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Warranty cards worth more than the paper they're printed on

Stop! Don’t burn or recycle that wrapping paper.

Stop! Don’t burn or recycle that wrapping paper. While you’re sifting through the post-holiday detritus, make a special effort to look for and hold on to warranties. Most Canadian families make a considerable investment in presents, $600 to $750 on average, and one of the best ways to preserve that investment is to keep track of warranties, big and small.

I admit, this isn’t something I’ve done assiduously until the past few years, but I’ve learned it can really pay off.

The first time I realized I needed to pay better attention to warranties came when I took my kitchen knives into a Henckels free sharpening clinic. My husband had used the chef’s knife eons earlier for some unauthorized prying and broke off the tip. The rep conducting the workshop took one look at it said, “It’s under warranty, I’ll replace it.” Voila, a brand new knife and no snarky remarks about husbands.

Similarly, when I phoned Obus Forme to purchase a new back for a ten-year-old office chair, the company informed me it was covered under a lifetime warranty.

It’s all too easy to toss a broken item, as so much these days lasts such a short time. But warranties can be your ticket to extended use.

Since I got serious about warranties I’ve replaced, among numerous other things, parts of two different espresso machines, a $35 camera battery, an outdoor pavilion costing $400 and the zipper on an expensive winter coat. The camera and the espresso machine were inoperative without the parts. The pavilion was usable but rusting after a year, and the jacket didn’t do it’s job unzipped.

The best part about being diligent on the warranty front is that you are extending the life of investments you’ve made with after tax dollars. It’s like getting a reduction in your marginal tax rate every time you are successful.

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