Skip to main content

LiudmylaSupynska/Getty Images/iStockphoto

The Canadian dollar is pretty much where it was a year ago, which is not great news for snowbirds. Our currency is worth about 75 cents U.S. on the wholesale market, which means you might pay $135 or more to buy $100 U.S. dollars. Ouch.

Buying U.S. dollars at your bank is convenient, but expensive. Foreign exchange is one of retail banking's reliable profit centres. A few options for cheaper rates:

  • The Canadian Snowbird Association’s currency exchange program: The group says members get an “exclusive, preferred exchange rate.”
  • Knightsbridge Foreign Exchange: Budget travel expert Barry Choi says they’re the cheapest option for people who need to exchange large sums of money – above $2,000.
  • Search for independent forex dealers in your city or neighborhood on Google: A lot of these outlets post their conversion rates online.

I invite snowbirds and other regular visitors to the United States to contact me at rcarrick@globeandmail.com to offer their best tips for exchanging Canadian money into U.S. dollars. If I get enough good suggestions, I'll gather them up in a future edition of this e-mail.

Story continues below advertisement

Subscribe to Carrick on Money
Click here to have my newsletter e-mailed to you twice weekly.

Five rules for packing light
You save money on baggage fees and time spent at the luggage carousel when you pack light for a trip. But there's an art to getting the right mix of clothes into your bag.

Don't buy an SUV
That's the first of three suggestions on how to prepare for an increase in gasoline prices as a result of the introduction of a carbon tax. Rising oil prices could also send the cost of gas higher.

Tiny house? Bad idea
The tiny house trend arose as a solution for people desperate to own a house they can actually afford. Here are a bunch of reasons why tiny houses are a mistake. Buying big homes can be problematic, too.

Weirdest gadget ever
Introducing the Banana Surprise Yum Station. Just…bizarre.

Millennials and their money
A persistent narrative about millennials is that they waste money by going to restaurants and bars. That's the slant of this article about how young adults are eating out and buying food at specialty and convenience stores as opposed to conventional grocery shopping. Now for a millennial's rebuttal.

Dump your adviser?
It says here that clients tend to leave advisers more because of a lack of a personal connection than because of investment performance.

Story continues below advertisement

Today's featured financial tool
Find cheaper alternatives to expensive brand name products. Headphones, cameras, TVs, blenders, power tools and more.

Ask Rob
The question:
"I am a member of the finance committee of a church. We have many different accounts covering things like organ repair, education, building maintenance, cemetery, contingency etc., all in separate accounts and earning virtually zero interest. They total about $100,000. I have been asked to suggest an alternative investment which is flexible, liquid, "safe" and convenient. Any suggestions you can give me would be greatly appreciated."

My reply: It sounds like you need a business account, which limits your options. I suggest you start with Tangerine, which pays 0.5 per cent on its Business Savings Account. That's not much, I know, but it's better than zero. If any readers know of a better paying business savings account, let me know and I'll mention it in this space.

Do you have a question for me? Send it my way. Sorry I can't answer every one personally. Questions and answers are edited for length.

Featured Video
A look at how well the financial industry serves the needs of the LGBT community.

More Carrick and money coverage
For more money stories, follow me on Twitter and join the discussion on my Facebook page. Millennial readers, join our Gen Y Money Facebook group.

Story continues below advertisement

Send us an e-mail to let us know what you think of my newsletter.

Want to subscribe? Click here to sign up.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Comments

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • All comments will be reviewed by one or more moderators before being posted to the site. This should only take a few moments.
  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed. Commenters who repeatedly violate community guidelines may be suspended, causing them to temporarily lose their ability to engage with comments.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.
Cannabis pro newsletter