The Saturday Weekend Review #42: Don’t cancel that cable subscription just yet


Would you pay per channel The Mass Debate Surrounding The TV


The run up to and the day of the Speech from the Throne was surrounded by the controversial subject of single channel subscription rather than getting multiple channels bundled together.

According to recent sources there is a growing trend towards free to air TV which is received through the more traditional aerial on the roof.

A large proportion of TV in the UK is broadcast by either traditional aerial reception called terrestrial TV or satellite via the main provider that is BSkyB. Cable does exist and is available to a large portion of homes but is not that popular.

There are 50+ free to watch channels in the UK with quite a number in HD through a digital set top box and if you get a Free Sat (Satellite) box there’s even more free television. TV channels already generate enough cash flow from advertisements so why pay again to watch them?

Both the free to watch boxes available in the UK cost money up front plus you pay a TV licence every 12 months but it’s still far cheaper for a far superior service than what the average Canadian receives.

One of the problems that Canadian TV seems to have is that a vast majority of the channels are bought in from the US, so in order to cover the cost of buying the channel you have to pay to watch. Unfortunately you end up paying to watch completely irrelevant advertisements.

Another growing trend is Netflix, where you can watch on demand programming and movies for $8 a month. Sure, you’ll still need to pay for a good internet service so how much are you saving unless you’re already subscribing to a fast service because you use the internet a lot. If Netflix isn’t your scene you can still watch TV programs streamed online from a multitude of sites.

Rogers Basic TV package costs $38.67 per month then you’ve got to add in the receiver boxes at $4.51 a month for the main tv in the living room then you have to pay for 3 extra outlets at $6.99 and then the government wants their share by charging you tax. You have to pay all this for roughly 50+ channels.

That’s pretty pricey for bare basic, run of the mill viewing pleasure considering the amount of money already generated by advertising on these channels. Some days I swear I’m just paying to watch adverts.

As for us, we tend to watch a very limited number of channels although we tend to negotiate with Rogers retention department every year for a deal I’m not sure how that would work in the future. For me it’s BBC Canada and a couple of the documentary channels like TVO, the News and the Weather. Mrs CBB likes one particular soap opera of which will rename nameless for now.

If Ottawa has its way and changes the rules of bundled TV channels I’m not sure I could justify spending $8 a month for one channel just as an example. I think there needs to be a bigger overhaul of the TV broadcast system.

There are worries that smaller niche channels may disappear, but if they broadcast relevant meaningful material they could be subsidized, possibly by the government.

It’s the constant reality TV that gets streamed in from other sources that irritates me. I don’t really want to pay to watch a bunch of people with less brains than a cheese sandwich fight it out on Jerry Springer. I can watch better fights by tuning into Canadian Hockey.

Going back to my first remark about the shift towards free to air TV. I’m currently looking into this too, although depending on where you live depends on what channels you can receive. It all has to do with broadcast antenna (transmission tower) range and signal strength.

I’ve also learned that you may need more than one aerial due to broadcasts in different directions. I would suggest contacting your local TV installation/repair business, as just throwing up an aerial and hoping for the best may prove to be a fruitless task.

I found this article from the Globe and Mail written 3 years ago on the exact same subject. This man obviously has a little more detailed information on what can and what can’t be achieved through swapping to free to air TV.

The one piece of information that caught my eye though was the signal compression on cable, which would explain why we have terrible quality sometimes considering we’re supposedly paying for High Definition.

What I can tell you is that if you’re seriously thinking of jumping on the free TV bandwagon, do your research first. Don’t cancel that cable subscription just yet. My best advice is be informed and choose what ever fits your budget and lifestyle the best.


Canadian Budget Binder this week


If you missed any Canadian Budget Binder posts this week you can catch up by clicking any of the links below. Something is always brewing at CBB so subscribe to the blog today and get my daily post sent to your inbox!

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Making a difference


my personal finance journey

My name is Jacob, a 28 year old chemical engineering PhD student from Virginia that is currently studying Alzheimer’s disease drug development. On the side, I am also the owner, author, and creator of the personal finance blog,

I started this site back in January of 2010, and since then, have poured my heart and soul in to the site to produce a product I am proud of and I think adds value to the world.

On, my purpose is to offer actionable personal finance advice with the goal of achieving long-term success. I also do not hesitate to apply numerical financial analysis to cut through some of the hype and half-truths that surround personal finance and investing.

Specifically, I really enjoy making a difference in the lives of readers by helping them in the following areas: long term investing and asset allocation strategy analysis, deciding how to prioritize new funds as they come in to various spending requirement areas, and how to develop a lifestyle of frugality and live according to your life dreams and life values.

Since finances are involved in pretty much every aspect of society, imparting knowledge to others in the realm of personal finance can really improve people’s all-around qualify of life.

Along with providing content on personal finances, my blog also gives away 10% of the net income it generates each month, with 5% going to readers and 5% going to a charity selected by the reader giveaway winner.

To date, I have given away over $3,100.


Blog post sharing


I really appreciate when other blog owners recognize my hard work at Canadian Budget Binder and share my posts with their fans or even mention my blog on their blog or website.

Here are the blogs that did just that this past week, so please head over and check them out. If I’m missing you it’s because I didn’t get a ping back so please send me an email and I’ll add you next Saturday.


What is a blog carnival?


Some fans have asked me just what is a blog carnival so a little explanation is due here for anyone reading for the first time or for my long-time fans. A blog carnival is where a blog or website hosts what we call a carnival of blog posts from around the web.

Most blog carnivals have a theme and certain rules for submitting which must be followed. If you are a blogger and would like to learn what blog carnival directories I submit to each week you can find the information in a previous Saturday Weekend Review post that I wrote.

A big thanks to these pages for accepting my blog posts and sharing them in the following carnivals


Carnival glory





Every week I get thousands of people visit Canadian Budget Binder because they did a search online and found my blog.

Here are a few of my favorite searches that may have even brought you here and you’re reading this, right now.

  • Did we kill the mortgage loan by putting money on the loan?- It all depends on what you mean by kill…
  • Cake using vinegar- Now that’s interesting
  • What women want in a husband?- That sounds like a blog post I can handle
  • OSAP didn’t give me enough- Time to go to work
  • Is barn break a low gi food?- No idea what barn break is
  • Rent a goat Canada- Ya… I knew Canadians would rent goats

That’s all for this week’s edition of The Saturday Weekend Review #42. Join me next week same time, same place to see what trouble I can get myself into. Have a great week everyone.



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Turning Leaves Into Compost- Where There’s Muck There’s Brass

Leaves for compost

It’s that time of year again….the leaves have already turned colour and a there’s a good splattering over most people’s lawns that have already fallen. So is now the time to save some money? Sure it is and here’s what I do to save me some money come spring.


Every year I collect up the leaves from the trees in plastic bags, wet them and tie them up with a couple of holes punched in the sides. I personally store them to over winter down the side of the house (mainly because my compost heap is already full), you could start compost heap number 2 if you like depending on the size of your garden. In the spring I’ll empty out roughly two-thirds of the compost bin for use around the garden/pots/baskets and then re-fill with the leaves from the bags interspersed with other roughage. The half rotten mixture will take no time at all to rot down once the weather warms up.

Hanging Basket with Flowers 2012


The main reason I don’t throw the leaves away in brown yard waste bags is the amount of nutrients they’ll add back into the garden for next year. If your able to grow your own vegetables or just like gardening then you’ll appreciate the benefits of recycling waste products from not only your garden but also your house. We try to throw as many fruit and veg odds and ends in the compost bin rather than the “green bin” as it will add “Free” goodness to the garden. If you’ve got a wood burning stove or fireplace you can add the cold ashes to the heap too. Just remember that ashes will be high in calcium carbonate so they will reduce the acidic level of soil. If you’re unsure what type of soil you’ve got then get a test kit. I already know that my soil is on the acidic side due to the fact that the Rhododendron is growing like a weed and the Hydrangea has a blue hue in the flowers. Just finished taking this years hanging baskets apart? Throw the compost and annuals back into the bin/heap.

Compost bin with organic waste in the top

I can remember when I was a lot younger that my gran used to be able to grow an enormous amount of fruit and vegetables in her garden without fail. The soil was dark and fertile, probably because her house was a Victorian semi and over the 90 year life span everything bio-degradable was thrown onto the garden.

When the local authority comes to collect your leaves or even your green bin on weekly basis what do you think they do with it? They might not use it themselves but they do sell it, why? Someone’s making money from it, how? The let it rot down and sell it back to you in a bag, how’s that for a money maker.

Rotted down to good compost at the bottom

In fact if you add a good mixture of ingredients into your compost heap and let it rot down properly you’ll have something just as good if not better than what you can buy in the store. Sure, you can buy soil for $0.99 a bag but it’s terrible, trust me I’ve bought it and regretted it. What I get from the compost heap is top quality well-rotted compost that would cost you $4.00-$5.00 a bag but I get it for free.

I got inspired by a man called Alan Titchmarsh who’s a horticulturist and ran a TV program on the BBC (The Beeb) called “Gardeners World” but he also went back to basics to teach/inspire a new younger generation with another TV show.

His ingredients for a good garden compost are:

  • Annual weeds
  • Tops of Perennial Weeds
  • Spent bedding plants (annual flowers that have finished)
  • Uncooked vegetable peelings, crushed eggshells and teabags
  • Grass clippings (they’ll add nitrogen)
  • Soft hedge trimmings, soft prunings and spent flowers (from dead heading)
  • Dead Leaves
  • Shredded woody stems
  • Shredded paper, cotton and wool fabrics

I probably wouldn’t throw in meat, fish and other cooked foods for fear of being invaded by the ubiquitous racoon. Don’t get me wrong the furry guy will love you to death, but your neighbours are going to be more than mildly annoyed.

Inside the compost bin

For a new compost heap/bin you can also add a couple of shovelfuls of fresh manure (horse or sheep) to get it started. Once you’ve got it going, just keep adding waste and water to keep it wet, if it dries out (especially in the summer) it will stop. I usually add water from the rain barrel as rainwater is a natural source of nitrates (form of nitrogen) required by plants to grow. An alternative to adding nitrogen to your compost is adding nettles. In fact a good homemade plant fertilizer can be made from the common stinging nettle Urtica dioica due to the large amount of nitrogen it contains. Nettles are native to North America as well as Europe and Asia.

If you use a rake, because rakes are cheaper than leaf blowers and they cost zero to operate, you’ll get some exercise out of the deal too. A bit of hard work is always more beneficial than convenience.

“There is no substitute for hard work” Thomas Alva Edison………..yes, the inventor.

There’s an old saying from northern England that’s quite appropriate at this point, “Where’s there’s muck there’s brass“….put quite simply, where’s there’s crap there’s money!

It's Not About How Much Money You Make It's How You Spend It

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