Mortgage deferrals this spring: It’s nice to know that many times our Wednesday stories are ahead of others talking about it. May 6th we talked about a heads up that you need to check your credit bureau if you had a deferral on your mortgage or line of credit. BNN finally had it on their website August 13th – three months after us. To make sure your deferral hasn’t shown up on your credit report as arrears, go to Equifax.ca for the form to get your free report or it’s in the Money Tools book chapter on credit reports.
Solar panel payback: Last year we talked about the cost versus savings of adding solar panels to your house. It might be great for the environment, but it’s horrible for your wallet. The savings will only be your actual energy consumption cost. You will still have all the fees on your bill. Here is my last utility bill as an example. My actual gas cost was 14 cents. I know it’s summer, but even a really low $10,000 solar install will save me 14 cents a year, or around $50 in the winter. The other seven charges were over $67 and you’d pay no matter what.
Car rental reminder: If you didn’t hear it last year, this is your reminder: It may be weeks later after you return your car that you’ll get a bill for damages to your rental. It will be a bill in the mail or they may already have charged your credit card. All rental agreements state that it’s subject to final inspection. Many times, especially at airport rentals, you just hand in the keys and they never look at the returned car at the time. That’s happening more and more as you can see on travel blogs. So take pictures, it’s digital so it’s easy to do. One of the windshield, and one each side, front and back! That way you’re protected…just in case…
Teaching kids about money: We talk about this at least once a year. Here’s a beautiful reminder that kids DO understand if there’s financial trouble. If Mom or Dad are off work because of the covid pandemic, you can, should – actually must – talk to your kids about it. Make it age appropriate, but do make it a conversation. This beautiful note is from one boy for his Mom.
While not all of these are related to credit and finance, here are a few fresh things from South of the border:
What’s with the ads for Canadian pricing on cars? Come on! I’d love to take some of these manufacturers down here and compare the EXACT models that we have in Canada…then explain to me what “Canadian pricing” is. Small wonder we’re now importing upwards of 200,000 cars into Canada.
Utility companies are light years ahead of us down here. There is something you can install called a time of use meter. You have to know that power has different values and pricing at different times of the day. Using air conditioning when the whole planet wants it, is more expensive than the middle of the night when demand is at its lowest. So these meters track when power is used and bills accordingly. Talk about having a huge impact on your utility bill!
Want to get a pair of prescription eyeglasses for $25? There’s a web site called zennioptical.com. You fill in your proper prescription from your optometrist and three weeks later you’ve got a great pair of eyeglasses direct from China! Even the Costcos of the world can’t match that. Not sure if they’ll ship to Canada but I’m going to be checking. I’ve seen them – they’re great!
When will Canadian cell phone companies stop ripping us off, compared to the U.S.? There can’t be anyone left in this country who pays long distance charges as almost all carriers have unlimited long distance plans. At most, it’s $50 a month and one even has a family plan for 4 phones – all unlimited – for $100! And we’re still stuck signing three year contracts and paying a fortune? Good thing Virgin Phones is now in Canada – hope that helps.
With the huge gas prices, according to the Americans’ standards, Chrysler now has a marketing gimmick: For 12,000 miles, they’ll let you have gas at $2.99 a gallon. Sounds great, but you always have to compare what you’re getting with what you’re giving up. Like taking that 2.9% financing but now it’s costing you a $2,000 rebate, for example. In this case, instead of the cash rebate, they’ll cover the difference in the gas price. But when you do the math – you might be getting cheaper gas but it’d have to go to over $6 a gallon to be better than taking the cash rebate! Good marketing gimmick and lots of people are taking it – but it’s totally tripping over a nickel to pick up a penny!