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June 05, 2021

Top 10 ways we waste money

By Gordon Powers, Sympatico / MSN Finance

When times are tight – as they are now for many Canadians facing layoffs, job loss, and rising food costs – people try harder to identify where their money is going and, more importantly, where it’s being wasted.

They borrow books from the library instead of buying, drop subscriptions to magazine they rarely read, ride their bikes, turn off the air conditioning when they’re out of the house, and eat out less. People are also delaying certain activities, such as haircuts or going to the beauty salon, which is why Wal-Mart's sales of hair colour products have jumped 18 per cent since the beginning of the year.

But is all this enough?

Sometimes the killers are big tickets items – for reader Liz G that meant buying an overpriced timeshare in Collingwood whereas for Esquao it’s a house that the family really couldn’t afford – but in many cases it’s simply smaller dumber purchases. For reader f36 that meant an $80 pair of shoes that went largely unworn and for Maiway it`s been all about paying hefty finance charges when buying furniture.

But don't lose hope. Ranging from traffic tickets to bank fees, here are 10 ways where even fairly smart people waste money and a few suggestions on how to avoid them, courtesy of the Consumerist. And the Simple Dollar offers its take on consumer products you can likely do without

Chances are you either understand frugality or you don’t, says blogger FreefromBroke who maintains that the 'not so well to do’s' have several traits in common including little education, an obsession with gadgets and their early adoption, and, sadly, the financial planning skills of a seal.

His 25-item list is a pretty harsh indictment of the foolishly profligate but it also makes you think about just where all your money goes.

So, where have you gone wrong with your money recently?



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

James HaversJames Havers

James is the senior editor of MSN Money living in Toronto. He has worked for the Nikkei Shimbun (Tokyo),,, Canadian Business and other publications. Havers turned to journalism after teaching overseas.

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...