Three Money Saving Heads Up Tips

If you buy your own tax software, here’s a big heads up. One of the more popular Canadian programs is Turbo Tax by Intuit. Usually tax software is $20. This year, Turbo Tax has a $10.00 program for sale. But be careful! It is so barebones that you can’t even put RRSPs in there – I’ve seen it. Clark  Howard, on 400 radio stations in the US, calls it rotten behavior that stabs loyal repeat customers in the back by making them then call to pay a lot extra for an upgrade they can actually use. Apparently when you call to complain that the $10 one is useless, customers are often getting the upgrade for free…Buy the more expensive version, call them to complain, or purchase UFile for $20.

Have you had your 59th or 60th birthday? A good reminder from a Marketplace story that we talked about a couple of years ago. With every bank, when you reach that milestone birthday, you’ll get a ton of free service charge packages – depending on who you deal with. Only one or two banks give them to you automatically. With the rest, they’ll happily keep ripping you off until you go in to turn off the ‘charge’ button. You have to be pro-active and ask! I’ve personally seen stories of seniors paying $20 or $30 a month for years and years because the banks aren’t going to give up their profit voluntarily. And remember that when you do find out, the most you’ll get refunded two months. That’s as far back as you can challenge incorrect items on your statement. If it doesn’t apply to you – call your parents or grandparents and tell them!!

For three years, I’ve had an unloved, unused gift card here on my desk for Fairmont Hotels. It’s $150, but unfortunately, that amount doesn’t get you in the door at that hotel chain. I’m more of a $50 hotel person. We’ve talked previously about selling your unused gift cards online, and about a fundraising idea for gift cards. But Walmart has a better idea that they just rolled out. Wal Mart will take your unused, leftover, unloved gift cards and exchange them for a Wal Mart card. You might not be the biggest Wal Mart fan, but you know there are things in their stores you can actually buy and use. What a total win-win and I can’t wait for that to roll out across all their stores.

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