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Payday Loans in New Brunswick: What You Need to Know
by FCNB on 


Payday Loans in New Brunswick: What You Need to Know

When you are low on cash or faced with a surprise expense, payday loans might seem like the way out. But, did you know that payday loans are one of the most expensive ways to borrow? By a long shot!

Payday Loan vs. Credit Card Cash Advance

Which do you think costs more: a payday loan or a cash advance on your credit card?

Let’s take a look...

Loan amount: $300

Term: 14 days

Payday loan: A payday lender can charge you $15 for every $100 you borrow. So a $300 payday loan will cost you $45. At the end of the 14 days, you must pay back $300 plus the $45 fee. TOTAL: $345

Credit Card: The annual percentage rate (APR) for this example is 23 per cent.  At the end of the 14 days, you would pay $300 plus $2.65 in interest for the cash advance. TOTAL: $302.65

The payday loan costs $42.35 more. That’s money that could stay in your pocket!

A report by the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada, however, found the use of payday loans has more than doubled in Canada recently. Disturbingly, it also found less than half of consumers understood that payday loans cost them more money than other borrowing options – like credit cards, banks or credit unions.

How payday loans work.

They are usually small, short-term, high-interest loans that are meant to get you through until your next paycheque. Typically, you write a personal cheque to the lender or give permission for them to automatically withdraw the loan amount and fee from your bank account on your next payday.

On your next payday, the lender cashes the cheque you wrote them, or makes the withdrawal electronically from your bank account. If you do not pay your loan back in full and on time, you may face additional fees – including penalties and NSF (non-sufficient-funds) charges.

New Brunswick introduced new rules for the payday loan industry on 1 January. Payday lenders in New Brunswick must be licensed by FCNB. You can check their registration by contacting FCNB.

The new rules also give consumers more rights, better disclosure and stronger protection.

Top 10 things you need to know about payday loans in New Brunswick:

  1. The most you can be charged is $15 per $100 you borrow. This includes all charges and fees - no matter what.  Learn more about how much payday loans cost.
  2. You can cancel the payday loan within 48 hours, without paying any charges. Learn more about cancelling a payday loan.
  3. You don’t have to get insurance on the loan.  It's okay to tell the payday lender that you don't want it.
  4. Payday loans are expensive.  Before getting a payday loan, check out other ways to borrow money (from family or friends, a bank or credit union or your credit card). Learn more about alternatives to payday loans
  5. Payday lenders must have posters showing the rates they charge.
  6. The loan agreement must list all of the charges, terms and conditions of the loan. Learn more about payday loan agreements
  7. Payday lenders can't issue you more than one loan at the same time. They also can’t rollover your loan.  This means that they can’t extend or renew your loan at an additional cost or give you a new loan to pay out an old loan.
  8. Payday lenders can't give you a loan for more than 30% of your net pay cheque. Learn more about getting a payday loan.
  9. The most you can be charged in penalty fees for not paying off your loan in full and on time is 2.5 per cent per month on the loan amount. The most you can be charged is $20 for each NSF charge, and the payday lender can only attempt to withdraw the amount from your bank account once more after the first NSF charge.
  10. NEVER give a payday lender direct access to your bank account. Do not give your bank card PIN or your online password. Learn more about Protecting your Credit.

Taking out a payday loan when you are in a hard financial situation is risky.  You may be less able to pay it back and fall into a debt trap.


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What to do after a car accident
by FCNB on 


What to do after a car accident


The holidays are here, and for many of us, that means road trip season! Between picking up the tree and hitting up a family dinner, there are plenty of reasons to pile into the car.

 

It’s fun to think about all the fun you’ll have once you reach your destination. (First order of business: snowball fight.) But at this time of year, it’s a good idea to be prepared in case of bad weather and slick road conditions.  

 

A basic first aid kit or emergency kit in your car can help in a number of situations. You can buy kits or prepare one yourself by packing a plastic container with the following:

 

    • First aid kit
    • Emergency road flares or warning cones
    • Small shovel
    • Fire extinguisher
    • Flashlight and extra batteries
    • Bottled water and non-perishable snacks
    • Tire repair kit and pump
    • Blanket
    • Towel
    • Work gloves
    • Booster cables
    • Small tool kit


In the event you find yourself in an accident, here are some important dos and don’ts:

 

Don’t panic. When you are in an accident, emotions, confusion and stress can make it difficult to think clearly.  It is important to remember, as difficult as it may seem, to stay calm and not argue with or shout at the other drivers or passengers. Take time to record the details of what happened using our Auto Accident Report Form so you can give your story to the police.

 

Do avoid further damage. If it’s safe to do so, move your vehicle to the side of the road.  If you can’t move your vehicle, turn on your four-ways (hazard lights) or use warning cones or emergency flares.

 

Don’t get scammed. Unfortunately, some con artists may prey on those who’ve just been involved in an accident. Don’t be pressured by unauthorized tow truck operators. If they’re demanding payment up front, or trying to pressure you into letting them tow the vehicle to a garage or body shop of their choice, you can say no. Ask the police for the name of an authorized tow truck operator and have your vehicle towed to a garage you are comfortable with, a police compound or to your home until you can speak with your insurance company.

 

Do record all important information. Exchange information with the other drivers involved and record the contact information of any witnesses. Keep a copy of our Auto Accident Report Form in your glove compartment and use it to record important information at the scene.

 

Do call your insurance company as soon as possible to report the accident and get clarification on what’s included in your policy. Some drivers may choose not to file a claim and to pay out of pocket for any repair work that needs to be done.  Be cautious because there is no guarantee that the driver responsible for the accident will agree to the quote you receive, or that they will pay the repair bill when it comes due.

 

Knowing what to do if you are in an accident can help you avoid making potentially costly or personally harmful mistakes. Happy (and safe) holidays to you and yours!



 

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Guest Post: Making the Most of Your Grocery Budget
by FCNB on 


Guest Post: Making the Most of Your Grocery Budget

Today we’re bringing back a guest post from Jane Logan of www.hungryjaney.com.

You don’t have to look very far to see articles about the rising costs of food, and you don’t have to listen in on too many conversations to hear someone griping about what to make for dinner. Enter meal planning! You can greatly reduce your grocery bill by planning your meals based on what’s on sale. Not only will it save you money, but it can save your sanity! No more 5pm stops at the grocery store, no more standing in front of the fridge looking for inspiration, no more sticker shock at the checkout. With a few steps, you can make a meal plan that works for your family, your preferences, your schedule, and your budget. (Don’t have one? Try our free budget tool!)

Set Yourself Up for Success

Like anything, you have to set yourself up for success. Don’t try to make your meal plan moments before going to the store, or with kids running around. Begin with minimal distractions.

Have your calendar in front of you. Do you need to plan dinner each night this week, or is there a night you already have other plans? Is there an evening you will be in a rush (meeting, sports, etc.) and you’ll need a quick meal? Is there a night where one or more people will be missing from the dinner table, and you could make a smaller meal? Plan for your own real life.

Take Inventory

Check the fridge. What do you already have on hand that you’d like to work into your menu? Maybe you have some fresh items you need to use in the next couple of days. Similarly, check the freezer & pantry for items you have on hand.

If you can purchase various cuts of meat when they are deeply discounted, stock the freezer. The same goes for many pantry staples. Once you are accustomed to shopping the sales and stocking up on your own regularly purchased items, you can “shop” from your own stash before going to the store.

Read the Flyers

Look through the flyers: the paper ones that have been thrown in your driveway, the ones posted online, or use an app like Flipp. You are looking for the biggest bargains, often called the “loss leaders”, which are items priced near or below cost to bring you into the store. Those items are generally posted on the front and back covers of the flyers. Brainstorm ways to use those deeply discounted items along with what you already have at home to make your main meals. If you can get some of your regularly purchased items at significantly lower prices, consider stocking up to avoid paying regular price in the coming weeks.

Be Prepared for Change

It’s ideal to have your menu plan and grocery list on the same page so you can edit at the store. When you’re shopping, some list items may be out of stock or look bad. If you have your menu plan with your list, you can rearrange a few things and re-plan. In the same vein, if you find an amazing in-store special, change one of your meals to use that new key ingredient if you can get it for a bargain.

 You may also make changes once the week has begun, if you get a last minute invitation to join someone else for dinner at home or at a restaurant. Having a meal plan doesn’t need to be boring: your meal plan can (and should) be a living document.

Waste Not, Want Not

If you’re going to stock up on clearance items, properly freezing and storing them is important. It’s not a deal if you end up wasting it!
Many items are best flash frozen, by placing them on a baking sheet so they are frozen individually, not stuck together. Once frozen, they can be transferred to a freezer bag or another container as needed.

  • Flash freeze burgers, sausages, chicken breasts, pork chops, steaks, etc.
  • Freeze cooked bacon in strips (to reheat in microwave or pan) or crumbled (for salads, pizza, etc)
  • Flash freeze chopped green onions and store them in a jar.
  • Flash freeze peppers in strips: use them straight from the freezer to a pan for stir fry, fajitas, curry, etc. Chop further to use as topping on pizza or nachos.
  • Use ground meat to make cooked meatballs or taco meat to portion and freeze
  • Freeze half-cup  pureed vegetable portions for baking (squash, sweet potato, pumpkin, zucchini) or smoothies (spinach, kale). Silicone containers are great for this!
  • Freeze marinara sauce flat in a bag for use on pasta, or in smaller portions to use as pizza sauce. Again, silicone containers are great for this.
  • Blanche and flash freeze fresh vegetables.
  • Freeze over-ripe bananas whole for baking, or broken into pieces for smoothies.

Stop thinking about leftovers as something boring or repetitive. You can easily serve most leftovers in a whole new way, which can also save lots of time compared to preparing a whole new meal.

  • Chicken dinner on Sunday can become several dinners throughout the week: chicken pot pie, peanut chicken pizza, chicken quesadillas, chicken soup…the list goes on!
  • Sauté a large amount of chicken, peppers, and onions and you can have fajitas one day, use it as the toppings for pizza the next day, and serve it over rice another day.
  • A pot of tomato sauce can be serve over spaghetti, baked with pasta or rice in a casserole, on a bun as a Sloppy Joe, or as pizza sauce.
  • Chili in the slow cooker can be served in a bowl with toppings on day one, on a baked sweet potato on day two, and layered in a casserole or shepherd’s pie on day three.

These ideas are not “all or nothing.” You need to pick and choose what methods will work for you and your family. Even incorporating a couple of these meal planning ideas can change the way you look at shopping, cooking, and dining. Once you get into the routine of meal planning, you will wonder how you ever survived without it. Watch your grocery bill, food waste, and dinnertime stress drop dramatically!



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How to Be a Savvy Holiday Shopper… even if you waited ‘till the last minute
by FCNB on 


How to Be a Savvy Holiday Shopper… even if you waited ‘till the last minute


The snow is falling and coffee shops are serving up delicious eggnog flavored treats. All seems right in the world until you realize that your holiday shopping isn’t done and Christmas is almost here! Before you run out to the stores, check out our tips on how to be a savvy holiday shopper.  You (and your bank account) will thank us after the excitement of the holiday season dies down and you don’t gasp in horror when you open your credit card statement.


Tip #1: Make a list and check it twice. Santa does it and so should you!


Start by setting a budget for your holiday spending. We all like to give as much as we can during the holidays but you don’t have to blow your budget and max out your credit cards to show your loved ones that you care. You will regret it come January when the bills start to roll in. Next, make a list of everyone you want to buy a gift for and set aside part of your holiday budget for each person on your list. This will help you brainstorm gift ideas within your price range.


Tip #2: Think twice before you use credit


If you are considering a purchase that doesn’t fit in your holiday budget ask yourself if you truly need it before paying with credit. Does your adorable niece really need another Barbie or will she appreciate the other gift you already bought and wrapped? Do you absolutely have to buy yourself another party dress, or will the little black dress you have only wore twice look just as great?  Give yourself a cooling off period.  Go home and consider the purchase.  If you do choose to pay with credit, make sure you can afford the payments and have a plan for paying off the balance.  Interest can quickly drive the price up if you don’t pay off your statement and all of a sudden that great sale can end up costing you a lot more in the long run.  Read our guest blog post on “Holiday credit triage” for more tips on getting through the holidays debt free.


Tip #3: Do your homework


Research products before you buy. I know, I know Christmas is right around the corner, but you still have time to compare prices, after sale services and warranties. This is especially important when you’re buying big ticket items. You may also want to check out Health Canada’s Consumer Product Safety website for product recalls, warning and advisories to make sure the gift you are giving is safe.


Tip #4: Always check a retailer’s return and exchange policies BEFORE you buy.


Contrary to popular belief, you do not always have the right to return or exchange any product or cancel a service contract within 30 days of purchase. In fact, retailers have the right to set their own return and exchange policies. If the retailer does have a return policy it is up to them if they will provide you with a cash refund, an exchange on goods or a credit slip.  Asking before you buy will save you time and money after the thrill of the holiday season has died down.  For more information on understanding warranties, check out our “Ask Before You Buy” tip sheet!


Tip #5: Know your rights when buying gift cards


People love gift cards. I mean, who doesn’t want free money to spend at their favorite store? This great gift idea will save you the headache of trying to figure out the sweater size of your significant other’s nephew but can be a disappointment if the card has expired or has been eaten away by service fees by the time he gets around to using it.


Within New Brunswick, service fees are restricted and expiry dates are prohibited with some exceptions. For more information on your rights when buying gift cards check out our Gift Cards info sheet!


Tip #6: Keep your receipts


Always keep your receipts, warranties and service contracts. You may need these to make a claim if something goes wrong or to return a product if you change your mind. It is also a good idea to ask for a gift receipt! Many stores offer gift receipts around the holidays which allow you to extend the return/cancellation period on the items you bought, making exchanges and returns much easier.




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Have you had the “money talk”?
by FCNB on 



Have you had the “money talk”?

If you are like most people, myself included, talking about money is uncomfortable.  We are embarrassed about lacking control over our financial situations and stressed about money.  Sadly, we often pass these concerns onto our children by not giving them the tools they need to make smart spending and saving decisions early.

The good news is there is no time like the present to make a change!  By having open conversations with our children about spending and saving, we will make them better consumers, philanthropists and investors. 

The big questions is, where to start?

First, consider the age of your child.  Obviously, your kindergartener doesn’t need to know about mutual funds or mortgages. But you can share that your house costs money every month and that you work to pay for it.  A perfect time to talk about needs and wants is during those elementary school ages from ages five to 10.  Explaining the difference between a need and a want will help them understand some things are needed to live (food, water and shelter) while other purchases are more of a want (toys, electronic devices and movie passes).  If they learn that you must make sure you have enough money for the things you need before spending on the things you want, they can start understanding the principles of budgeting and saving.

Another great concept to share with young children is the GISS method.  This method stands for Giving, Investing, Saving and Spending.  Let’s look at each of these categories more closely:

  • Give – Allows you to have a positive impact on the world.  This can include charity work, donations and giving back to your community. 
  • Invest – Putting away just a small amount on a regular basis can add up quickly.  Think in terms of long-term saving for a bigger purchase, like a bike or toy for a younger child or perhaps brand-named sneakers or sports equipment for an older child.  Introducing the concept of investing at a young age teaches children they can save for what they want.
  • Save –Consider setting short-term goals here for items your child wants.  Maybe your child wants a special toy or specific outing?  Have them write it down and together set a target for how much money it will require, how long it will take to save that amount and what obstacles might come up along the way.  Having a savings plan will teach your child about self control and will lead to financial success down the road.
  • Spend – Having a spending amount for treats gives children control over their spending choices.  Knowing they have a limit to spend on whatever they want gives them a sense of pride and satisfaction that they “paid for it themselves.” At the grocery store, for example, your child asks for a chocolate bar. If you are okay with that purchase, tell them they can use their spending money to choose whatever bar they want within the price range that they have saved.  Allowing children to control their spending early on empowers them to make smart decisions and to understand that you can still treat yourself if you plan for it.

How you divide and implement the GISS method is entirely up to you.  When my son was little, he had four containers from the local dollar store labelled with the four GISS principles.  He decided to divide his weekly allowance into each of the jars.  When he got money for birthdays and holidays, he followed the same equal division.  It didn’t take him very long to save up for his own handheld computer game. He was so proud to go to the store and purchase it with his own money.  When he outgrew that game, he wanted to donate it to a local women’s shelter, along with the money he had collected in his give container.  It was a very proud mom moment for me!  Feel free to decide how to implement the GISS method so that it works for your family.

What about older children in middle and high school?  By this age, many Canadian children have cellphones, computers, laptops or tablets and are interested in having brand named clothing and footwear.  How do we teach them about good financial habits?  A good place to start is creating a budget with them.  Explain the costs per month of their devices and cell phone plans so they understand how much money is needed to have these items.  This is also a good age to introduce the concepts of credit cards and debit cards.  Talk about the fees associated with each as well as interest, and how it gets accumulated with credit card usage.  Encourage your children to ask themselves the following questions before spending money:

  1. Do I NEED it? Remember, you must have enough money saved to pay for your NEEDS before you can spend on your WANTS.
  2. Is there another way to get what I WANT? Can you borrow, rent, trade or buy it used?
  3. What else do I WANT? Is there something else that I would rather spend my money on?
  4. Why do I WANT it? Do I want it because it’s important to me or do I want it because everyone else does?  Often pressure from their friends and social media leads to FOMO or fear of missing out.  This is a perfect opportunity to open a discussion about those less fortunate and helping those in need before ourselves.

Implementing these steps will go a long way toward teaching your children the value of money and starting them on the path toward financial well-being.  FCNB has lots of resources that can help you talk about money with your children, including a simple student budget template, a parent’s guide to youth money management and an online game called Fortune that makes learning about money fun.  Visit FCNB to learn more.



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