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I gave readers of this newsletter some homework last month and they nailed it.

The assignment: Send the name of a restaurant that offers good value, along with a comment describing what you like about the place. The responses helped me put together a list of 150 or so restaurants from Victoria to Clarenville, N.L. Among them is the Red Dot Café in Osgoode, Ont., which a reader described as “my refuge for tasty food, casual atmosphere and reasonable prices.”

The list of restaurants will be available next week to subscribers of the Carrick on Money e-mail newsletter. If you’re reading this online and haven’t yet signed up to receive the newsletter, you can do so here. Carrick on Money will arrive in your e-mail in box every Tuesday and Thursday. You’ll find links to some of the best personal finance content found online, including stories from The Globe and Mail. I also answer reader questions and offer music picks.

Crowdsourcing is a big part of the newsletter as well. I often survey readers on personal finance matters and seek their recommendations. I recently asked readers if they were losing their appetite for dining out, given rising prices, shrinking portions and ever-increasing tipping demands. After noting that my wife and I have shifted our restaurant spending to places that offer the best value, I invited readers to share their favourite spots.

There are some pubs, roadhouses and burger joints on the list of restaurant names supplied by readers, but also lots of Asian, Indian and Mexican restaurants, bistros and breakfast spots. As with the Carrick on Money newsletter, there’s something for everyone.

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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.

Rob’s personal finance reading list

Happy no-spend holidays

A useful list of ways to set spending boundaries over the holiday season. One idea is to start new traditions like a no-spend or regifting Christmas. Another thought is a gift exchange where everyone is matched with another family member and there’s a cost limit on the present.

Tips for saving on tires

A list of ways to save money when buying tires for winter, summer or all seasons. Tires can be a big expense, but they contribute to your vehicle’s safety, drivability and even fuel economy. There’s a price comparison in this article that found a price gap of more than $250 between four different tire sellers.

Healthy salads, with a side of slime

Is it OK to pick the slimy leaves out of a bag of salad greens you bought at the grocery store, or do you have to throw the whole bag out? Answers here, along with advice on how to buy fresh bagged salad that isn’t decaying inside the package.

A F.I.R.E. fizzle

Fortune interviews a 33-year-old woman who worked hard to achieve the F.I.R.E. lifestyle – financial independence, retire early – and then backed away because she felt she was missing out on life.

Ask Rob

Q: I recently lost my job at a startup and may have to dip into my RRSP to help make ends meet. Our emergency fund is dry after an emergency vet visit over the summer and I don’t have any other savings. If I’m forced to do that, should I wait until next year so I don’t increase my total income and owe more in taxes/receive less on my income tax return? I make $70,000 a year and contributed $4,200 to my RRSP this year. Or, with the markets struggling, is it best if I withdraw from my RRSP now, in the event we dip into a recession and it loses some of its value?

A: We can only speculate whether stocks might fall in the near term, thereby reducing the value of your RRSP. But unless you land a new position quickly, and I hope you do, it’s quite possible you will be in a lower tax bracket next year. If that happens, delaying the RRSP withdrawal until 2024 makes sense. We’re really only talking about waiting a month or so at this point.

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.

Tools, Explainers, Guides and Charts

An explanation of what can happen when a Canadian living outside the country makes a contribution to a tax-free savings account. The lesson here: Don’t add money to a TFSA when you’re a non-resident.

The Money-Free Zone

Presenting the song Lorelei, in honour of recently deceased Pogues lead singer Shane MacGowan. A personal favourite.

On social media

The difference between cheap and cost-conscious people. In chart form.


What I’ve been writing about

– In a few months, you could be kicking yourself for not buying GICs today

– Too much wealth tied up in real estate can hurt your retirement, report suggests

– If Alberta is an economic powerhouse, why is Calgary housing cheaper than Windsor, Ont.?

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.

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