CRA Scam

As tax season is winding up (and has worn me down considerably), it is a good time to remind people of the ever evolving CRA Scam here in Canada.

For those who don’t know the scammers are posing as our lovely people at the Canada Revenue Agency. They call and email citizens claiming that they owe the CRA back taxes and convince people that they need to pay. Also that they accept iTunes cards as payment. Last time I checked iTunes cards were not considered legal tender.

Since people probably don’t want to read the whole thing below here are the main points:

1.  Do not give your Social Insurance Number or banking/credit card information over the phone.

2. If anything is owing to CRA they WILL NOT ask  if you have a lawyer. HANG UP if you are asked this or if you are told there is a warrant for your arrest.

3. CRA advises of payments outstanding in WRITING, in the MAIL. They won’t call you or email you to request payment.

4. Call the CRA directly at 1-800-959-8281 , sign up for the CRA MyAccount, go to your local CRA office (if you live nearby) or if you have an accountant they can look into it for you (let’s hope they won’t bill you for it).

I know that people are afraid when these people call but you can just HANG UP on them. Do not give them the power, you have the power. It’s ok because you do have tools at your disposal to shut these people down, more on that later but right now just some common sense.

1. Do not freely give your SIN (Social Insurance Number) to them, this will most certainly lead to identity theft. That’s if you engage with them (which I hope you don’t).

2. If they ask if you have a lawyer HANG UP. There is never a warrant out for your arrest. CRA will always garnish your wages, up to 30% of your income, if you are in that deep with them. But of course CRA is nicer and will send a letter to contact you to make payment arrangements prior to that happening.

3. Screen your calls, if you do not recognize the number DO NOT answer. Pretty sure these people do not leave a message. But make note of the number that pops up so you can contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

4. Ask them for their ID number. If they do not provide then HANG UP or tell them you have to go to the bathroom or pray for their soul.

Helpful resources to keep around:

1. Take note of your tax centre, one that sends you mail correspondence. Look up their phone number, that is where CRA should be calling you from. Yes their number will come up on your call display. If you do owe money they will always issue WRITTEN correspondence.

2. Sign up for the CRA MyAccount Service, this will give you your up to date account balance. Or call the automated inquires line at 1-800-959-8281

My big message here is…. If someone calls states they are from the CRA and call from a number that is not in the vicinity of your tax centre HANG UP. Then call the CRA directly at 1-800-959-8281 to verify if that was actually them calling.

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DIY Document Stand

IMG_20180320_092504My inspiration for this project came from my work. As a backgrounder I live in a cubicle land, not the high ones mind you but in that land nonetheless. One day I saw my co-worker prop paperwork up using a tube of lotion as the stand. She did really well with it because the paperwork did not curl forward AT ALL.

Got me to thinking of how could I make one, tried repurposing a binder, man are those things cheap! so back to the drawing board…..

As tax season is upon is I thought maybe this would be a good time to make a document stand before the paperwork piles on.

Off to the dollar store I went…..

Materials:

1 clipboard

1 small easel

1 trusty hot glue gun

It’s that easy and it only cost me $3.50 per one (not including sales tax)

This easel….

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It is great because it is a chalkboard so you could have stopped right there but I liked it because it was broad. Get your trusty hot glue gun and affix the frame of it to the clipboard. NOTE: Make sure you align the outside legs of the easel to the bottom of the clipboard, it makes it more flush with your surface.

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Don’t forget to put some hot glue on the bottom of the easel legs because it will prevent it from sliding on your surface.

I chose not to personalize it because well if it is covered with paper who is going to see the flair anyway?

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So see mine and hers will be plain, yes I like to share. Now I am sure this will give inspiration for others out there. Wouldn’t it be great for those recipes you tell yourself that you will one day make? Some things are just better at eye level.

This project is so quick you guys the time you save by putting it together the more time you can add some flair with washi tape and jewel stickers!

You’re welcome for the motivation!

~B

 

Bed Time Chart Hack

Do you see all the pretty bedtime chart printables on Pinterest and Etsy and wonder if there is a better way?

One night as we were trying to establish a bedtime routine for our child and I needed to think of something fast….. So in half an hour you can have a bedtime chart provided you have the materials on hand.

Materials:

  1. One piece of cardboard 8 1/2″ x 11″
  2. Recipie cards
  3. Blue Tack
  4. Marker
  5. Pencil crayons
  6. Stickers
  7. Fame stand

Time to complete: 1/2 hour

Can’t recall where I got this piece of cardboard….. but if you have a binder that is falling apart or a cheap one you can take apart this is the same type.

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I found that using recipie cards were a good way to present the bedtime to-dos as visuals help to reinforce what we need to do before going to bed. My drawing skills are not great but it has worked.

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Then this where I got creative…. Now you don’t have to put numbers on it but it helps also with numeracy skills, also helps for placement of blue tack. The stickers are Jolee branded from Michael’s.

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Now it is put together, using a frame stand is better than trying to get it to stay on the wall.

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There you have it a quick and easy bedtime chart when you need something fast. We didn’t have to use this chart for that long but it’s still a great tool nonetheless.

Here’s to overcoming the bedtime struggles! We are all in this together.

-B

13 Month Debt Elimination Challenge Month #2

The other day I read an article the average Canadian has $8,500 of consumer debt.

That is non- mortgage and non-student loans and that is me.

When you exclude student loans from the image you will see below I do fall into that category. This is why it is so important to tackle this in 2018, when I should have tackled it in 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014…. The biggest difference is that I decided that I need to settle, can’t try to be a CPA anymore, it’s just not going to happen, so stop spending the money on courses and especially I did not spend $600 this year to renew my student membership, I withdrew and it feels like a huge relief.

December was a challenging month as last minute Christmas shopping ate a little lot of progress. Adding ~$500 of additional debt was the biggest letdown. See the image below. SO not happy with myself. Overall I only paid down $730, not cool.

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Therefore in January I will be doubling down and using credit cards sparingly. As much as I want to be perfect I am not so admitting fault and taking action is needed. With that I am now not going to include my OSAP (Student Loans) balance in my overall debt to eliminate because I have always been able to report the interest paid on my income taxes. Also I will omit my VISA card as I always pay the balance every month in the middle of the month for it’s 27th of the month due date.

5 habits that will need to be carried to the end of the 13 months:

  1. Use only the low limit card
  2. Use found money to pay debt
  3. Don’t use cards for food purchases
  4. Don’t use cards at the dollar store
  5. Don’t use cards for charitable donations

Point 5 is a good strategy, I have a lot of cheques to use, need to increase donations for my 2018 tax return and don’t need points badly enough to use cards to contribute charitable donations.

Here are some wins I had this month:

  1. Sold an item on Kijiji for $5, this money went to the Toys for Tots fundraiser at my child’s daycare.
  2. Sold a Barbie on eBay for $40 (this was before both eBay and PayPal took their cuts but some money is better than no money)
  3. Sold a movie on Amazon for $10 (before they took their cut and before I had to pay for mailing, some money better than no money)
  4. Received a $20 Leger survey cheque.

Challenge in store for January and February is that my driver’s licence and plates are up for renewal in March and have to shell out $210 to get it done. This cost always seems to go higher and higher every year.

Along with this challenge is always looking for revenue streams and continuing to beat myself up for taking a lower paying job almost 3 months ago instead of staying and having this paid off.  This is what I get for being impulsive and not having my priorities straight.

To see where I started check out 13 Month Debt Elimination Challenge Month #1

There is no one solution to getting rid of debt but we can all learn from each other and aim to be in the black instead of being in the red.

 

 

Be The Dream

Why choose the domain bethedream.ca? Why choose this as the theme of a blog?

What is the one dream everyone has? To have a better life of course. We all have our own definition of what our dream is, who we see ourselves in these dreams. So how do we get there? What do we want to do to achieve these dreams? A lot of times we need to find and follow our bliss.

It will be rare for any of us to achieve our dream (like winning the lottery) but we can inch ever so close to it.

Enough about the above, thought I would justify why my domain name is the way it is. I just picked it because it sounded cool.

Anyhow let’s enjoy the ride and I hope you can find informative takeaways from this blog to use in your life.

B