Gail Vaz-Oxlade’s School Of Personal Finance

If you’re looking for someone that is going to be completely real with you about money – Gail Vaz-Oxlade is your gal. She is one of those people that speaks the truth, even if you don’t want to hear it – and that’s what I love about her. She doesn’t sugar-coat personal finance issues, like so many others seem to do.

Some people may find her a bit harsh, but I personally think that she’s perfect the way she is. Sometimes the truth is hard to hear, but we really do need to hear it.

Gail Vaz-Oxlade is the host of Til’ Debt Do Us Part and Princess on Slice TV, where she helps families, couples and single women get back on track with their finances. I have been a huge fan of Til’ Debt Do Us Part for years now. It’s one of the few shows that I can actually watch repeats of… I always seem to learn something new that I missed the first time.

If you’re looking for a great author of personal finance books, Gail has you covered in that department, as well. She has written over a dozen of them! Debt Free Forever is my favourite.

Gail was even kind enough to answer some of our personal finance questions last year.

Things Gail will tell you about personal finance that you probably didn’t know:

You can (and should) receive your credit report twice a year for FREE. That’s right, not a single cent.

You can (and should) negotiate annual fees, such as those on a credit card, every year.

You can change your billing dates to make bill-paying more convenient for you (ie. your bills are paid as soon as you are paid).

You can ask the government to reduce your income tax (in which case you will increase your income) each month, instead of getting a lump sum at the end of the year.

Gail Vaz-Oxlade’s top 5 personal finance tips:

1. If you’re in debt, dig yourself out. Start today.

2. Create a budget. Everyone should have one.

3. Spend less money than you bring in. It sounds simple, but many, many people don’t follow this simple rule and then wonder why they never seem to have any money left at the end of the month.

4. No matter how much money you make, you should ALWAYS be saving at least 10% of your net income.

5. Eliminate impulse purchases by shopping with a list. Groceries, clothing, gifts – make a list before you shop.

Gail Vaz-Oxlade is successful because she knows what she’s talking about when it comes to money. Her tips have helped thousands of people, not just in Canada, but around the world.

She’s one of the few people that I actually believe truly wants to help others with their finances, and not just make a quick buck. If you are desperate for financial help, I highly recommend checking out Gail’s website.

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  1. Edward says:

    If a bank will not negotiate a credit card interest rate, a user should look for a low-interest card elsewhere that offers a special such as 0% for 6 months on credit card balance transfers and give their old institution the boot. …And cut up the old card. A person should *never* be discouraged from calling their bank as the above user states.

  2. Charlene says:

    What do you mean by: “You can ask the government to reduce your income tax (in which case you will increase your income) each month, instead of getting a lump sum at the end of the year.”
    Can you explain this a bit more?

  3. Judy says:

    In Canada if you want to have less tax withheld you have to complete a TD1.

    go to and look in forms. You can also use this if you are working 2 jobs and want additional tax taken off. That way you dont end up with another bill at the end of the year you cant pay.

  4. sonja says:

    Asking to reduce your payroll taxes can be a BIG mistake!!. It is only good when you have a lot of deductions that generate a large tax refund each year. If you normally get a small refund you could end up with a big tax bill if you underpay during the year. Better to pay throughout the year unless you have savings to cover it. Instead, you might be better off to ask your employer to deduct MORE tax. This way you’ll owe less at year end or get a refund that you can apply to your debts.

  5. Judy says:

    Sonja I agree with you. It is easier to come up with $25 a week than it is to come up with $500.

  6. Vera says:

    I have watched Gail for years now and she has her own website and give “free information”. She also gives all the info online for budgeting and has a spreadsheet you can save onto your computer to use every month. Gail helped design most banks borrowing rules and guidelines. If she says to, do call your bank and ask for a lower rate and if that doesn’t work change banks….If they want your money and business they will negotiate. I have since reading on her website that banks will negotiate done just that. Knocked off 1/2 percent off my mortgage and 1 percent on my used car loan. That may not sound like alot but it works out to be alot of interest that isn’t being paid. That is assuming you are not a huge credit risk……Plus if you are behind most companies will work with you and reduce your credit card rate….just keep asking to speak with a supervisor till you get someone that will work with you. Thanks to her advice and Couponing my family is now having money to pay all our bills and saving a little more each month for a rainy day. We got ourselves into debt and we will get back out.

  7. sonja says:

    Re taxes: It comes down to whether you’d rather pay your taxes during the year or one lump sum at the end. The total tax paid is the same.
    I usually agree with Gail, but I think she’s wrong about this one for most people. Unless you get a large refund every year following this advise could make your debt situation much worse.

  8. Vera says:

    I’m sorry but everyone should be calling and demanding these insane rates go down. Since i started watching Gail’s show. I’ve lowered my credit card interest rates by over 10% in total. Simply by calling and asking for it then asking to speak to a supervisor and again until I got one that did lower it. After the first success i called the other two card holders and did the same. ALL THE CREDIT CARD COMPANIES DID LOWER THEM. Plus lowered my mortgage interest by 1%(used a broker) and i got the same mortgage the bank was offering for less interest. It can be done and people are starting to wise up. Between Couponing and Gail i’m saving on average 200.00 a month in interest. I do not have great credit. We (hubby and I)both owe on credit cards and loans. In my opinion if your bank wants your business great if not go elsewhere. There is no loyalty to customer’s why should consumer’s show any loyalty.

  9. Lisa says:

    @ Albertamommy you pay the if you want it immediately other wise you mail your info in.

  10. melissa says:

    Hi guys as a CRA auditor I will clarify Gail’s advice on reducing your taxes deducted by your employer. This can ONLY be done if you have additional credits, such as tution, children etc that you claim and would otherwise get a refund for. If you get large refunds each year go for it. If not you should not do this. You cannot ask them to reduce the taxes without specifying which credits you will be claiming on your return. if you do this and make something up you wil only be hurting yourself:) Just my two cents. I personally have done it as a mom of 4 but its not for everyone;)

  11. Mrs January says:

    Leslie: I think it’s perfectly acceptable to call your credit card company to ask for a lower rate. If they are not able to lower it, that’s perfectly fine – some companies will say yes and some will not. I think that it’s worth a shot to give them a call to find out what they will say. You never know unless you try.

    Albertamommy: You can add that in ADDITION to your credit report – it’s for your credit score. Only your credit REPORT is free. 🙂

    SK: Aw, thank you so much for the sweet comment!

    Charlene: Check out the response by Judy (thanks, Judy!), she explains it perfectly.

    melissa: Thanks for your two cents! 🙂

  12. Julie says:

    This is the form you need to fill out from CRA to request to reduce tax deductions at source for the following year (Form T1213) – You must meet certain criterias to be eligible. (I’ve heard that there are similar provincial ones… I know a form does exist for Quebec, but I do not know about the other provinces.)

    My husband was thinking about doing it for 2012, but he missed the deadline (should be done in October/ November of current year for the previous year. Once CRA approves, you get a form that you then give to your compensation department at work, who then ensures that the correct amount of taxes is withheld, and not a guesstimate, which is why you get more money on your paycheck.)

    Seems like a hassle to me – I don’t mind getting a refund. Gail’s point is that we are lending the government money, interest free. She is right…

  13. Julie says:

    Oops, I meant to say “should be done in October/ November of current year for the *following* year.”

  14. melissa says:

    Question – what do you say when you call CC companies to ask for a lower rate? Do you give them any reasons?

  15. Mrs January says:

    Melissa: Just let them know that you can’t afford to pay the current rate. 🙂

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