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.