Friday, December 13, 2013

2013 Contest Winnings Totals

As a follow up to my post in July on my 2013 Contest Winnings at that point, I thought I should post the winnings for the rest of the year.

In July, I had won a total of $940 worth of prizes.

2013 Winnings (2nd Half of Year)

Google Nexus 7 Tablet x 2 (both my husband & I won one)  Kitkat Contest  Value $450
Google Play Codes from Kitkat Contest Value $30
$100 VISA Giftcard from Royal Bank Small Biz Twitter chat  Value $100
$100 Giftcard to Glamagirls from Tweenhood  Value $100
2 Books Muse & Secret Shared from @BookaliciousCA Value $30
$10 iTunes Giftcard from @PTPA  Value $10

2nd Half of Year Total: $710

Total for 2013: $1650

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Crowdfunding: Canadian tax implications

Crowdfunding has become extremely popular over the last number of years.  Let the public know what you want to do, and if they believe in your project, they will contribute amounts that although small from one person, overall add up to significant amounts of money.

Crowdfunding has allowed many individuals and small companies to raise capital money for projects that they were unable to get loans or other financing deals for.

Unfortunately, the overall perception of crowdfunding money has been that it is "free" money to simply put towards the outlined project.

Canada Revenue Agency put out an interpretation bulletin this week stating that money that comes from crowdfunding is considered income, and therefore is taxable.

If crowdfunding is in your future, keep this in mind, and consult your local tax preparer or accountant to look at how this will financially affect your future project.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Financial Costs of Orthodontic Braces for Pre-Teen

Our daughter has very crowded teeth.  We've known she would need braces since her adult teeth started coming in at around age 4.  They didn't push out the baby teeth.  Instead, the grown teeth came in *Behind* the baby teeth.  She had two rows of teeth at the bottom as a result.  I think they call this "dragon teeth".  At the same time, her upper two baby teeth fell out, and it took a full year for the adult teeth there to grow in.  She liked pretending to be a vampire during this time period!

She is self conscious about her teeth.  She wants them "fixed".  She has a couple teeth that are still completely in behind the others.

My dentist offered to do them, but to be honest, I'm not comfortable with a dentist doing orthodontic work.  I'd rather go to someone who does them full time. An actual orthodontist.  It seems there are only two in our town, so I asked for advice from friends and about 80% recommended one and 20% recommended the other.

Although I have good medical benefits through my employer, it does not include orthodontic treatment at all.  Knowing braces would be in the thousands of dollars, I also knew that I wouldn't be able to afford them for the next couple of years.  My father has offered to pay for at least part of them though, so I booked a consult with the orthodontist that came highly recommended.

The consult was very reasonably priced, at $50.00, which included any needed x-rays.  We learned that not only are her teeth crowded, but that they don't align properly at all in the molars, and that she has an overbite.  Apparently we will start noticing the overbite more once the teeth start straightening.  She will need braces, and springs to go on the braces as well to correct all of this.

So...are you ready for the price?


(plus the $50.00 paid for the consult)

Payable as $300.00 for initial moldings, a $1500.00 downpayment, and then $200 per month for 20 months.

I'm thankful for proud grandfathers (my dad) who are willing to give generous gifts to their grandchildren to help pay for this!

Are orthodontic braces in the future for you or your teen?  How are the prices in your city?

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Greyhound Facility Fee Adds $5.00 To RoundTrip Ticket

I've done a lot of travelling this week!  To Toronto twice, and Ottawa for a day as well.  For one of my Toronto trips, I took the Greyhound bus in.  It's a nice direct trip with only one quick stop in Scarborough along the way, which makes for a nice time to relax and nap.  They also have plugin outlets at every seat, along with free wifi, which means you don't have to worry about your devices losing charge during the trip, AND you have access to data to browse the web.

I typically take Greyhound into Toronto a couple times a year.  What has changed since my last trip is a new fee that I was not aware of.  On a round trip ticket that is $26 before taxes, an extra $5.00 "facility fee" was added.  That's a 19% increase before taxes for a facility fee.

When I looked up info on their website it says:

Note: A Facility Fee of $2.50 for one way and $5 for round trips will be charged in addition to the cost of the ticket or tickets purchased. Facility Fee are taxable fees. This facility fee will be used to provide ongoing maintenance, service and operation of the bus terminal building.
Really Greyhound?  Honestly, for short trips, this is a huge increase of fees/fares.  Why not just increase your fees by 3% of 4% over all your services (short trips, long trips, and courier services) and build this facility fee into your pricing?  

For my next trip, instead of automatically taking Greyhound, I will be investigating the cost of GO transit as well.  From here it means a combination of a bus and train trip, but the pricing may be better.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Giving Gift Cards To Kids ATTENDING Birthday Parties??

Last week, I was at our local Chapters, and saw a friend and their 3 children shopping in the kids book section.  I was there with my daughter to pick out a book as a present for a birthday party she was going to be attending.  One of the three children had a gift card.  I asked her politely who had given her the card...I had been thinking maybe it was a small gift from a relative.

"Oh, it's from a birthday party," she replied.

"From your birthday party?" I asked.

"No, from someone else's birthday party."

At this point I looked quizzically at the father, who said she had been given the card as part of the loot bag upon leaving a party recently.

This was not the first parent I'd heard this from recently.  I've been told that it's becoming the norm to give out $5 gift cards to each child who attends a birthday party either instead of a lootbag or as part of it.


I'm not a fan of lootbags.  I'm especially not a fan of giving out a giftcard!  Holy moly!  Let's talk about teaching consumerism at a young age.  Do you know who the giftcard benefits the most?  The store where it's from!!  They get advertising.  They get kids, parents, and siblings into the store.  And of course, $5.00 doesn't go very far, so typically you will end up needing to spend more than the gift card in order to get something.


Although I don't agree with "lootbags", I do like the idea of having something from an activity.  Decorate or tie dye some t-shirts. Make and decorate a crown or wand.  Teach them how to play jacks and provide them a kit each.  My daughter just brought home a pot with some small cactus that she planted in it that they put together at a party.

Check out this article for some other ideas on non-loot bag ideas!

Friday, July 5, 2013

My 2013 Winnings So Far This Year

As promised from yesterday, I said I would put together a list of the items I have won so far this year.  My yearly totals the last 3 years have been approximately $3000, $2000, and $1000 in value of items won.

What Have I Won?


Two NFL footballs from @SamsungCanada on Twitter $50 value
$25 gift card to Chapters on Twitter from @ThomasCookca
Book "The Spark" on Twitter from @BookaliciousCA $15 value
Book "S.E.C.R.E.T." on Twitter from @BookaliciousCA $15 value
Bottle of Canada Dry from Canada Dry Surprizes Contest $2 value
Box of Minute Rice from Minute Rice Take a Minute Contest $8 value
Box of Post Cereal from Post Flip the Flap Contest $5 value
$300 Gift Card from Gelaskins from a Twitter chat
$200 Voucher for UPS Store from Twitter Chat from @UPS_Canada
Weekend stay at Ottawa Marriott from contest on their Facebook Page value $320

What's The Total So Far?? 


So, for the first half of 2013, my total winnings so far total $940.00!!

Looks like I'm on my way to beating last years total of $1000.  Have you ever won anything?  What was it?

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Are Contest Wins Taxable In Canada?

Are Contest Wins Taxable in Canada?

In Canada, anything you win through a contest is NOT taxable!  You do not have to claim it as income on your income tax.  However, if you earn money, and invest it, the interest you earn on the principal are taxable, unless you invest in a Tax Free Savings Account (TFSA).  

Increase Your Income Through Contests!

You probably won't win straight up cash (but you might!), but you can win gift cards, products and experiences!  These "extras" are a great way to increase your income, especially if the prize is for something you would have already spent money on!  You can then allocate that money to somewhere else in your budget.  

You can also win for things that are above and beyond what your normal spending habits would entail.  For example, I have won tickets to concerts (eg one of favorite Canadian jazz bands Manteca) and sporting events (eg FIFA U19 when it was in Toronto) that I love to attend, but can't justify spending money on regularly.

But...I Never Win Anything.

So many people don't enter contests because they assume that they won't win anything.  But you CAN'T win anything if you don't enter!  So enter! Enter contests for that have prizes of things that you would use or would like. (Or that you know someone who would use the prize!)  Don't enter for things that you don't want.  Leave those contests to be entered by those who will actually appreciate the prize if they win!

What Have You Won? What Would You Like to Win?

What have you won?  I want to know! Tomorrow I will share with you a list of things that I have won in the last six months.