Don't Buy Toothpaste, Food and Cosmetic At Dollar-Type Stores

What Not to Buy at Dollar Stores

Colgate-Palmolive company recently reported that counterfeit toothpaste has been found in some dollar-type stores in the U.S. The counterfeit toothpaste may contain diethylene glycol and may not contain fluoride at all. Diethylene Glycol is a hazardous chemical, which is also found in antifreez and Colgate-Palmolive does not use diethylene glycol in toothpaste anywhere in the world.

In the past, investigation revealed that many brand names products found in dollar-type stores were not the same as from a reputable chain store. In Canada, as far as I know, nothing has been reported like the U.S. but it does not hurt to take precautions to avoid counterfeit products. I ask you to avoid buying food products, cosmetic products and chemical products at dollar-type stores. These products may contain potentially harmful ingredients and may pose health risks.Saving a few dollars is not worth the risk.
First Published: June 17, 2007

PayPal Is One Of The Most Powerful Forces In E-commerce

What Is PayPal?

The way the world is at present marks a quite significant change from how things were even ten years ago. Here is a little exercise to do with Internet surfing habits. When you got on the ‘net, chances are that you used Google to find pages – but did you use it as exclusively as you do now? When you were looking for fast, detailed information on any one of a range of subjects, if you were on the Internet ten years ago you certainly didn’t use Wikipedia. It wasn’t invented, even in its most basic form, until the turn of the century. And as for financial transactions, it’s almost certain that you were using credit card details, because PayPal was in its absolute infancy.

The list goes on. Only programmers of a certain level of ability were setting up websites of any real intricacy, and maintaining them. The word “blog” would have led someone to look at you with barely concealed fear for your mental health – although LiveJournal did exist and was on its way. The very concept of “blogging”, though, was a very niche market and idea up until the middle of this decade – but is now at the fingertips of thousands upon thousands of people. All of the above concepts, and others, have become common currency only in recent years but, now they are in vogue, they are immensely powerful and shape a lot of our working life and everyday lifestyle.

Business is never slow to react to a trend. In all honesty, if you want to see what will be on everyone’s minds, desks and t-shirts two years from now, it is well worth looking at what the business community are doing now. This requires some amount of judgement on your behalf as well, of course – not least because large sections of the business community are busily ramming documents into shredders, crying and booking flights to countries that have no extradition policy. But if the business world decides thatsomething will be big, it is worth getting on board, because the likelihood is that it will play a big part in all of our lives in time to come. Of the above Internet concepts, one of the most powerful is PayPal.

There are few of us who have not sat in front of a monitor preparing to send payment for a service or an item and thought “Do I really want to send my card details over the Internet?”. It’s safe, ninety-nine point nine (recurring) times out of a hundred, but there is always that little jag of doubt. But for the entrepreneur who wants to sell online, the joy of PayPal is that people have far fewer qualms about using it. It is tried and tested, efficient and speedy, and it is becoming accepted by more and more companies. As time goes on this is set to increase, and the people who use PayPal now will be in a stronger position than the late adopters, as they will know how to run an account efficiently.

First Published: May 11, 2009

Money Saving Tips

How to Save Money

Following these tips will put some extra money in your wallet right away. Not sure what to do with the money you will be saving? How about investing for the long run? If you are 30 and start investing $100 a month at 10% interest rate – you will have roughly $380,000 when you reach 65. I will discuss the following areas where you can save money. Let’s talk about cable today and I will discuss Lunch in the next posting.

Cable TV
Magazine Subscriptions

Cable TV

If you can cut cable TV, you will be able to save at least $480 annually. I am assuming you pay $40 per month for cable subscription and multiply $40 by 12 months, which will give you $480 savings annually. $40 per month is very low assumption. Most of the cable subscribers pay $50 to $80 per month. So based on what you are paying, your actual savings will be more than $480 a year. Living without cable is not utterly unthinkable. Many people are doing it and so can you. If watching TV is something you can’t live without, spend $40 on an indoor antenna and you will still have channels like CBC, CTV, Global and PBS.

If you are doing lunch outside everyday, you are pouring money down the drain. Let's take a look at the cost of doing lunch outside (instead of packing lunch from home) daily. Work-day lunch usually costs from $8 to $12. Let’s assume your daily lunch costs you $10. I am using $10 to make our examples simple. If you eat out everyday, your cost would be as below:

Weekly Cost = $10 * 5 = $50

Monthly Cost = $50 * 4 = $200

Yearly Cost = $200 * 12 = $2,400

$2,400 annually is a lot of money. If you are in a 42 per cent tax bracket, you keep 58% of each additional dollar you earn. When you consider all the taxes and costs associated with earning that after-tax $2,400, saving $2,400 annually means actually saving of $4,000 in pre-tax savings. Let’s put it another way – if you can brown bag your lunch, think of it as you are giving yourself $4,000 raise annually.

Above example looks good but it may not be possible for you to cut eating out everyday. What you do in that case? Cut above number in half. It means instead of eating out 20 days a month, brown bag your lunch for 10 days and eat out the remaining 10 days. You still will be saving half of the amount you were spending before.

Save Money On Phone Bill

Depending on what type of plan you have, you can save money on your phone bill. Here is how to slash your home and cell phone bill.

Home Phone

If you have home phone with features you don’t use, it’s time to get back to basic service. You will be able to cut $10 to $20 dollars per month. Keep your eyes open for same type of service offered by other phone companies at a lower cost. Before you do the switch, call your existing phone company and chances are high that your existing phone company will match other companies’ offer to keep you.

Cell Phone

If you have a monthly plan, added features such as caller ID, voice mail, call forwarding etc can cost you extra bucks. If you don’t use your cell phone in the daytime, switch to Pay As You Go. I have unlimited evening and weekend Pay As You Go which costs me only $30 a month. If you don’t need unlimited evening and weekend plan, use Pay As You Go $20 a month plan. It costs only 1 cent per minute in the evening and weekend and will save you a lot of money. Pay As You Go already includes caller ID, voice mail etc and you don’t pay extra.

Internet Phone

If you have high speed internet, you can use it to have home phone service. This type of phone called VOIP (voice over internet protocol). Plans start at $10 per month  for basic service. You can have phone service with 10 to 15 features for a fraction of land line cost. You can save 35% to 60% on your phone bill with VOIP. Before you jump into VOIP, do you research first. VOIP has some disadvantages as well. One of them worth mentioning - it won’t work in the event of a power failure.

Save Money On Internet Subscription

The easiest way to save money on your internet service would be degrade your service to a lighter version. Most likely you will not even notice the lower speed and you will get used to it within a couple of days. How much you can save doing this? Let me give you an example.

Rogers EXTREME : Approximately $55 Monthly
Rogers Lite: Approximately $35 Monthly

As you can see, it’s a $20 recurring savings right away. This will only work if you are able to switch to a lighter version. I understand that for some of you switching to a lighter version may not be an option. How do you save in that case? Yes, still there are ways. You have to do a little homework. Do a Google search by putting Canada Internet Service or Internet Provider Canada etc. Research search results on first couple of pages and pick a non-brand name internet provider at a lower cost. Yes, you will be spending a few hours doing your research but it’s worth spending a few hours to save money every month.You don’t need to stick to brand names like Rogers and Bell. You can switch to small internet providers and you can get the same speed at much lower prices. Let me give you an example. I performed a Google search by putting Canada Internet Service. I got about 298,000,000 matches for this search. I only checked first two matching websites, Acanac and Canadian ISP, as they looked promising. You can keep researching until you find something suitable.

Save Money On Magazine Subscriptions

Are you a magazine junkie? If you are, probably you are spending $30 to $50 on magazines every month. If you are buying magazines at newsstands, you can be spending even more. Stop buying magazines here and there. If you are subscribing to a few of them annually, take a good look at all of them and keep only one. You choose which one you want to keep. A smart way to read magazine instead of buying would be to read online. You will not find recent articles online buy if you wait a few days, it will be available for free.

This is my last post in Money Saving Tips series. After reading all tips, decide which ones you can do and start doing it. If you absolutely can not do some tips (let's say Tip 1 or Tip 3), that's OK. No worries. Just follow only those which you can. I will be writing about tips like these often. 

First Published: July 2007.


Here Is An Example of Tax Refund Scam Text

Income Tax Return Scam

Hard-working Canadians are now rushing to file their tax returns. Also, scammers are working hard to scam more people and extract more money in unique ways. A common form of scam this time of year takes the form of a phone, text, or email scam asking people to pay owed taxes or collect a tax refund.

Today I have the opportunity to present a screenshot of a real scam text that was received via phone. Scammers send this type of text or email asking to collect or pay money to the CRA or tax agency. These texts or emails look so real that some people actually fall for it and lose money. Basically, if you follow the instructions on these texts or emails your banking information will be exposed to the con artists and they will be able to empty out your bank accounts.

Government tax agencies like CRA or others do not send texts, emails, or call asking for money. Their method of communication is postal mail or notifying your accountants (if you chose that option). The other ways you can check your tax balances is by logging onto the government tax website or calling the tax agencies directly.

Vigilance and common sense are your best defence. If you believe you have been a victim of a scam, contact your local police authority or central anti-fraud authority such as The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC).

What is an Entrepreneur?

Different Types Of Entrepreneur

The job of an entrepreneur is to make money. It is that pure and simple. However, as you may be noticing in the midst of the stretched financial times under which we are living, it is not actually simple to make money in this day and age unless you are acutely aware of where an opportunity exists, how to create an opportunity, or possessed of a quick brain. Money does not grow on trees, as the saying goes, and there is just no way that you can guarantee the success of a money-making plan. If there was a foolproof way to lay down a small amount of cash and walk away with a larger amount, we’d all be doing it.

Prior knowledge of a market definitely helps. It allows a potential entrepreneur to recognize where there is a gap in a market. Without this ability, there is often a danger of trying to make money in a saturated market, where there is a queue of people pushing and shoving to make their mark. Being the best in that particular market may deliver the results you were looking for, but then again it may not. And being in the middle of the pack will lead to, at best, disappointing results.

Some entrepreneurs style themselves as being in the “ideas market”. In other words, they have creativity that allows them to formulate solutions to existing or potential problems, or ideas for a product that will become highly-prized as a consumer item. This seems to be an innate skill. There is no apparent way of teaching creativity – it is instinctive and natural. You can be taught to recognize opportunity, but creating an opportunity is something that is the preserve of a lucky few, percentage-wise.

Both of the above are kinds of entrepreneur, albeit different types. The first type is an opportunist. In the current market, only a very skilled opportunist can be confident of riding out the storm, as a contraction in a market dictates that the level of opportunity will be reduced, competition between candidateswill be greater, and the people who are quicker to spot the opportunities will be the ones who hit the jackpot. Competing with such individuals is a thankless task for anyone. But they are good at what they do and should be congratulated.

The second kind is an innovator. The opportunities for an innovator to strike it rich are likely to depend on what area of innovation they specialize in. Although there is no recession-proof market (while supply-and-demand markets fare worse than necessities, there is some sign that people will still seek to make savings on the latter), someone who dreams up a solution to a need will be on safer ground than someone who conceptualizes and produces an item that is coveted a great deal, but judged to be beyond the spending power of too many people. So in the present day, it may well be that the best thing to be is a problem-solver.:

First Published: Apr 18, 2009

How Long It Takes to Double Your Money?

Double Your Money

Have you ever looked at your savings account statements and wondered how long would it take to double your money at interest rates mentioned on those statements? By using a simple formula, you will be able to figure it out very fast.

This simple formula is called The Rule of 72. The rule works when your interest rate is compounded annually and you are not taking out any money or interests from your account. To find out how long it will take to double your money, take your interest rate and divide 72by your interest rate. Yes, 72is the magic number here. Let's say your high interest savings account is paying you 3% interest, divide 72 by 3 and it comes to 24 years. If you add more money every month to your capital, your money will double in lesser years. If you have a mutual fund which returns roughly 10% annually, your money will double in 7.2 years. Don't be discouraged by these long years. Investment is a discipline and you should not expect miracles to happen overnight.

First Published: Apr 17, 2007

Canada’s Cheapest Cell Phone Plans

Freedom Mobile Still Offers Best Plans

When searching for the cheapest mobile plans in Canada, you may get confused with all the players available to choose from. However, most of the value plan providers have been bought by big 3 brothers who have been terrorizing and manipulating the Canadian market since the invention of the cell phone. For example, Mobilicity was gobbled up and then destroyed by Rogers, Public Mobile was eaten by Telus and became ungenerous with their plans, and there is Bell Mobility hiding itself under Virgin Mobile.

To keep things simple, I will take Freedom Mobile as my base plans and will try to find lower plans that beat my base plans.

Freedom Mobile Plans

$25 per Month (No Data)

This plan offers unlimited Canada calling and unlimited Canada/US texts.

$35 per Month

Same as $25 plan + 2 GB data

Chatr Mobile Plans

This is Rogers. It offers a $20 per month plan, but it’s only unlimited local. You will be paying extra for sending texts, retrieving voice mail, etc. This is not an option for most users. The $25 plan offers unlimited province only and 100 global texts out. If you want data, you will have to add $10 for 500 MB or $15 for 1 GB. So it’s way more expensive than Freedom.

Fido Plans

This is Rogers as well. Their $25 plan gives only local 100 weekday minutes and unlimited weekend + evening minutes, and unlimited global texts. If you want data, 500 MB is $40 and 1 GM is $50.

Public Mobile Plans

If you use their create-a-plan tool and create a 30-day plan with only province- wide talk and no text no data, it comes to $27 per month. Add text and 1 GB data, it comes to $42. So it’s even worse than Chartr. Mobilicity used to offer plans that are similar to Freedom Mobile and in some cases even cheaper, but Telus destroyed it all since they took over.

Koodo Plans

This is also Telus. Their $28 plan comes with 100 minutes and unlimited texts. 500 MB and 1 GM data cost $40 and $50 per month.

Virgin Mobile Plans

This is Bell. $39 plan provides only Canada 100 minutes + Unlimited E+W and Unlimited Global text. 00 MB and 1 GM data cost $40 and $50 per month.

So from these plans it’s clear that although Shaw Communications bought Freedom Mobile, which used to be called Wind Mobile, its plans are still not destroyed and intact. As Shaw started upgrading their network to provide better and improved coverage and services, let’s wait and see if the plans remain as good as they are now and or if Shaw destroys them like the others.

Keeping Business in the family

Running A Business With Family Members

The word “entrepreneur” conjures up in many people’s minds an image of an individual who makes money for themselves with little concern for anyone, nor anything beyond their own bottom line. This is as unfair as saying that the only reason anyone takes on a job is doing so for selfish reasons. The truth is that entrepreneurship is a way of making a living just as surely as digging a ditch or manning the phones in an office. And entrepreneurship is not all about looking out for Number One, either. With a bit of co-ordination and collaboration, close family ties can make for a strong business profile.

Just think of all the people who have gone into business as a partner in a company and have come unstuck later on when their business partner turned out either to be unscrupulous or incompetent. In such cases, unless you have everything in writing and a great deal of resourcefulness, you can lose everything. By going into business as a family, or part of a family, you can avoid this step naturally. Thinking about it logically, how hard do you think it would be to hide an unscrupulous nature from someone who you see all the time?

No-one knows you better than someone with whom you have grown up – and vice versa. You know their strengths, weaknesses and their instincts and they know yours. When dividing up duties in an organization, it can often be confusing and challenging to assign the correct duty to the correct person. The solution? Well, by knowing each other so well you can instinctively spot who will do which task best – removing the early teething troubles that come from figuring all of that out. And if there is a task that no-one is especially suited for, the close collaboration that has characterized your life as a family makes it easier to deal with it as a team.

All of this ties in fairly neatly with another major benefit to working together as a family – the profit margin. Self interest is a perfectly healthy motivating factor in trying to do the best that you can in business. It is all the more likely that you will keep your eye on the ball if that self interest is tied in with wanting to do the best for your family. Although nothing is a guaranteed success without planning, motivation and a great deal of good luck, the conditions that make success more likely are ones that are nurtured as a rule within families.

There is a line of thought that says you should not go into business with a family member because when things go wrong you will have all the more reason to be unhappy, and there can be an increase in tension. It is true that without sound business sense on the part of everyone, a business could well go downhill very quickly. For this reason, family businesses will not always work and it is not a perfect fit for everyone. Nothing is guaranteed. But by approaching the tasks and the tests that business will throw your way as a team, you give yourself a better chance of achieving them. Something which family ties will help enormously with.

First Published: Apr 24, 2009


How to Find Your Passion

Find Your Path

Find Your Path

Three Simple Steps to Find Your passion

Passion is something that comes from your heart and you can continue doing it for as long as you want without any struggle and with enthusiasm. One simple way to look at passion is you are doing something because you want to do it, not because you have to do it.

Here are some simple things you can do to help you find your passion. To discover your true passion, you need to use your creativity and ask yourself some questions to bring out your true self.

Passion in The Past - Go through the recollection of your memories to find out what did you enjoy doing or what you always wanted to be when you were a kid. There is a good possibility that you will find your passion right in your thoughts or dreams when you were a kid.

Your Living Patterns - Although you may not have noticed, your passion is imprinted in those things you do on a daily basis. What you do daily tells you a great deal of what you like enjoying without any pressure. Here are some activities/hobbies you can take a look at to find your passion: the types of movies you watch, the types of books or magazines you read, things you like to collect or perform in your leisure, topics that interest you, events or shows that attract you, types of music you listen to, smartphone or tablet apps that you spend most of your time with, things you love to do when you open your computer, and so on.

Reflection in Your Dreams - We all dream and dreams can be a part of positive thinking to achieve the kind of life we want to live. What type of life do you always dream about living if you were given the opportunity? Or let’s say, if your finances have been taken care of and you don’t need to work anymore to earn money, what would you be doing? How would you allocate your time slot daily for the rest of your life?

If you can come up with your responses for these simple points mentioned above, you will be able to find what your passion is. Once you live a life doing things that you are passionate about, you will have the motivation, enthusiasm, and persistency to sail ahead at full throttle in life. Extraordinary success and fulfillment will be on your way.
First Published: May 31, 2013


Aeroplan 101– Tips, Tricks, and the Basics

Aeroplan – What You Need to Know

Today, I will give you an overview of the Aeroplan frequent flyer program. Keep in mind this is just some brief basics on the surface and there is a lot more to know if you really want to fly business class, pay very little, and make the most out of this program. In the section “Travel Miles | Points” I will discuss various hotel and airline rewards programs in the future.

What Is Aeroplan – Aeroplan is the loyalty program created by Air Canada and now owned by Aimia.

Aeroplan Value – There is no definite answer. It totally depends on how knowledgeable you are about the program and how you use it. The Points Guy values Aeroplan at 1.5 cent. Aeroplan sells each mile at 3 cents when you are short and need to buy from Aeroplan. Aimia CEO Rupert Duchesne mentions it can be worth 7 to 8 cents in some cases and nearly 30 cents for a business class trip. This is somewhat true; it all depends how you use it.

Star Alliance – Air Canada is a part of Star Alliance, which has 28 members, including Air Canada. In general, you earn and redeem miles within any airline alliance with any frequent flyer miles belonging to any member of that alliance. For example, you can earn/redeem Aeroplan on Swiss Air or you can earn/redeem Miles & More on Air Canada. Also, Aeroplan has some non-alliance partners and numerous retailers, banking and other partners.

How to Search for Flights – This is where you have to know your stuff. I will give you some basic tips. Start with Aeroplan’s website. However, not all rewards flights will be available on Aeroplan. There are some paid sites solely for search purposes. However, you can search on other alliance websites such as (Saver Awards only, Standard Awards appearing on United may not be booked for Aeroplan) and for flights that won’t appear on appear on Aeroplan’s site. To book these flights found on other alliance member sites, you have to call Aeroplan to book over the phone and there is a $30 fee.

Avoiding Fuel Surcharges – Air Canada (and some other airlines) is notorious for charging hefty fuel surcharges when you use Aeroplan. Avoid these airlines and the unnecessary charges by simply flying with other airlines that don’t feature these charges. I will not go into details, as I have a video explaining this. View it here: How Not to Get Dinged by Air Canada on Aeroplan Rewards Flights

Do Not Fly Cash Free – Aeroplan encourages you to fly cash free by paying taxes and fees using Aeroplan. However, you will end up being the loser if you choose this option, as your extraction rate for paying fees will be only 1 cent per mile, whether your goal should be to redeem Aeroplan for higher value such as 5 cents or beyond. So when you have small taxes and fees to pay (if you can manage to avoid paying fuel surcharges by not taking those airlines as I mentioned in the video), use cash and save your miles from redeeming them for 1 cent each.

One-Way or Round-Trip – Aeroplan (and most other frequent flyer programs) offer booking a one-way trip for exactly half of the points required for a round-trip. One-way trip booking provides better flexibility, as you may want to book the other leg of your trip with another program or even cash if you get a good deal.

Stopover and Open-Jaw – One of the best kept secrets of Aeroplan is that it allows you to book a stopover in a different city along the way on a round-trip at no additional costs. Open-Jaw allows you to fly to one place and leave from another place (the arrival and departure cities are different) on a round-trip. If you know how to utilize this, you can actually visit 4 places on one round-trip flight on Aeroplan.

Cancel, Change, and Last-Minute Booking – Aeroplan allows you to cancel or change up to 2 hours before departure for a C$90 fee and you can also book up to 2 hours before departure.

What I discussed above is just the basics about Aeroplan. With any hotel or airline loyalty programs, you need to know the ins and outs to become successful. I will be discussing more on about many programs in the future.

How to Make Money Online

Make Money Online

The Internet in its way has had as profound an effect on the world as any invention before it. As profound as television, electricity, the telephone and all the other world-changing developments without which it is hard to imagine life. The Internet is definitely right up there among all of the others, because not only are you sitting reading this on a computer, where it is available specifically due to the Internet, but also the information that makes the writing possible was researched using the World Wide Web. The speed of transmission of information these days is something that the average human could not have conceived of back in the 1980s. Now, it is taken for granted.

Using the Internet to make money is still a relatively new thing, certainly in comparison with how businesses have operated without it. It is now possible to make money, spend it and save it without ever leaving your home. Recognizing an opportunity to make money, then realizing it by putting your idea into cyberspace and watching the cash roll in is something that more and more people are finding to be a surprisingly manageable solutionto money worries, and a worthwhile income stream for people who are already doing OK. Like many ways of making money, people look at the Internet and the business opportunities it offers and think “There has to be more to it than that.” They scorn that it might just be a matter of getting an idea and putting it into practise. But they are not quite right to do so.

Sure, if you are looking for a “get rich quick” scheme, you will generally find that your options are at best limited. If there was a way of everybody making money just by doing nothing, then the global financial crisis would be easily solved. Things do not work that way, and you need to have something to offer if you are looking to get anywhere. It may not be easy, and it certainly will not just happen. But one thing that is for certain is that the Internet has opened the way for many people to make a tidy sum of money without having to spend a lot or travel very far. It hasn’t made making money easy, but it has presented people with opportunities. These opportunities have made a lot of people rich, and anyone with an idea, the work ethic to make it happen and a cool head can do very well for themselves.

If you have a PayPal account, a website and an idea, you can make money online. The PayPal account is available to everyone, the website is too. Even if you don’t have the ability to create websites yourself, blogging platforms make it possible for you to simply take care of the text and the images, and leave the technical stuff to someone else. The idea? Well, that has to come from you. But many of the people who are billionaires today had an idea that may not have been anything more complicated or revolutionary than an idea you have had. What has made them rich and successful is their desire to make that idea a reality. That is something that is not beyond any of us.
First Published: April 18, 2009

Let Your Credit Card Company Pay Your Interest

Credit Card Pays Interest

By paying your balance every month in full, you are actually using your card company’s money for free for your full billing period. Your card company always wants you to carry a balance so they can charge you interest and that’s how card companies make money.

If you are paying your balance in full, you are actually using your card company’s money at their high interest rate for free. Let me give you an example. In Sep 2006, I bought five British Airways return tickets for my trip at approximately $2000 each. My total cost was $2000 * 5 = $10,000. Most of the card companies charge 20% annual interest rate. If I do an approximate calculation for $10,000 at 20%, my one month interest charge would be $165. Yes, that’s right.

My one month interest charge would have been $165. But I avoided this charge by paying my balance in full and definitely my card company did not like it because they lost $165. If you look at this little differently, you can say that I borrowed money for one month at 20% interest rate but I have not paid any interest because my credit card company paid it for me.

What do all these translate into? Know how you are being charged and what your interest rate is. Pay your balance in full. It’s like using your card company’s money at their expense.

Credit Cards Can Save You Foreign Transaction Fees

No Foreign Currency Fee Credit Card

Most Canadian credit cards charge nasty foreign transaction fees when you shop in a non-Canadian currency. However, with these 4 cards you can save 2.5 percent, as that’s the standard fee other cards charge.

Amazon Canada Rewards Visa Card – A no-annual fee credit card that offers no foreign currency fee as well. Does not have many perks and features, but a good one to keep for foreign travel and online shopping in foreign currency. Issued by Chase Canada. This card will not work in Burma (Myanmar), Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, Syria and Libya.

Marriott Rewards Premier Visa Card - Also issued by Chase Canada and will not work in Burma (Myanmar), Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, Syria and Libya. This one has a $120 annual fee. A Marriott hotel chain co-branded credit card earns Marriott reward points and comes with other benefits.

Rogers Platinum MasterCard – This one works a little differently. You pay the 2.5 percent foreign transaction fee, but Rogers offers 4 percent cash back on foreign transactions, making it 1.5 percent return in foreign purchases. The annual fee is $29, but waived for the first year. If you pay your Rogers bills by pre-authorized payment, the annual fee is waived each year.

CIBC Air Canada AC Conversion Visa PrePaid Card – Although it’s a prepaid card, it’s marketed as a no-foreign currency transaction fee cards as long as you are transacting in one of the 10 supported currencies it offers. However, when you load foreign currency, it seems to factor this in and charge a foreign currency fee. Still, I like this card because it lets you withdraw from one ATM per month for free in foreign locations in supported currency and it’s safer when you travel, as you are the one to decide how much you want to load.

Tangerine MoneyBack MasterCard – This one charges 1.5 percent foreign transaction fees, instead of 2.5 percent.



How Safe Are Your Cosmetics

Safe and Toxic Cosmetics  

Safe and Toxic Cosmetics


How to Check the Toxic Chemicals in Your Cosmetics

Whether you are in Canada or in USA, the cosmetics you are using most likely have a few toxic ingredients in them and they did not require any approval from any authorities to hit the market. Worse yet, Canadian law does not mandate listing all ingredients in your cosmetics and manufacturers can easily hide harmful ingredients. Today, I will list some common toxic ingredients and show you how you can check your cosmetics before using them to ensure you and your family’s safety.

HereAre Some:

DBP/Dibutyl Phthalate - The European Union has banned using this in cosmetics. Potential reproductive, immune system, liver, kidney, and neurotoxin. A hazardous air and water pollutant and harmful to wildlife.

Paraben - Used in many cosmetics. Possible endocrine disruptor and can cause cancer.

BHA and BHT - Used in moisturizers. Possible endocrine disruptor and can cause cancer.

Phthalate - Used in nail products and many cosmetics. Possible endocrine disruptor and can cause cancer. Harmful to wildlife.

DEA/MEA/TEA - Used in moisturizers and shampoos. A respiratory, neurotoxicity, and immunotoxicity hazard. Harmful to wildlife and can cause cancer.

Petrolatum/Petroleum Jelly - The European Union has banned this using in cosmetics. Used in moisturizers, hair products, lipsticks, lip balms, etc. Can cause cancer.

Parfum - Some fragrance ingredients are harmful and can cause asthma, cancer, etc.

The above are only a few to mention. There are so many more harmful ingredients are hidden in our daily cosmetics. To find out more, check the links mentioned below or search online for “toxic or harmful chemicals in cosmetics.”

How to Check How Toxic Your Cosmetics Are

The Environmental Working Group, or EWG, provides a database to check more than 78,000 products on their website here: You will find most of the known brands here and many not-so-known brands that manufacture low toxicity cosmetics. I recently switched from most of the well-known brands to not-so-common brands after finding out that most of the brands I trusted since I was born are actually very toxic.

The David Suzuki Foundation, a Canadian environmental organization, provides helpful publications to detect dirty ingredients in your cosmetics. Here are some links:
12 Ingredients to Avoid in Your Cosmetics and
What’s Inside? That Counts: A Survey of Toxic Ingredients in Our Cosmetics
Natural Skincare Authority provides an A to Z list of toxins here:
The "A" to "Z" Of Toxins in Skin Care

And Don’t Forget

Natural - If you see “Natural” on the level, it does not really mean anything. Only one (or more than one) ingredient has to be derived from a natural source and the rest can be full of toxic ingredients.

Organic - If you see “Organic” on a cosmetic level, 95 percent of the ingredients must be organic and the rest can still be non-organic or toxic ingredients.

Made with Organic Ingredients - If you see “Made with Organic Ingredients” on a cosmetic level, 70 percent of the ingredients must be organic and the rest can still be non-organic or toxic ingredients.
First Punished: Jan 26, 2013


Knowledge Is Power; And Also Money

Knowledge Is Power

Knowledge Is Power

Turn Knowledge Into Money Making eBook

There are many of us who have a range of talents that render our friends almost speechless with envy. However, try and find, when we try to convert those talents into money that they seem to be in very limited demand. Looking for a job when you have a talent for music should be straightforward – your skills are very clear, and the vacancies should be obvious. It is similar for any talent that can fall under the bracket of “academic” – they can be very desirable talents particularly for those who do not have them. Nevertheless, for those who do they often seem to be frustrating and unproductive, sitting there making no money whatsoever, unless you can win a competition based on your talent.

Many are now coming to the conclusion that if those talents are not going to just go out there and make money by themselves, they will need to be twisted into some shape that makes them lucrative. No one is going to pay you money just for knowing how to do something – unfortunately. However, what you can do is to turn your talent, knowledge or intelligence into book form and sell that book. Once upon a time, in order to write and sell a book, you needed to write to publishing companies with your plan, get it accepted, and then submit your book at various stages for feedback and editing. If it did not conform to what the publishers wanted, then it would not get published. So you could be as intelligent and knowledgeable as you liked, but getting published was next to impossible for many.

With the advent of the e-book, this is no longer such a concern. People with knowledge to distribute can now write a book in Microsoft Word (or any other desktop publishing program) and distribute it themselves. If you are good with web design, or know someone who is, then you can design a website to go along with your book, providing you with a product and the means of advertising it all in one fell swoop. Writing an e-book and publishing it can also be a way in to the still thriving paper-based literary world.

So if you have a certain, specific talent which your friends are always commenting on and expressing envy over, then why not think about writing an e-book. You can send it to your friends without asking them to pay for it – they can even act as a focus group by telling you what they like and what they do not. Setting up an account with PayPal enables people to pay for the book, whereupon you can send the book to them, and hey presto. You are making your talent into money – finally. Instead of getting frustrated with a dormant talent, you will be getting rich from it.
First Published: Mar 13, 2009

Don't Throw Out Your Credit Cards Yet, First Pick Up Your Phone

Cutting Credit Cards

Yesterday I decided to get rid of two credit cards. These two cards were in my wallet for long and I never used it. As I was calling customer service to close my account, my friend (who was next to me) suggested just to throw out my cards. He said he never bothers to call because it is a waste of time.

Many of us do the same thing. A lot of us don't realize that if you do not call your card company and close your account - your account will remain active and it will appear on your credit reports as a credit. So if you opened accounts here and there years ago just to get10% discount and forgot about it, chances are high that's what making your credit reports lengthy. We don't know how many credit cards we have and all these accounts appear on our credit reports and creditors might not like having too many accounts. So before you throw out your credit card next time, make sure you pick up the phone and call your credit card company to close your account first.
First Published: Mar 29, 2007


Safe Fish To Eat

Safe Fish You Should Eat

Today, I am not going to write about the benefits of eating fish. Most of us know about it, and if you are not aware, do some research online. I try to eat fish every other week or even more often. However, if you don’t pick the right fish to eat, it may do more harm than good due to its contamination. I am going to present my safe fish list and unsafe fish list chart today to make your life little easier on fish shopping. Keep in mind that there are much more fish than what I have mentioned here. I am just presenting those that I like. If you want more, use the links I provided at the end or search online.

My Top Safe Fish List

1. Anchovy - Omega 3
2. Arctic Char - Omega 3
3. Atlantic mackerel ( Avoid King Mackerel, Spanish Mackerel) - Omega 3
4. Haddock
5. Halibut
6. Herring - Omega 3
7. Ocean Perch (Alaska, Pacific. US Pacific, Newfoundland)
8. Pollock (Boston bluefish) - Omega 3
9. Farmed Rainbow Trout (avoid wild trout) - Omega 3  
10. Salmon (eat canned, Chum, Coho, Pink, Wild Pacific, sockeye, Chinook, steelhead salmon. Avoid farmed, Atlantic salmon) - Omega 3
11. Sardines – Omega 3
12. Smelt - Omega 3
13. Snapper
14. Sole (US Pacific English Sole)
15. Tilapia (eat farmed Canada or America Tilapia. Avoid farmed Asia, South America Tilapia)
16. Tuna (eat canned light, yellowfin, bigeye, skipjack, yellowfin, tongol. Avoid white, albacore, bluefin, maguro, toro tuna) - Omega 3 

NB - Omega 3 refers to fish high in Omega 3.


First Published: Nov 19, 2012


The Best No Foreign Currency Fee Credit Cards in Canada

No Foreign Currency Fee Credit Cards

No Foreign Currency Fee Credit Cards

Best No Foreign Transaction Fee Cards

Canadians pay a 2.5 percent foreign transaction fee on most credit cards when they travel, even on high -end annual fee credit cards. Three cards are the exception to this rule. However, there is another option that became available to Canadians recently to avoid the foreign fee.

Here the three cards that let you avoid the foreign currency fee:

Chase Marriott Rewards Visa Card
Amazon Visa card
Rogers Platinum MasterCard

CIBC Air Canada AC Conversion Visa Prepaid Card

A new card called the CIBC Air Canada AC Conversion Visa Prepaid Card offers some unique features that come in handy when you travel. Don’t let this prepaid card steer you away from the various benefits it offers.

You can load a maximum of 10 currencies on this card and as long as you purchase within those currencies in foreign lands, you will not pay any foreign currency fee when you buy. However, when you load foreign currency, it seems to factor this in and charge a foreign currency fee. You can also withdraw cash from ATMs and get no fee for the first withdrawal.

My main reason to like this card is flexibility. I am always uncomfortable browsing the streets in foreign lands with a card that has $20,000 to $30,000 credit limit in my pocket. The AC Conversion Card lets me load any amount I want (minimum $100, max $3,000) and I would have peace of mind knowing that losing my card would be no big deal, as I would only load what I need daily in small amounts when I travel.

I will do an unboxing video of this card on my YouTube channel and possibly write more in the future. And rest assured, just like my all other credit card articles and videos, I do not accept money from credit card companies or provide any affiliated links to make money signing you up like other websites or blogs.

CIBC Air Canada AC Conversion Visa Prepaid Credit Card Unboxing and Brief Review

Entrepreneurship Today - Too Risky, or Just The Right Time?

Small Business Ideas

As the economic news seems to get worse by the day, it seems that a different company is going bust every time you switch on the news. People are finding work harder to come by, and those who do have jobs are often finding themselves with fewer hours, or missing out on pay rises due to their employer finding it impossible to find the money that is required to keep a business thriving and its employees earning what they thought they would. For employees, there are more and more situations developing where they find themselves coming to work and wondering what bad news will filter through in the morning meeting. And as employees, they are also finding that there is not a whole lot they can do about this, that they just have to accept the latest piece of negative news.

In this climate it seems that it would be a brave individual who decides to up and start their own business. Watching companies go to the wall is going to be enough to turn off a number of potential entrepreneurs, who look at the situation as it is and doubt that they could make their own company work where the established names are failing. If the big companies with decades of experience are unable to keep their heads above water, then what chance does a greenhorn with a dream have? It is perfectly understandable that a number of potentially excellent businessmen and women are keeping their ideas to themselves right now.

It is absolutely the case that fewer businesses start up during a recession. For one thing, there is often a lot of capital required to set up a new business, especially where new premises are involved. For most people, this necessitates borrowing, and we are living in times where borrowing money is getting harder and harder, with banks not wanting to take any kind of risk in the light of a climate that has driven some to their worst operating losses ever. But on the other side of this, if you have made savings of any kind you may well have what the banks are looking for – a deposit. By raising this kind of operating capital, or giving the banks an assurance that you are likely to be careful with your money, you increase your chances of getting a business off to its best start.

Alternatively, the Internet has made it possible to start up a business without having any premises. All you need is your home computer, an idea, and the materials to put it into practice. Even the materials do not need to be expensive, depending on the nature of your business. From a very low start-up cost you could find yourself earning money pretty quickly. Obviously it is no time to be setting up a company selling executive holidays – the take up would be rather low – but if you have an idea to supply a need that has not been diminished by the credit crunch, now could just be the best time to go for it. A narrowed field, and a market that is not far from bottoming out – what are you waiting for?
First Published: May 7, 2009