Million Dollar Journey

Questrade Democratic Pricing - 1 cent per share, $4.95 min / $9.95 max

Building Wealth through Saving and Investing

Welcome to Million Dollar Journey! If you're new here, you can learn about me, read our user guide, and even follow my net worth updates. A great place to start reading is with the popular articles located in the right side bar. If you would like to join thousands of others and keep up with the free daily updates, you can subscribe to the RSS feed via reader or E-mail.

On your way out, make sure to check out the exclusive Million Dollar Journey Freebies and Deals.

Celebrating 3 Years of Million Dollar Journey: Day 2





As I mentioned yesterday, this anniversary giveaway is bigger than ever.  So big, in fact, that I had to separate the prizes into 2 separate posts.

Lets continue with the giveaway madness!

Computer LCD Monitor (22″)

When I contacted Questrade to see if they were interested in sponsoring a prize, they were very generous in their response.  They wanted to giveaway something that would improve trading, so what’s better than increasing LCD screen real estate.

What is Questrade?  They are among Canada’s lowest cost discount brokerages. They offer $4.95 commissions per trade for up to 495 shares and $0.01/share after that up to a maximum commission of $9.95/trade.   Not only do they offer low prices, they have a wide variety of account offerings.  RRSP, USD RRSP, TFSA, Non-Registered, and RESP (among others).  All of this with no annual fee or minimum balance.

If you are interested in opening an account with Questrade, make sure to use my coupon code for a $50 trading credit.

So what’s the prize?  The lucky winner will receive a brand new 22″ LCD Monitor courtesy of Questrade.  This may be used to replace your existing monitor, or perhaps as part of a dual monitor setup if your video card supports it.

Moonjar “Family” Package

Last year, I did a review and giveaway of the Moonjar.  The Moonjar is a new age piggy bank that can help teach children about money by separating spending, saving, and sharing money. With the popularity of the previous Moonjar giveaway, the Canadian Moonjar distributor has offered the Moonjar Family Package to Million Dollar Journey readers.

What’s included in the Moonjar Family Package?

  1. Standard Moonjar (x2) – You can read more about it in my Moonjar Review.
  2. Conversation to Go Money game – Put the curious conversation about money on the table with these 100 open-ended questions. Share your dreams, lend your thoughts. An experience for the whole family.
  3. Noom & Raj Start a Business (Hardcover) – Meet Noom and Raj (that’s Moon and Jar backwards!). They want to start a business – a lemonade stand. Follow them through this fun adventure where they learn all about money words – Saving, Spending and Sharing with their Moonjar.
  4. The Leader Lesson Plan – This 45-minute lesson plan gives teachers, parents or community members the tools to teach kids about money and Moonjar. Fun and educational, this tool makes money management accessible and entertaining for everyone.

In addition to the generous gift, Moonjar Canada is offering Million Dollar Journey readers an exclusive discount for a limited time.  You can save 15% up to Dec. 24, 2009 using code “SHARE15” on www.moonjar.ca.

How to Enter:

In this giveaway, you can increase your chances of winning by obtaining multiple entries.

  1. Tell me about your best personal finance or investing tip in the comments (doesn’t have to be original). (+1 Entry)
  2. Follow me on twitter. (+1 Entry)

The Rules

Lets go over some of the rules.  All contestant entries will be shoved into an electronic hat and drawn at random.  Since there are 2 prizes available, the odds of winning are relatively high.

  1. Only 1 comment entry / person (please enter a valid email address).
  2. Only twitter followers on the date of draw are eligible.
  3. To be fair to all contestants, each winner can only win once.
  4. Only those with a North American mailing address may enter.
  5. Contest will end Sat 5pm EST Dec 19, 2009 and the winners announced shortly after!

If you haven’t already, make sure to enter yesterdays PlayStation 3 giveaway!

Good luck!





268 Comments, Comment or Ping

  1. 1. Nicolas

    I let my 2 year old put the money in is piggy bank. He ‘s crazy abou tir and it doesn’t cost me too much as he goes for the pennies.

  2. 2. BF

    I only use my credit card, when I have enough money in the bank to cover whatever I charge. When the bill comes, I can easily pay it in full, every time!

  3. 3. ZeFrench

    I have added MDJ to my RSS reader ;-)

  4. 4. mimifue

    It’s important to understand the balance of cash flow, that’s what i learned from here : )

  5. 5. Andre

    Pay yourself first.

  6. 6. Dutchie

    Setup a pre-authorized payment plan to your investment account. This way it is effortless investing.

  7. 7. Marc

    Read personal finance websites and learn from the experiences of other people!

  8. 8. Cory

    Using my credit card to purchase items for friends/family and receving cash is my personal finance tip!

  9. 9. Dana

    Spend less than you earn

  10. 10. Commander T

    In order to save on taxes it is best to average income over time. This can be done reasonably well with a combination of the TFSA and the RRSP.

  11. 11. Antoine

    Pay yourself first and make it automatic. Sounds like a no-brainer (and it fact, it should be) but it makes a world of difference.

  12. 12. saveING.ca This is why I signed up with ING Direct

    use only reward credit cards
    try to put all expenses on CC

  13. 13. Daniel

    Pay cash for big ticket items where you can get a deal. I love to say “all I have is this amount in cash, so I can’t afford this because of the tax”. I usually walk with the item with a discount equivalent of the tax. Works most times. Invest the savings and you end up being ahead of the game.

  14. 14. Sods

    Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Applies to investments, Source of Income, Egg Farming, etc.

  15. 15. wolfrun

    Remember to pay yourself first.

  16. Spend a lot less than you earn.

    I’m already following you on Twitter.

  17. 17. Sputs

    How to be maximize retirements savings.

  18. 18. Geoff

    Watching where the small dollars go is as important as watching the big dollars.

  19. 19. Asher

    pay yourself first!

  20. 20. Sarlock

    Find your own personal balance between saving and spending… enjoy the fruits of your labours but be sure to put enough away to weather the storms and invest in your family’s future generations.

  21. 21. Brian C

    I try to max out my RRSP the year before the deadline and then redeposit the refund I get back into the RRSP. So instead of a last minute rush to scrape up the money, I have year!

  22. 22. Jeff

    Don’t ever pay bank fees.

  23. 23. Rich

    Spend less than you make

  24. 24. Dave

    Buy fear and sell greed.
    Has worked so far.

  25. 25. Bobby Aves

    save 10% of all earnings

  26. 26. Nick

    Max out TFSA and RRSP!

  27. 27. Sam

    Start invest early. Power of compound interest!

  28. 28. Jeff

    Live within your means.

  29. 29. AppleTree

    Stop spending. I have to remind myself of this constantly.

  30. 30. CiscoKid

    My favorite way to save money is to buy RRSPs through each pay because they deduct your contribution off your gross income, so you can buy more than if you tried to save up the money to buy them

  31. Pay yourself 10% first, no matter what.

  32. 32. Beth

    I automate as much as possible — including bill payments, retirement contributions and savings. (Of course, I keep a close eye on my statements and spending, so this tactic works for me)

  33. 33. Nora

    When tempted to buy something…I ask myself if I really need it. Most times I end up putting the item back.

    I am signed up for your emails, but I don’t receive any?

  34. 34. Michelle

    Build a healthy emergency fund!

  35. 35. DividendMan

    Bank any “new” money. If you get a raise or a bonus or some kind of windfall, instead of blowing it all, bank a lot of it (in my case all of it). I already live well enough to do fun things, no need to buy something just cause i have more money!

  36. 36. Mike

    It all starts with spending less than you earn

  37. 37. Millionaireby45

    Pay yourself first.

  38. 38. Peter

    My best personal finance tip is to track your spending for a month or two. You’ll be amazed at how much money you’re wasting!

    Already following you on twitter!

  39. 39. Susan

    I have found the most important thing to remember, and the most difficult thing to do, is to keep your emotions out of investing.

  40. 40. Alexandra

    Spend less than you earn, and automate your savings.

  41. 41. Jon Lee

    My best financial tip: packing a lunch and cooking dinner at home. Eating out is $$$!

  42. 42. Joel

    My best financial advice is to marry someone who is on the same page as you when it comes to saving

  43. 43. Andrea

    My advice is to live below your means.

  44. 44. Finance Addict

    apply a heavy dose of discipline with any spending

  45. 45. Debbie

    We put everything on our credit card so we have a good idea of our spending and delay the cost by up to 30 days which saves interest on the mortgage. Use the Manulife One account, all paycheques to pay down mortgage, then spending slowly eats away paycheque but interest saved in the meantime. All additional funds stay on mortgage. Start work later in the morning so save costs on before school care, much more relaxed morning and time spent with kids, spouse gets off earlier and starts dinner, works well to help (although not solve) the work/life balance issues.

  46. 46. Arpan

    learned a lot about RESP from MDJ

  47. 47. Kevin

    My best tip would be starting now and going forward every year, max out your TFSA account and make sure you’re using it effectively for something that pays more than 1-3% interest.

  48. 48. Digger

    Have patience when investing. I bought some stocks last January and then saw them go even lower. Now they are all on the positive side. If I had sold when they went down I would have lost a lot of money. Staying patient has paid off.

  49. 49. Mike Belluz

    Make savings automatic, so you can get on with your “life”. I really like ING!

  50. 50. George

    Best investing tip: Keep costs low and ignore your investments 364 days a year. Set aside one day per year to rebalance to the target asset allocation, and ignore otherwise.

  51. 51. Jeff

    Marry into money

  52. 52. Matt

    I use credit cards to buy everything but your post on the best cash back cards has made me re-think the card(s) I will use in the future. My tip: during negotiations for your mortgage make sure to look for extras like no fee secured line of credit, no service charges on your bank accounts for x number of years, no charge for the bank’s gold card for x number of years, etc.

  53. 53. ryan

    live as low as possible, invest the difference wisely.

    only borrow money for investment real estate.

    cash loses value so fast you have to invest in order to not lose purchasing power constantly.

  54. 54. KingCanuck

    Investing in DRIPs to cut down on the cost of investing! That is mine for now… though I’m only 21 and just starting off!

  55. 55. Jeff

    my financial tip – not original – but a good mantra to follow

    spend less, save more

  56. 56. Robert

    Start saving as soon as you can and target 10% of your gross income. Even with conservative investing you will have a decent retirement.

    Don’t trust the government to look after you!

  57. 57. Brian

    Buy low sell high.

  58. 58. bdmax

    Whenever possible, buy items when they are on sale and monitor the price over a period of time so that there is some certainty that the ‘sale’ price is actually a good deal.

  59. 59. KLM

    Always pay down debt.

    It has a guaranteed “rate of return”.

  60. 60. Stevie

    Fewer mutual funds and more index funds the way to go.

  61. 61. Renate W

    When my daughter was born, I decided that the $30 the govt was giving me for a child tax credit (baby bonus back then) was just going to stay in the account and be invested for her (unless we really needed it) It became the education account and as the amounts grew (I have 3 kids) I used it to pay for orthodontie, or other special things for them plus put away a good amount for their education (REEE, savings accounts and Drips).

  62. 62. Chris

    My best tip is to use a HELOC as your main chequing account. You save on fees and every dollar you deposit saves you interest. Make sure you’re always in the “red” by pre-paying your mortgage when you’re close to even. The interest saved on your mortgage is higher than what you would have earned in a savings account and you don’t need to pay taxes on the extra income.

  63. 63. Elbyron

    Do all your grocery shopping on the first Tuesday of each month at Save-On-Foods, and save 15% off your entire purchase of $50 or more. Combined with sale prices, I sometimes save up to $100 off my bill. Not available in all cities.

    Also, buy bulk whenever practical. Costco can save you money if you’re careful to only buy things you need!

  64. 64. guinness416

    I read a comment on a frugality post on Ask Metafilter the other day that made me laugh and laugh, so I offer it up:

    1) Don’t waste money buying expensive binoculars. Simply stand closer to the object you wish to view.
    2) If you smoke, save on matches and lighters, by simply lighting your next cigarette from the butt of your last one.
    3) Old telephone directories make ideal alternatives to expensive personal address books. Simply cross out the names and address of people you don’t know.
    4) Save petrol by pushing your car to your destination. Invariably passers-by will think you’ve broken down and help.

  65. 65. L-I-Te

    ….Financial tip of the day from me…and a fairly obvious one.

    EXPENSE TRACK EVERYTHING! or at least try! You will notice where everything is going.

    Further more: if you have already a bb or a smartphone, use the applications to expense track. Once you do it for a good amount of time you will notice BIG savings.

  66. 66. Alaa

    Invest in Vanguard ETFs and TD e-Series.

  67. 67. cbez

    Cash only! Stick to the budget.

  68. 68. Ilir

    The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now!

  69. 69. Michael

    Thanks for the great giveaway contest

    #1 – Spend considerably less than you earn

    #2 – Make your money work for you rather than working for your money

    #3 – Utilize coupons whenever possible

  70. 70. Cam Birch

    Earn more than you spend. This can sometimes mean cutting your spending but it also means pursuing a job that ensures you earn enough to live the lifestyle you wish and create savings.

    You only have one life to live and if you don’t live it well (in your opinion of course) you don’t get a second chance.

  71. 71. Mich

    With my mortgage rate @1.75, the plan is to pour all excess liquidity in this mortgage as a hedge vs future interest rates!

  72. 72. Ben

    Pay down your mortgage!

  73. 73. Marianne O

    Celebrate little successes along the way! It can be discouraging to focus TOO much on the big challenges.

  74. 74. Kurt

    As a sales person I always save a fixed dollar amount per month; if any commissions are made that month I save 50% of those as well and the other 50% is for spending!

  75. 75. sneeker

    pay yourself first!!! i also use a credit card that pays me cash back, so they pay me to use their card! what a great idea.

  76. 76. Sarah

    Congrats on three years!
    Automate the savings and investments. Have money transfer right away from your paycheque to some ‘safe’ location and you’ll never even know it’s gone.

  77. 77. Hildana

    Consolidated family banking with PCFinancial. Easiest 200+ dollars a year I’ve ever made.

  78. 78. JC NewGrad

    Understand what you’re investing in!

  79. 79. Michael

    Congrats on reaching 3 years! Paying yourself first is the best financial tip I can think of.

  80. 80. s2alexan

    Just last weekend, I set my daughter up with 3 empty mason jars in her room – one for giving, one for saving, and one for spending. Interesting to read about the moon jar (I hadn’t heard of it before), although if I had known about it I probably would have gone with the mason jars anyway :)

    This is a good first step… anybody have any good resources on next steps to take to teach your kids about money?

  81. 81. Money Lover

    I recycle all of my bottles and cans for a cash refund several times a year. I then match the total I get back and donate that money to PETA or the Humane Society. I make the donation with my visa and pay it off the same day with my bottle money. The beauty of it is that first and foremost I’m helping a good cause, secondly I generate about $600 – $800 a year in tax deductions from the donations and last but not least… by donating on the credit card I get the rewards points. Beauty-ful!!!!!

  82. 82. Garbor

    Gas goes down in the evenings and on weekdays!

  83. 83. Kinmon

    The 1% investing rule. When I started investing, the market was in a free-fall and I was scared to put anything over $1,000 in the market. Then, after following your investing tips, I found out about 1% rule and it definitely helps a lot!

    Thanks a bunch =D

  84. 84. Sean

    Spend less then you earn

  85. 85. InstruMike

    Pay yourself first

  86. 86. bill

    Enjoy your articles and Quest Trade was most interesting

  87. 87. James

    make sure you understand the long term effects of fees on your investments, and the limits they place on compounding.

  88. 88. Shelly

    It’s not what you make, it’s what you don’t spend.

  89. 89. Catherine

    TD e-Index Funds. LOW MERs!!

  90. 91. Sampson

    Pick me!

    Tip: Understand your spending, know your vices and when you are prone to emotional spending. Always give it a day before you make the big purchase.

  91. 92. Norm

    Don’t sway from your asset allocation even though you may be tempted in this up market!!!

  92. 93. Erick

    Don’t invest in something just for the tax break…like the *&^%ing Labour Sponsored Investment Funds I can’t sell (at a hefty loss) for another two years…

  93. 94. Jesus

    Stop stock picking and switch to passive investing through ETFs

  94. 95. Diana

    We retired early (56/58) and are living on govt pensions which are adequate although reduced . We figured the extra time away from the stress of the hospital and teaching would help our health in the long run.. We sold the house,built a smaller one outsided of the city, kept one car only, tossed the mutual funds and now have index funds for RRSP’s Severence $ stay in a emergency cash fund.. All our expenses are paid on one credit card that gets paid off every month and we get the Canadian Tire money too. So far we have still been able to travel and now have the time and health to enjoy life and family. No mortgage or credit card debt makes the difference.

  95. 96. N

    Ensure my spending habits match my values. Remember that those dollars cost me minutes/hours of my life to earn.

  96. 97. Chae

    TD e-Series Index funds have a low MER.

  97. 98. KEL

    Congrats to MDJ!!! I am a huge fan.
    My tip – build assets…. avoid bad debts.
    Compounding works wonders in both directions!

  98. My best financial tip is to get a cash back credit card. The banks will pay you to use such a credit card. Just be sure to keep the balance paid off so that it does not cancel out the cash back.

  99. 100. Returns Reaper

    If you choose to implement a passive investing scheme where you contribute regularly to a discount trading account, follow these steps:
    1. Choose your asset allocation scheme (what % in each sector).
    2. For each sector, choose the lowest cost fund that tracks your target index. Hopefully it is a well established fund with lots of assets under management so that it won’t disappear on you.
    3. Choose a cash threshold at which you’ll make a trade, to keep costs of the trade balanced with the cash drag your portfolio will experience. For me, I chose 100x my trade fee, so that the trade fee would essentially be a 1% front end load.
    4. Once your contributions reach your cash threshold, buy the most underweighted security according to your asset allocation scheme.

    By following this approach, you’ll keep costs reasonable and keep your portfolio reasonably balanced. You’ll have lots of time to ponder thresholds for when you should rebalance, but generally rebalancing should be avoided unless you are out of balance by an amount >= your cash trade threshold.

  100. 101. Jerry Hung

    I would say, take advantage of donation credit to donate in this economic downturn because people need it more

    You get approx 1/3 back
    e.g. if you donate $1000, you could probably get back ~$300 (varies on your marginal rate) so you actually “only” donated $700

  101. 102. Krypton

    For the beginner, setup a personal budget in excel and track where you spend your money. Its an amazing tool – you get to see where you may be wasting your money.

  102. 103. bert

    Keep Track of Your Money!

  103. 104. Saver

    Personally, I look at the interest rate for all debts to determine which one should be paid off first. Obviously credit card should be first. What is often not clear are the debt with tax breaks. Do the math to calculate what’s the real interest rate when tax breaks are accounted for. You’ll be surprised to find that sometimes the tax breaks are just not worth it.

  104. 105. Elaine

    I got a second job in direct selling! I use half the money I make to invest in Fortis stock! And, the tax benefits of having a home based business is an added bonus!

  105. 106. Simon Jasmin

    Best Canadian Finance Blog. Period.

  106. 107. Jason

    Live below your means and sock away the rest, especially if you are still young and have no family obligations.

  107. 108. Vince

    Stop eating out too many times a week…

  108. 109. ethan

    I make prepayment on the mortgage with money we save by not eating out and other saving we get by reading this great blog

  109. 110. Bob Sanders

    “Unless you can watch your stock holdings decline by 50% without becoming panic-stricken, you should not be in the stock market.” – Warren Buffett

  110. 111. fiat.farmer

    Proper money management is crucial – regardless of your midas touch. Stop loss orders are critical. Follow the trend. Enter positions with a set target to take profits, and to cut losses.

  111. 112. Rishi

    I charge everything to reward paying credit cards to earn cash backs/points.

  112. 113. jkwan

    only love can break your heart

  113. 114. Nanci Murdock

    Set a stop loss when buying a stock or an ETF. Decide in advance where and what the stop will be and make the stop automatic.

  114. 115. The Reverend

    A penny saved is a 1.5 pennies earned.

  115. 116. Adam

    Find out what the minimum requirements are to obtain no fee banking and strive to meet it. Can save a fair amount per year.

  116. 117. JF

    Like a couple of persons already mentioned: Spend less than you earn.

  117. 118. Larry

    Rather than wait for the large credit card bill to come in at the end of every month, I make each purchase payment online as soon as I get home from shopping that day.

    No big surprises at the end of the month!!

  118. 119. PoorFella

    Read this and the other PF Blogs before investing.

  119. 120. cannon_fodder

    The best tip is so simple – spend less than you make. The larger the gap the better off you will be.

  120. 121. Brian

    Maximizing your MBNA Smart Cash Cashback Mastercard

    Some cashback credit cards give you different levels of cash back depending on where you make the purchase. For instance, the MBNA Smart Cash Mastercard gives you 3% cash back if you spend at a grocery store, drugstore or gas station, and 1% cash back for everywhere else.

    Want to earn 3% cash back at a store where MBNA only gives you 1%? Many big store chains sell gift cards through grocery stores, drugstores and gas stations. You can buy gift cards to many home improvement stores, restaurants, theatres, you name it. As long as the point of purchase is done at designated grocery store, drugstore or gas station, you’ll get the 3% back!

    So don’t buy a Home Depot gift card at Home Depot. Buy it at Esso or Petro-Canada and reap the bigger rebate! You’ll get gas points, too!

    Note: Wal-Mart Supercentre is not a designated grocery store.

  121. 122. Justin

    Always look at the MER (management expense ratio) of any mutual fund or ETF (exchange traded fund) you are going to purchase as if this is too high, it might eat away at your future growth of the stock.

  122. 123. SevenMiles

    1. Spend less than you earn
    2. Use credit cards responsibly; pay off the balance every month (Treat it like a debit card). As a bonus, you could be “making money” from reward cards.
    3. Distinguish between “needs” and “wants”
    4. Form a budget! Track income & expenses. Have financial goals (short and long term). Use this information to guide and adjust your budget. It is not set in stone.
    5. Save! Save! Save!

    Do I get 5 entries? :P (I really need that monitor!)

  123. 124. Jenny

    Switch to a whole foods diet. This pretty much eliminates eating out because most restaurants do not follow a whole food/ no preservatives rule and because you are cooking from scratch, alot of money is saved, not to mention the reduced impact on the enviroment. Our family of four puts out one small bag of trash most weeks, due to the fact that we don’t but very many prepackaged foods, maybe one or two items a week will come from a box or can i.e. crackers or canned tomatoes. It is also better for your health and it is wonderful to be able to know exactly what goes into your food.

  124. 125. Aaron

    Spend less money than you earn.

  125. 126. Steve J

    I use a money management program Money 2007. It works great and lets me keep track of how much I spend. Helps me stick to my budget.

  126. 127. Gerry

    Setup an automatic savings plan that moves 5% of your income to an RSP every month. Move more if you can manage it.

  127. 128. Andrew

    If you have to borrow – only borrow what you need, not what they’re willing to lend you.

  128. 129. Tom

    Marry a woman with a similar outlook on saving and spending.

  129. 130. Supatra

    always bring lunch to work and don’t spend anything money on vending machine at work

  130. 131. david goodyear

    I use my avion card to purchase everything. I cycle money from my chequing account to pay off the visa for every transaction the day of the purchase. THis way I always have a clear picture of how much money we have left in our account for other expenses

  131. 132. RS

    Don’t underestimate the power of compounding

  132. Pay yourself first….
    Setup monthly automatic withdrawals for short and long-term savings.

    Mike

  133. 134. rab

    Start early and let the dividends reinvest

    eab

  134. 135. Ryan

    If you have to make a purchase, make sure you’re not paying the full retail price.

    Do your research and try to find the best deal you can.

  135. 136. Scott

    I pay for everything on my credit card for airmiles and pay the balance in full every month. In 8 years I have redeemed for 4 free flights and I still have airmiles for more!

  136. 137. Fab

    Pay myself first and stick to plan budget.

  137. 138. Mike

    Max out RESP, TFSA amounts. Spend less than you make.

  138. 139. blossom

    never buy anything at retail price.

  139. 140. Joseph

    Don’t buy anything that doesn’t add value to your life.

    Example, you bought China, then silverware, then an expensive and gorgeous display case to store and display them. Chances are, they don’t get used much and end up sitting with dust.

  140. 141. Ice cream on a stick

    The best Investing tip: Do not just do something! Sit there!

  141. 142. Lyne

    Spend less than you make.

  142. Don’t eat out at restaurants. Eat at home!

  143. 144. Pete

    Always stick to your system.

  144. 145. karash

    “Live below your means”

  145. 146. Vladimir Yusseem

    Always pay your credit card bill in full

  146. 147. Matt

    Spend less then you make.

  147. 148. Aaron

    Don’t stop learning. While there are some constants in the financial world, a lot changes from year to year. To be successful investor, you need to keep up on it all!

  148. 149. Stephen

    I find that carpooling really saves a lot of money, and it allows you to create great relationships too! It also gives you a chance to get to work faster too because there are “carpool” lanes! :)

  149. 150. george

    there’s usually an alternative to paying fees

  150. 151. Hani

    If you have a business, invest some time learning about how to create a blog with online videos to market your business online. This will prove to be the most valuable investment in 2010…and a fairly inexpensive one.

    To you online video marketing success…
    Hani

  151. 152. Jason

    Invest in what you know.

  152. 153. Werner

    nosce te ipsum…

  153. 154. Rod

    Obtain free credit reports from TransUnion (http://www.transunion.ca/) and Equifax (http://www.equifax.com/home/en_ca) once a year, and review the accuracy of the reports.

  154. 155. Greg

    spend less than you make

  155. 156. BillT

    Be a saver first!

  156. 157. Mike

    I was always taught to put 10% of whatever I make away into savings. Set it up with automatic withdrawl and you never notice it’s missing. Then you look at your savings account statement and wow!

  157. 158. Colin

    When our kids starting working we agreed with them that they would put half there paycheck in a seperate savings account. They could do what ever they wanted with the other half, and the savings was for their future. As long as they kept saving there money, we would give as much help as possible for4 college or university.

  158. 159. Sean

    Budgeting works…finding the right budgeting technique is crucial.

  159. 160. telefantastik

    Congrats FT!

    If you have an allocation of US equities in your indexed ETF portfolio, but worried about effects of exchange rates vs. hedging costs of equivalent Canadian ETFs (e.g. VTI vs. XSP): consider using purchasing power parity (PPP) rate as a break-even point for this decision. PPP with USD is currently in range of 82-88 cents USD.

    E.g., when CAD is above its PPP rate against USD, only buy USD denominated equivalent ETF (since USD is cheap); when CAD is below PPP – USD is expensive – buy the hedged equivalent. It’s an oversimplification of sorts, but it takes away the headache of trying to decide on hedged/non-hedged approach.

    As always, do your own diligence!

  160. 161. Brian

    Find an investment strategy that works for your situation and stick with it. If your fundamentals are right, you should not have to change strategy. When the markets and your finances take a dive or skyrocket, stick to your strategy.

  161. 162. Naveen

    I use my CCard for all my purchase and put the points towards basic household items like food and cleaning supplies.

  162. 163. Brandon

    First time poster, long time reader. This site is great and I read it every day.

  163. 164. Caitlin

    “Sometimes good enough is good enough”! You’ll never get anywhere if you spend all your time looking for the “perfect” investment/savings account/interest rate instead of doing anything.
    I used to be paralysed while I tried to find the “best” option, and ended up doing nothing. That didn’t advance my goals or pay down my debt! It was a hard lesson to learn, but doing something toward your financial future id better than doing nothing while you wait for the “best” to come along.

  164. 165. Karl

    Spend less than you make.

  165. 166. gcai

    I track all my expenses (and have done so for over 30 years) giving me a very precise number as to where it when and what can be cut if required – very important for someone like me who is self employed with varying income streams.

  166. 167. Weera

    Never accumulate consumer debt. This is the number one, easy to follow advice for anyone wanting to build wealth.

  167. I put all my purchase on one single credit card (even my $2 coffee) and pay it completely at the end of the month.

    I get a huge load of points every year with this method and since I pay my card in full, I am sure to not overspend :-D

  168. 169. bob

    The Smith Maneuver

  169. 170. Stephen

    Patience is key.

  170. 171. Michael_S

    Contribute to your kids RESP early and often

  171. 172. jason

    pay yourself first!

  172. Best advice: do the math to make sure you understand your options and then pick the one that works best for you. Life doesn’t exist in spreadsheets or on paper so do what works for you.

    Tim

  173. 174. Thinkinger

    Whenever I can, I always payoff my credit card balance. That SAVED a huge.

  174. Congratulations on 3 years!
    I’ve been following your journey for about the past two. Keep up the great work!

    Tip: If you could find a GIC offering a higher interest rate than what you could borrow for, make the investment! But pay off the debt from your pocket while the borrowed money sits in the GIC. This way, you don’t end up with a terrible credit score, and you make some change once the GIC is up!

  175. 176. Sandra

    Max RRSP and TFSA contributions every year – in a way I guess that’s paying myself first! Also, pay all credit card charges in full every month – you get all the advantages that come with your credit card, and no associated charges.

  176. 177. Mai

    Save more than you spend & take good care of what you already own.

  177. 178. Colette

    Try not to eat out at restaurants too often. It costs a lot less to buy groceries and prepare meals yourself.

  178. 179. Geoff B

    Been reading for 2 years now. Always check it when I am at work daily routine. Best tip: Take your losses and move on, your money can be invested elsewhere.

  179. 180. M

    prepare a monthly budget, every month, and keep the entire year on a single spreadsheet – different tabs, this will allow you to chart patterns.

  180. 181. Tony

    Never spend more than you can afford and always pay down credit card bills.

  181. 182. cash back reward

    Is this contest over? Just wondering if not check me out on twitter at @cashbackcredits

    Thanks for an awesome giveaway!!

  182. 183. STEVE

    SO MANY SO HARD TO LIST THEM ALL
    - GREAT INVESTMENT TIPS AND COMMON SENSE ADVISE. EG -MONTHLY BUDGETS!
    THANKS

  183. 184. MarsCat

    I like the classics: Spend less than you earn and pay yourself first.

  184. 185. amy

    Paying yourself first is the best way to save.

  185. 186. Imran

    Don’t only look at your salary, bank balance, or available credit to decide to buy something or not. It’s not just “can you afford it”, but also “is it worth it”?

  186. 187. SilverEggplant

    Watch your cents and the dollars will take care of themselves!

  187. 188. Kirk S.

    My best advice is to leave your MasterCard at home and shop with cash! When you run out…you have to stop spending!

  188. 189. Rob

    Congratulations on your third anniversary!! The best advice that I can give is to “Read, read, read!!!”
    thanks for creating this contest and your daily posting; always an interesting read!

  189. 190. Kirk

    My tip is to simplify your life…buy less things, get rid of anything you don’t use, only get the cable channels you actually watch, avoid Tivo-guilt by not buying DVDs, games , books, etc that you won’t be able to get around to.

  190. 191. RI

    Pay everything by credit cards to earn reward points/monies and the credit period. But never be tempted to buy any unnecessary/unaffordable stuff.

  191. 192. Madfish

    That’s very generous of you (and your sponsors) for the giveaway!

    My tip: Always keep a cool head and optimize your money. For example, you may see a $75 jacket you REALLY want, but after stepping back, you may realize that if you’re going to spend $75, you’d rather have nice dinner and night out with your significant other.

    And I’ve just followed you on twitter (gadogry) :)

  192. 193. Nick

    Make investment decisions with your head NOT your heart (with the corollary that: portfolios with higher trading frequencies statistically show weaker results – on average)

  193. 194. Miguel

    Reward yourself from time to time; it’s good to enjoy some of the fruits of your labours! Such as, pay off your mortgage and then buy a bedroom suite or flatscreen tv, etc.

  194. Best life/financial tip on MDJ by Kathyrn:

    Post: http://www.milliondollarjourney.com/finding-your-passion.htm

    You know you’ve found your passion when:

    1. Time flys by when you’re at work
    2. You love to talk about work
    3. You are energized when you’re working
    4. You don’t want to retire

    Why I picked this – because your job affects your finances and to be successful you need to like what you do :)

    My twitter account is – @FairyDimples

    Happy 3 years anniversary :)

  195. 196. James

    Separate your “Needs” from “Wants”

    If you are honest with yourself it’s amazing how many things fall into the Wants category.

  196. 197. Jeff

    Take your savings off each paycheque automatically so you don’t need to think about it.

  197. 198. Tanya

    When you use coupons, actually SAVE what the coupon was worth, just don’t spend it on something else.

  198. 199. Artz

    Dedicate 30 minutes a day to education using web sites such as MDJ.

  199. 200. Traciatim

    My only tip is Start Right Now. No matter if it’s simply opening a savings account and setting some money aside for when something bad happens, or setting up a brokerage account to do self directed investing. Doing something today is always better than waiting.

  200. 201. Mike Fuellbrandt

    My best tip is use a rewards Credit Card, and pay it off in full every month. Failing to pay it off wipes out any advantage.

  201. I’ve learned to automate everything. The only thing I do with my finances is check on account balances to ensure auto-transfers went through. Everything else it automatic!

  202. Simply don’t hang with the “cool” finance crowd that follows new trends and creates bubbles…stay away from them and stay strict with your finance strategy / philosophy.

  203. 204. Rick murphy

    Learn how to use the computer to research your projects and
    invest wisely .

  204. 205. daria

    Absolutely pay all credit card bills in full each month, always.

  205. 206. Michael Clark

    Do not buy things you cannot afford!

  206. 207. Denis Belanger

    Reduce, reuse, recycle. Those three words will save you money. This comment box isn’t long enough with small little changes we’ve made at home, that have saved us close to $250 per month.

  207. 208. PF $tudent

    My best personal finance tip is to read MDJ =P (seriously). Lot’s of great tips and discussions by readers, guest writers and, of course, FT, himself. It really broadens your perspective on personal finance and money in general. The fact that it has a Canadian perspective is also invaluable to fellow canucks.

  208. 209. Nathan

    My best finance tip has been how I handle my pay increases at work. I try to maintain my spending levels and bank all of the raises that I receive for retirement.

  209. 210. Jody

    Increase your automatic savings to coincide with the ending of a payment to something else; for example, I had my RRSP contribution via payroll deduction doubled on the first pay after my car was paid off — because of the timing, I never felt deprived even though so much more money was now going into RRSP’s – frankly, I never really noticed the increased payment to RRSP’s, I just noticed the extra money I had available each pay.

  210. 211. Terri Axani

    Love saving banking fees with PC Financial! Free unlimited withdrawls and free cheques.

  211. 212. Melanie Samson

    Track your finances so you know where your money is actually going as opposed to where you think it’s going.

  212. 213. Mike

    When buying/selling stocks. Be aware that it’s human nature to hold on to losers (stocks going down) for too long, because of overconfidence. It’s also human nature to sell stocks that’re going up too soon.

  213. 214. Chris

    My best tip is to start now. You are losing potential profit every day!

  214. 215. katrina

    spend within your means

  215. Tips:
    1) Use President’s Choice Financial:
    - no fee banking (chequing, savings)
    - can do all banking online
    - no-fee PC mastercard with points that are truly easy to redeem for free groceries right at the check-out

    There are very few cases where personal banking in Canada makes sense anywhere else.

    2) Never buy a brand new car.

    3) Start your own business for home tax write-offs.

    4) Eliminate “bad” debt asap, starting with highest interest debt. The only “good” debt is that which gives a net positive gain (e.g. investment loans).

  216. 217. Revanche

    I advocate mindful spending: always being conscious of how much you’ve spent in the past in relation to your income and savings goals.

  217. 218. Revanche

    I advocate mindful spending: always being conscious of how much you’ve spent in the past in relation to your income and savings goals.
    (also, I follow you on twitter.)

  218. 219. ShaneM

    If you have the cahoonies, always ask for a discount … always. Just simply say, “Is that the best deal you can give me?” Even in retail stores, this works more often than you’d think.

    You’ll be amazed at how many times a clerk in a store will say, “I guess I can give you 20% off …” or “Well we have this promotion going on …” or “Actually, this is going on sale next week …” or “I can throw in a ___ for free …”

    Try it!

  219. 220. ChrisN

    Be active in your invesments – don’t let an advisor do all the work for you. It’s your money!

  220. 221. Karina

    Married a good Financial Advisor.

  221. 222. Heather

    Having reviewed some of the other comments, I would say that it’s helpful to marry someone who is _better_ than you in some way financially (i.e. saves more or spends less). While I’m the more thrifty one in the relationship, my husband is the better saver. He’s motivated me to do more retirement saving, make our savings plan automatic, and to strongly resist touching our savings. We found that the growing and changing was difficult at the beginning of our marriage, but now I’m so delighted that he encourages my thriftiness and has made me a much better saver!

  222. 223. Jason R

    I think the best advise that I have heard is: Keep it Simple. Use Index funds. Leave it a lone and let compounding interest do its magic.

    Thanks for the great site as well!
    Marry Christmas.

    Cheers,
    Jason

  223. 224. Finance Matters

    Work hard, play hard, invest wisely.

  224. 225. Paul

    Increase the deductible on your car or home insurance if you are a safe driver or have a new house. To me this is the fastest way to save some money on these insurances which almost everyone has.

  225. 226. karash

    SPEND WITHIN YOUR MEANS

  226. 227. Eric Drouin

    My best financial tip is to invest in dividend paying stocks while understanding what makes a stock price high or low. Buy Low Hold when High and pursue new opportunities.

    If you are an avid investor and are risk friendly… The Forex market is a blast to trade… And this helps tremendously to understand the level of current prices… high/low.

    You are risk adverse… then a good segregated fund with a guarantee is probably where you may find the higher returns with the protection of capital.

    Thanks.

  227. 228. Eric Drouin

    Invest in dividend paying stock and learn a bit about value investing.
    When everything too high relatively… time to diversify and find more plays.

  228. 229. Dreamy

    pay off loans & credit card first!~ :)

  229. 230. Marino_238

    A hard learned lesson I learned in trading stocks is to avoid buying a stock on a friends recommendation! Make sure you do your own due diligence and understand what you are getting into. I am a little wiser now but I am still a bag holder.

  230. 231. Calvin

    As with most things, success is more likely when you have a plan and know what you’re chasing after. Know what’s important to you (e.g. what kind of lifestyle now and in the future, how much security versus status, etc.) and with that knowledge and self-awareness identify your goals and plan your strategy. All the little tips to maximize this and minimize that don’t make a difference if you don’t use them in a way that achieves whatever is ultimately important to you.

  231. 232. Kim

    It’s been said many times already but it’s still super important… Pay yourself first!

  232. 233. Todd

    Don’t buy stuff just for the sake of having it. Only buy what you absolutely need and try and wait as long as possible before buying it. Time Value of Money. If you car will last another 6 months, don’t buy it until you need it.

  233. 234. Osteoguy

    If you’re self-employed, pay your spouse to work for you. Keep an eye on the various income tax levels so you and your spouse are closer together in terms of what you pay.

    And, educate yourself. Read, read, read! Stop paying fees and pocket the difference.

  234. 235. Andy

    avoid a car IF YOU CAN since its a money pit, i can afford a car but chose to take public transit since its only 50min of my time a day and vs 30min if i took a car

  235. 236. Doctor Stock

    Use Stop Limits and/or Trailing Stop Orders on all stock positions

  236. 237. Philip S

    Pay yourself first. That’s the key. It’s a future you, but it’s still you.

  237. 238. Linda

    Pay off all consumer debt (credit cards, short term loans, etc.) asap and don’t continue to charge. Don’t do the buy now, pay later unless: 0% interest and you have the cash to pay it off in full before it comes due.

  238. 239. Mike Graf

    My best PF tip is to be really aware of the difference between wants and needs. If you truly just follow your needs, nearly any job/career (not min. wage though) will give you a surplus cash flow. Then either save or invest depending on your bent and all will be well.

  239. 240. Trish

    Ensure you select a level of risk that you can truly live with – and then decide on an asset alllocation investment plan that reflects this risk. Ensure your investment plan fits within a comprehensive financial plan to achieve your financial goals over time.

  240. 241. Paul Heuts

    Per Warren Buffett on evaluating companies for investment: “I’d rather be vaguely right than precisely wrong”.

  241. 242. Ricky Singh

    Best personal investing tip: Buy stocks when the price is rising not when it is going down.

  242. 243. Connie

    My best tip is to manage your portfolio yourself, and get educated, no one cares as much as you do.

  243. 244. Darren

    My tip? “Pay yourself first”

  244. 245. Steve

    This is post 251. If we assume everyone above is a unique poster, my odds at this point are 1 in 252. I can assume more people will post by the time the contest closes. It may double perhaps. So I my have odds of 1 in 500.

    Even though this is a free entry, it’s important to understand your odds when involved in a ‘chance’ situation. It allows you to set reasonable expectations.

  245. 246. Robyn

    “Buy on Monday, sell on Friday”

  246. 247. Harold

    Learn to manage your own money. No one cares about your money more than yourself.

  247. 248. Jen Moore

    Open an ING Account for your kids. They’ll get $25 for the first $100 you put in there for them!

  248. 249. Joe

    Educate yourself in financial matters and take charge of your own investing strategy

  249. 250. Gord Lemon

    I have 2 financial suggestions:

    1) Bank with PC financial – no fees (chequeing, debit) plus you receive points that you can trade for free groceries.

    2) CIBC dividend visa – no fees and cash back at the end of the year.

  250. 251. TKO

    Buy a house w/ rental income potential.

  251. 252. Simon

    1. HSBC Business Direct Account – save banking fees for your business A/C
    2. Read Milliondollarjourney.com every day!

  252. 253. InstruMike

    Take control of your investments and the sooner you start the better off you’ll be.

  253. 254. Jane

    Pay everything BEFORE the due date especially if you use internet or telephone banking – will save on the late charges

  254. 255. Josh

    One of the best and easiest personal finance tips I like to share with friends and family is to get a VISA or Mastercard with a good rewards program (and preferably no annual fee) and use it for EVERYTHING, then pay it off monthly. Why use debit and cash when you can earn something back on your purchases for free??

  255. 256. James

    Make saving something tangible.

    I was having a hard time convincing my wife to budget, I had spreadsheets, charts, etc… didn’t impress her. Withdrew cash from the ATM put it in some jars told her we could only spend this amount…and VOILA!!! We are actually sticking to the budget now.

  256. We have an account for our kids and the money the Canadian Government gives us for having kids (how great is that?) goes straight in there….we never miss it and it provides each year for a good start to an RESP.

  257. 258. Susan

    I have a separate savings account for Christmas in which I have an automatic transfer set up to take from my chequing bi-weekly on my payday starting in January of each year. There is no need to be anxious when Christmas arrives as the money is there when the credit card bill arrives in January!

  258. 259. Chris Serran

    My best tip is to do something – anything – to take a step in the right direction. Set up a continuous savings plan, clip coupons, get cash envelopes, review your finances, make your own lunch, follow stocks, read books – as long as you continue to be interested and do something, you’re bound to learn and the more you learn, the better off your investing will be.

  259. 260. Nathan

    Use the couch potato method and invest it and forget it! Let that nestegg grow.

  260. 261. lhowes

    Pay yourself first, and do something different.
    Doing the same things over and over and getting the same bad results is not productive.

  261. 262. CJ

    budget, pay yourself first, start early… I’m following you on Twitter as well

  262. 263. Jayne Doe

    RESEARCH! and Compare Like Products! Nothing is ever as good as advertised – if the Marketers and PR personnel are doing their job ;) – and by shopping around, you might find something that better suits your needs.

    Oh, and I also charge everything on my cash rebate CC, and pay the balance in full each month.

  263. 264. Bryce

    Reduce bad debts and live within your means.

  264. 265. Igor

    > finance or investing tip
    Do not pay out mortgage or any other low rate long term debt if you can have higher rate of return for this money elsewhere.
    You are unlikely to get a loan with such low rate anyway

  265. 266. Alan

    Be wise with your big purchases. You can be frugal for months and then blow all those savings with one big bad decision.

  266. 267. Elizabeth

    One of my best personal financial tips is to put my spending into two categories of “needs” and “wants”. The “needs” are what you have to spend on and the “wants” are more luxury items. If my “needs” are filled first, then I can decide on a “want”. I never lose with this philosophy. Great Contest and Congratulations!

  267. 268. Oil Baron

    If you want to buy something (in my case over $50), think on the justification for it for 2 days. If you still want it, get it.

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