The internet is wonderful place that can give you free money and free services. Here are just a few that I personally use:
MONEY SAVING SERVICES
Ebates has partnerships with tons (and I mean TONS) of online shops, like Amazon, Banana Republic, Expedia, Hotels.com – the list goes on and on. How does it work? You enter the site of choice through the Ebates portal. When you spend money, you get cashback. Whenever you hit $5.00 or more, it gets paid out to you via cheque, Paypal, or Amazon gift card.
How do they make money? They get a nice commission every time someone buys something.
How do you make money? That’s the catch – you have to spend it first. But the way I see it, if you’re shopping on Amazon anyway, why not rake in some extra cashback on the side, too? If you use my referral key, we’ll both get a $5.00 bonus. Pretty sick, right?
Drop is fairly new to the scene and is only available in Canada. It’s an app that syncs with your credit card and/or debit card and gives you points to redeem for gift cards if you spend money at select vendors. 1000 points is about a dollar.
The “core” vendors where you can get points for purchases are small to choose from: Tim Hortons, McDonalds, Walmart, Shoppers Drug Mart to name a few and once you pick your 5 core vendors, you can’t change them, so be smart about it.
Then there are the sporadic offers they give you: 2500 points if you spent $25 at David’s Tea, for instance, which rotate in and out.
Some may be turned off by the syncing of the app to your banking profile, but hey, that’s the connected world we live in. If you sign up with my referral code of hktgj, we’ll both get 1000 points.
Airbnb is the way to travel and will offer much better value for money than traditional hotels. Plus – it’s a great way to get some local guidance on wherever you stay! I stayed in an Airbnb for the first time in 2015 and haven’t looked back since. If you’re new to Airbnb and use my referral link, we’ll both get some travel credit too on our next stays.
Borrowell works in the alternative lending space. While I don’t personally seek out personal loans, they do offer you the opportunity to track your credit score for free through their partnership with Equifax, who would otherwise charge you $15.50 each time you wanted to check.
But Borrowell? They’ll let you do it for free and email you your updated score every three months.
What’s the catch? You accept that Borrowell will periodically email you with offers for loans. If you are simply not interested, just delete that stuff. The free credit score monitoring makes it worth it!
I should begin by prefacing that I actually don’t use this service actively myself, but I have a lot of friends who do and they love it.
Mint is an app that helps you track your spending, saving, and all things personal finance in an easy and intuitive way. You can even export your data to spreadsheets if you wish.
Why don’t I use it? I’m still a sucker for old fashioned excel. But don’t let that stop you from having a quick and easy way to get a clearer understanding of your financial profile. Similar to Drop, you’ll have to sync it with your banking profile for it to be fully effective.
Splitwise is a personal favourite of mine because long gone are the days where you’re at the bar trying to do mental math to figure out who owes what share of the check.
Basically, you sync yourself to your roommate/friend/partner’s Splitwise account and input shared expenses and payments to one another. The app automatically does the math for you on what balance remains.
Maybe your purchase isn’t an even 50/50 split? No problem. You can customize the split by different percentages or shares if you wish. Very intuitive and they basically have every global currency available.
Fellow Canadians: need help figuring out your marginal tax rate? Or how about taxes on dividends and capital gains?
Look no further than the EY Personal Tax Calcuator (my personal favourite for its simplicity) or TaxTips.ca (for those looking for more specific info) to help figure out what the tax man will taketh. Both are free to use and very informative.