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If you’ve been out to restaurants in recent months, you know how much more expensive it is to grab a meal and drinks than it was in the pre-pandemic world. Are you tipping the same old amount on your rising restaurant and bar bills?

In Ontario, the provincial government has presented another reason to take a fresh look at tipping. The current minimum wage for bartenders and servers in Ontario is $12.55, compared to $14.35 for others (data on all provinces here). Starting Jan. 1, the new Ontario minimum wage for all will be $15. Would you adjust your tipping if servers and bartenders were paid more?

Help me get a sense of current attitudes toward tipping by completing the quick survey below. I’ll report back later so you can see how your thinking compares to others.

A lot of people felt free and easy about tipping at the peak of the pandemic, when our interactions with restaurants were limited by economic lockdowns and overall spending levels were down. As we slowly return to a normal economy, households are starting to return to pre-pandemic spending patterns. Rising demand for goods and services has run headlong into supply chain disruptions caused by the pandemic, thereby powering up inflation after decades of quiet.

Households have a lot on their plate in managing spending now. What are your thoughts on tipping?

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Rob’s personal finance reading list

A garbage house sells for nearly $1-million

A tale of Toronto real estate. A house filled – and I do mean filled – with trash accumulated over decades has sold for $955,000. That was $56,000 over asking. And now for a family of seven in a 1,300-square-foot Toronto rental. Read about it here, and check out the cute dog who is also part of the family.

Attention, parents who save for their children’s post-secondary education

What I used for our boys was a self-directed registered education savings plan at an online brokerage. You can also have your adviser manage an RESP, or get one from your bank. All these options compare well with scholarship trust plans, which are marketed to new parents. Here are two case studies from the Ombudsman for Banking Services and Investments that highlight the risks and pitfalls with scholarship trusts.

If you’re shopping on Instagram …

Certain brands aren’t exactly what they market themselves to be, says this VOX article. For example, watch out for the phrase “ethically made.”

Never tried an Interac e-transfer?

Helpful instructions on how to use this so-much-better replacement for cheques.

Ask Rob

Q: I Have several mutual fund TFSA accounts. I know we are allowed $75,500 total accumulated TFSA contribution room, but fund managers give the impression that they are in charge of the amount that can be contributed. Help.

A: If you’ve been eligible to contribute to TFSAs since their 2009 introduction, then you have cumulative room of $75,500. Suggestion – set up an online My Account with Canada Revenue Agency. In addition to your personal unused contribution room for tax-free savings accounts, you’ll be able to view and amend tax returns and correspondence with CRA.

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 and clarity.

Today’s financial tool

An app called Flashfood connects you with stores discounting food that is getting close to its best-before date. A recent newsletter covered a mobile phone app called Too Good To Go that connects users to restaurants and stores with surplus food available at discount prices.

The Money-Free Zone

Multiple laugh out loud moments in this look at how to irritate a millennial and a baby boomer.

Watch this

Janine Rogan, an account and personal finance writer, talks about the financial landscape for millennials is different than for baby boomers.

What I’ve been writing about
  • Presenting Canada’s cheapest robo-adviser, the best performers and the ones who don’t like Canadian stocks much
  • Just how vulnerable is your retirement to high inflation? Depends if you have a DB pension plan
  • Parenting in 2021 means cramming a house down payment for the kids into your retirement plan

More Rob Carrick and money coverage

Subscribe to Stress Test on Apple podcasts or Spotify. For more money stories, follow me on Instagram and Twitter, and join the discussion on my Facebook page. Millennial readers, join our Gen Y Money Facebook group.

Even more coverage from Rob Carrick:

Are you reading this newsletter on the web or did someone forward the e-mail version to you? If so, you can sign up for Carrick on Money here.

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