21 Bad Spending Habits You Need To Break

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None of us are perfect spenders! In fact, we probably all have a lot more in common than we’d think when it comes to our spending habits. Sometimes we need a little nudge to realize how our spending habits are impacting our personal finances, so we’ve compiled a list of bad spending habits you need to break to help you keep your spending on track!

Bad spending habits you need to break

Remember: if you take part in any of these habits, you’re not alone, and you can break them for the better!

1. Using multiple chequing accounts and credit cards so it’s hard to track your spending

It’s hard to improve your spending habits if you aren’t able to easily track them. Limit the accounts you use so you can keep yourself on track!

2. Chasing bank promotions

While things like free stuff or bonus interest rates seem appealing on the surface, you can easily end up spending more than you expected when the promotions end.

3. Not canceling subscriptions you don’t use anymore

This is your friendly reminder to CANCEL those unused subscriptions you’ve been meaning to for months now. I can’t emphasize enough just how wasteful it is to accumulate charges for things you don’t even use.

4. Failing to negotiate with providers

If you negotiate with providers regarding things such as your cellphone plan, utilities, or even gym membership, to get better rates, you might be able to save some money!

5. Using a bank that charges banking fees

Why pay extra fees when you can avoid them? You can find no-fee daily banking that’s right for you and save money in the process. EQ Bank and Tangerine are both awesome no-fee banking options!

6. Not making contributions to savings and investments automatic

Automating your savings and investments makes life so much easier! When you trust yourself to just manually transfer the money “when you have it”, you’ll quickly fall into a pattern of claiming you’ll save money before realizing you’ve already spent it.

7. Withdrawing cash from ATM’s not with your primary bank

While sometimes circumstances render this unavoidable, if you can, you should aim to make any cash withdrawals from your primary bank’s ATM’s. You end up paying $3 to $5 per withdrawal when you use a different bank’s machine!

8. Not setting a budget for spending money when you go to an event or on a trip

If you don’t set a budget before a trip, you can easily get carried away with spontaneous purchases!

9. Using plastic instead of cash for discretionary spending

Studies show we actually spend more responsibly when we use cash instead of plastic!

10. Always getting another round

Eventually, you hit a point where another drink does absolutely nothing good for your body or your wallet. Keep the cash (and your buzz) and avoid that extra bar rail.

11. Buying brand name where it doesn’t make a difference in quality

While it’s nice to spend money on quality items, it is important to note that brand name does not always = quality. Even when buying something as small as paper towels, consider if the buying brand name is really going to make a difference in terms of quality.

12. Paying expensive MERs on your mutual fund instead of signing up for a Robo-Advisor

Robo-advisors are a great way to avoid extra fees when investing. Wealthsimple is a great option for this. You can sign up here and get your first $10,000 managed for free!

13. Choosing a more expensive car

A more expensive car increases your financing costs, as well as fuel and insurance. All while a cheaper car will get you where you need to go just as well!

14. Confusing wants with needs

Sometimes when you’re spending money on things you want, you convince yourself it’s something you need. While it is more than okay to buy things just because you want them, it’s important not to go overboard with justifying unnecessary purchases.

15. Taking an Uber or Taxi when public transit would do just fine

This is something I’m super guilty of. Sometimes I’m lazy and grabbing an Uber or a Taxi is the most appealing travel option. But, before you call that car, consider if the convenience is truly worth the money you’re about to spend.

16. Failing to pay your bills on time

Paying your bills on time is one of the most important financial habits to have. If you don’t, you risk incurring completely avoidable late fees and interest.

17. Not keeping a buffer in your chequing account

If your bank account gets overdrawn, you incur an insufficient funds fee. This has to be one of the most frustrating things that can happen to your money. One time I had a check bounce for being $15 short, and ended up incurring a $50 insufficient funds fee! This could have been easily avoided if I ensured I had a buffer in my chequing account.

18. Lending money to a friend

It’s great to be able to help others out financially who need it, but when it comes to those offhand friendship-loans, you can easily rack up lost cash if you don’t keep track of it.

19. Paying for things that are free

If you pay for something when it exists for free, you’re probably making a big mistake. For example, paying for a credit report when you could get it free from Borrowell is probably not the best use of your money!

20. Shopping in different currencies online

As a Canadian, I’ve caught myself online shopping on websites that charge in USD more often than I’d like to admit. When online shopping, make sure you are on your country’s version of the site to avoid duties, higher shipping costs, and unexpected currency conversions.

21. Not taking advantage of discounts

If you qualify for discounts, use them! Not enough people take advantage of the discounts made available to them whether through work, school, and more!

Ready to break some spending habits?

If you see yourself in this list, don’t worry. Recognize the flaws in your spending as opportunities to save, and your wallet will thank you!

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