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First, there was Netflix. Then came Spotify.

I’m talking here about the subscription costs on our monthly credit card bill. The combined cost for the plans we have is $29, which is a great value. OK, a pretty good value. I l-o-v-e Spotify, but I’m finding less worth watching on Netflix.

Monthly subscriptions are a growing trend not just in entertainment, but also financial products. One is Mylo – it’s an app with a $1-a-month fee that rounds your day-to-day purchases up and invests the money for you. (See below for more examples.) As the subscription model gains traction, we’re all going to have to be more discriminating about what we sign up for. I’d have to be blown away by something to consider adding another $15 or so per month to our household costs.

Likewise, I’m staying open to better alternatives to Spotify and Netflix. That’s why I jumped on this blog post about the best music streaming services. Spotify wins for a variety of reasons that include the availability of a free desktop version with ads. I tried that version and the ads wore me out.

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Looking Ahead: The Retirementality

That’s the name of my new podcast on retirement, which you can listen to here or download on iTunes or Spotify. There are three episodes, one aimed at millennials, one at Gen X and one at baby boomers.

Rob’s personal finance reading list…

How to get free stuff

Here’s a list of restaurants that offer free meals or drinks on your birthday, and here’s some guidance on finding deals for free samples.

These apps help you save automatically

These savings programs round up the cost of your purchases to the nearest dollar and direct the difference into savings or investments. I’m a round-up fan. Easy savings.

It’s expensive to be a Leafs fan

An investment adviser calculates that you’d need a seven-figure investment portfolio to be in a bracket where you could afford a pair of Toronto Maple Leafs season tickets. Pro tip: Come see the Leafs in Ottawa, where I live. Tickets are affordable, and you’ll see lots of blue sweaters in the crowd.

The bargain guide to being a vegan

A thorough guide to eating a vegan diet on a budget. Included are tips on cheap protein substitutes like lentils and chickpeas.

Today’s financial tool

The Canadian Foundation for Economic Education has created a series of online learning modules to explain the role of money in our economy and the role of the Bank of Canada in setting interest rates and controlling inflation.

Ask Rob

Q: Are extended warranties on new vehicles worth the price, e.g. $3,000 for eight years?

A: Unless you’re buying a vehicle with a notably bad reputation for reliability, I don’t think so. With that $3,000, you’d essentially be pre-paying for a substantial amount of work you might never actually need.

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.

In case you missed these Globe and Mail personal finance-related stories

  • Goodbye Toronto, hello Winnipeg: Are Canada’s young giving up their big city dreams?
  • More than 85 lenders hiked mortgage rates in the past week. Here’s how you can still lock in a great rate
  • What should Canadian investors do with their U.S. dollars? (for Globe Unlimited subscribers)

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