Buying tips

October 31, 2021

E-bikes can prove costly when it comes to insurance claims

Although both motorists and cyclists don't seem to crazy about them, electronic bicycles (e-bikes) are flying off the shelves these days. They're cheap to buy, cheap to run and don't leave much of a carbon footprint.

They are, however, subject to provincial traffic laws; that is, they can ride in traffic with motor vehicles, like scooters, and their operators mustn’t drive recklessly or under the influence of alcohol. Here's a good summary of the existing rules.

More importantly, they also don't need a license or insurance, according to a recent Ontario Court of Justice ruling. But taking that latter option at face value might be shortsighted, warns My Insurance Shopper

"Like any motorized vehicle, there is a liability risk attached with owning this type of vehicle. If you're an owner of this type of motorized vehicle you need to know that you may have no liability coverage if you get into an accident, and you could find yourself without coverage if you cause property damage or worse, injure another person."

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October 29, 2021

Man discovers dead body in newly purchased France apartment

It's a surprise that we hope never happens to us.

The new owner of an apartment walked in to find the hanged body of the previous owner behind the front door when the locksmith opened up his newly purchased property. While it's odd that the body wasn't found earlier, you think the buyer would have visited the property before signing any papers, apparently the body was undisturbed for eight years, according to a local France newspaper.

Thomas Ngin, a security guard, had been fired from his previous job, dealing with court proceedings with his employer in legal court and facing debt issues.

The bank seized his property and sold it at an auction where it was bought for 415,000 euros (about $598,889) in early October. It explains why the owner never saw the property in advance, but he's likely regretting that decision now.

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October 08, 2021

Save money and don't over-vaccinate your pooch

Man's best friend is a great companion, but let's face it, they're also a costly member of the family.

While it's important to ensure your dog is in good health, save money by vaccinating your dog once every three years rather than once a year, which many vets continue to push, according to a recent CBC Marketplace investigation. These vaccinations apply to what are known as core canine vaccinations, which are essential to your pooch.

This vaccination timeline follows guidelines released by the American Animal Hospital Association, which is used by veterinarians in North America. It turns out that protection from core vaccinations will last for seven to nine years, according to the CBC.

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October 01, 2021

One quarter of Yelp reviews are fake

If you regularly visit to help you decide whether you should eat at a restaurant, you might want to do more research before visiting. The customer review website says that a quarter of its online reviews could be fake, according to the BBC.

The company commented after a Harvard business school study stated that 20 per cent of online reviews on Yelp were fake. The company has an automatic filter for fake reviews, but that doesn't mean it catches all of them.

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September 25, 2021

Ex-Trader Joe president plans to open grocery store selling 'expired' food

Would you buy “expired” food? Doug Rauch, an ex-president of Trader Joe’s, is hoping you will with his new store, The Daily Table, launching next year in Dorchester, Boston.

He plans to help with food waste by using groceries close to their expiry date or slightly past and transforming them into healthy meals, such as soup, salad and casseroles. The store will also have a teaching kitchen to teach people how to create easy, healthy meals. They will also sell milk that’s past it’s expired sell date for $1 a gallon, according to the Boston Globe.

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September 12, 2021

Do you haggle whenever you can? Does your partner feel the same way?

To lots of people, haggling is awkward, uncomfortable and inappropriate – unless it pays off.

A recent Consumer Reports poll found that more than 48 per cent of consumers have tried to negotiate for a better deal in the past three years, and most of those (89 per cent) who haggled were successful at least once.

Thirty nine per cent negotiated better deals on appliances, 33 per cent reduced their cell phone bills, 27 per cent went home paying less for electronics and 43 per cent were successful getting discounts on and furniture.

Although these numbers are down slightly from a few years ago, haggling over price is no longer reserved for car lots and jewelry stores, you'll find people bargaining at major retailers like Home Depot or Best Buy, and even Costco.

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August 08, 2021

Nine secrets to earning $100,000

There's no easy way to $100,000 in annual salary. But people who have reached that milestone are offering some advice on how others can get there.

One user on the Reddit website put out a request for anyone making at least $100,000 a year. "What was the smartest decision you ever made?" asked someone going by the name of RicsFlair.

The question generated a wide-ranging discussion about what it takes to climb the career ladder. Some of the predictable responses were in there — work hard, do a good job and the like — but users did have some decent advice for anyone trying to make it in the world.

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August 07, 2021

How to prepare for the end of the world

Are you busy preparing for the apocalypse? Well, you're definitely not alone.

The number of preppers/homesteaders/survivalists across North America has risen dramatically in recent years, with estimates suggesting that there may be as many as 3 million preppers in the United States alone.

What do these people have in common? The belief that the world is becoming increasingly unstable in several different ways and that everyone needs to prepare now for more difficult years ahead.

And they're very serious, often spending tens of thousands of dollars in stockpiled supplies, survival training and practice runs.

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June 26, 2021

Would you buy a car without taking a test drive?

Even if they ultimately bought there, just about everyone has a story about pressure tactics and broken promises after shopping at a car dealership.

Shopping for a new car is painful. You have to be on your guard at at all times, it's tough to always know what’s true and what’s an exaggeration, and there’s always a significant amount of money at play.

It's all very intimidating. So much so that some potential buyers are skipping the test drive altogether. According to a survey from Maritz Research, roughly 11.4% of consumers who purchased 2012 models didn’t bother to take the vehicle out for a spin before closing the deal.

But, in the United States at least, help is at hand.

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June 07, 2021

Summer spending pushes to a higher degree

Summer temperatures will soon be rising and so will spending.

With the kids out of school and families embarking on day trips, weekends away, vacations, entertainment and dining out, expenses start to heat up.

According to a new report by BMO Bank of Montreal, Canadians anticipate spending a little more over the summer months but they'll be looking for ways to keep costs down.

Canadians expect to spend an average of $3,978 on non-essential expenses and about another $3,000 on summer travel.

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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...