7 ways to spend your tax return
In case you haven’t heard all the radio ads about how scary your income tax is SUPPOSED to be(it isn’t) in order to scare you into paying money to have someone file your taxes, you may not have realized that it’s tax season. An exciting season for a lot of people because it’s the one time of year they get “paid” from the government. Unfortunately, your tax return isn’t getting paid from the government but only getting your money back that you’ve loaned them interest free.
If you’re like the majority of the population you’re probably getting some money back in the next few weeks and I’m going to share with you some ways how to spend your tax return. Some of these will be great for future you, others are going to be instant gratification for present you. It will be all your choice; I can only pass along the ideas. Read more
Lotto Max Fever! How would you spend $60 million?
Here in Canada we have two national lotteries. Lotto 649 is the longest running since 1982 in which for $3 you can pick 6 numbers from 1-49 or have them instantly chosen at random for you. The jackpots start at a minimum of $5 million and always have a separate randomly generated number for a guaranteed million dollar payout with each draw. The second national lottery is called the lotto max jackpot. This lottery costs $5 to pick 7 numbers from 1 to 49 but also generates 2 additional groups of 7 numbers at random for a total of three chances to win. The jackpot starts at a minimum of $10 million and caps out at $60 million. Once it hits the $50 million mark it adds additional draws of $1 million dollars but these are not guaranteed like the lotto 649 extra draw.
Now these jackpots are nothing compared to the size of the powerball lotteries in the United States, with the most recent mega jackpot in January 2016 reaching over $1.6 BILLION but also Canada has less than a tenth the population when compared to our neighbours to the south and we have a measly Gross Domestic Product(basically the value of all goods and services produced in the country over a year) of $1.827 trillion compared to the US’s $16.77 trillion. Nonetheless, Canadians like they’re lottery playing just as much as the Americans and since Lotto Max’s Friday March 11th $60million dollar jackpot didn’t have a winner Canadians are going to be spending all this week dreaming what if… Read more
In February 2014 I spent a few days in Hanoi, Vietnam. It was the first stop of many on a South East Asia trip with some friends of mine.
For those of you who don’t know, Hanoi is the Capital of Vietnam and it is the second most populated area in the country. Hanoi served as the capital of French Indochina from 1902 to 1954 and then as the capital of North Vietnam until the end of the Vietnam war in 1976 where it became the capital of a newly united Vietnam.
February is actually one of the colder months in Hanoi but the average low is still 14C and the average highs are 21C. So we were expecting nice weather, especially compared to the freezing cold of February in Canada that we were used to. Unfortunately I don’t think it came above 15C at the peak of the day for most of the time we were in the city.
Other than the less than stellar weather, Hanoi was an incredible change from the usual vacations I’m used to. As soon as we were on the shuttle from the airport to the city center, it was an incredible eye opener. I haven’t spent much time outside of North America and the trips that I had gone on were in Europe which is highly developed and prosperous. Vietnam is not highly developed, the conditions people lived in on the route from the airport will make you very thankful for the opportunities you have in life.
The streets of Hanoi
The first day in Hanoi we signed up for a walking tour, which I’d recommend in any city you’re visiting. You’ll get a tour of the area in which you’re staying so you’ll be more familiar with getting around and hopefully won’t get lost trying to get back. You also have a chance to ask as many questions as you want with a local or at least someone who is very familiar with the way things work in that city.
In Hanoi, we were lucky to have a local guide show us around. Probably the most important thing we learned on the walking tour was how to cross the roads. Now I know that sounds like a very dumb thing to learn, but if you’ve ever been to a city where the traffic is 95% scooters, you’ll know what I mean. The streets of Hanoi are packed all day with scooters. There was every type of scooter and combination of people and cargo on them; from one person on a scooter to a whole family or a cargo load that was meant for a truck. Those pictures you see online aren’t one time occurrences; they’re everyday life somewhere else.
Now that the 2015 edition of the Calgary Stampede has come to a close, I’m going to recap how I can help you get the most entertainment for you dollars.
For those of you who don’t know, the Calgary Stampede is a 10 day summer festival held in early July in Calgary, Alberta Canada. Most towns and cities have summer festivals that honor a prominent member of their community that helped shape it into what you see today. The Calgary Stampede is just like that, only honoring everything that could be related to cowboys/ranching; which were the foundation of life in Alberta. Although I’m sure stampede started off as mostly a rodeo and agricultural event, it has since swelled to encompass almost every facet of life. The Stampede now includes the rodeo events, x-games type events, a market place for selling mostly as seen on TV type products, a showcase for local Alberta visual artists, a talent search competition, several different musical performances at every level from beginning to professionals and a giant midway with rides, games and the largest variety of food you’ll ever see including for some reason the world’s most expensive hotdog and scorpion pizza…I know right, it got a little lost from its cowboy roots.
With over a 1.2 million attendees over the 10 days and dozens of concerts, and millions of dollars in rodeo prize money the cost of attending isn’t like most summertime festivals. Downtown hotels which are closest to the Stampede grounds have an average nightly rate close to 300 dollars which is a 69% premium over the usual pricing according to Trivago.com. A bottle of water or a pop at most vendors on the grounds will cost 4 dollars. Needless to say food is also grossly inflated.
Basically the “Greatest outdoors show on earth” can also one of the most expensive outdoor shows on earth. But don’t worry! I’m here to help!
Soo…Have you ever been to a Gopher hole museum?
That’s probably one of the strangest questions I’ll never be asked, which is exactly the reason I feel the urge to bring it up. Yes I have been to a Gopher hole museum! As far as I know there’s only the one and it’s in Torrington, Alberta. I’ve got to say it was one of the weirdest fun road trips I’ve done in Alberta since I’ve been living here these last 4 years.
Ok, since you brought it up. What the hell is a Gopher Hole Museum?
It’s a museum for gopher holes, clearly… Read more
Ever been to Las Vegas?
Indeed I have! It’s one of my favorite destinations for a short weekend trip or something without too much planning. Las Vegas is a great time because it has so much for every type of person. It can be a trip filled with luxuries or it can be a pretty frugal trip with tons of free and cheap entertainment.
So what would you recommend if I’m going to do Las Vegas on a budget?
If you’re looking for a fun time in Las Vegas on a budget I’d suggest a few options like these: If you want to stay on the strip, in my opinion the Linq or Flamingo are probably the best values in terms of location. They’re both older hotels that have had some pretty nice renovations (especially the Linq). They’re both located right in the middle of the strip and boarder a new area called “The Linq” which has the High Roller Ferris wheel that has amazing views of the city and several bars and restaurants they imported from all over the world. If you don’t mind the travel time, there’s plenty of cheaper alternatives up on Freemont Street and off of the Strip.
I had the opportunity to see Cirque du Soleil’s newest touring show Kurios. I’m a huge fan of Cirque shows and this was my 8th or 9th show I’ve seen, so my opinion of them at this point may be a little bias.
I’m split about half and half on their touring shows and those with permanent residences, most of which are in Las Vegas. One thing I’ve noticed is that the touring acts “Under the Grand Chapiteau” are very similar to those with a permanent residence whereas the arena shows in my opinion just lack that little bit extra in my opinion.
Luckily Kurios is one of those touring acts under the Grand Chapiteau and it’s one of Cirque’s weirdest and most entertaining shows I’ve seen in a few years. Read more