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Personal Finance Reader

How to spend - and save - more efficiently Add to ...

Welcome to the Globe and Mail Personal Finance Reader. I'm Rob Carrick, personal finance columnist at The Globe, and each week I compile a list of articles, blog postings and websites that represent the best of what the online world has to offer on money-related subjects.

I'm not the coupon-clipping type, but I do appreciate an insider tip or unique offer that lets me spend or save more efficiently. That's why we've been collecting Aeroplan points at our house through a promotion with Quaker and its Tropicana juice division, and why I recently went online to print a coupon that gave us a decent-size discount on a restaurant meal. Small stuff, true, but it adds up.

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I hope the tips in this edition of the Reader add up for you. You'll find information about a low mortgage rate offer from a big bank, a new discount program aimed at families, a new travel rewards credit card and more. There are also some tax tips, a pointed reminder about the dangers of investment fraud - March is fraud prevention month - and the usual intelligence for investors trying to make sense of the markets.

Found something on the Internet that your fellow investors might enjoy? Talk to me at rcarrick@globeandmail.com

From The Globe and Mail and Globe Investor

Is buying in bulk worth it? Personal finance blogger Chaya Cooperberg explores some myths, including that buying a larger package means that the cost per unit is lower

Test your fraud ID Thousands of Canadians claim fraud each month. Protect yourself with a few simple steps from Smart Cookie Angela Self

Preparing for the what-if scenario Many Canadian couples fail to establish a plan for what will happen when one of them is no longer there

Before you hit 'buy' With the explosion in online trading, discount brokers are working hard to make clients more comfortable with the experience, says Rob Carrick

File your best tax return ever In this online discusison, certified general accountant Ryan Rawluk answered your tax return questions

ETF's: What could go wrong John Heinzl explains tracking error in this Investor Clinic video

Welcome to the new GlobeInvestor.com Find out what's changed and why -- and how it can help your money grow



Must Reads From Around the Web

Attention, Parents Myparentrewards.com is the name of a new website offering access to coupons for a variety of Canadian and U.S. retailers in exchange for a $20 membership fee. Suggestion: check out the bargains available in your area before you sign up.

Mortgage Must-See Bank of Montreal has launched a highly aggressive offer of a five-year fixed rate mortgage at 3.75 per cent, but it has a catch. You have to limit your amortization period to 25 years at most, rather than choosing the popular 35-year payback period.

Reward Yourself The Million Dollar Journey blog offers a lukewarm analysis of a new American Express card that earns you Starwood Preferred Guest points. Starwood is the hotel chain that includes such names as Sheraton, Westin and Four Points.

If you're comparing credit card reward programs, don't forget to visit the BankNerd.ca website.

You can now earn Aeroplan loyalty points by purchasing chocolate and ice cream from Nestle and Purina pet food. A similar Aeroplan promotion with Quaker has helped net me about 2,500 Aeroplan points.

Tax Tips The Financial Highway blog explains why students should file a tax return.

The Canada Revenue Agency has created this website to help seniors with income tax-related questions.

A review of the latest edition of the ever-popular QuickTax software product by the Canadian Capitalist blog.

Learn From This March is fraud prevention month, which makes the story of onetime Vancouver investment adviser Ian Throw even more pertinent. Thow pleaded guilty to 20 counts of fraud this week. His clients, some of them seniors, lost millions. If you have any concerns that your adviser is legit, ask questions. Start with your adviser, move on to his or her boss (call the branch manager) and then to regulators. Heck, you can even e-mail me if you need to.

For tips on how to avoid being scammed, courtesy of Canada's banking ombudsman Douglas Melville, click here.

Have you been a victim of financial fraud? If so, share your story with other Globe readers.

Investorville Here's a review of the online brokerage firm Questrade by a blogger who focuses on the Gen Y audience (young adults, in other words). Questrade, for those who haven't heard, has some of the cheapest stock trading commissions around.

Sometimes, a non-financial voice can give you new insights on investing matters. In this case, Time takes a swipe at bond funds (note: U.S. bond funds are considered here). The main problem is that you never get your money back with bond funds, as you do with individual bonds and guaranteed investment certificates. In fact, this article says bond funds are more like stocks than bonds.

A smart analysis of how Warren Buffett made his money. It's more complex than you might think.

The latest glimpse at what Buffett has been buying and selling.

When the stock markets fell in January, corporate insiders ramped up buying of their own shares. That's a bullish sign.

Decline and Fall Check out the pink Lamborghini that one particular hedge fund scammer bought his wife before everything went to hell.

Food For Thought It says here that the expiry date stamped on many food products is not a drop-dead date for using them or throwing them out.



Follow me on Facebook. I'm at Rob Carrick - Personal Finance.

Editor's note: If you don't receive Rob Carrick's personal finance newsletter each week by email, you can sign up to receive it free by registering at The Globe and Mail . All you need to do is register for the site, or if you've already registered, login and go to your profile at the top of the homepage. Once you're in your profile, look under Alerts and look for the Personal Finance Reader and other newsletters. Other financial newsletters include:

- Business Ticker, a summary of the top business stories of the day

- Berman's Market Update, a summary of the markets at the open, noon and close

- Globe Investor Magazine, a biweekly collection of smart investment idea and portfolio management stories

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