We spend money almost every single day, but unfortunately our expenses aren't always productive. Even if you have a seemingly air-tight budget, you may still be wasting your money on trifles. How so? Perhaps you are still paying for something that's on its way to becoming obsolete or simply isn't all that practical.
For instance, wrist watches make for fantastic accessories, but you don't really need them to tell time because plenty of electronic devices you likely already own can do it too, such as your cellphone. This makes watches an easily avoidable expense.
Here are other aspects of your life that are probably costing you too much...
Do you remember the last time you've used an actual phone? Probably not. According to Statistics Canada, one in five Canadian households -- 13 per cent of the country -- were relying on cellphones as their only form of telephone service in 2013, and the number is growing. Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association has reported that Canadians owned 28,218 cellphones in total during the third quarter of 2014. So, if you are still paying for your landline without really using it, then maybe it's time to say good-bye.
10. Newspapers and Magazines
If you have a cellphone, laptop, tablet or all of the above, then you probably don't need to buy or subscribe to physical magazines and newspapers. The industry has been in decline for quite some time now, and the reason is the high cost of printing and delivering a physical copy -- and it's the consumer who pays for it. Since the internet offers most of the content that you can find in a physical newspaper or magazine, there's really no need to pay extra for it. Plus, it's much easier to find news and other forms of content online as all you need to do is type a few keywords in Google and you're set.
Cars are necessary, but expensive, which means that you can easily waste a ton of money on one. Fortunately, there are many ways to save on a car as well. One of them is to buy a used car, though it's not always the cheapest solution, which is something we discuss at length right here. If you want to save money on a car properly, set a strict budget for yourself and then use this tool from Unhaggle.com to find new cars that fall within your price range, along with the latest deals. You should also use the following calculator from CAA.ca to figure out car ownership costs, like gas and insurance. Even cheap new cars are relatively well-equipped, so don't feel ripped off when you're buying one, because doing so can greatly reduce your monthly payments.
People usually pay for two kinds of insurance here in Canada -- auto and mortgage. If you own a car and have a mortgage, then you can't strike these insurance payments from your budget. What you can do, however, is look for cheaper alternatives. Check out various insurance companies and compare their rates. Look for discounts as well.
For instance, if you are a member of a professional organization, like Canadian Professional Sales Association or The Air Canada Pilots Association, you can qualify for a discount. Students, alumni, union members and seniors can qualify as well. To reduce your car insurance rates, try adding a second driver to your policy or signing up for a multi-car policy if you own several vehicles. You can also install an anti-theft device to boost its security or trade-in your current car for a cheaper one since pricier vehicles cost more to insure.
In today's world, having some form of internet connection isn't a luxury -- it's a necessity. What isn't a necessity, however, is fast internet connection. Unless you are planning to download hundreds of Blu-ray-quality movies, you don't really need 25 megabits per second (mbps). In fact, 1.5 or 2 mbps should be enough to satisfy most of your daily internet requirements. It may take a few seconds longer to load the latest YouTube viral sensation, but that shouldn't be a big deal - unless you are very impatient. You can learn more about saving on broadband internet in one of my earlier articles.
Television channels are far too overpriced these days -- because there's rarely anything on them that you actually want to watch. Furthermore, media companies sell their channels in bundles, which prevents customers from buying them separately. As a result, you end up with thousands of channels that have nothing to offer. With websites like Netflix, Crackle, YouTube and more recently HBO Now, there is no reason to keep any of those channels around. Their subscriptions cost very little, and they allow you to choose whatever you want to watch at any time. So, just cancel your television service and start watching your favourite movies and shows online.
It's nice to have pets, but they can be expensive. According to Petfinder, the costs of owning a pet can range from about $500 to $10,000 for a dog and $300 to $5,000 for a cat per year. To stay closer to the less expensive side of those ranges, try buying pet food in bulk since a single large package is likely to cost you less than several small packages. Other ways to save money on pets involve spaying or neutering your pet and making your own treats and toys. You should also avoid paying for pet-sitting and instead ask your neighbour, friend or family member to look after them when you are gone.
Alcohol is expensive, but it's not essential. You don't have to cut it out of your budget completely, so if you want to indulge in this vice often, try to look for less expensive ways to do so. Start by avoiding bars and restaurants since many of them charge for a single drink what liqueur stores charge for a whole bottle. And unless you are a real expert, it's unlikely that a $10 bottle of wine will taste much worse than a $30 alternative. Besides, some cheaper brands can be surprisingly good too. You might need to look for them, but once you find one, you won't ever have to go for the more expensive brands.
Bottled water may sound like a finer alternative to tap water, but this notion couldn't be further from the truth. Most bottled-water makers are not obligated to test their water or reveal their test results to the public. What's worse is that many water brands, including Aquafina and Dasani, are basically treated tap water anyway - as pointed out by this report. The good news is that tap water is heavily regulated by Health Canada, which means that it's subjugated to more frequent and strict examinations. So, if you ever need a drink, just get it from the tap and forget about all those brands.
2. Overdraft and ATM Fees
Banks already charge you for using your own money, which means that the last thing you want is to be charged needlessly. Overdraft and ATM fees are a complete waste of money, so make sure you never have to pay them. To avoid overdraft penalties, ask your bank to send you regular email alerts and combine your chequing and savings accounts to move money without delay. ATM fees may seem small, but they can pile up and eventually turn into a significant expense. So, if you ever need some cash, it's always better to get it straight from your bank.
Taking a bus, subway or streetcar may be inconvenient at times, but it is relatively cheap. So, if you are looking to save money, avoiding taxis should be at the top of your list. If you like going to parties, then consider cutting down on those because doing so would let you also save money on alcohol. But if striking parties from your weekly to-do list is a no-go, then try alternative means of transportation, like carpooling or taking a bus.
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