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How many people made a New Year’s resolution to save more money? I would imagine a ton of people did, but how many of you are able to actually do so?

Saving money can be easy as long as you stop wasting money. Eating out all the time and shopping excessively are the obvious answers, but here’s 7 things that we might be paying for that’s cutting into our savings.

Upgrades on anything – Would you like to make that a large drink? How about adding a dessert for just $1 extra? Upgrades can offer value since you’re paying just a little more, but what you need to ask yourself is; do I really need this upgrade?

Upgrades don’t just apply to fast food. When you buy electronics, stores will ask you if you want to buy extended warranty which is basically an upgrade. How about when you buy a new car? They’ll push you hard for all the upgrades since that’s where the big margins are. Stop wasting money and only upgrade if you need to.

Fees of any kind – I despise fees and you should too. I find it amazing how many people waste money on daily fees and don’t even realize it. These small fees are easily forgettable and that’s probably why many of us pay no attention to paying them. Cutting back on fees won’t make you rich, but it’ll definitely make saving a lot easier.

[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][icon name=”share” class=””] Related: 9 Fees to cut from your daily life

Internet/phone/cable packages – Telecom providers are sneaky, they offer you huge savings when you bundle all your services together. Why wouldn’t you use the same company for your internet, home phone, cell phone, and cable when you can save money?

Well the thing is, once you have all your services together with one company, it can be difficult to leave. Third party companies often offer much better prices for the same services, but usually we’re too lazy to switch over because it’s too much of a “hassle”. Stop wasting money and switch now. Better yet, how about just cutting some of your services completely to save more?

wasting money

Coffee shops – I’ve nothing against treating yourself to a nice drink, but I do have a problem with people who buy a coffee everyday and then complain that they have nothing saved. Treat your daily coffee like a fee, and that cookie you get with it as an upgrade and drop them. I don’t drink coffee, so I won’t claim I understand why you might need a fix, but what I do know is that brewing your own coffee will cost you much less.

Bottled Water – Do I really need to explain why you shouldn’t buy bottled water? You want to pay for water when you can get it for free from a tap? Seriously, most of the time bottled water is basically filtered water, so you’re essentially paying for tap water.  Save yourself some money and buy a Brita, you can even get them in water bottle form.

Gym memberships – Gym memberships can be a huge waste of money. If we’re not going on a regular basis, then why continuing to paying for it? We can keep telling ourselves that we’ll go more often, but if we don’t have a regular routine going on already, the odds are we won’t change.

Don’t get me wrong, gym memberships are great, assuming we’re actually going to the gym. But again, why keep a membership if we’re not working out?

Traffic tickets – I’m very guilty of this, I’m especially a magnet for speeding tickets whenever I visit the U.S. and it’s cost me a small fortune. Save yourself some money and just stick to the speed limit / traffic speed. Parking tickets are even worse since they are easily avoidable and it’ll up your insurance costs. Always pay for your parking, that illegal parking job while you run in to get Starbucks is not worth the $35 dollar ticket.

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About Barry Choi

Barry Choi is a Toronto-based personal finance and travel expert who frequently makes media appearances. His blog Money We Have is one of Canada’s most trusted sources when it comes to money and travel. You can find him on Twitter:@barrychoi


  1. Avatar Tawcan on January 5, 2015 at 2:29 PM

    I’ve had ppl telling me that they’re going for the daily Starbucks donation when they go out for coffee. I just shake my head wondering why they can’t stop this behavior to save some money.

    • Avatar Barry Choi on January 5, 2015 at 4:11 PM


      Starbucks isn’t cheap either! If you want to treat yourself, sure go ahead, but don’t do it everyday.

  2. Avatar Liz on January 5, 2015 at 10:42 PM

    We also avoid spending on upgrades. It has done us well – especially when purchasing cars. No need for leather seats for me.

    • Avatar Barry Choi on January 5, 2015 at 10:46 PM

      Liz, I’ll admit that the only time I upgrade is for a poutine when eating fast food. Otherwise I avoid any extra upgrades whenever I can.

  3. Avatar Holly@ClubThrifty on January 6, 2015 at 8:22 AM

    Great list! It really does all add up. I splurge from time to time but I try not to make it a habit.

    • Avatar Barry Choi on January 6, 2015 at 9:31 AM

      Hey Holly,

      Nothing wrong with splurging if done in moderation and it fits in your budget. You want to enjoy your hard earned money.

  4. Avatar Michelle on January 7, 2015 at 12:05 PM

    Upgrades are almost always a waste. Extended warranties are the worst! They are a waste of money, and most of the time companies do not even honor it.

    • Avatar Barry Choi on January 7, 2015 at 12:10 PM


      When I worked retail at a big box store they trained us to push extended warranties hard since they knew the odds of people making a claim were low. Total waste of money.

  5. Avatar Daniel @ SaveWithDan on January 9, 2015 at 5:14 PM

    Great list! I don’t drink coffee, but I drink a cup of hot chocolate every day at the office. But instead of paying $.50 in the coffee machine, I buy a box of 10 hot chocolate envelopes at the supermarket for $2.50 and use the free hot water from the machine. Bang! $5 saved every month! 😉

    • Avatar Barry Choi on January 9, 2015 at 5:23 PM


      Heh I always keep instant hot chocolate mix in my desk drawer too. It definitely adds up in the long run.

  6. […] Barry Choi lists seven things we should stop wasting our money on. […]

  7. Avatar jackiebolen on January 25, 2015 at 2:11 AM

    Yes! In a country that has drinkable tap water there is ABSOLUTELY NO REASON to drink bottled water. It is so,so,so terrible for the environment as well as the environment. And the “health benefits” are extremely dubious, at best. It’s just pure laziness that people don’t have a Nalgene or something that they carry around with them when they’re not at home.

    • Avatar Barry Choi on January 25, 2015 at 9:32 AM


      Ha maybe drinking bottled water is a status thing? Makes them think they are being healthy. Of course I don’t get why tap water isn’t any different.

  8. Avatar KC on February 9, 2015 at 1:18 PM

    The only time that I buy bottled water is when I’m travelling and I run out of water with nowhere to refuel my bottle.

    I agree with you about Starbucks, the first time that I went there, my eyes bugged out when I found out my drink cost more than $5 for a small hot chocolate. I never went there again and that was 4 years ago! To be honest, hot chocolate from McD’s tastes way better! I never understood how people could buy Starbucks every single day!

    Now, I did buy extended bumper to bumper warranty for my car (5 years) for an extra 5 years. Since the company had a small history of car issues which has since been rectified, I bought it since I was going to be keeping my car for at least 10 years. That was the best purchase that I’ve made as I’ve basically made my money back the first year of my extended warranty.

    • Avatar KC on February 9, 2015 at 1:20 PM

      That should be $1000 for an extra 5 years.

    • Avatar Barry Choi on February 9, 2015 at 1:22 PM


      Yes true, when travelling it’s a lot harder to find free water. In many countries tap water isn’t even an option.

      I also don’t recall the last time I went to Starbucks. I think I went in the summer once when I took my friends drink receipt to get an afternoon deal for $2.

  9. Avatar Neil Murphy on February 18, 2015 at 2:28 PM

    I agree on so many of these. I exercised outside for the last 5 years, running and general pushups and swinging an axe rocky style, no tickets, one internet feed/no packages, no bottled water, the water out of the tap is fine, Yeah, i would say I’m pretty much in line with your thinking.

    • Avatar Barry Choi on February 18, 2015 at 3:17 PM


      Gym memberships are great assuming you actually go to the gym. way too many people get a membership but then feel guilty about cancelling so they don’t.

      • Avatar Neil Murphy on February 18, 2015 at 3:33 PM

        Ive been a gym rat before so I don’t have a problem getting my moneys worth. And in fact, my wife and I just bought a house 2 km jog from an LA Fitness, I’m thinking it’s going to happen. Time to start pushing real iron again.

        • Avatar Barry Choi on February 18, 2015 at 3:58 PM

          Heh, I go to the gym so I can eat whatever crap I want.

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