Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Why I'm Not Applying for the Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card

When Tangerine bank launched it's new Money-Back Credit Card earlier this fall the blogosphere was abuzz as everyone drooled over how much cashback they would make with a zero-fee credit card!   And it's true, at first glance the concept seems like a no-brainer.... plenty of cashback categories, free additional cards, and no fees.  I even signed up for the sneak preview and got my approval email yesterday.

But I'm not applying for Tangerine's new card.   Instead I will stick with my Scotiabank Momentum Visa Infinite that made its way into my wallet a year and a half ago.  Why?  Because the Scotia Visa gives me more cashback!

The Comparison

Assuming you want a credit card that will maximize your cashback (and I hope you do), you need to consider a few items:

  1. The total value of your annual credit card purchases
  2. How many people will use the account
  3. What types of purchases you charge to your credit card (which stores/merchants/etc.)
  4. How and when you want to receive your cashback
  5. What other benefits are important

Total Purchases and Users (items 1-2)

My wife and I both use the same card (on the same account), and charge a combined dollar value of just over $30,000 per year.  Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite splits that up into 3 categories:
  • Gas/Groceries  (4% cashback)
  • Recurring Payments/Drugstore  (2% cashback)
  • Everything Else  (1% cashback)
By contrast, Tangerine's new Money Back Mastercard has 10 spending categories, and allows you to pick 3 of them for 2% cashback.  Spending in any of the remaining 7 categories yields only 1% cashback:
  • Grocery
  • Eating Places
  • Gas
  • Drugstore
  • Entertainment
  • Furniture
  • Hotel/motel
  • Recurring Payments
  • Home Improvement
  • Public Transportation and Parking

Types of Purchases

The key to this whole process is understanding your spending patterns.  A financial budgeting and analysis tool like Mint.com really helps with this process (although I ended up sorting a lot of the raw data in a spreadsheet).  Our family's top 3 credit card spending categories are Recurring Bills (about 15%), Groceries (11%) and Gas (10%).  Eating Places is a close 4th at around 10%.  So obviously I would select those 3 categories as my 2% cashback options, electing to receive only 1% for remaining categories.   If you're paying attention you may have noticed that all those 3 categories fall in the Scotia Visa 4% or 2% cashback.  So instantly we see that I'm losing 2% in the Groceries and Gas bucket.  

The million-dollar question: is 2% enough to cover the fees associated with Scotia's Visa? Turns out in my case, it is.   I ran all the numbers in all 10 categories and my net cash back (that is, total cashback minus any fees associated with the credit card) was within $3 of each other, in Scotia Visa's favour!

Note Your numbers could be completely different, which is why you must run them and understand your spending habits to make an informed decision.  If your largest spending is in Hotels and Home Improvement, you would likely get better benefit from Tangerine's Mastercard.

The Rest of the Story (items 4-5)

Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite credits your cashback amount to your credit card statement each year in November no matter when you signed up (my Amazon.ca Rewards Visa, on the other hand, automatically provides a statement credit each time your cashback amounts to $20).  Scotia charges me $99 for the first card, and an additional $30 for a secondary card.  My total annual fees are $129, which were factored into the comparison earlier.  These fees are charged to the credit card every January.

I looked on the Tangerine site but didn't see the method or frequency of Tangerine's cashback procedure.  It is important to note that, for this card to make sense, you should deposit your cashback in aTangerine Savings account (if you elect not to do this, the amount of 2% cashback categories allowed drops from 3 to 2).  

Both cards provide some standard Purchase Assurance and Extended Warranty, but Scotia's Visa gives me a number of insurance products, including: Travel Medical Insurance, Trip Interruption Insurance, Flight Delay, Lost Baggage, Travel Accident Insurance, and Collision/Loss Damage Insurance for rental cars!  The Scotia Visa has a high (but standard) foreign currency exchange rate of 2.5%... Tangerine's Mastercard is only 1.5%.  This category isn't important to me as I use the Amazon.ca Rewards Visa for all foreign currency transactions (it doesn't charge any exchange fee!).

The Winner

The winner for me is clearly the Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite card.  It gives me the most net cashback (though only by a little), and it provides the highest cashback return on spending categories I know I will always have: Gas/Groceries, and Recurring Bills.  It also gives me a number of insurance benefits that I use regularly when travelling.  
That said, even though I won't be using Tangerine's Money Back Mastercard, it might be the right fit for you.  If you spend substantially less on a credit card in any given year, or if your spending categories are not mostly Gas, Groceries,and Recurring Bills, the Tangerine Mastercard may be a better overall choice.  Running the numbers is really the only way to tell!

Monday, 20 July 2015

How To fix cracked motorcycle fairings: Honda CBR125

Here's a quick video on how to repair the left side fairings of a Honda CBR 125.  This bike took a spill when my wife went over the handlebars on a corner (saving a busfull of nuns careening toward a group of bunnies).  The left fairing took some damage and broke a couple pieces that keep it secured to the frame.

In this video I go through a quick and dirty fix with plastic cement:

Saturday, 27 June 2015

SNES Emulator on Elementary OS Linux

Getting SNES emulation to work on your linux machine is super easy.  I'm running elementary OS Freya on an Acer C720 chromebook.

The two main contenders for SNES emulation are SNES9x and ZSNES.  Between the two options, you want ZSNES.  SNEX9x is ok and much easier to use, but ZSNES offers more customisation and works better on my linux machine.

The best part is that it's already included in the repos: 

sudo apt-cache search zsnes
sudo apt-get install zsnes

I had to also install jstest-gtk in order to get my iBuffalo SNES retro usb gamepads to work.  Once installed, they worked like a charm and only required button configuration in ZSNES.  

sudo apt-get install jstest-gtk

Now head on over to DopeROMs and grab some of the classics.

Thursday, 28 May 2015

HJC CL-17 Motorcycle Helmet Review

Here's a little review of HJC's CL-17 motorcycle helmet.  I picked this up from Royal Distributing early this riding season (also check out Canada's Motorcycle in Canada or Revzilla in the USA) and have been using it for 1-2 months.

The helmet review is mostly positive with really only a couple shortfalls.  Here's a link to the manufacturer page as well.

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

How to Change Motorcycle Engine Oil & Filter: Honda CBR 125

This is the 3rd of 3 videos showcasing some maintenance I'm performing on a 2008 Honda CBR 125 motorcycle for my wife.  The factory service manual recommends cleaning the oil filter (strainer) every 12,000 kms and this bike already has 16,000 kms... I can't confirm that it's every been done so why not do it yourself and provide some peace of mind!

-12mm socket
-10mm deep socket
-Set of screwdrivers
-rubber mallet
-needlenose pliers

Previous video: How to Adjust Motorcycle Valve Clearances (CBR 125)

Make sure to subscribe and thanks for watching!

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

How to Adjust Motorcycle Valve Clearances: 2008 Honda CBR 125

This is the 2nd of 3 videos showing some maintenance on a 2008 Honda CBR 125 motorcycle I picked up for my wife.  In this video, I'm going through how to check & adjust valve clearances (valve lash).  It's pretty easy to do and really the only hardship is the small working space.

Previous Video: How to Fix Motorcycle Temperature Gauge (CBR 125)
Next Video: How to Change Engine Oil & Filter (CBR 125)

Thanks for watching! Remember to subscribe and check out the other videos on the channel.

Monday, 25 May 2015

How to Fix Motorcycle Temperature Gauge: 2008 Honda CBR 125

This is the 1st video of 3 showing some maintenance on a used 2008 Honda CBR 125 I picked up for my wife.  I bought the bike used, private sale with about 16,000 kms on the odometer.  The first thing I noticed was that the temp gauge wasn't moving at all (i.e. showing no temperature).  The previous owner wasn't helping out with any info so I decided to pull a few things apart and check things out for myself.

If you liked this video, consider subscribing to my channel.  Make sure to check out the next Honda CBR 125 maintenance instalment: How To Adjust Valve Clearances.

Saturday, 23 May 2015

How to Change Car Engine Oil: 2003 Mazda Protege

Here's a quick video showing how to change the oil in your car.  This is for a 2003 Mazda Protege LX 2.0L... but the technique remains largely the same with most modern vehicles.

For this specific vehicle, I'm using:

  • Fram 6607 oil filter
  • 3.5 L of engine oil (this is the required amount with a filter change)
  • 5w-30 for -30C to +40C (or 10w-30 for -20C to +40C)

Thanks for watching and feel free to post any question or comments to the youtube video feed.

Friday, 22 May 2015

How to Make Money on Youtube: Enable Monetization

Well, although I'll still keep this blog going I'm also starting to detail some projects and how-to's on youtube.  You can find my youtube account here, under the name anjpvideo.

Let's start where I'm starting: how to start making some money on youtube by enabling video ads.  This is done by enabling the overall setting called 'monetization'.  It's pretty simple to do and there are almost no prerequisites.  Take a look below!

If you like this video, you can subscribe to my channel and follow future tips, tricks, and how-tos.  Thanks for watching!

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