Top 5 Stupid things I Waste My Money On

1. Bank fees

Most notably when I write a cheque and they take forever to cash it.

I. Hate. Writing. Cheques.

I like keeping a $0 balance in my chequing account and I always forget that I have a cheque out (even if I remind myself a billion times), and I hate pestering people to cash it.

Solution: Keep a buffer amount of $2000.

Why it works: I rarely ever write a cheque over $1500 (usually it’s to BF to pay for expenses, but now the tables have turned), so keeping $2000 is a good buffer zone for anything that might need to be paid.

2. Parking

I really loathe paying for parking. I know it comes with the territory, but when I add up parking costs, and it comes to $1200 a year or more, I cringe, because that’s pretty much the price I paid for my car in full.

Some parking is mandatory, like at the client site (and no, I can’t walk, bike or take transportation to get there, it’s way too far & too dangerous!!)

If I lived closer to the client site, I’d certainly walk if I could.

Solution: Walk & bus EVEN MORE, or choose a centrally-located apartment

Why it works: I generally always walk if I can help it. If a grocery store is about 3km away, that’s “walkable” for me, because I know I can tote groceries at least that far without dying on the sidewalk from the weight.

That, or I just make more trips on foot.

Choosing a centrally-located apartment is a tad harder. The cheapest & quietest apartments tend to be far away from grocery stores, but I try.

3. Not checking my receipts or my change

When you lose $0.10 here and $0.05 there, it surely adds up over time, even if it’s only $500 at the end of the year.

Solution: Never leave without checking your receipt or your change

Why it works: I almost never leave without checking my receipt and I keep all my receipts to enter into my budgeting spreadsheet.

If it’s just one or two items, and I know the price of it plus taxes, I don’t bother checking the receipt.

It is at the grocery store where I keep a quick mental reminder of how much per kilogram the produce costs, and then I recall that memory bank go through and check every single line item.

I also go through the change in my hand and tot up the amounts. You’d be surprised how many times someone forgot to hand me back a $5 bill (or more!) in change, because they weren’t paying attention to the bill I handed them.

4. Not checking policies on pricing, returns or exchange

This hits me when I am in hotels. If I don’t check the rates as well as the calculations of how many nights I was really there, I could be out $100+ in a blink of an eye.

I don’t think I ever had a problem, but that’s because I’m really diligent on pre-calculating expenses, particularly if I am not coming back to that city and it will be harder to argue over the phone with the manager than in person.

Solution: Pre-calculate how much everything should cost

Why it works: If a hotel room costs $99.50 a night, and there’s a 13% tax, I calculate everything before and after tax, and then check the figures against what was invoiced to me. Once, I caught a $140 mistake by a clerk. Tsk tsk.

5. Currency exchange

Exchanging money becomes a big thing when you are out of your own country. It’s something you just don’t realize. Also, using a different currency at the counter and letting your money be at the mercy of a store’s mandated currency exchange policy is a bad thing.

Some stores KNOW all you carry is USD or CAD, and they know your belly is growling so they rack up double the exchange rate to make a whopping profit off your small food court purchase.

That stuff adds up.

Solution: Set a budget and change your money before you go

Why it works: It is easier to hand over cash than it is to hand over a card in a foreign country and pray it doesn’t get blocked by your loving, super-paranoid credit card company.

Also, the exchange rate on the credit card is ALWAYS higher than what you can get if you change your money beforehand.

I must admit, I get lazy when I go to the States, but I do try to change into USD beforehand.

About the Author

Just a girl trying to find a balance between being a Shopaholic and a Saver. I cleared $60,000 in 18 months earning $65,000 gross/year. Now I am self-employed, and you can read more about my story here, or visit my other blog: The Everyday Minimalist.