What Makes a Great Gift for Someone Who Has Everything and Doesn’t Want Anything?

If you’re like me, this is a question you have to ask yourself about more than one person more than once a year! I agree that some people really don’t need more “stuff.” So I try to think of things they can use, or things that get used up and need replacement. One gift that has proved quite acceptable to a few people on my list in a CAA membership.

(NOTE: I don’t get anything from anyone including CAA if you join. This is something that I recommend just for the fun of it.)

What Makes a CAA Membership the Right Choice for Certain People Who Have Everything?

This is an especially good gift if the person receiving it

  • doesn’t believe in snow tires
  • drives more assertively than you’d like
  • is prone to doing things like dropping their keys in their purse, dropping their purse in the trunk, and slamming the lid shut, and not realizing what they just did until they come back from a day’s outing exhausted from the portages and welting up from the mosquitoes (Yes, I know someone like this.)
  • thinks gas gauges lie and there is “always another few litres in the tank even when it says E”
  • is convinced nothing will ever happen to them to make them need roadside assistance and therefore will pay $1000/year for car insurance but will refuse to spend a few hundred on an auto plan, and then IT happens

For sure a CAA membership won’t take up space in their already over-crowded home, smell funny, be the wrong colour, or make them gain any more weight.

What Are Some of the Overlooked Benefits of a CAA Card?

When I think CAA I usually just think about

  • dead battery boosts
  • maps and touring guides and TripTiks
  • towing

But I’ve often paid out my membership’s cost claiming other valuable rewards which have included

  • a significant discount of 10% off the lowest available fares at VIA Rail. This discount on train tickets is available for tickets purchased before December 31 2015 for travel before December 31 2016. I don’t know if it will be offered again in 2016 or not.
  • unexpected discounts at stores: One year I saved 50% on a rush pair of prescription glasses from LensCrafters (the store told me to go home and print the coupon!)
  • discounts on Cineplex movie tickets both for our own use and to give as gifts (Yes, Costco has some good deals on these too, but the local CAASCO office has NO LINES.)
  • hotel room rate discounts: We don’t travel much but many places, especially small hotels who don’t want to develop their own rewards system, offer an almost automatic 10-15% off for CAA members
  • admission and sometimes gift shop discounts at attractions across Canada including the Aquarium in Quebec City (which unlike Ripleys in Toronto is huge and has marine mammals and a large outdoor play area for children) and the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic in Lunenburg.

These are just some of the discounts we have used to save money. You may want to check your CAA branch website for a more complete list to see if anything matches your hobbies.

You may want to mention to the person you are giving the gift membership that these types of benefits are available. Like me, they may not even think to check the CAA website.

The December Petro-Points to CAA Dollars Bonus Is Back

What brought this post on at this time of year? I received a postcard from the southern Ontario branch of the CAA reminding me of an annual promotion. If I redeem 10 000 Petro-Points for $10 CAA Dollars, I’ll get 2 500 new Petro-Points, worth about another $2.50 in the future.

Unfortunately, the offer is not “scaleable” so I can’t get 25 000 Petro-Points for redeeming 100 000 Petro-Points into $100 CAA Dollars. Still, it’s a pleasant little bonus and a good reminder to get someone special their usual birthday gift.

You can read this article if you’d like details on how I used this promotion in previous years.


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Have you had another, probably better, idea of what to give someone who neither needs nor wants anything? Please share your suggestion with a comment.

Thanks RedFlagDeals for the 3% Daily Interest Savings Account Rate at Tangerine

I was skimming RedFlagDeals financial chat forum recently and discovered that Tangerine had a promotion for “select” customers. They were offering a 3% rate on savings for 180 days to customers with significant savings. The “significant” level seemed to be a minimum of $10 000.

Did You Receive this Special 3% Rate Offer from Tangerine?

I checked our Tangerine email for any sign of this special offer but nothing was listed. Nor did I see it when I signed in.

I don’t give up that easily so I phoned Tangerine to discuss it.

What Did I Need to Do to Get the 3% Rate?

The Tangerine representative asked where I had heard about this “targeted” promotion and made a note on her computer.  She said that she could give me the rate only if I had $10 000 or more in my account immediately.

I offered to make a deposit immediately using the Cheque-In feature since the money was in an account not electronically linked to Tangerine. Unfortunately, that was not one of the acceptable routine ways to get the promotion started. I had close to the minimum $10 000, though, so my representative wanted to help me get this to work. She went off to discuss it with her team leader.

While she was busy, I realized that I actually did have enough in an electronically-linked account to transfer into Tangerine to bring my balance immediately up to the $10 000 requirement. So I went ahead and transferred it in, using a Pull request from Tangerine sent to my Big Bank.

So when she came back, with authorization to grant me the promotion provided I completed the Cheque-In deposit while still speaking with her on the phone, I was able to meet the requirement without that extra step.

How Do I Know the 3% Bonus Interest Rate Has Been Applied to my Tangerine Savings Account?

After she made the change on her computer, the Tangerine representative asked me to sign out of my Tangerine account and to sign back in. When I did, I could see the 3% rate had been applied to my Savings account by choosing my Savings Account and then clicking on the Account Info downward arrow.

How Long Is This 3% Rate Available at Tangerine?

The offer is only expected to be made until about July 1 2015.

Once applied, the interest rate is for 180 days. This is pretty respectable compared to most PC Financial and Tangerine promotions which tend to be for 60-90 days.

Why Am I Holding Onto a Pile of Cash at any Rate?

Well because we have some home renovations to pay for in the next 6 months, and a new car to purchase in the next year or two, and a big vacation (hopefully) in the next year.

None of the money for those things belongs in the stock market since we might need it exactly when the markets tumble on some unexpected news.

And yes, we save for all of those types of purchases before we make them. We could get a HELOC or run up our credit cards but we don’t. We have the cash ready before we buy these discretionary items.

So I’m pleased that while the money is parked waiting to be used it will earn more than the 1.75% offered right now at Oaken Financial and more than the 1.05% that PC Financial will be paying after their current promotion expires on June 30 2015. Thanks Tangerine and thank you to RedFlagDeals for pointing this out!

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Do you bounce your cash around to take advantage of the highest possible daily interest savings account rate? Do you save in advance for vacations and renos? Please share your strategies with a comment.

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Yes, we bank with Tangerine.ca among other places. If you open your first account ever with Tangerine (or ING Direct) using our Orange Key below, and deposit $100 before April 30, 2018, you and we will both get a cash bonus of $50 each. (Yes, they did extend the promotion for another few months!) All you have to do is enter the Orange Key 46470587S1 when you are opening your Account, and you’re set to go.

Just copy our Orange Key, then click on this Tangerine link to see the details and apply for an account. (Note: it only applies to people with no existing or previous accounts with Tangerine or ING Direct.)
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