Survey of Canadian Household Spending

December 14, 2004


StatsCan report on 2003 Survey of Household Spending, reveals interesting information. It shows that our highest expenses are taxes (20%), housing (19%), transportation (14%) and food (11%). Our average spending increased 1% in 2003 compared to the previous year. The report suggests that most of the increased spending was on electronic gadgets like digital cameras, DVD players and cell phones.
Ottawa, given that our biggest expense is taxes, how about sharing some of those big surpluses with us, eh?

Save Money on Long-Distance

December 13, 2004


As immigrants, we tend to make a lot of overseas calls to friends and family, making long-distance among our most expensive monthly bills. At one time or the other, we’ve been customers of pretty much every phone company in Canada. Over the years we’ve learned to avoid the big phone companies like the plague. Not only are their per-minute rates not competitive, they also charge a monthly fee that varies from $0.95 to as much as $4.95!
Currently, we use Yak (no monthly fees!) for calls within Canada and to the US and Reliance for our calls to India. Their services are reliable, the quality is very good and the rates are easy on the budget.

Say No to Extended Warranties

December 10, 2004


We went shopping last Christmas for a digital camera at my favourite “no-sales-commission” retailer. The camera was on sale and when we decided to make the purchase, the sales person started pushing their 3-year extended warranty that would cost us $179 for a $999 camera. The camera came with a 1 year warranty, which can be doubled, if I charged it to my credit card. Though I hesitated a lot before declining the extended-warranty (it was a big purchase, after all), it turned out to be a smart move. I’ve used the camera fairly regularly over the past year, and it still has a year worth of coverage left. More interestingly, a better model (more mega-pixels, more features etc.) is listed at $899 and probably will be on sale for less.

BusinessWeek suggests that extended warranties makes sense only for very few things. They are pushed aggressively by retailers because they make fat profits on them. I think I’ll some money by almost always refusing to buy extended-warranties.