In the post Automobile Insurance Yearly vs Monthly Payments I summarized how making a yearly payment on your Automobile Insurance would be cheaper than making monthly payments.

This Excel calculator allows you to calculate your savings.

Automobile Insurance Payment Calculator

Shaving and Razor Blades

Tuesday, April 22, 2008 | | 0 comments »

Gillette and Schick have cornered the shaving market. About 700 million consumers use Gillette razor blades worldwide. They also practice excellent loss-leader marketing. They sell shaving razors at a loss in order to make a huge profit on replacement blades. Sometimes a new razor with 3 blades on sale is cheaper than just buying a 5 pack of replacement blades.

How Razor Blades Become Dull

A razor blade becomes dull because its sharp cutting edge is physically worn off. When the blade cuts hair tiny abrasions form on the blade's sharp edge. Oxidation is also occurs as the steel in the blade comes in contact with moisture. Microscopic rust forms on the blade and these rust particles fall off during shaving. Over a few days your blade is dull. It no longer cuts hair but tears it off. The blade will have to be replaced.

New razor blades do not have a smooth, sharp surface. View under a microscope they have a tapered edge with indentations in the cutting surface. As the number of indentations increases the blade become duller.

Picture 1 - The tapered edge of a razor blade 1000x magnification (California State University)
Picture 2 - Indents in a brand new razor blade 8,500x magnification (Institute of Meteoritics)

Extending the Life of a Razor Blade

Following these methods should extend the life of your razor blade. However in the end the blade will become dull and for a smooth, clean shave you will have to replace the blade.

Don't shave.
If there is no need to shave, then don't. It is the weekend and you are not going to work or out with friends. You do not need to look your best to run errands. By not shaving as often you will save money and time. The razor blade will have to cut the same number of hairs whether each hair is 1mm long or 2mm long.

Wet your face properly.
You should shave your face after you take a shower. Your hair will be wetter and thoroughly soaked when shaving. Think of you hair as noodles. Wet noodles are weaker than dry noodles but you have to soak them properly. The tensile strength of hair is greatly reduced when wet. Splashing water on your face does not soak your hair. The razor blade can cut easier and this reduces wear.

Dry your blade after use.
The steel on the blade oxidizes when exposed to air. This oxidization accelerates when water is present. Drying your blade after use and storing it in a dry atmosphere is the best way to prolong the life of your blade. You can do it by tapping your razor against the side of the sink. If possible store your blade outside of the bathroom. The air in bathrooms is usually humid and moist.

Methods of Sharpening Razor Blades That Don’t Work

Magnetic Blade Sharpener

This product claims that by placing the head of the razor against its magnetic surface the blade will become sharper. This cannot work. This method does not physically grind a new edge on the old blade, nor does it add any new steel to the worn edge. Steel molecules do not exist in air and cannot just reattach or realign themselves to the blade's cutting edge.

The Pyramid

This product is a four sided pyramid that the razor blade is stored in when not in use. It claims to maintain the sharpness of the razor blade because pyramids are mystical and have been used by the ancient Egyptians. There is simply evidence that can support this claim. At best the pyramid keeps the blade from being exposed to moisture in the air. You can achieve the same result by storing your razor in a zip lock bag.

Methods of Sharpening Razor Blades That May Work

Save a Blade

A battery operated machine that rotates a `silicone carbide sharpener` over the blade. It claims to sharpen the razor blade and prolong its use for up to 4 times the normal length. Some people have tried it and claims that it works. I plan on purchasing this product and trying it myself. I will follow up with a post.

Toronto Hydro is giving away free clotheslines. This will take place at different retailers over 3 weekends (Saturday and Sunday) from April 26 to May 11, 2008. This offer is limited to the first 500 customers at each store. There is a limit of one per house hold and proof of Toronto residency will be required. Proof of Toronto residence could be a Driver’s License with your Toronto address, or a residential hydro bill.

Commercial addresses are excluded from this offer. So mark your calendars and get out there early. The clotheslines have a retail value of $13 and are a great way to save energy.

One of our readers sent in this picture of the actual clothesline that was given out.

The Process

  • Go to a participating store (see list below)
  • Locate Take A Load Off Toronto Event Area
  • The first 500 Toronto residents will receive a free clothesline (Limit 1 clothesline per City of Toronto household)
  • You will be required to show proof that you are Toronto resident
  • Complete a brief survey and provide your postal code (optional)
  • Learn about ways to save electricity in and around your home
  • Take advantage of great discounts offered by Toronto Hydro on featured energy saving products: $2 off cold water laundry detergent and $3 off specialty ENERGY STAR qualified compact fluorescent light bulbs



10am to 5pm - Saturday, April 26, 2008
10am to 5pm - Sunday, April 27, 2008

Wal-Mart, Zellers

10am to 5pm - Saturday, May 3, 2008
10am to 5pm - Sunday, May 4, 2008

Costco, The Home Depot, Wal-Mart

10am to 5pm - Saturday, May 10, 2008
10am to 5pm - Sunday, May 11, 2008

Costco, The Home Depot, Wal-Mart

May 3, 4, 10 & 11, 2008 – 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
Downsview 100 Billy Bishop Way
Scarborough 1411 Warden Ave.
Etobicoke 50 Queen Elizabeth Blvd.

May 3, 4, 10 & 11, 2008 * – 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
Morningside 60 Grand Marshall Drive
Eglinton East 2911 Eglinton Avenue East
Scarborough 428 Ellesmere Road
Dufferin 2375 Steeles Ave. West
Yorkdale 90 Billy Bishop Way
Curity 7 Curity Avenue
Leaside 101 Wicksteed Ave
Gerrard Square 1000 Gerrard Street East
Caledonia 825 Caledonia Rd.
Stockyards 2121 St. Clair Avenue West
Etobicoke South 193 North Queen Street
Rexdale 1983 Kipling Avenue

April 26 & 27, May 3, 4, 10 & 11, 2008 – 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
Scarborough (East) 799 Milner Avenue
Scarborough (West) 1900 Eglinton Ave. E.
Scarborough 300 Borough Drive
Agincourt 3850 Sheppard Avenue East
Toronto 900 Duffrin Street
North York 1305 Lawrence Ave. W.
Toronto 2525 St. Clair Ave. W.
Etobicoke 165 North Queen St.
Rexdale 2245 Islington Ave.

April 26 & 27, 2008 – 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
Lawrence Square 700 Lawrence Ave. W.
Kipling Queensway Mall 1255 The Queensway
Gerrard Square 1000 Gerrard St.
High Park 2290 Dundas St. W.
Centerpoint Mall 6600 Yonge St.
Golden Mile 1880 Eglinton Ave. East
Dufferin/Dupont 1245 Dupont St.
Bridlewood Mall 2900 Warden Ave.
Cloverdale Mall 250 The East Mall
Shoppers World Danforth 3003 Danforth Ave.
East York Town Centre 45 Overlea Blvd.
Cedarbrae Mall 3469 Lawrence Ave. E.
York Gate Mall 1 York Gate Blvd.
North York Sheridan Mall 1700 Wilson Ave.
Woodbine Centre 500 Rexdale Blvd.

* The Home Depot store locations will not feature cold-water laundry detergent.

Parking in Toronto for Free

Saturday, April 19, 2008 | | 1 comments »

There was an article in today's Toronto Star about printing fraudulent parking receipts from automated parking meters, using expired credit cards. The article, Overhauled meters still can't detect illegal use says that though the problem has been know for over a year, and the city has paid $10 millions dollars or $3,800 for each new meter, the problem still exists.

Scams are only good as long as they are a secret. I have know about this scam for over 3 years and I am sure that others have know about it much longer. I have never actually used it because I hate driving into downtown Toronto and you can never find metered parking. It is just so much easier and cheaper to take public transit, either GO Transit or the TTC. However since the article in the Toronto Star, and the Toronto Sun were written I am sure that more people will try it.

Traditional Parking Meter

These parking meters accepted 5 cent, 10 cent, 25 cent and later 1 dollar coins. When the coin was dropped in the coin slot and the handle turned a mechanical pointer would indicate the amount of time allowed for parking. Adding more coins moved the pointer further to the right and added more time. With each coin inserted in the slot you would have to turn the handle.

When you ran out of time a red flag went up. Which usually meant that the parking enforcement would come by and give you a ticket.

This meter could be cheated. Certain coins and slugs would buy you time on the meter. The large British 2 pence coin for example would buy a little more than 50 cents worth of time. At that time the 2 pence was equal to 5 cents Canadian.

Digital Parking Meters

The city soon replaced all of the traditional parking meters with digital parking meters. These looked the same except the read out was digital and the coin mechanism could not be cheated with foreign coins or slugs. When you ran out of time a flashing red background was displayed.

Multi-Spot Parking Meters

A few years ago the city installed centralized digital meters. These meters are one for every five parking spots. They accept coins, and credit cards and will print out a parking slip which indicates the amount of time for which you have purchased parking. You place the parking slip face up on your dashboard for parking enforcement.

The problem with these meters was that, the convenience of using credit cards meant that the credit cards would have to be authorized. Since there are no telephone lines running to every parking meter the authorization data is downloaded at the end of the day and the credit card transactions are processed.

With credit cards all the meter does is verify that a credit card was inserted and that the magnetic strip on the back of the card give a valid credit card number. This is done by a digit check. For a Mastercard the prefix is always 51-55, there are 16 digits and the check digit algorithm mod is 10. For Visa the prefix is always 4, there are 13 or 16 digits and the check digit algorithm mod is 10. All credit card readers, websites, use this to make sure that a valid number was inputted. For a transaction to be approved the credit card number must be active on Visa's or Mastercard's computer database.

When the city of Toronto processes its credit card transactions at the end of the day, there were some cards which were invalid. These card numbers were added to a blacklist and uploaded to the parking meters. The parking meters could only hold 1,000 blacklisted cards in memory.

New Multi-Spot Parking Meters

Only 1,000 blacklisted cards could be held on each parking meter and there were more than 1,000 invalid credit cards being used, so Toronto at a cost of $3,800 per meter, totaling $10 million replaced all of the parking meters. The new meters could hold 10,000 blacklisted cards.

The Toronto Star reporter found out there installing new meters that hold 10,000 blacklisted cards is still not enough. There are more than 10,000 blacklisted cards in use and this number is sure to increase. He tried 4 invalid credit cards and the readers accepted them. Even when the readers rejected them after a week a couple of days later they were working again. This would mean that his cards were blacklisted but bumped of the blacklist by invalid cards that were more frequently used.

Toronto already lose $1 million every year to this type of fraud. Overhauling the meters with new meters that work just a little better means that Toronto just wasted $10 million more.

There is a simple solution to this problem. Disable credit card usage at all of the parking meters till telephone lines can be installed to these meters. The city of Calgary already verifies credit cards at its meters in real time. Yes, it would be inconvenient for people to park with they have to look for change but they will do so because the cost of a ticket would be much more.

I believe that the Toronto found out only after someone was caught started selling illegal credit card type parking cards called Europass on the net.

Cards That May Still Work

This is common knowledge now. However using any of these methods are illegal.

Europark Card

These cards are still being sold on the internet through The Canadian website has been shut down and now states `not for sale to Canadian residents.` The operator of this website was charged with credit card fraud.

Visa Gift Cards

These are the most common type of card this is used on Toronto Parking meters. These can be bought in $50-$500 amounts. Once the balance $0 they can still be used in Toronto's parking meters. The Visa number on these cards are the same as the numbers on regular Visa cards. The meters cannot tell the difference and all of the empty Visa gift cards cannot be blacklisted!

Expired Mastercard and Visa Cards

Any expired, old, Mastercard and Visa card will work. However if it was your old card remember that the credit card company might still have your personal information on file.

This tutorial will show you how to automatically shut down your computer at a scheduled time.

You can schedule your computer to shut down every night in case you forget and leave it on.

Shutting down your computer automatically will save you money. The average computer uses about 75 watts of energy per hour.

Click Start then Click Control Panel.

Click Performance and Maintenance.

Click Scheduled Tasks.

Double-click Add Scheduled Task. This starts the Scheduled Task Wizard.

Click Next.

Click Browse.

Search for shutdown.exe file (1).
Then click Open (2).

Select the Daily radio button (1).
Then Click Next (2).

Enter the time you want the computer to shutdown under Start Time (1).
Select the Every Day radio button (2).
Click Next (3).

Enter your Username (1).
Enter your Password (2).
Enter your Password again (3).
Click Next (4).

Select Open advanced properties for this task when I click Finish (1).
Click Finish (2).

Click on the Settings tab (1).
Select Wake the computer to run this task (2).
Click Apply (3).
Click OK (4).

You should see an scheduled task which auto shuts down the computer.

One of the worst habits that I have is waiting till the last minute to get things done.

Getting my pants hemmed was one of these tasks. I can never find pants that fit me properly. They just don't make pants that fit my waist but match my height. So almost every pair of pants that I purchase I have to get hemmed. But I cannot bring myself to spend $15-20 to get a pair of pants hemmed.

So I end up buying a pair of pants and have them sit in my closet.

Twice, the day before I had to go on a trip, I ran around from tailor to tailor looking so see who could hem my pants immediately. The stores in malls all seem to have to send out their pants to a tailor and did not offer same day service. Even the ones that had a tailor working in the back were too busy to get it done right away. Most said that they would take 3-4 days.

The last time this happened to me I discovered a place that is actually owned by a tailor. It is one of those family owned stores where the owner/operator provides the service himself. I prefer these stores to the ones where you have a sales person take you order and then someone else actually does the work.

The owner operator stores are unlike the capitalistic feudal system in which most modern businesses operate. A system where you have 1 CEO, 6 Directors, 10 Managers, and 50 workers. The 17 guys on top on average earning five times what the 50 guys on the bottom make. Managers whose only jobs are making sure the workers are working. Managers who could not do the workers job if their life depended on it, but who are quick to reprimand the worker for not meeting the quota. The same guys who at the first sign of financial trouble for a company decide `hey, lets layoff a couple of guys who actually do some work because we need our quarterly earnings to look better, and there is no way that I am firing myself.`

The tailor that I finally found was able to hem my pants in 1 hour, was willing to stay an 1/2 hour past his closing time and for $6 per pair. Compare that to the other stores that wanted on average $15 per pair and could at best have them ready in 3 days. I think I found myself a pretty good deal.

In case you are wondering here is the tailor's information. For the cynics out there I have not received any compensation of any kind for this post.

Professional Alterations & Dry Cleaning
5261 Hwy 7 E.
Markham, ON
L3P 1B8
East of McCowan, South East Corner

Hours of Operation
Mon - Fri 8am-8pm
Sat 9am -7pm
Sun 11am-4pm

Over the weekend I went to Pacific Mall to buy a new cell phone for the wife. I was looking for the Nokia 6500 Classic. The reviews for this phone were excellent. This phone also looking well suited for women. It is bronze in colour, slim and stylish.

In Pacific Mall there are a six or seven stores that sell this cell phone. Online on Craigslist this phone was listed at $310. This was the price I was expecting to pay since in the U.S. it was $290.

The first store (Communication Store, Unit A60) that I went to wanted $350 for the phone. On their website they were asking $450. We had spent to bit of time in this store looking at a few phones. When it was finally decided that we would buy the Nokia 6500 Classic I tried to negotiate the price but they refused to budge.

I was told that the sales associate had spent a lot of time with me. To which I replied `That is their job and regardless of whether I was there or not they would still have to be there. ` I was told to look around and come back if I wanted the phone. This was surprising because I believed that they would lower the price a little if asked. I has offered $320.

The next store that I want to wanted $330 for the phone. This was a bit better but still not what I was looking for. This is where I believe by mistake the sales associate slipped up and mentioned that they had a `few` stores in the mall.

I quickly looked around and yes, a sales associate in another store was in the first store that I had gone to. The fourth store that I went to had to go to the second store to get a Nokia 6500 Classic phone for me to look at. This store too wanted $330.

There were four cell phone stores in the mall owned by the same person located in the same aisle selling the same cell phones at the same price or higher! Sure the stores were small but all stores in Pacific Mall are small, cell phones are small. You are paying rent and sales associates in 4 stores!

I went to the one of the stores that did not look like it was owned by the same group. Here the sales associate said that `$330 is the price for this phone in this mall.` At this point I resolved myself into believing that he was absolutely right.

I ended up buying the phone for $325 but could not believe that there were redundant stores in the mall to give the illusion of competition. Just like the gas stations, I guess.

Each traffic ticket could result in an increase in your insurance premium. In Ontario there is a regulated standard set by the Insurance Bureau of Canada.

If you insurance rates increase higher than the set increase consider changing insurance companies. Other insurance companies might offer a better rate increase. No matter what, you are going to face an increase in premiums. It is just a matter of how much.

The following is an example of premium surcharges the Facility Association applies on private
passenger vehicles:

Convictions for any moving traffic offence offences related to the operation of a vehicle, other than those listed as Serious or Major, under an act governing highway traffic or Compulsory

Premium Surcharge
One conviction 0%
Two convictions 5%
Three convictions 15%
Four convictions 25%
Each additional 15%

Types of Convictions
• failure or refusal to surrender licence (CAIA )
• failure to produce evidence of insurance (CAIA)
• failure to carry insurance card (CAIA)
• failure to carry evidence of insurance (CAIA)
• failure to have insurance card (CAIA )
• failure to disclose particulars (CAIA )
• failure to notify police
• failure to make written report
• failure to report damage to highway property
• backing up – unsafe/illegal/improper – any type
• brakes – none/inadequate/improper – any type
• crowding driver’s seat
• door opening – illegal/obstructing traffic – any type
• emergency vehicle – operating with no regard for safety
• driving imprudently
• driving off roadway (including shoulder/sidewalk/median) – any type
• flagman – disobeying
• following too closely (including tailgating)
• headlights/parking lights – improper lack of use – any type
• lack of control of vehicle – any type
• motor-assisted bicycle – carrying passengers
• motorcycle – operating with only an instruction permit
• motorcycle – failure to wear helmet
• passing infraction – any type
• except school bus or school/playground zone
• pedestrian crossing violation – any type
• radar warning device in motor vehicle – if illegal in province/territory
• railway crossing – any type
• safety zone violation – any type
• seatbelt – any offence
• signalling offences – any type
• slow driving – endangering others – any type
• smokescreen device on vehicle
• speeding – any type, except when listed as major or serious
• squealing tires
• stopping – illegal/improper – any type
• stunting
• tires – defective/worn – any type
• towing – prohibited/unsafe – any type

Convictions for the following offences under any act governing highway traffic of Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act (CAIA) or offences substantially the same

Premium Surcharge
One conviction 15%
Each additional conviction 25%

Types of Convictions
• failure to report an accident
• failure, in the event of an accident, to give name and licence number to the police or any other person entitled to such information
• failure to obey school crossing stop sign
• improper passing of a school bus
• improper passing/speeding in a school or playground zone
• driving without insurance
• operating motor vehicle - no insurance (CAIA )
• vehicle owner without insurance (CAIA)
• no insurance (CAIA)
• producing false evidence (CAIA)
• making a false statement re insurance (MVACA)
• producing false insurance (MVACA)
• making a false statement (CAIA)
• speeding in excess of 50 km/h over limit
• Ontario Graduated Licence – permit novice driving in contravention of conditions/restrictions • class G1, accompanying driver fails or refuses to provide a breath or blood test
• class G1, accompanying driver has excess blood alcohol
• class G1, driver unaccompanied by qualified driver
• class G1, accompanied driver excess blood alcohol
• class G1, driver with front seat passengers
• class G1/G2, driver with excess passenger
• class G1, driver on prohibited highway
• class G1/M1, driver driving at unlawful hour
• class M1, driver driving motorcycle with passenger
• class M1, driver driving motorcycle on prohibited highway

Convictions for the following offences under the Criminal Code of Canada or under an act governing highway traffic or any other act or any offences

Premium Surcharge
One conviction 100%
Each additional conviction 100%

Types of Convictions
• criminal negligence committed in the operation or use of a motor vehicle
• manslaughter committed in the operation or use of a motor vehicle
• driving while licence under suspension
• racing
• careless driving
• driving without due care and attention
• dangerous driving
• impaired driving
• failure or refusal to submit to a breath or blood test
• failure to pass a breath or blood test
• failure to stop/remain at the scene of an accident
• failure to stop for a police officer, resulting in a suspension of licence for a
period in excess of two weeks
• class GI/G2/M1/M2 failure/refuses to give breath sample
• class G1/G2/M1/M2 driver with alcohol in blood - one conviction 100% - each additional conviction 100%

Note: If convictions for impaired driving and failure or refusal to take a breath or blood test relate to the same occurrence, they will be considered as one conviction.

Note: The maximum surcharge the Facility Association applies is 250%.

The National Motorists Association did a study and found that six U.S. cities have shortened the length of the yellow light at intersections that have red light cameras. Cities such as Union City, CA, Dallas and Lubbock, TX, Nashville and Chattanooga, TN, Springfield, MO have reduced the length of the yellow light below the U.S. national standard minimum of 3 seconds.

Red light cameras which are used to photograph motorists who illegally enter an intersection on a red light. Tickets are issued to the registered owner of the vehicle.

Motorists 'running the red' have been the cause of major accidents both with other vehicles and pedestrians. However installation of red light cameras did not reduce the number of accidents at an intersection. A study conducted by the Ministry of Transportation (Evaluation of the Red Light Camera Enforcement Pilot Project 12/1/2003) concluded that red lights cameras actually cause more accidents.

There were 4988 reported collisions at the 48 evaluation study sites in the before period. An average of1027.6 collisions/year. In the after period, there was a total of 2366 reported collisions. An average of 1183.0 collisions/year. This was an increased 15.1%.

Red light cameras have been found to cause more rear-end collisions as drivers come to a sudden stop to avoid entering the intersection on a yellow light.

Red light cameras are also used as a revenue stream for crash strapped cities. Fines for red light violations in Toronto are $190. Hopefully Canadian cities do not follow the U.S. example and tamper with red light cameras for increased profits.

Driving through a red light intersection can be an expensive prospect. Chances are you might get a red light ticket or a rear end collision.

Your GPS can be programmed to alert you to a red light camera intersection. A list of all the red light camera intersections and the GPS data files can be found here.

Barcode Art

Sunday, April 06, 2008 | , | 0 comments »

Almost every day my co-workers and I discuss what kind of ideas we can come up with to make more money or allow us to move into a new secure career field. The technology industry that we work in is very unstable.

Here is a great idea that a company in Japan has come up with. Design Barcode, Inc. has taken the simple mundane barcode and changed it into an attractive piece of art.

A couple of days ago I posted about what would be the best cash out point for your Esso Points. This is a follow up post.

So, I tried to cash out my Esso points. I used to collect Esso points on an Royal Bank Esso Visa card. This card gives you Esso points for purchases at an Esso gas station as well as points for every dollar you spend on purchases anywhere else.

I stopped using this Visa since I had switched to a Dividend Cash Back Visa a little over two years ago. I am still collecting Esso points but with a new Esso account/Speed Pass.

The Royal Bank Esso Visa card did not have the Esso card number on it. It only had a customer number issued by Esso. So I called Imperial Oil (Esso) to get a replacement Esso card issued so I could cash out the 7040 points that I had collected on the old Esso card.

Customer Service Representative 1 (CSR) Hangs Up On Me

After navigating through the maze of automated menus that Esso had I got a hold of a CSR. I told her that I would like to get a replacement Esso card mailed to me. She then told me that I had no Esso account on file.

What? I had spent $7040 for 7040 points and now the CSR was telling me that I had no record on file. I asked her to check again. Reluctantly she checked and said that I had an account that had expired because I had not used it in more that 24 months.

That was true I had not used the Royal Bank Esso Visa card with Esso points in 27 months because I was using my Dividend Cash Back Visa. However, what about my points? She then told me you lost your points, they expire if you don't use the Esso card within 24 months and this was all in your `terms and conditions`.

I said it might have been but I received no notice that my card was going to `expire` and that I would lose my points.

She than said `hold on let me see what I can do`. Two seconds later I am cut off. I believe that she hung up on me.

Customer Service Representative 2

Not to be discouraged, and more adamant that before I called back immediately. Promising myself that if I don't get my points back to never buy gas at Esso ever again. All of the gas stations charge the same price anyway.

Navigate through the telephone menu maze and I reach a new CSR. Explained the situation again and she again informs me that my points are gone. However she said that she would reinstate them on a new card. She then asked me to go to an Esso gas station and call back.

I was not going to do this and risk getting another CSR who might hang up on me so I asked her to mail me a new Esso card with my reinstated points. She agreed to do that and I am expecting the card in 3-4 weeks.

Plan on cashing out right away.

Esso Extra cards expire after 24 months of inactivity and Esso will keep all of the points that you have collected.

My 7040 points was worth $40 in rewards and I had spent $7040 to collect then. Imperial with a revenue of $ 25.4 billion 2007 and $24.7 billion in 2006, and net income (profit after all expenses) of $3.2 billion in 2007 and $3.0 billion in 2006 really wanted my $40.

Esso Extra Rewards is a loyalty program by Esso gas stations which give you points on most items purchased at the gas bar. With an Esso Extra card you earn 1 or more points for every dollar spent at participating Esso stations.

It is an incentive program to have consumers buy at Esso. Since the price of gas is the same at most gas stations, and there is usually more than one gas station on a corner it makes sense to buy at the station that offers you a reward.

  • Shell - Airmiles
  • Petro Canada - Petro Points
  • Esso - Esso Extra Points
So at when should you cash out and for which rewards?

Never cash out for rewards that have high markups. Use points to buy a bottle of Coke or Lotto tickets or even a car wash and you lose money. Gas stations are one of the most expensive places to buy things other than gas. Always cash out for gasoline. It is a necessity for most people.

You can cash in for a gift card and use it to buy gas or for gas itself. The gift cards do not give you the best points per dollar. A $50 gift card will cost you 8500 points. That is a cost 172 points for $1 of gas. $30 of gas paid for with points will cost you 5000 points. That is a cost of 167 points for $1 of gas. If you cash out sooner with less points you will lose money.

The best reward is the $30 gas, paid for with points, for 5000 points. It did cost you $5000 at Esso to earn those points. But it is money that you would have never had if you did a rewards card.

Believe me I know people who have 5 cars in their household and pay cash to fill up and who could not be bothered to collect rewards points. Sad....

Esso Rewards Returns

Esso Reward Dollars Points Pts/Dollar
$10 Gift Card 10 1800 180
$25Gift Card 20 4300 172
$50 Gift Card 50 8500 170
$10 Gas 10 1800 180
$20 Gas 20 3500 175
$25 Gas 25 4300 172
$30 Gas 30 5000 167
Tim Hortons $25 Card 25 4500 180
Dinner Out Gift Card 25 4500 180

You do not earn any points for fractions of a dollar. $20 in gas is worth 20 Esso points. $20.12 in gas is also worth 20 Esso points.

More blog posts to come on Petro Points and Shell Airmiles. Which is the best gas rewards program.