Quit wasting money

We’ve come up with myriad ways to waste money that we should be saving for our futures because we’re lazy, stupid or can’t plan worth a damn.

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I talk about these all the time, and yet they are still some of the biggest money-makers for our banks. Hello! Pay attention this time.

1. Carrying a credit card balance:
If you have one of the over 68 million credit cards in Canada and you’re carrying a balance, you’re pouring money down the drain. While credit cards carry a variety of interest rates, depending on your credit history and how good a customer you’ve been, most come in at double digits, which is far more than you should be paying. Transfer your credit card balance to a line of credit and save a ton in interest payments so you can get that balance paid off faster and get busy building a nest egg sooner.

2. Using overdraft:
Once upon a time, going into overdraft was a sign that you couldn’t manage your cash flow worth a damn. Now people live in overdraft, barely making it into the black when their paycheques hit the bank. They pay a monthly fee for this service, and they pay interest on top of that fee. It’s worse if you don’t have overdraft protection because bouncing a cheque can cost you upwards of $40. To avoid overdraft, get yourself a notebook at start keeping track of what you’re spending. Then move $1,000 of your emergency fund into your chequing account to act as overdraft protection. Every time you use any of this money, you must make the $1000 float whole again before you can buy yourself so much as a single cup of coffee.

3. Using another bank’s ATM:
There are people who use ATMs like a wallet, paying $1.50 in fees for a $20 withdrawal. Some people pay more: $1.50 to their bank and another $1.50 to the ATM they are using. To avoid the ATM Fee Blues, only make withdrawals twice a month and make those withdrawals last. If you run out of cash, too bad! You’ll have to shuffle through your pockets and the couch cushions until your next scheduled withdrawal. Eventually you’ll get tired of having no cash and you’ll learn to manage it more efficiently.

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