Spring cleanup tips to keep your property looking pristine

forsythia blooms spring cleanupLET THE SUN SHINE THROUGH

 

Today is the first day of Spring! While it may not feel like spring in many places that are still covered in snow, the snow is going to soon start to disappear.

The bright, yellow blooms of the Forsythias I am hoping are not too far off, as many say that when the Forsythias are in bloom spring is here to stay. 

I’ve already got my spring garden prepared using odd containers I keep around the house. That’s only one step for me getting ready for the spring season.

Cleanup of my yard takes top priority this time of year and it should be on your list as well. While spring is my favourite season of the year it always starts out looking pretty yucky.

The mud and wet dull looking grass as the ground starts to thaw and reveals of all the garbage and debris that has sat under the snow all winter. A good cleanup of your property and some early maintenance will set you up for a better growing season.

 

Spring Cleaning Checklist

 

Mr. CBB has a great list of spring cleaning chores and a good list of reasons for maintaining the outside of your home as the spring season begins. While his lists include many of the spring cleaning chores inside your home he also mentions a few good ideas for giving the outside of your home a simple facelift.

 

Early spring maintenance

 

A good spring cleanup of your gardens and lawn is a smart way to save yourself some yard-work later in the year. By taking a preventative approach rather than having to backtrack and fix things that should have been done at the beginning of spring conquer at the start.

If you burlapped any bushes or plants on your property once the temperature is consistently above 5 degrees Celsius you should take it off.

If the burlap is left on once it warms up it can cause the plant to sweat causing stress to the plant. Plants that experience any stress are often more susceptible to pest damage and disease.

 

spring cleanupRaking your lawn and flower beds

 

Raking up any leaves and plant debris that has been hidden under the snow will not only help to make your property look cleaner but also removes any plant debris that may harbour disease.

A rake can also be used to clean up any debris that may be in or around shrubs including any leaves, broken branches and garbage.

You can easily store any leaves in your compost bin to break-down which would be great for the soil and save you some money.

You may need to use your hands to get right into the centre of some plants to remove the debris but that is part of the job so get used to it as a homeowner unless you plan to hire someone to do the job.

I have customers who hire me to come to their home every year in Ontario to help get their property on the go for spring, summer and fall. For various reasons they are unable to and landscaping services is what I specialize in.

If you’d like me to come take a look at your property because you have landscaping needs or if you would like a quote send me a quick email to Mr.CBB and I’d be happy to help you out.

This is also a good time to remove any annuals that you may have left in your flower beds from the previous year. Waiting until the grass has dried up considerably to rake the lawn is best to limit how much you are contributing to compacting the soil.

If you can also avoid walking on your grass until it has dried up as it will also help to decrease compaction. Aerating your lawn also helps to reduce compaction though you will likely have to call in a landscaping company to have this done unless you own an aerator.

If you are lucky you might have some door-to-door sales people come knocking who will aerate your lawn for about $20 depending on the size.

Any leaves and plant debris can be added to your compost pile.

 

Pruning

 

Use a sharp pair of pruners or loppers depending how big the diameter of the branches are to cut off any winter-kill on shrubs and roses. Cutting off any dead, dying or diseased branches will help to encourage new growth.

If you have any climbing roses you can cut off the thicker, older canes to encourage new growth of younger canes that you can train to climb. Now is the time to get this started so you can sit back and enjoy the beauty during the blooming season.

Any perennials that were not cut back in the fall can now be cut back to the ground. You can also cut back any ornamental grasses although you shouldn’t cut them right to the ground. By leaving an inch or two it will ensure that you are not cutting the crowns which will kill your grass.

Summer-blooming shrubs such as Weigela and Viburnum produce their flower buds on new growth so they should be pruned in the spring.

Cutting off any winter-kill and thinning out some of the inner branches will open up the shrub for better air circulation when the shrub buds and leafs out. Air circulation throughout the shrub can have an impact on the health and susceptibility of the shrub to pests and disease.

Spring-blooming shrubs such as Spirea and Forsythia should not be pruned until after they have finished flowering. If you prune them back in the spring you may not have any blooms as you will be cutting off the flower buds that grow on old growth from the previous year.

 

Mulch

 

If you are planning to replace the mulch in your gardens this year stripping the old mulch off in early spring will be one less thing you have to do before planting your spring gardens.

You can spread the new mulch once you have done your planting. If you remove mulch add it to your compost bin or start one if you do not have one.

Why pay for compost to turn into your garden when you can make your own. A good layer of mulch, about 2 inches deep, will help to stop or slow down the growth of weeds in your gardens as well help to hold in moisture and regulate soil temperature.

Turning the soil in your flower beds with a garden fork helps to relieve compaction, improve drainage and at the same time you can improve the nutrients and minerals in the soil but adding some compost.

When your soil is compacted it not only affects how well your soil will drain but also how air, nutrients and minerals reach the roots of your plants.

 

Overseeding

 

The bursting yellow blooms of the Forsythias are a good indicator that you are safe to put down grass seed. Rough up any areas that are bare and level the ground with a garden rake.

You may want to top dress the area with some fresh topsoil before you lay down any grass seed. I recommend this for larger areas to promote ideal growth.

 

Fertilizing

 

Once your spring bulbs begin to emerge from the soil providing them with some fertilizer will not only help to ensure you have long-lasting blooms that year but also feeds the bulb for next year’s growth.

A spring application of fertilizer on your lawn gives you a much better chance of having less problems with weeds, pests and disease. A healthy lawn is your best defence against weeds and other pests.

 

Thinning out/transplanting

 

As the perennials in your flower beds begin to emerge from the soil it is a great time to take a look at your property to see what plants you can thin out. Such plants as hostas, day-lilies and grasses can be divided and transplanted to fill any holes or bare spots in your gardens.

You will save money by getting your plants for free or you can sell them on sites like kijiji or give them away on freecycle. Don’t wait to post the ads as the sooner the plants get back in the ground the better for the plant.

 

 Snow mold

snow mold pink

snow mold pink – Wikipedia source

 

What is Snow Mold?

Snow mold is a fungus that will show up in your lawn once the snow has melted if you have been affected by it.

Snow Mold may damage or even kill your grass so it’s important to recognize it right away.

As soon as the snow melts in spring if you see circles in your lawn that are anywhere from 3 inches to 12 inches in diameter you most likely have snow mold.

These circles can sometimes be hard to see because if you have a lot of this mold the circles often blend together so that you may just see large patches.

Snow mold is found in areas that have cold winters where the ground is consistently covered with snow. There are two types of snow mold that can attack your grass Pink Snow Mold and Grey Snow Mold.

Pink snow mold is the more severe of the two with the potential to kill the roots and crowns of the grass in your lawn. Grey snow mold typically does little damage to the roots and crown of the grass rather it affects just the blades of the grass.

Snow mold is able to survive throughout the summer although you will only see it after the snow melts. During the summer it may live in any leaves or plant debris that may be hanging around on your property. Severe snow mold may need a fungicide treatment to kill off the unwanted pathogen.

 

How to prevent snow mold

 

Snow mold pink or grey has the ability to show up in any variety of grass while Kentucky Bluegrass and fescue varieties seem to be least affected by it.

Regular cutting and raking of your grass will help to prevent snow mold from showing up in your lawn. Cutting your grass in the fall right before the first snowfall or even if there is a light dusting of snow on the ground is a good idea.

The more surface area of grass that you have when the snow falls the greater the chance that your grass may become susceptible to snow mold.

 

Community spring cleanup

 

Join your community for a spring cleanup

The garbage left behind on the sidewalks, parks and parking lots once the snow disappears contributes to the yucky look of saying goodbye to winter.

Many cities and municipalities have organized cleanup days to get a group of people together to clean up as much of the garbage as possible in one day.

If you are interested in helping with the cleanup of your city or town look into whether they have an organized event. If you find they do not possibly consider creating your own with friends, family and neighbours.

I have a long strip of grass that runs along the road between our house and our neighbours that collects garbage all summer that people decide they no longer need in their car so they chuck it out the window, on to my property. Thanks!

The kids and I walk this strip many times throughout the summer so after the winter come spring time we are guaranteed to walk with a garbage bag in hand. We do our part to keep our community clean, so give it a try to be proud of where you call home.

Are you getting prepared to give your property inside and out a good spring cleaning?

 

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5 Secrets your millionaire neighbour isn’t telling you

millionaires secrets shhhLISTEN UP IF YOU WANT TO KNOW

 

You never know who is a millionaire these days, or do we?

A record-breaking 12 million people were millionaires in 2013 and researchers predict that people with net worth of at least a million dollars would continue to increase for the coming years.

Their survey also showed that most of these millionaires reside in North America, specifically in the United States; the land of opportunity, while its close friend, Canada, isn’t far behind with almost 500,000 millionaires living there.

Now, if we are going to look closely into those numbers, we can conclude that the chances of you knowing a millionaire have increased over the years and so has your chances of being neighbors with a millionaire.

You may not know it yet, but Mr. and Mrs. Smith may be millionaires but they just don’t want you and their other neighbours to find out because they don’t like the attention and prefer to live a simple life.

That’s right. Most millionaires are not fond of bragging about their net worth to others, neither do they want to show off to residents in their neighbourhood.

Actually, there are a number of things that millionaires do that their friends or neighbours may not know. Here are some secrets that millionaires like to keep for themselves that their non-millionaire neighbors should know too:

5 Millionaire Secrets That You Need To Know

 

You need more than one source of income

 

Most millionaires these days didn’t get rich because they inherited a huge amount of money. Those days are long gone.

The truth is several millionaires today are self-made millionaires who worked hard and took advantage of every opportunity that was given to them.

They didn’t settle with the salary that they were receiving from their job; millionaires don’t like to live on only one source of income.

They want to have lots of them and that’s one of the reasons why they’ve been able to get where they are now.

They know that it would be hard for them to accumulate wealth relying on just a single income and that it would be much easier for them to save for their future if they are going to have multiple sources of income that they can use to provide for themselves.

 

Start ASAP

 

If you’re going to ask a millionaire the thing that they regret the most?

One of the common answers that you’ll hear from them is not being able to start as early as possible.

If you’ve tried to ask for advice from a millionaire, the most common advice that they would give you is that you should NOT wait until you do something to achieve your life goals. You should pursue your dreams now, not tomorrow.

Why?

It’s because being able to start young enough means you can take advantage of the time that you have in your hands. Something others who started late cannot take advantage of.

If you’re going to ask me, time is indeed more important than money, and this quote right here says it all:

Time is more valuable than money. You can get more money, but you cannot get more time.” – Jim Rohn

 

Always live below your means

 

Millionaires already know that living way above what your salary can get you is not the formula to accumulating wealth.

They all know that. You should too.

I’ve read a book before called The Millionaire Next Door, and the authors of that book wrote in there that living below your means will never get you in trouble.

I can’t help but agree with them on that because what can possibly go wrong living below your means, right?

You can’t get in debt spending only what you can afford to lose, neither can you run out of money.

If you’re interested in reading the book, feel free to check out my book review of The Millionaire Next Door first.

 

Investing is a nice hobby to have

 

Do you know why the wealthy don’t have to work too much for too long?

Well, it’s all because those smart wealthy people are investors. They have investments that can give them passive income.

What is passive income?

According to Wikipedia, passive income is an income received on a regular basis, with little effort required to maintain it.

If you want to get this type of income now, then sorry to disappoint you, but it’s going to take you some time.

They didn’t set those up last year. It took them years to be able to get some income out of their investments and a lot of planning.

Another not-so-good thing about this one is that investing isn’t really for everyone, so before you make it as one of your hobby or participate in it, you better assess yourself first if you have what it takes to be a good investor.

Tip: Find yourself an investing mentor that can guide you along the way

 

You should only get married once

 

We often see rich people get divorced, right?

Of course, that’s what the media want us to think, that rich people are more likely to get divorced than regular people. The thing is that’s not really true.

Most millionaires are able to build up their wealth and maintain it because they’ve been lucky enough to find the right partner to help them do those tasks.

They know that finding the right person to marry and be with is important for them to be happy in their life and that divorce can not only ruin their life, but also take away their wealth.

With the help of a great attorney, your ex-wife or ex-husband can take everything you have worked for and you wouldn’t want that, would you?

Maybe that’s why your “millionaire” neighbors have been married for years now. Why don’t you ask him or her and find out yourself.

We all have secrets and those are just some of the secrets that your millionaire neighbour may be hiding from you.

I hope you learned something here and that this article may serve as a reminder for you that wealth will only come to those who are deserving of it and that hanging out with millionaires can be a very cool thing.

Now, do you know other secrets that your millionaire neighbor have told you before?

Post Contribution by : Mark Ross is the founder of the Money Saving Dude, a personal finance blog that aims to help its readers save more money and grow their wealth by sharing them different money-saving tips and advice weekly. You can get in touch with him through Twitter or by adding Mark on one of your circles in Google+.

If you would like to contribute a post for Canadian Budget Binder and are a personal finance blogger, contact me today!

 

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How we cash in on unused clutter in the winter

clutter in bedroomEVERYTHING HOLDS VALUE

 

Don’t underestimate the value of an item because what you may consider junk another may consider a treasure.

It’s cold outside especially if you are living in Canada like us.

There’s no denying the temperatures in 2014 are by far the coldest we’ve had in a long time.

 

Clear the clutter

 

It seems almost everyone is complaining about being stuck indoors and having nothing to do so how about winter pre-spring cleaning around the house?

Yes you read that right!

I’m always getting emails or fans asking, “How can I make extra money to pay down debt?”. Well sometimes the easiest and fastest answer is right in your own home.

There’s no point sitting around the house this winter doing nothing if you have piles of potential cash in unused clutter sitting around your house.

Make the most of your clutter and sell it for a nice profit that you can put into your emergency savings or use the money you earn for whatever financial decisions are important to you.

 

The clear-out

 

How do you begin to clear out clutter? That’s easy.

Every successful clutter clear-out starts with a plan so know what rooms you want to tackle and as you riffle through the clutter start to think about exactly what you plan to do with the items.

Another way people get organized with their clutter is to prepare boxes and label the front of them stating where you will be sending the items ie: garage sale, consignment.

You don’t have to go hard at it for hours on end either especially if you have lots of clutter in your house to go through.

Like many people especially if you are in a relationship or have kids you probably have tonnes of things in your house that could potentially scream, extra money.

Put yourself to work if even for an hour every other day to start clearing out the items you could sell and make some extra cash from.

Best part is you get some exercise while doing it too because when you move your body your  it will thank you. Cleaning is a great way to burn calories so sorting through clutter is just another form of cleaning so make the best of it.

 

Don’t let your clutter become extinct

 

Alright, I’m having a bit of laugh with that one but you know what I mean when some items are more nostalgic than useful although there are many people out there that do collect for those reasons.

I believe they even made a TV program on HGTV once about collectors and I can remember seeing some of the phenomenal rooms these dedicated people put together for items that meant the world to them.

One guy collected mustard and had a mustard room, so don’t throw out those unopened jar or condiments you might have from years ago that you found in the back of your pantry. There might be a collector out there waiting to scoop it up to display on their shelf.

Every dollar counts in the budget and the longer you wait to sell something the less money you might get for it especially if they are school books that tend to go out of date as the next edition comes out or  its technology based.

Clutter can pile up faster than you can shake a stick so if you can hardly move or have no room left in your living space then maybe it’s time to de-clutter and cash in on your unused items.

Don’t forget all those un-opened gifts from your wedding, birthday or Christmas that still have tags and are sealed and haven’t seen the light of day. That can all make you money.

If you haven’t used an item in 6 months to a year and it’s sitting around collecting dust in your attic, basement, closet, under the bed etc. then get rid of it before it ends up becoming a home of unwanted creatures.

Below are some ways we have used to get rid of clutter in the winter and have seen others use to cash in on excess in their homes.

 

Facebook auction

 

With millions of people on Facebook why miss the opportunity to sell your clutter to people who are plugged into social media on a daily basis.

Most cities have a Facebook group that is a 24-hour auction where you can post pictures of items you want to auction off.  You can post a starting bid under the photo and let the fans do the bidding.

Once the 24 hours is up the fan with the highest bid wins the auction. You then private message them the details for pick-up and that’s it. You make money on your unwanted clutter.

 

Kijiji/Craigslist

 

This is one of the most popular ways to make extra cash in the winter and to be honest all year-long. Simply place a free for sale ad on Kijiji or Craigslist and let the online directory do the work for you.

Make sure to include a photo and detailed description with contact information for potential buyers. The last thing you want is to have people skim over your ad because you didn’t properly market your clutter the way you should be.

I don’t know many people who want to purchase something without at least seeing the product or a photo of it.

If you are a negotiator get ready to use your negotiating skills because people like to throw numbers back and forth so I’d always place your price about $5 above what you want in hopes of negotiating down to what you really want.

There are many negotiating tactics out there  but if you really want the clutter gone, just get rid of it for a reasonable price and don’t refuse and reasonable offers. Gone.

 

Ebay

 

I’ve bought a few things from Ebay in my time but I’ve never sold anything on Ebay before however it’s a great way to get rid of your clutter.

It’s my understanding that as a seller on Ebay in Canada you will have some fees to pay which fall into three categories such as insertion fees, upgrade fees and final value fees so make sure you do your homework.

I’ve even added the link in above directly to Ebay so you can read up all about it.

 

Garage sale

 

Believe it or not people have indoor winter garage sales in their garage to get rid of the excess clutter that is mounting up around the house.

If you have kids you know exactly what I mean when I say you likely have more toys and things n’ stuff around the house that you could do without tripping over.

Having kids means clutter mounts easily after birthdays and all the holidays throughout the year where they are given gifts.

If you are a parent that buys your children toys often even if from Dollarama you probably have bins full of clutter you would like to keep moving right out the door. You know how it works with kids and toys the interest dies off quickly so why wait, sell  them and make a profit.

Make sure you bundle up and head over to these shiver sales to find your bargains. If you are a homeowner and your garage is big enough to host a garage sale in the winter then make use of the space and set up some tables and invite the public over via Kijiji or other free classified ads to list your garage sale.

You don’t need to keep the garage door open if you have a side entrance but if not you can still brave the cold and see who turns up. You never know.

Some people also keep the items in their home on tables and invite the public inside to look around.

 

Consignment store

 

Check your local yellow pages to see if there are any consignment stores in your area that are willing to sell your items for a fee or you split the profits. You may just as well sell the clutter to the consignment store for a fee just to get rid of it.

 

Friends/Family

 

Another popular way to sell clutter is to pass it through your friends and family first. I know that many people ask other family members if they need baby clothes etc. and the mothers do the math and keep the items flowing through the system. It helps everyone out to save money and get the clutter moving.

You’d be surprised what your friends and family have to sell so don’t be shy if you need something or are looking to buy or sell speak up.

You never know what they might say.. hey I’ve got a spare I’ll sell you for $10 or even better, you can have it.

 

Cash in from the heart

 

You don’t need money to feel better although it won’t pay your bills you can be just as happy giving your clutter away because you may be the person on the other end who would appreciate getting something for free as well.

 

Donate

 

You won’t make any cash this way but if you decide to simply donate your items to charity or a second-hand thrift shop like Bibles for Missions, Value Village, Salvation Army etc you still benefit.

You know that you are helping others out who need the help or those that are looking to save money in their budget by purchasing gently used items at a fraction of the cost. It’s like giving back to the community and keeping items out of the landfill.

 

Free-cycle

 

Another option is to list the item in your local Yahoo Free-cycle online group which simply means you are giving the item away for free which lends itself to be a community of people who help each other out for free.

So next time you catch yourself complaining about how cold our Canadian winters are get off the couch and start going through the clutter in your house and start rolling in the extra money.

Have you sold items in the winter to get rid of clutter in your home?

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Photo Credit: Bill Bradshaw/freedigitalphotos.net

How to survive a winter storm with no power

broken-tree-branchesMAKING IT THROUGH THE STORM

 

While the ice storm that we had this week in Ontario created quite a sight to see, sparkling trees covered in glistening ice and an ice covering over everything, this Winter Wonderland also came with a lot of destruction, inconveniences for many and sadly a couple of deaths.

With hundreds of thousands of people losing their power there are still a number of people who are waiting for theirs to come back on, 48 hours or more after the storm while others enjoyed Christmas Day in the warmth of their homes.

Being prepared for an extended power outage can make getting through those long, cold days less of a struggle. The recent cold snap hasn’t helped the situation.

 

Staying Warm

 

Having no power means no heat in your home. Staying warm will be a challenge if you are not prepared. We had a little notice that this storm was coming and I have to admit I was not as prepared as I could have been.

Beyond having lots of blankets and warm sweaters to put on, seeking out warming stations that many cities provided would have been an option if our power had stayed off for more than the 3 hours it was off.

These warming stations provide you with not only a place to escape the cold but most also offered some hot beverages to warm you up.

 

Generators

 

If you own a generator or choose to purchase one remember that anything that burns fuel should have adequate ventilation.

Using a barbecue indoors to stay warm, whether it is a propane barbecue or charcoal is not a good idea.

When you are trying to keep your house warm you are unlikely to open any windows and therefore your home is likely sealed air tight.

Burning propane or a gas-powered generator inside your home or even your garage will give off carbon monoxide and being in an air sealed home it will eat up all the oxygen in your home.

Remember carbon monoxide is a silent killer, being odourless unless you have a carbon monoxide detector you will not know it is in your home.

Carbon monoxide detectors also will not work if the power is out unless they have a back up battery which will only work as long the battery has a charge.

 

Car

 

In preparation for a storm where the power may go off, having a full tank of gas in your car may be of great benefit to you. It may not be the most economical approach but sitting in your car (not inside a garage) may be an option to seek out some warmth.

Your car can also be used to charge a cell phone if you own a car charger. Being able to get updates as to the progression of the storm or when your power is expected to be back on is valuable information to have.

Having little or no gas in your vehicle won’t get you very far as if the power is out gas stations will likely have no power either.

 

Food

 

A major concern for people when their power goes out is how are they going to keep all the food in their fridge and freezer from going bad.

Keeping your fridge and freezer closed as much as possible will help to keep your food cold but also know that the contents in a full freezer will stay frozen for approximately 48 hours and a half full freezer for approximately 24 hours.

During a winter storm moving your food to your garage or on a balcony in baskets, boxes or whatever you chose to put it in is an option.

There was no shortage of ice around during this latest storm so collecting some ice from outside and packing it in your freezer and fridge would also help to keep your food from spoiling.

 

Neighbours

 

The elderly may not be able to deal with a power outage very well so do your elderly neighbours a favour and check in to make sure that they are okay. 2013 brought on two major power outages and from both I learned that even though I live next door to my neighbours we are on separate power grids.

I lost power for 3 hours this past week where as both my neighbours lost power for well over 24 hours.

This may happen in your area as well so check in with your neighbours to see if they have power or if you have power and they don’t, offer them into your home for warmth or to use your outlets to charge a cell phone.

Though it may not feel like you are in Florida, having more people in a room will help to keep a room slightly warmer so get to know your neighbours and help each other out.

 

Water

 

In the winter it is always a good idea to make sure that all outdoor plumbing lines are drained and that the water is turned off.

During a power outage in the winter pipes freezing may be a concern. If you have chosen to leave your home and either stay with a friend, book a hotel room or visit a local warming station consider turning your water off completely to avoid pipes freezing and bursting within your home.

Wrapping any exposed pipes with insulation sleeves may help as well.

 

Damage to your property

 

Ontario-Ice-Storm-2013-fallen-tree

The weight of ice building up on tree branches can cause many branches to break and fall on your home, fence or your car.

Having a good homeowners insurance policy, damage to your home or property caused by a weather event will most likely be covered.

The removal of a tree or branch that has fallen without causing damage will likely be at your expense to have removed.

One thing I experienced myself this past week was large chunks of ice falling off overhead power lines. Luckily the massive piece of ice that fell on my car did not cause any damage but if it had, having a comprehensive car insurance policy my insurance company would have paid to have any damages repaired.

Know what your insurance policy covers and possibly seek out a new one if you feel your current policy is inadequate in these situations.

Surviving and staying warm during a power outage, especially one that may go on for days on end will be a challenge but can be a little easier to manage if you are prepared ahead of time.

Remember you are not alone and working as a team with others around you will make getting through these long, cold days more bearable.

What other tips can you suggest for surviving a power outage?

 

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How to get what you pay for when buying online

EBAY-xbox-one-onlineDON’T REGRET YOUR PURCHASES

 

If you fail to take a few minutes to read over the small print you might just be surprised what you are actually buying.

With the holidays fast approaching and many people scrambling to buy their Christmas gifts many people buy online, especially if they can score a great deal.

We often talk about how we like to sometimes buy online vs. in-store whether from Kijiji or picking up the odd items on Ebay or Amazon but with that comes caution when spending our money.

Buying online items is not something new and it’s well secure for the most part but what happens when the buyer is the person who is trying to scam you out of money even though it’s plain to see you are getting what you pay for.

I was reading a Yahoo post the other day about a 19-year-old guy from the UK of all places who was hoping to get his hands on the new X-Box One that was recently released.

He also has a 4-year-old child whom he stopped at nothing to make sure he was able to get the X-Box One for but he was duped at the same time, but was he really?

He ordered what he thought was the actual  X-Box One from a seller on EBAY and paid a whopping $750 only to receive a photo of the new X-Box One rather than the actual unit.

So, yes he paid $750 for a photo of an X-box One and although the matter has since been cleared up and his money has been ordered to be returned by EBAY it really made me think and many others about how easily they can lose their hard-earned money if they are not careful.

Here’s the kicker though, the seller did not forget to mention that what the potential customer would be buying is a photo. The young buyer even though he read that it was a photo never gave much thought to that until he actually received the photo instead of the game system. Sometimes what we do is fail to read the fine print or any print when investing our money in making purchases whether online or in-store.

The good thing about buying in-store is that you can easily return an item that you don’t want or maybe purchased the wrong one as opposed to having to ship an item back through the post. You also get the opportunity to physically hold the item in your hands.

Many readers who left a comment had lots to say to this 19-year-old boy about failing to read the fine print but many that supported the fact that the seller was in fact scamming him.

It was clear the seller set out to see who would actually send him the money for the photo with-out reading all of the information that was in plain sight. The product was not misrepresented it was simply a case of let’s see how many idiots are out there. Clearly he was more interested in getting his hands on a product than to read what he was actually buying.

If I am going to be dishing out that much money you can bet I’ll be reading everything I need to know about what I’m getting. I’d certainly be emailing the seller to ask questions about the product to make sure I’m getting what I pay for.

As you can see below many of the fans were more concerned that he had a young daughter rather than trying to motivate and help him so he doesn’t make that mistake again.

For one thing, when I wish to deal with a new (too Me) seller, after reading the full product description, I P.M. the seller and ask Him to tell Me exactly what I will be getting before I make a purchase. If this person lies and sends something else, the proof is in the site’s mail server, and PayPal can use it to get a refund. -Markleaman50

Next issue, not overpaying for something you can get a bit later. Unless it’s something rare that won’t be made for long I won’t line up or pay ridiculous amounts.-cute

It happens and not online only. I paid $CA 1,400 for a laptop including settings, software and everything. I told to come the next day to pick-up my purchase. however, something inside me told me just open the box and see if there are no scratches on the screen. So they open it for me and guess what? Empty box, only a heap of newspapers and old magazines. I am lucky to get my money back simply because it is a real store “BestBuy” and not a virtual one The lesson is that Check it before you kick it, no matter where does it come from or whom it goes to.- Hassan

 

Tips to help you get what you pay for and safely

 

  • Make sure you are on a secure site… normally there will be a symbol of sorts to alert you that it’s secure such as a padlock with a secure statement or https:/ in the url
  • Read the fine print including model numbers and anything relevant to the product
  • Research the product on various websites to price match and see what others are selling for.
  • Ask questions to the seller about the product you are purchasing to confirm all pertinent information.
  • Read the positive and negative feedback which gives weight to the selling reputation.
  • If the going rate for a product is $200 but you’ve just found it for $50, is it the real McCoy?
  • Use a credit card with a low available credit and some form of fraud protection just to be safe.
  • If you receive an email for a great deal don’t use the link in the email go direct to a website unless it’s a trusted website that you receive emails from such as a clothing store etc. just to make sure you aren’t being sent somewhere unsecure or fraudulent.
  • Use a good anti-virus on your computer to keep it safe and check to make sure it is running frequently.

 

How we limit our exposure to fraud

 

The amount of stories I’ve heard over the years that involved e-mail fraud where an e-mail is sent to someone stating that they have won the “Euro lottery” and they should e-mail back their details to claim the prize.

These types of e-mails and phishing schemes are not only fraudulent but plain dangerous. Once you’ve given up your personal details, they’ll ask for your banking details to deposit your winnings. Unfortunately you’re going to be as far away from that $100,000 winning feeling as you can possibly get.

Now that these unscrupulous individuals have all of your details, your bank account will be suddenly devoid of any cash you had in said account. What’s even stranger is the fact that your details will start to buy all manner of items over the internet and be shipped to some weird and wonderful place you’ve probably never heard of.

Identity theft has been on the rise over the last few years and it’s not surprising to see why and another good reason to make sure you check your free credit report every year.

Displaying important information online or even discarding it in the garbage can give some people enough of an edge to gain access into your life. We destroy old bills and wage slips, you can choose how you destroy yours, burn or shred.

There is an internet only credit card in our household, the limit is $400. That way, if information gets plucked from the air waves while buying something, at least we can afford a loss of $400. Don’t use that Gold or Platinum level card, you’re just asking for trouble.

I’ve probably said it before but I’ll say it again, “If it’s too good to be true it probably is”. If you’re unsure about the validity of an e-mail or phone call, don’t just give out information, call your friends, wife or husband and ask their opinion. Advice is free, so take it.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s perfectly ok to go online and shop, just be careful where you go and what you buy. You can use secure payment sites such as PayPal to buy items. That way if something does go awry your credit card number isn’t on the front line.

Try to limit the amount your prepared to pay for something over the internet. If your prepared to potentially lose $1000 by all means go ahead. Personally, I have a small limit, mainly because I’m just not prepared to pay more than $500 for something online without touching and feeling it first.

Have you ever bought something online only to not get what you paid for?

Have you been or know someone who has been a victim of an online fraud scheme?

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