Tag Archives: Brenda Spiering

Apr 27: Best from the blogosphere

By Sheryl Smolkin

If you haven’t filed your income tax return yet it’s really getting down to the wire. Whether you take advantage of them this year or next, here are some tax tips that could put more money in your pocket,

Are you entitled to a tax refund for your medical expenses? by Brenda Spiering on Brighter Life draws on her experience following her son’s accident when she learned that the part of his dental bills not covered by her health insurance at work could be claimed as a tax credit along with a portion of her health insurance premiums.

Tax accountant Evelyn Jacks addresses The Mad Dash to April 30th in Your Money. Your Life. She says once you have filed your taxes, the most important question is how you will spend your tax return. Some options are: pay down debt; save in a TFSA; use RRSP room; invest in an RESP; or invest in a Registered Disability Savings Plan.

Hey last-minute tax filers: Don’t make these common, costly mistakes says Stephen Karmazyn in the Financial Post. For example, only eight percent of taxpayers are planning to claim the Canada Employment Amount (which is a credit for work-related expenses such as home computers, uniforms, supplies) even though anyone with a T4 income can make a claim.

In a timeless blog on Retire Happy, Jim Yih offers RRSP and Tax Planning Tips. He recommends that only one spouse claim charitable deductions. That’s because the credit for charitable donations is a two-tiered federal credit of 16% on the first $200 and 29% on the balance (plus provincial credits). Spouses are allowed to claim the other’s donations and to carry forward donations for up to five years. By carrying forward donations and then having them all claimed by one spouse, the first $200 threshold with the lower credit is only applied once.

And in a Global news video Smart Cookies: Last Minute Tax Tips, Kate Dunsworth shares last minute reminders for people who have been procrastinating with their taxes. She says if you are expecting a refund and you are not planning to file on time because you don’t owe anything, you are basically giving the government a tax free loan. And if you owe money, you will be penalized for every single day you file late. Also, repeat late offenders will be penalized up to double.

Do you follow blogs with terrific ideas for saving money that haven’t been mentioned in our weekly “Best from the blogosphere?” Share the information with us on http://wp.me/P1YR2T-JR and your name will be entered in a quarterly draw for a gift card.

 

Feb 9: Best from the blogosphere

By Sheryl Smolkin

Rufus at home – photo by Charles Troster

Well it actually reached +1 degree yesterday and I had a “spring” in my step. However its back to -15 plus who knows what wind chill, so I’ve had to downsize my expectations and put on another layer. Even in his new sweater, our cockapoo Rufus says it’s too #’%!@ cold to stay out for long.

By the way, if you’ve never watched the Rick Mercer clip RMR: Seven Day Forecast – YouTube, it’s a “must see” that will warm up your day.

I’ve just discovered Patricia Gass’s blog Let’s talk About Money. If you are close to retirement or already there, you will enjoy her Reflections From The Early Days Of Spending In Retirement, Part 1 and Reflections From The Early Days Of Spending In Retirement, Part 2. She says running out of money in retirement is NOT an option, especially for the “conservative accountant” in her.

On a similar theme, Kira Vermond from the Globe and Mail writes about Personal financial rules that help stop you from spending too much money. Many of us play simple mind tricks on ourselves and create rules to save money, whether at the checkout counter or in our bank account. How about the Costco customer who decides she will forgo a push cart while shopping there so she’s not tempted to overspend? Her rule: If she can’t lift it, she won’t buy it.

Don’t Buy A Pre-Sale Condo. Ever. says Nelson Smith on Financial Uproar. His blog was triggered by story in the Toronto Star this week about local home buyers who put a $40,000 deposit on a condo in 2011 and four years later got their deposit back, but no condo because the developer decided to convert it to a rental building.

Mr. CBB on Canadian Budget Binder writes about a Free Trial Offer that Cost a Woman $232 in Credit Card Charges. It seems that she paid $12.00 U.S. for a couple of bottles of diet pills to help get off her post-baby weight. However, she didn’t read the fine print and she was charged $116 twice on her credit card which pushed it over her $500 credit limit. So don’t believe everything you read unless you read everything, and remember rarely, if ever, is there a free lunch.

And if you are still wondering How the Bank of Canada rate cut will affect consumers, wonder no more. Brighter Life editor Brenda Spiering says its bad news for interest-based savings accounts and GICs. But it’s good news for variable rate mortgages and lines of credit.

As for vacations, with the loonie in the cellar and low fuel prices, Rob Carrick at the Globe and Mail says this is the year for a big road trip in See Canada and save money. I think he is onto something. Beautiful Saskatchewan, here I come….

Do you follow blogs with terrific ideas for saving money that haven’t been mentioned in our weekly “Best from the blogosphere?” Share the information with us on http://wp.me/P1YR2T-JR and your name will be entered in a quarterly draw for a gift card.

June 9: Best from the blogosphere

By Sheryl Smolkin

185936832 blog

There is nothing I love better than planning a vacation or two or three. At the moment we have two weeks in our Muskoka fractional ownership cottage coming up; a week at Disneyworld with our granddaughter in September; and I’m working on the arrangements for a family vacation somewhere warm in February.

So with summer vacations coming up for many families, I pulled together a series of posts both old and new, with a vacation theme.

Krystal Yee explains how she is saving money and travel rewards points for a European vacation this fall and prioritizing her travel plans. She is comfortable that nearer term trips to Edmonton and Las Vegas are off the table because her long term goal is worth saving for.

Peggy Goldman, President of Friendly Planet Travel offers 9 Great Tips For Budget-Conscious Travelers. Choosing a hotel with breakfast, avoiding baggage fees at all cost and selecting a credit card without foreign conversion fees are all good suggestions.

Several years ago on Brighter Life, Helen Burnett-Nichols weighed the pros and cons of buying a fraction of a vacation home. She says because most people don’t use their cottages all year it may be difficult to justify full time cottage ownership. Shared ownership means you have the property for 4 or 5 weeks a year and when you arrive it’s like walking into a “no upkeep resort.” However ongoing maintenance costs will increase and the re-sale market for fractional units is often limited.

In a more recent Brighter Life blog, Brenda Spiering gives some interesting suggestions for preventing family cottage feuds. She says the best way to decide how to pass on the family cottage to the next generation is to talk to your family and consult a financial advisor. Depending on your needs, he or she can direct you to other professionals, such as an estate-planning lawyer or tax accountant.

And don’t forget the many vacation destinations close to home. Tourism Saskatchewan’s Travel Tales Blog gives you updates on things to see and do, places to stay and eat, and exciting year-around experiences available in Saskatchewan, all only a few mouse clicks away.

Do you follow blogs with terrific ideas for saving money that haven’t been mentioned in our weekly “Best from the blogosphere?” Share the information with us on http://wp.me/P1YR2T-JR and your name will be entered in a quarterly draw for a gift card.

Mar 24: Best from the blogosphere

By Sheryl Smolkin

185936832 blog

Whether you simply can’t face the pile of paper on your desk or you are waiting for the last few T5s to come in the mail, the deadline for filing your income tax return is on the horizon.

In Income Splitting 101: Tips On Keeping It In The Family Boomer & Echo’s Robb Engen discusses the Conservative government’s proposal to permit income-splitting for families with children and some legitimate income-splitting strategies that are already available under the Income Tax Act.

Many young people are considering post-secondary education with a co-op component. On canadianbudgetbinder.com Mr. CBB tells us How his co-op program at a zoo shaped his work ethics.

He says one of the greatest parts of his co-op program was when he was feeding the animals and visitors to the zoo asked him questions he learned how to interact with people and share his knowledge freely.

Blogger Krystal Yee has a new job working close to the downtown Vancouver core. She says Having a car is expensive, particularly now that she has to rent a downtown parking spot. But her home is in the suburbs and she’s not ready to give her car up yet.

Brenda Spiering the editor of brighterlife.ca has some great ideas for spring cleaning your finances. Begin by digging out all of your essential financial documents. If you are unsure what they are, check out Twelve key documents you need to gather.

And as wedding season comes into full bloom, take a look at How I Made 100 Wedding Invitations for Under $60 on whenlifegivesyoulemonsaddvodka.com. All it took was card stock from a stationery store, an online template and a new printer cartridge.

Do you follow blogs with terrific ideas for saving money that haven’t been mentioned in our weekly “Best from the blogosphere. Share the information with us on http://wp.me/P1YR2T-JR and your name will be entered in a quarterly draw for a gift card.

May 13: Best from the blogosphere

By Sheryl Smolkin

blogospheregraphic

The May 4th article Not your grandfather’s financial website: The new, fresh face of money sites in the Financial Post by Melissa Leong highlights a new wave of bloggers and personal finance gurus who are shaking up how young people get information about money.

She says some of the sites get millions of hits on any given month, embracing readers’ voyeuristic penchant for personal stories and catering to their  anxiety about money and hunger for information. We follow many of these bloggers already and we will follow more of them in future.

Consistent with this theme, today’s Best from the blogosphere draws your attention to some blogs that may be of interest to both parents and their offspring.

On Youth and Work lawyer Andrew Langille focuses on workplace law issues relating to young people, including his major area of interest which is illegal, unpaid internships. While he primarily focuses on Ontario law, his provocative ideas cross provincial boundaries.

One of the major problems that face Canadians approaching retirement is that they are often still supporting unemployed or underemployed offspring. On boomer & echo Boomer comments on Lending Money To Friends And Family.

For young people managing their own money for the first time, on BrighterLife.ca Brenda Spiering writes New grad? Four money tips you need to know.

If your kids are a little younger, you still have time to enhance their financial literacy. On retirehappy.ca, Sarah Yetkiner discusses Setting Kids Up For Financial Success.

And finally, from the mainstream media, check out this press release, Boomers risk straining finances to support boomerang kids: TD poll.

Do you follow blogs with terrific ideas for saving money that haven’t been mentioned in our weekly “Best from the blogosphere?”  Send us an email with the information to socialmedia@saskpension.com and your name will be entered in a quarterly draw for a gift card.