Financial news and advice – February 2018

An Ontario lottery winner tried hide his million-dollar prize from his girlfriend. Plus, Canadians spend an average of $199 a month dining out in restaurants.


Lotto woes in splitsville

On September 20, 2017, Maurice Thibeault of the southern Ontario community of Chatham bought a Lotto 6/49 ticket, something he and his then girlfriend Denise Robertson had been doing for years. But this time, he won $6.1 million. On September 25, he moved out of the home he and Robertson had shared since 2015. And he didn’t tell her he’d won. When Robertson realized what had happened, she got a court injunction that freezes the payout until Ontario’s lottery regulator figures out what to do next. Thousands of disgruntled spouses are paying close attention.


Canada’s guilty pleasures revealed

A classy feast

Dining out in restaurants is Canadians’ numero-uno “guilty pleasure” and we spend about $199 on it every month. That’s the result of a survey by Capital One Canada and Credit Canada, the bank-owned organization that helps Canadians rein in unhealthy financial habits. After restaurants and takeout, Canadians most frequently treat themselves to daily coffee purchases, online shopping and beauty services. And it seems younger people are being the most practical. Millennials are more willing than those 55-plus to hunt for coupons, sell possessions, cancel subscriptions or get a second job.


Spent on Valentine’s Day?

Out on a date on Valentine’s Day and stuck for a conversation topic? Try wowing your friend with the following love stats: the National Retail Federation predicts US consumers will spend a total of US$18.2 billion on Valentine stuff this year. More than US$4 billion will go to jewelry and US$2 billion will be spent on flowers. The rest goes to cards, clothes and enjoying an evening out.


Saving loonies in the boonies

Officials in the economically depressed lumber town Smooth Rock Falls, Ont., wanted to attract newcomers so they put 15 parcels of land up for sale and offered rebates of up to 99%, so some of the properties sold for as little as $500. That was in November and the project was so successful chief administrative officer Luc Denault said they’ll likely do it again. Smooth Rock Falls’ economy took a hit when lumber industry fortunes dove in 2006, but things are starting to look up again, Denault reports.


Money-saving hack from Cracked

A surefire way to pay less for purchases? “Lower your bills by reminding yourself to ask if there’s a way to pay less every time you interact with an employee of the company you’re paying. It will guarantee you discounts on gas, internet and utilities.” That gem is the 21st of 21 money-saving hacks from Remember Mad magazine? Cracked was its competitor but now it’s a mother lode of advice. And the next best tip? “Treasure your kids when they’re really young. They don’t care about expensive toys. With enough toilet rolls and a little creativity you can do anything.”