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August 2009

August 21, 2021

Avoiding student debt problems

By Gordon Powers, Sympatico / MSN Finance

New college students have a lot to learn about life on their own. Unfortunately, the majority of university newbies have had minimal experience dealing with money, which is why it's often a major source of stress for them. It’s hard to suddenly live on a set budget if you have never done so before.

As a result, many kids have problems managing their cash wisely and can end up spending much more money than they have and then borrowing unnecessarily – often without parents’ knowledge.

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August 20, 2021

What new video magazine ads mean for the future of marketing

By Jason Buckland, Sympatico / MSN Finance

My roommate claims to be two things: 1) a red-blooded, full-grown man, and 2) a preeminent authority on Harry Potter.

Now, Harry Potter’ s great. My sisters love it. Kids love it. It’s a big time entertainment machine.

But show me another rational, adult male who lives and breathes Harry Potter, and I’ll show you two dozen women that worship Friday Night Smackdown  and would encourage their husbands to schedule a fantasy football draft on the week of their weddings.

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August 19, 2021

Nine of ten Canadian banknotes contain traces of cocaine

By Jason Buckland, Sympatico / MSN Finance

(Insert Chris Farley/Rick James/Courtney Love joke here.)

To be sure, most people see Canadians as toque-wearing ice fishers who swig maple syrup and help old ladies across the road.

But who knew that, on the world’s scale, we should be the ones draped in a cream white blazer, fifty pounds underweight and sniffling while we blast Lady Gaga CDs?

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How to check cross-border car prices

By Gordon Powers, Sympatico / MSN Finance

In most cases new cars in the U.S. are still less expensive than they are in Canada, but the gap has narrowed significantly.

Now that the Canadian dollar is quickly catching up to its U.S. counterpart and struggling car companies have either lowered their prices or boosted their incentives, it's a toss up as to whether they are any bargains to be had south of the border. In fact, cross-border comparison shopping has always been a bit awkward – until now.

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August 18, 2021

Canadians think economy will recover twice as strong as U.S.

By Jason Buckland, Sympatico / MSN Finance

If Little Mosque on the Prairie’ s success is any indicator, Canadians are good at shining a turd and calling it gold.

And it’s that eternal optimism we’ve used to best cope with an economy that, despite our better efforts, continues to stink like Ron Jeremy on a hot day.

Yet a new poll suggests we’re more sure of a rebound now than ever, no matter how our neighbours to the south may be performing.

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August 17, 2021

The unwritten shame of job loss

By Jason Buckland, Sympatico / MSN Finance

“She recently put $1,000 worth of dental work on hold for lack of insurance. The pain of her cracked crown gnaws at her, a daily reminder of her predicament.”

By nature, humans are pretty proud beings. A recession, then, is the worst thing for us.

In case you haven’t had the pleasure, there’s just no substitute for the embarrassment you feel after a job lay-off.

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Does it pay for both parents to work?

By Gordon Powers, Sympatico / MSN Finance

Does it pay for both parents to work when the kids arrive or for one to stay home? Well, there's clearly no right or wrong answer.

Lifestyle issues aside, when considering whether two paycheques will pay off, you have to figure out how much of the lower earner's salary will be eaten by dual-income expenses. For instance, the "working tax" on a second income includes childcare costs, work-related expenses, lost perks, and additional household costs. You may also find yourself in a higher tax bracket where you end up giving the government a bigger percentage of your overall family income.

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August 14, 2021

The dumbest things said in a job interview

By Jason Buckland, Sympatico / MSN Finance

Getting a job in 2009 is no picnic.

The pressure is always cranked should you land an actual interview but, surely, this economy has added an extra layer of stress, driving competition through the roof.

Yet short of accidentally dumping your haemorrhoid cream on the desk or letting that swastika tattoo make an appearance, you’d have to think most people can hold their own when it comes to being grilled by prospective employers.

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75 ways to save on gas

By Gordon Powers, Sympatico / MSN Finance

With gas prices once again hovering around $1.00 per litre, long weekend treks and other August road trips are starting to cost serious money. But there are many things you can do, aside from simply running out and buying a more fuel efficient car, that can help you trim your gasoline expenses – no matter what type of vehicle you drive.

The search for optimum gas mileage is called "hypermiling," and while some of its techniques – like driving behind tractor-trailers to ride in their slipstream or doing 90 km/h on the 401 – are a bit extreme, there's lots of room for savings in between.

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August 13, 2021

JetBlue offers unlimited flight pass for $599

By Jason Buckland, Sympatico / MSN Finance

As far as airlines go, the skies in September and October are a little like Lou Diamond Phillips’ career. Dead.

Discount outfit JetBlue wants to change that, though, and the deal they’re offering might blow your mind.

The airline is offering an all-you-can-fly pass between Sept. 8 and Oct. 8 for only $599, taxes included.

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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...