out and about, there are always a WiFi hotspot where I can get internet access on my phone.  I don’t always need to be connected per say.

By not having cable or data, we save around $100 per month easily.  This is our cost-effective ways to save money.  Keeping household expenses low is key for financial sustainability.

Can you cut these two expenses out of your life?  Some can, some can’t… it is up to you!

Ally Savings from 1.8% to 1.2%

25 Feb

RBC bought out Ally as of February 1st.  Looks like big banks are buying out their competition left to right.

Ally was a high interest bearing savings account that offered 2% when I first set up my account while other banks were offering in the low 1% range.

Today, after coming back from my vacation, I found out that my “current” 1.8% savings account from Ally had been reduced to 1.2%!  That’s a big dip, and I am not going to stand for that.

Ally has lost my business as a client.  By not offering the best interest rate,  I am moving my money to my savings account at ING Direct which offers 1.35%.  The savings interest rate isn’t spectacular, yet it is higher than what Ally is offering at the moment.

Scotiabank** has also bought out ING Direct.  I hope that they will keep ING the way it is without turning them into another subsidiary to their cause.

Little Things to Save Money

24 Nov
  • If you have a coffee fix to be pleased, grow accustom to the free coffee provided at work.
  • If you want to save on toilet paper, go do your business at work or in public washrooms as much as possible when you are not at home.
  • Find work closer to home.  To save on travel time and costs as well.  Looking and getting a new job usually gets you an automatic raise from your previous job.
  • It is always a good idea to cook more for dinner, so you can have the leftovers for lunch the next day.  This way it’ll save you money and time!
  • It is always cheaper to make your own food than going out to buy something to eat.
  • If you go out to eat at restaurants, just ask for water or hot water only.  Not only is it free, it is healthy for you as well!  Many Asian restaurants serve hot tea complimentary to your meal as well.
  • Use credit cards as the main form of payment for your purchases.  Take advantage of organized transaction statements, delay of payment till due date, and rewards that your card provides whether it’s cash back or travel points.  With this buying power, please spend what you can afford only.  As advised, always pay off your statement by monthly due date to make this work.
  • Brand names are a symbol status that we all crave.  With this in mind, brand name items come with a high mark up margin.  Always look for another alternative that may save you a few dollars or even thousands.  These savings can really add up once you account for all the stuff you buy as a whole.
  • Do your research and always be on a lookout for sales, coupons and stock up!
  • Friends are great to have, but they can certainly make your wallet thinner.  It’s ok to say no to certain outings if you feel it too excessive.
  • Shop through the crowds at better priced Superstore instead of Safeway.
  • Frequent your local library to borrow books & other medias, use their free internet services, and for a quiet place to hang out.
  • Try to limit your outings.  If you go out, most likely you will end up spending money on something one way or the other.
  • Take the time to organize what needs to be done and run errands to get everything out of the way in a matter of a few hours.
  • Always try to empty out your fridge before you head out to the grocery store to stock up again.  Take inventory of what you have and need for the week.  Minimize multiple runs to the grocery store by keeping on top of things.
  • Save your juice boxes and soda cans to recycle at the bottle depot to get back your deposit.
  • Turn off your lights when you’re not in the room.  Turn off the heat when you are at work.  Use only what you need!
  • Save on gas, by properly inflating your tires and taking it easier on the accelerator.
  • Be a minimalist.  Stop upgrading to the newest gadget.  Make good use of the item till its last breath.  Buy only what you need.











A couple of dissapointing weeks in October

1 Nov

Sure enough, what goes up must come down.  Cliff Natural Resources was making an effort to climb out of its depths, only be push back down into the mid 30s price range.  My new buys for REI.UN and WYN haven’t done so well since I added them to my portfolio.  I had WYN at a profit, maybe I should have taken the capital gain… what little of it than to hold out for a come back.  Anyways, I’m really surprised that I haven’t made any changes to my portfolio.  I am being strong here.  I was doing better a few weeks back than now especially with the anti-climatic fall of Google.

Anyways, I’m going to buy Google’s Nexus 4 by LG android phone.  It’s my Xmas bonus from my new job 🙂  Hmm, or I shouldn’t buy into new toys and just use my mediocre HTC smartphone till my contract ends??  I’ve only used it over a year…  Decisions, decisions, what to do?  By the time, I’m done with my contract with Bell… maybe the smartphone market will drop and become cheaper overall like TVs!

Traveling is just around the corner for me!  In February, I’ll be taking full two weeks off!  I haven’t had a long vacation in six years!  I’ll be re-visiting Rome for three days and cruising ten days in the Mediterranean!  This will definitely make a dent in my savings, but you know what… You can’t always be that tight with your money!  Gotta enjoy life while you can!

Second Round at Costco

6 Jun

My fridge is once again very bare of food!  Time for a Costco run, but this time, I just stocked up on mostly snacks:  Canned Oysters, Pita Bites, Beef Jerky and Mini Ritz Bites.  Shopping with other half has its disadvantages as he wanted this and that which totally brought the total to a higher level.  SIGH.  The only staple food I got was eggs, jam, and roasted chicken!!

For dinner, I got one whole roasted chicken to chow down for $7.49.  Alternatively, we were thinking of going to a nearby Swiss Chalet for takeout.  For two sets of smaller sized chicken including sides and signature sauce, this would have run us a tab of $20 and over.  So we saved a good $12.50 or more on our dinner instead!

We haven’t gone out to eat in a long time… since we moved in together.  Most of the time, I cook dinner for both of us or we go eat separately sometimes with family or friends.

Here’s the final bill at Costco:

My Tips to Savings

20 May

Saving money is easy for me.  But why is it so hard for others to save?

I’m polar opposite from my younger brother.  He makes more than I do, but he wastes his money on who knows what!  He lives at home with my parents, doesn’t have to pay rent or food.  Yet, his credit card is maxed out all the time.  He’s always asking for money… asking for help.  He lives in the moment, doesn’t care about savings at all.  One day, he has to wake up to reality of the real world and soon it’ll bite him where it hurts.

The sad fact is he still owes me in the thousands, I regret my decision to bailing him out countless of times.  I might as well write it off as a bad debt.  I hope one day he’ll come around, but it’s hard to change a person’s habits.

This is the way I operate:

  • I track all my expenses down to the penny from putting a quarter in a parking meter to groceries.  I know exactly where my money is going to.  Some months are worst than others.  I can pin point as to why.  Can I cut back on this?  Maybe, it is time for me to stop buying junk food cause that’s unhealthy for myself and budget.  It’s all about money management.  Spending under what I make will give me the freedom to do whatever I want in the future.
  • I hate paying fees!  I pay off my credit card balance in full by the due date.  President Choice Financial and ING Direct are online banks that I use for my daily banking needs where I pay absolutely no fees.
  • Most of my purchases are put through my credit card.  MBNA Smart Cash is used for gas and groceries (3% cash back).  Capital One Aspire World Cash is used for all my other purchases (1.5% cash back).  They reward me cash back for using their cards exclusively.  So far, I’ve gotten $100 from MBNA this year.  As for Capital One, they rewarded me $100 just for signing up with them recently!  That’s $200 in my pocket and counting each time I make a purchase!
  • Food takes a big chunk out of my budget!  I try my best to pack lunch for work such as leftovers from the previous night’s dinner, microwavable lunches (not so healthy), or a simple sandwich/wrap.  If I do go out for lunches to eat, most of the time it’s under $10.  Sometimes the portion is too big for me to finish, instead of stuffing myself, I’d save half of it to eat the next day.  Two lunches in one!  Whenever I go out to eat, I usually just ask for water to accompany my meal.  There is no use to adding a few dollars to the tab or meaningless calories to your diet by ordering a drink.  Unless, it comes with the meal!
  • Never pay full price for an item!  There is always a sale around the corner.  Just be patient and wait for it.  I only buy what I need at a good price.  I bought my MSI laptop for $500 when it went on sale.  I got my HTC Desire Z for free by signing a 3 year contract for mobility service paying $20/mo plus tax.  It would be nice to have the latest gadgets like Ipad or Iphone, but the stuff I have works efficiently enough.
  •  Do not buy frivolous stuff that you don’t need!  Take inventory of what you have.  When you add them all up, do I really need this?  It is easy to want new trendy stuff.
  • Cars are money pits that takes you from point A to point B.  Some people pay a premium for a more luxurious name.  That’s all to it!  All cars have the same capability as any other.  If you must get a car, buy what you can afford.  Do not go out on a limb to look good in your car.  I have a 2006 Civic which is fully paid off.  I plan on driving this for a long time, unless it craps out on me.
  • Traveling is really fun, but it can also set you back quite a bit in money terms.  One trick is to take shorter vacations.  It’s always nice to escape the daily grind at least once a year!  Even though, I finally earned three weeks of vacation at work.  I still only take a week’s vacation at a time and budget how much to spend!  My most recent vacation was to Disneyworld in Orlando.  By flying out of Seattle instead of Vancouver, I’d save at least $300.  In total, I spent under $1400 for flight, Disney resort stay for 8 nights, food, park tickets (5 days at Disney/2 days at Universal) and souvenirs!  We went off season in Jan/Feb and it paid off!

When I was younger, I splurged on a $800 snowboard that I hardly use anymore.  I explored Europe with Contiki Tour for 17 days, once in a lifetime opportunity.  I would buy Manga comics or romance books for my reading enjoyment, now they’re just collecting dust and worthless.  Everyone has made buying blunders… so have I!  All I am saying here is however you spend your money, spend it wisely!!

As the years progressed, I have become more conscious of my spending habits.  You can say I’m a little stingy now… but I wouldn’t say I would deprive myself if I really wanted something or to do something!

Grumble, Grumble

16 May

My portfolio took a big hit this week due to the European crisis mainly due to Greece in limbo as of now.  Thousands in paper gains were lost in an instant.  I should have listen to my wise foe who told me to cash out while I can before May…  but I tend to attached myself in stocks for the better or worse.  Is there no end to this down slide in sight?  The companies I hold are on a fire sale!  Roll of the dice!  Too bad, all my money is tied up in them at the moment.

Currently, the two stocks I worry about are Apple and Cliff Natural Resources.  I have over $30k on margin for both stocks and every day they seem to be tanking like crazy.  By putting myself on margin, I put myself at a bigger risk to lose more than what I have.

Today, I sold out SJR.B at a loss to free up my margin.  I bought SJR.B at the wrong time.  I thought it was bottom when I bought it, but then this week happen and the rest of it is history!

I was seriously contemplating liquidating some of my stocks to keep afloat… to minimize my losses especially in Apple and Cliff.  But I think I waited too long for that.  So I will wait until Friday to see if the market will show some signs of a recovery…

Nothing seems to be going my way these days.  Life is full of twists and turns.  One can be snuffed out in an instant.  There were a few tragedies that happen recently that hit close to home on the local news.

1)  A friend I know who’s coworker died tragically in a hang gliding accident.  It was her first time going tandem with an instructor, she wasn’t strapped in properly in her harness and she fell out shortly after takeoff.

  • Sometimes the thrill of an adventure can turn out tragically.

2)  My part-time boss’s landlord crashed his float plane out in Okanagan shortly after takeoff.  The plane caught on fire, he and two other passengers did not make it out alive.

  • He died doing what he loved.

3)  My coworker’s son-in-law’s cousin died in a car accident over the weekend.

  • Error in judgment can quickly turn deadly.

Sometimes, I wonder why I save so much?  Will I survive that long to actually enjoy the savings that I have accumulated.  Sometimes, you need to have a proper balance of enjoying life as it is and taking each day to the fullest!

Price Adjustment: Savings of $122.08

24 Sep

Price adjustment tip:  Make sure to have the original receipt and the item handy for them to refund you the appropriate amount.  Without the item, they will not do the price adjustment for you as they need to scan the item back into the system. 

  • There was a fantastic deal on a 15.6” MSi Intel-Core i3-350M 4GB RAM + 500GB DATA 2.5 Hard Drive at $498.00 from regular price at $588.00!  I was in the market of a new laptop so I jumped on this opportunity.  A couple of days ago, I happen to come across Walmart’s Anniversary sale flyer to find out that the same laptop I bought was on sale at an even discounted price of $448.00.  Luckily the sale is within the two week frame from the time I bought the laptop.  Morning mission brought me a savings of $56.00.  I am quite happy with spotting that sale at the right time.  Phew!
  • I also got a price adjustment at Lululemon after discovering that the pants I got as a gift was on sale.  So I got myself a gift card from them at the price of $66.08.  You can see how some stores really gauge you at a premium.  The sales clerk says they don’t usually do a price adjustment, but she made an exception this time. 

Never hurt to ask and save yourself a few bucks!

Saving Quarters

27 Jul

When I was young, I started my own little Keroppi Bank where I would keep track of my deposit and withdrawal of quarters most of the time.  My favorite coin is a quarter!  Quarters are easy to count and collect.  Looking at a quarter, it doesn’t seem much as a whole but once you start a pile of them, they really do add up fast.  Forty pieces of quarters will add up to a whopping ten bucks!  I used to roll them up and deposit roll of quarters into my old BMO savings account.  Saving quarters has led me to a world of financial well-being!  It taught me how to manage my own money.

Why do I save?  I save for a safety net;  for my future simple as that.  I try my earnest to save as hard as I can, but there are always expenses that pops into the picture.  Expenses that can put me into debt if I do not budget properly.  Making the right decisions to where I put my money will greatly affect the outcome of multiplying my fortune or costing me an arm or a leg.

Money is an essential tool in life to get through in this day and age.  We all live in a capitalistic society.  All for money or all for nothing mentality.  Money plays an important role in one’s life.  It gives one the power to go far in whatever they desire.