Save Your Bucks
By Robert Loney
Ever wonder who is offering the best price on that fridge? Or whether you could get a less expensive long distance calling rate? Here I am to your rescue! Paying for a home internet connection? Make it work for you! Various organizations and people have posted aids to help consumers get a better deal, and in doing so have probably made retailers and service providers drop their prices a bit as competition heats up! Here I'll provide some useful web sites that can help you save money by becoming a smarter consumer!
First, let's tackle the purchase of goods. There are several sites that compare how much a particular item costs at different retailers. Most allow you to search for a product by specific features (e.g., freezers that are energy star), and some also provide full descriptions and user ratings on items.
Computers, electronics, DVDs, Canadian oriented.
A wide range of products, Canadian oriented.
A wide range of products, covering North America.
Electronics, mainly US-based.
A wide range of products, mainly US-based.
Often good deals on articles and services appear out of nowhere. A good place to track these is http://www.redflagdeals.com/. The searchable site provides information on deals & coupons, and is Canadian-based. You can subscribe to their email-based newsletter.
Next, let's explore some services, starting with long distance call rates and cellphone contract rates. There is a lot of competition in these areas, but many of the plans for both services are quite complicated and hard to compare. Long distance plans can be compared on the web site http://www.telecomparisons.com/. This
web site asks you about your long distance calling patterns, and produces a table comparing prices of various long distance calling plans. You can save a lot of money. As an example, a person making ten 30-minute long distance calls weekly can pay up to $65 (Bell's normal rates) or as little as $9 for the same service!
Cell phone plans can be compared using the web site http://www.cellphones.ca/, which lists no less than 189 plans available in the Peterborough area! No wonder it is so complicated! Again, the range of costs is considerable.
You can also comparison shop electricity and natural gas contracts. Most people buy these energy products as they use them, paying the rate set by their utility at the time. But you can purchase these products on contract at a fixed price for a fixed duration. A warning here... this involves some speculation about what will
happen to energy prices in the future (which no one really knows). If you are interested, visit http://www.energyshop.com/, where you can compare energy contracts offered by different suppliers of both natural gas and electricity. The site also provides historical price patterns, and price forecasts (which you should take with a grain of salt!).
If you are in the market to renew or set up a new mortgage, you might find the web site http://www.canadamortgage.com/ of use. It lists current posted rates from over 30 financial institutions across Canada for various mortgage types and terms. It also provides tools such as a calculator to help you calculate payments.
Most of us have a credit card that charges way too much interest. The web site http://www.themoneybelt.gc.ca/ offers an interactive tool to help you choose a credit card that suits your needs. Speaking of overcharging, banks charge way too much for their services. Most banks offer some
sort of guide to compare their rates for their various levels of bank accounts. There are also a couple of web-based tools to help you compare different banks' account charges: http://www.themoneybelt.gc.ca/
offers an interactive tool to compare different bank's accounts.
http://www.fiscalagents.com/rates/servicepack.shtml offers a monthly service package comparison between banks.