Cancel Your Gym Membership By Email

October 11th, 2012

Hats off to the good, fair folks at Good Life Fitness who cheerfully allowed me to cancel my gym membership with only one email.

Details: I had been a member for nearly 2 years, so my 1 year commitment was up and, contractually, I was free to cancel at any time.

I wondered how difficult that would be, having heard and read many horror stories – not about Goodlife necessarily, but quitting fitness clubs in general. I’m happy to report that my experience was easy peasy and totally painless.

Quit your gym membership via email

Quit your gym membership via email

Reading the fine print on my contract, it looked like I’d need to go back to my gym in person, fill out a form – and hope for the best.

But I thought – what the heck – their website has a “Contact Us” form…. I’ll try sending a note to see what happens.

Imagine my surprise when the very next day, a cheerful representative phoned me… and after a few brief questions (to prove who I was, to offer some “bonuses” in case I’d reconsider) I was off the hook.

As promised, my last payment came out that week. And that was that.

I should say that the gym and I had a great relationship for about 10 months, but after that, it became a bit of a chore and I was looking for something to change up my fitness routine. I expect I may rejoin this low-key, clean, friendly local gym again – especially given the excellent customer service I received.

Thumbs up, Good Life Fitness!


Best Interest Rate Savings Account in Canada – Canadian Tire High Interest Savings Account

June 21st, 2012

Canadian Tire has a bank? Who knew?

It also turns out they’re offering the highest interest rate in Canada right now (summer 2012) on a high-interest savings account with no fees.

The Canadian Tire High Interest Savings Account has no fees and pays 1.8% interest.

The best interest rate on a savings account in canada is at Canadian Tire

The best interest rate on a savings account in Canada is at Canadian Tire


Sounds interesting. I’ve banked with ING bank for years – they’re currently offering a ho hum 1..35% on savings…. I presume that the Canadian Tire online experience will be similar.

The Toronto Star spelled out the best current rates in Rob Engen’s Moneyville account on April 29, 2012.

Canadian Tire and  Ally both have high interest (1.8%) savings accounts with no fees and no minimum balances.

Other rates were lower (next up was Manulife Advantage Savings Account offering 1.75% interest) and/or involved transaction fees (Manulife charges 1.25 per debit) and/or minimum balances.


New Ontario Tax Credit for Kids Arts Programs

May 2nd, 2012

How did I miss this? Parents of artsy kids take note: there’s a new tax credit for Ontario parents which gives a refundable tax credit for the cost of kids arts and education programs – we’re talking piano, art class, tutoring, drama and all those other great arts programs you put your kid in. You can claim up to $509 in eligible expenses and get up to $50.90 back for each child under 16 for 2011. Great news for parents who were happy enough about the federal sports tax credit – but a bit miffed that arts programming was not equally supported.

The Ontario Government Lists these eligibility requirements for the Ontario Children’s Activity Tax Credit:

The Ontario tax credit covers activities that fall into two categories: fitness and non-fitness. Eligible activities must be supervised and suitable for children. The criteria for fitness activities is the same as for the federal Children’s Fitness Tax Credit.

Eligible non-fitness activities must fall under one of the following categories:

  • Instruction in music, dramatic arts, dance and visual arts.
  • Language instruction.
  • Activities with a substantial focus on wilderness and the natural environment.
  • Structured interaction among children where supervisors teach or help children develop interpersonal skills.
  • Enrichment or tutoring in academic subjects.

You’ll find more information on the Ontario Government Website:

Gold – Why is it Valuable?

February 10th, 2011

Why IS gold valuable? We all know that gold is used in jewelry, but really, why is it that a simple element of the periodic table can command such huge piles of cash, when no-one really uses it for anything other than accenting their wardrobe?

The answer lies deep inside some of the biggest and most secure vaults in the world. That’s where most of the gold that has ever been mined is sitting right now. (more…)

How to Cut My Energy Bill This Winter

January 31st, 2011

Wondering how to cut your energy bill this winter? The US based AARP magazine has a few conservative suggestions, which are simple, good advice.

1. Plug wall openings

About 15% of air in the average home escapes through wall openings, an inconvenience that can be remedied by spraying insulating foam sealant around holes that lead to the outside and caulking any small openings, including your baseboards and steps. Pretend your house is a submarine and seal that sucker up tight!!! This quick trick can save you as much as $150.

2. Weatherize windows and doors

Control drafts by sealing small leaks around windows and doors with acrylic caulk to put $200 back in your pocket.

3. Update your thermostat

Did you know that replacing your thermostat can slash your heating and cooling bills by 20%? Purchase a programmable thermostat to control your bills and your bank account.

4. Blanket your water heater

By insulating hot water pipes with foam sleeves, you can increase tap temperatures 2 to 4 degrees and save up to $200 a year.

5. Seal and wrap ductwork

Eliminate unnecessary air leaks by sealing basement, attic and furnace ducts with mastic (a waterproof, flexible sealant); this simple project can increase your savings by $400.

6. Dress the Hearth

Though fires burn warm for the moment, the flames remove warm air from the house and send it up the chimney, increasing heating costs by about 10%. Purchase a glass screen or heat exchanger to reduce heat loss and put $200 back in your wallet.

Canada PRO Bank Payment Just Landed in My Account – What is It?

June 11th, 2010

What is Canada PRO and why did I get a bank deposit from he/she/it?

(Editor’s update: This post about getting a Canada Pro Bank Payment was written a few years back, but it still valid. The Canadian federal government still direct deposits some federal tax credits directly to your bank account and identifies itself as Canada Pro.)

Many Ontario residents will receive a “mystery” bank payment directly into their bank accounts in mid-December 2010. (And you might remember a similar one that landed earlier this year on Thursday, June 10, 2010.)  The mystery payment of $100 or  up to $330 for families is usually labelled “Canada PRO”. What the heck is it?

Canada Pro

Canada Pro


What Causes Inflation?

April 26th, 2010

What causes inflation?  That question is often answered in a way that sneakily avoids answering the question “What IS inflation”?

Like a lot of people, I first heard about “inflation” in the late 1970’s.  That’s why the prices are going up, we were told.  We were told that oil prices had increased, which meant that gas prices

What is inflation?

What causes inflation


Money, Money, Money

April 26th, 2010

Money.  Humbug.  It ain’t what it used to be.  It buys less and less of practically everything than it used to.  If you set a twenty dollar bill down on your desk, and watch it closely, every few days, a penny’s worth of purchasing power magically evaporates off the surface of the bill. (more…)