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Always Save Money
A blog by personal finance journalist Rubina Ahmed-Haq

MORTGAGE COSTS ARE GOING UP

The mortgage landscape in Canada is changing so fast that many current mortgage borrowers and first time home buyers may not realize how much it will affect their bottom line.  According to a new CIBC Capital markets reports, 47 per cent of all existing mortgages in Canada are up for renewal in the next year.  This number is significantly higher because CIBC says borrowers in recent years have taken on mortgages with two- or three-year terms, because at the time they were cheaper.  These shorter mortgages have created a refinancing glut, as they are up for renewal alongside the typical five-year mortgages. New mortgage applicants will be affected in three major ways
Rising interest rates Both fixed and variable rates are higher. When it comes to fixed rates, all of Canada’s big banks have raised their five-year fixed mortgage rate. The posted rate for TD, CIBC, BMO, Scotia and RBC is now more than 5 per cent. The move is a reaction to rising bond yields. Bond yields are higher because…
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KEEP SUMMER SPENDING ON TRACK

The warmer weather is finally here and families across the country are starting to make their summer plans. Personal finance experts love to talk about how expensive the Holidays are in December, but we often don’t discuss how pricey summer events can be. Unlike Christmas, a one-day event, summer holidays are two months long. With endless vacations, BBQ with friends and last minute dinner plans, the costs can add up. A 2015 BMO Bank of Montreal survey of summer spending found Canadians plan to spend an average of $5,605 during the hot summer months. Here are my tips to keep your budget on track all summer long.
Plan, Plan, Plan Benjamin Franklin famously said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail! You should apply this to your summer spending plans as well. Map out now all social events you already have planned. Summer wedding, family vacation, dinner dates. Big and small write all the events down than attach a guesstimate of how much you believe each event will cost. The BM…

BEST WAY TO SPEND YOUR TAX REFUND

Tax season is over finally and you might be getting a refund.  Many of us might be tempted to spend that money on a vacation or a new wardrobe, but that would be the wrong decision. Remember the money you’re getting is tax you overpaid during the year to the government. It’s your own money you're getting back, as much as it feels like it, it’s not a gift.  
Here are some of the best ways you can use that cash.

Put it into your RRSP
This is the ideal option. It does a few things. One it jump-starts your retirement savings for the next year and two it helps lower your 2018 income tax bill. This is especially important if you have not contributed anything to your RRSP this year.
Pay off high-interest debt If you're carrying credit card debt,  use this money to pay that balance down. No investment you make is going to give you the guaranteed return paying your credit card debt down will. Most credit cards charge around 19 per cent interest. By paying those off you are immediately putti…

WOMAN, FINANCE AND BUILDING CONFIDENCE

If you’re interested in learning more about money, finance and generally being a lady boss, then I encourage you to check out stnce.ca and become part of a community of women who empower one another to be self-reliant, self-assured, and well-informed. It’s the official launch of Stnce.  An initiative with a mission to build financial confidence among women. It’s fair to say I’ve dedicated my career to talking about personal finance and how we can be better at it. So when I was asked to help build financial confidence and literacy in women, my next question was, where can I sign up? Women are better at money than they realize. A recent poll conducted by EQ bank reveals that, compared to men, Canadian women are significantly less confident about their financial knowledge. But when tested on how well they understood finance, the study showed the majority of women were very financially savvy and scored high on the test.   Vice President of Equitable Bank Kim Kukulowicz says: “We don’t ha…

MY PASSION: WOMEN AND FINANCIAL LITERACY

From a very young age, I can remember understanding that it’s important to take care of your money. My parents were new to Canada just starting their lives together. They had bought a house in the suburbs and were raising three kids. On top of this, they still had financial obligations to take care of ageing relatives that lived abroad.  All of this meant every cent they earned had to be spent wisely. I remember my mom scouring the flyers for the best deal on daily essentials like milk and bread and my dad always making sure we stayed on budget. Their efforts paid off, because of my mom and dad’s frugal ways, we could always afford to go on an annual family vacation.  My parents are big entertainers and had parties throughout the year, the highlight being a BBQ with 150 of our closest friends every August. They’ve always been the best examples for me of how to make your life work in the financial situation you’re in. They have never tried to compete with family and friends who could …

PROTECTING YOUR SAVINGS FROM BREXIT

As we are now in the third quarter of 2017, now is an ideal time to check whether or not you're still financially sound. 

The start of 2017 brought about a rocky financial start to global markets. There's now an increased volatility everywhere thanks to the continuing discussions Brexit has brought about. If you or your business is being affected by it, use the time before the year ends as a catalyst to help you overcome similar issues in 2018. 

The UK is one of Canada's top trading partners. According to an article published by Worlds to Exports, the UK imports about $12.9 billion worth of products from Canada, and makes up 3.3% of the latter country's imports. If the UK ends up with a Hard Brexit - meaning that the country will not be able to freely trade with Eurozone trading partners - Canada will become a vital partner to the survival of UK businesses. 

Monitor your budget

One of the most effective ways to monitor your budget is to take at least a few hours to review …

FALL FINANCIAL CLEAN-UP

When we think financial restart, it’s usually at the beginning of the year. Who can blame you, after the expensive holiday season it’s a natural New Year’s resolution ---to save more money. But the fact is summer is a more expensive time of year.  That's why September --- not January--- is the best time to do a financial check-up.