Top 10 Money Wasting Habits Canadians Should Avoid

By  //  November 17, 2020

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Balance is essential in general, but when it comes to your finances, it matters even more. Why? Because it can keep you away from debt and not being able to overcome struggling periods because you have no resources to fall back on. The biggest threat to your financial balance is your money-wasting habits.

Some of those habits are so sneaky and hide so well that you may not even be aware of them. So, we will go over the main money-wasting habits you should avoid if you want to use your money efficiently.

If you’re trying to detect the things in your daily life that make your budget bleed the most, you may be looking for major expenses, thinking those are the ones that affect your account the most.

But you will be surprised to discover that most of the waste comes from small things you don’t even pay attention to, actions you perform by reflex without giving it a second thought. Some of these expenses may seem little, but if you add them all up at the end of the month, the result will surprise you.

So here they are, the habits you may have that burn a hole into your pocket discretely and continuously.

Top 10 Money Wasting Habits to Avoid

#1 – Buying brand products

The idea that brand products are of high quality and last longer has been around for a while now. And in some cases, it is true. It can be a good idea to invest in a few essential pieces that you know you will be using for a few years, at least. But this shouldn’t be the rule every time you buy something because it will lead to many unnecessary expenses.

The truth is many generic products are just as good as brand ones, and you shouldn’t avoid them just out of principle. While you can pay a bit extra to get a brand wool coat or a home appliance, most of the time, the generic versions offer the same or similar quality at a much lower price.

As long as you read the label carefully to check the quality, you can get excellent products and save a lot of money. And since this rule can apply to all sorts of items, you will discover how much you were paying extra for something not really worth it.

#2 – Grocery shopping while hungry

This sounds a bit funny, but it’s actually one of the habits that makes you waste a lot of money. If you go grocery shopping when you’re hungry or have too much free time on your hands, you will definitely buy a lot of things you don’t need.

Your hunger will turn every type of food or snack extremely appealing, and your shopping cart will be full in no time. The same thing happens if you spend too much time in the supermarket, strolling down the aisles and observing every shiny and colorful package.

If you want to avoid overwhelming both your shopping cart and your wallet, the best strategy is to go shopping with a list and make sure you stick to it. And don’t do your shopping while hungry because you probably won’t even eat much of that food you bought out of impulse.

#3 – Relying on instant online loans

Instant online loans can be a lifesaver when you’re facing an unexpected bill. They are easy to apply for and can get you out of trouble when money is tight. The problem is that while most Canadians only borrow what they need, some people take out a loan to make impulsive purchases.

Many payday lenders will not ask you what you are borrowing the money for so you can easily qualify for a loan and get approved based on your ability to pay back. Getting a loan to pay for non-urgent expenses can get you into trouble if you don’t watch your budget. If you use cash, you are more aware of the sums you are spending.

So, if you don’t have enough money to cover all your expenses for the rest of the month, don’t rely on these type of credit options unless it’s an emergency.

#4 – Food waste

This habit is somehow related to the previous one on the list, but it goes much deeper than shopping while hungry. We usually buy much more food than we need and not even consume it; a significant part ends up in the trash. Food waste is turning into a serious problem in general, so don’t think you are the only one doing it. But if you plan your shopping list carefully, you can avoid wasting so much food.

#5 – Eating out

No one can deny that having a meal in a restaurant is a pleasant experience, but you must make sure you can afford it if you do it too often. Otherwise, your credit card may give you some bad news at the end of the month. Eating out, as well as take-out and food deliveries, add a lot to your expenses, and these are costs you can sometimes avoid.

It’s ok to indulge yourself in a treat eating out once in a while, but don’t do it because you simply didn’t have time or the energy to cook or buy groceries. If you carefully plan your shopping list and prepare your meals ahead before a busy day, you will be saving a lot of money. Not to mention you will probably eat better too.

#6 – Buying fancy coffee

Buying a fancy coffee, carefully prepared by a barista in the coffee shop down the street, can be exciting, but it will cost a lot if you make a routine out of it. You may feel like it’s just a small change, but you won’t like the result if you do the math. That gourmet coffee will add more than calories; it’s a money-wasting habit you can easily give up.

Making a daily stop at a coffee house looks fun in movies, but in real life, it’s a habit that not only costs too much but is also not really worth the money. If you make your own coffee, you can drink it exactly how you like it, and a fun drawing in your cappuccino foam isn’t exactly essential.

#7 – Impulse shopping

Impulse or emotional spending is a habit that’s not that easy to give up because temptations are everywhere. From TV commercials to online ads that seem to know exactly what would interest you, you are surrounded by offers that seem too good to be true. But if you give in to that impulse, you will have your home cluttered by unnecessary things and a big hole in your budget.

While it may not be that easy to resist temptation, it is possible. Make it a rule to postpone the purchase at least a day. Sleep on it, think it over the next day, and you will probably change your mind easier.

#8 – Late payments

Bills are a monthly stress anyone would like to ignore, but that’s never a good idea. You may think it’s ok to delay paying one so you can use that money for something else, but the bill won’t go away. Instead, if you don’t pay it in time, it will bring penalties, so you will need to pay even more for that moment of postponing.

The best way to keep all payments under control is to draft a budget and stick to it. You know exactly when each bill is issued and when the deadline is, so make sure you have the money ready and pay it in due time. This is especially important when money is tight, so you can avoid accumulating debt.

#9 – ATM fees

ATM fees are a cost you really shouldn’t be paying, at least not unless it’s absolutely necessary. These fees seem to get higher every year, and if you add them up, you will probably get angry at how much money you lose. The best way to avoid this situation is by pulling out more money at the beginning of the month or once your salary is in. That way, you can budget it easier and avoid other trips to the ATM and additional fees.

Of course, emergencies do happen, and you may find yourself in need of cash. If that happens, make sure you look for a free ATM in your area to avoid paying surcharges.

#10 – Gym memberships you don’t use

Countless gym membership cards are currently staying in a pocket in wallets all over the country right now, waiting for the day they will finally see the light. But the sad truth is many of them remain unused.

And this money-wasting habit is more frequent than you may think. Most of us have grand plans to start working out and get in shape, but the gym seems to be out of our way for various reasons. And yet the membership keeps taking money out of our wallets.

That doesn’t mean you should stop working out altogether or even stop going to the gym. But if you’re not 100% dedicated to using every session, that membership is something you need to get rid of. If you really want to save up, it’s possible to exercise without spending any money. Just go jogging or find a workout video online and do it whenever you have the time.

How do I stop Wasting Money?

The general answer to this question is simple, stop spending money on unnecessary things. But, as it turns out, these expenses have a way of tricking you and taking advantage of a weak moment.

The best way to stop wasting money is to set a strict budget and not, under any circumstance, spend any extra cash, unless it’s something essential and urgent. You can even put the money for each budgeted expense in a different envelope to make it easier to stay on track. It will be challenging, but if you do it for a few months, it becomes a habit, one that actually helps you in the long run.

Once you get used to it, you will realize exactly how much money you were wasting in the past, and prioritizing expenses will start coming naturally. But it’s essential to assess your situation critically and honestly. You can even use an app to help you set the budget and demotivate you from spending extra.

What Things Are a Waste of Money?

We mentioned ten money-wasting habits above, but the truth is the list is much longer. Of course, not all these things apply to everyone, but most of us have quite many financially unhealthy habits. For the great part, they seem so innocent that we hardly ever think about the adding costs, and that’s precisely the main danger. But once you take a close and critical look at your monthly spending habits, you will learn to identify the main leaks.

Here are a few other things that are a waste of money, for you to remove from your shopping list:

• Bottled water – this is not only an unnecessary cost but a significant threat to the environment as well. If your tap water is not safe enough to drink, you can filter it; even with the filter’s price, you will still be saving money, not to mention doing your part to avoid plastic waste.

• Fast food is one of the biggest threats to our health and, at the same time, a money-wasting habit many people have. The entire fast-food restaurant experience is designed to make you spend more. From the sweet smell to the seemingly innocent offer to upgrade your order to a larger size and maybe add dessert, it’s all meant to get you to pay more than you intended. Not to mention the money you will later spend getting your cholesterol back to decent levels.

• Gadgets are a vast business worldwide, and it seems to expand each year. Why? Because we are basically big children, getting excited over every cool gadget we see and buying it without thinking about it first. We are definitely entitled to our fun time, but the problem is there seeming to be a gadget for everything you can think of, so we may end up spending much more than we really afford.

• In-game purchases are another sneaky money-wasting habit. The costs seem so low that temptation is tough to resist, but those tiny costs add up in time, and you won’t like the result.

What Are the Biggest Wastes of Money?

There are many ways people waste money without realizing exactly how much, but some are particularly harmful, like cigarettes. We haven’t included it on the list because not everyone has this habit, but smoking is a massive waste of money as well as a significant threat to your health.

So, if you are a smoker, see how much money you spend on cigarettes each month, and then think about what you could do with that money. This habit is not just toxic and dangerous but also a significant everyday expense.

While we’re on the subject of massive wastes of money, you may also reconsider buying lottery tickets regularly. Dreaming about enormous winnings is fun, but in reality, the chances of having that dream come true are so minuscule, you are better off spending that money on something else.

How do I Stop Buying Unnecessary Things?

Indeed, this sounds like a complicated task, but it is possible. What you need to do is build a few positive and constructive habits. Once they become part of your routine, it will be easier to keep your finances under control.

Here are a few strategies you can try:

Avoid emotional spending; identify the elements that usually lead you to unnecessary costs and stay away from them.

Don’t fall into the ‘sales’ trap; those discounts are rarely as great as they seem.

Whenever you feel like buying something you don’t really need, think about the work you had to perform to earn that money; that usually breaks the bubble and gets you back to sticking to the budget.

Set an important goal and start saving money for it. It’s easier to stay away from small temptations when you have a clear and essential purpose.

Are these Money Wasting Habits Easy to Overcome?

If you imagine you can easily go from spending like crazy to a strict budget, you aren’t setting realistic expectations. Changing your spending habits isn’t easy, and it doesn’t happen overnight. But it is definitely possible, and once you acquire new and useful practices, sticking to the budget will be easier than you may think.

After all, we are creatures of habit, so it’s only a matter of choosing the right ones. Still, don’t forget to allow yourself a little extra expense now and then, if possible. That way, you won’t feel restricted, and you will enjoy that indulgence even more.