Buying poor quality clothes

When most women are shopping on a budget, they end up with clothing that falls apart or shrinks after a few washes. Instead of buying throwaway fashion — trendy clothes at low prices — consider investing in a few pieces of high-quality closet 'staples.'

Stores like Club Monaco, which was founded with the concept of offering "better basics," is a quality step-up from fast fasion, and one good option if you want a closet full of useful, wear-anywhere fashion staples.

Another option is second-hand clothing. Even when clothing is used, it still lasts longer than poorly made “fast fashion.” For those open to the idea of shopping and wearing second-hand clothing, can find great options either online or through brick-and-mortar stores that specialize in good quality second-hand clothing. For instance, websites like Poshmark offer high quality name brands at more accessible prices.

Change where you buy your clothes — and what you buy — and you could save hundreds of dollars in a year or two.

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Not investing

The stock market is dominated by male investors. Hollywood portrays investing as a boy’s club fueled by adrenaline and testosterone, especially in movies like The Wolf of Wall Street.

But studies show that women who opt to invest in stocks and other equities tend to outperform men. The theory is that women are less reactive to market fluctuations, according to report from Fidelity Clearing Canada2 — and more apt to sticking with their financial plan and investing strategy. Another theory is that women are less prone to chasing market returns and more invested in stable, long-term strategies — an investment strategy often promoted by finance experts like Warren Buffett.

The good news is that you don't need thousands of dollars and a broker to begin investing. Women can start trading using an online brokerage account. There are bank-offered brokerage accounts, such as CIBC Investor's Edge, as well as fintech trading platforms, such as Wealthsimple and Questrade. The key is to find an online brokerage account that suits your needs. For those new to investing, consider a brokerage account with a robust educational component. For instance, CIBC Investor's Edge offers articles and tips on how to start and increase your trading knowledge. Right now, new clients get 100 free trades and up to $4,500 cash back when you open a CIBC Investor's Edge account.

If your aim is to launch a buy-and-hold investment strategy — and avoid the stress and fees of active trading — you'll want an online trading platform with no- or low-cost trading fees.

To help you choose, consider the following options:

CIBC Investor's Edge: Great for beginners + Best promo for new account holders

CIBC Investor's Edge stands out as a compelling choice for both seasoned and novice investors. For clients who already bank with CIBC — or their online-only bank affiliate, Simplii Financial — the integration between bank accounts and investing platform is simple and easy. Not only does CIBC Investor's Edge offer competitive pricing, with trades ranging from $4.95 to $6.95, but new clients can expect 100 free trades and up to $4,500 in cash back. If you're under the age of 25, you can continue your investing journey with ongoing free trades. Open an account, today.

Wealthsimple: Ideal for variety + Great for automating investments

Wealthsimple is one of the most popular investment apps in the Canadian fintech space, and it’s no secret why. There is no minimum to open an account, and they offer a variety of portfolios to suit every investor’s personality. Plus, Wealthsimple Trade will reimburse an outgoing administrative transfer fee of up to $150 on investment account transfers valued at more than $5,000. It offers stock trading, crypto trading and autopilot investing.

Moka: Low-cost flat-fee robo-advisor + Free stock and ETF trades

Set up automatic savings and automated investments using the Moka account. Fees will cost you $15 per month, but this low-cost fee gets you access to five professionally managed investment portfolios, as well as free stock and ETF trades. Open a Moka account, today.

Questrade: Low-cost trading platform with robust investor tools

Get a $50 rebate on trading fees when you open a new account.

Not maintaining a good credit score

Women tend to have worse credit scores than men, according to MSNBC3. Men tend to have an average credit score of 630, while women average around 621. Credit scores range from low 500s to 900.

One easily-accessible option for building and maintaining a good credit score is to use a credit card. Used correctly, credit cards are great for building your credit history. However, when credit cards are maxed out, these short-term loan options hurt your budget and your credit score.

If you need to start building your credit history, consider applying for a credit card that caters to people with no- or low-credit scores.

If you need to rebuild your credit score — and part of the problem is a high credit card balance — consider finding a way to reduce the interest paid on this debt. For instance, using a low-interest credit card can help you reduce the interest charged on the outstanding balance. This reduces the amount of money you spend on interest and frees up cash that can be used to pay down the debt. Do this consistently — always making minimum monthly payments on all outstanding debts — and you'll get out of debt faster and rebuild a robust credit score. Good low-interest credit card options include:

  • MBNA True Line Mastercard: Annual interest rate is only 12.99% and there's no annual fee. Get this card before December 31, 2024, and pay 0% interest for 12 months on all balance transfers completed within 90 days of opening the account, although a 3% transfer fee applies. Still, transferring a balance an outstanding balance of $5,000 from a credit card that charges 20.99% interest per year, could save you more than $550 that first year. Apply for the MBNA True Line Mastercard.
  • MBNA True Line Gold Mastercard: Like the True Line card, this credit card charges a low annual interest rate of just 8.99%, but you'll need to pay an annual fee of $39. Apply for the MBNA True Line Gold Mastercard.
  • Scotiabank Platinum American Express Card: This card comes with a steep annual fee of $399, but the low annual interest rate of 9.99% means you'll pay much less when carrying a balance. Approximately $4 per month for every $500 owed. Plus, this card doesn't charge foreign transaction fees on any foreign currency purchases — making it a great travel companion — and you earn two Scene+ points for every dollar spent. Until October 31, 2024, new account holders can earn up to $2,100 in value (in the first 14 months), including up to 60,000 bonus Scene+ points. Apply for the Scotiabank Platinum American Express Card, today.
  • Scotiabank Value Visa: This Visa card charges an annual interest rate of 12.99% and, until October 31, 2024, new account holders will pay no annual fee — a savings of $29 — and pay 0% interest on balance transfers for the first 10 months. Apply for the Scotiabank Value Visa, today.

Unexpected vet bills don’t have to break the bank

Life with pets is unpredictable, but there are ways to prepare for the unexpected.

Fetch Insurance offers coverage for treatment of accidents, illnesses, prescriptions drugs, emergency care and more.

Plus, their optional wellness plan covers things like routine vet trips, grooming and training costs, if you want to give your pet the all-star treatment while you protect your bank account.

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Falling for pyramid schemes

So many mothers are under pressure to 'have it all.' Work-at-home pyramid schemes — with people on the bottom making very little money — specifically target women who want to earn an income while raising their kids. The desire to do it all isn't new and the schemes that prey on this desire are also not new, according to 2021 article published by the Huffington Post4.

These companies know how to prey on women's insecurities — including the idea that you must be popular to be valued and you must earn to have a say in household monetary matters. Don’t fall into this trap. Take the time to educate yourself about pyramid schemes5. There's nothing wrong with wanting it all but you will need to prioritize what's important, right here, right now.

Undervaluing your skills

Women are still paid 9.2% less than men, on average, even if they have the same education and work experience, according to data released by Statistics Canada6.

If you've been working for your company for a while, don’t be afraid to ask for a raise or to inquire if a promotion might be available.

Speaking up can be tough, especially if you sense that your boss doesn’t recognize your true value. If you find yourself stuck in a pay situation that probably won't get any better, it may be time for you to look for new opportunities elsewhere.

— with files from Shannon Quinn and Leslie Kennedy

Sources

1 Loans Canada: Women are better at finances than men; men know it, too: New survey results (Mar 8, 2023)

2 Fidelity Clearing Canada: Why women are a major force in investment circles (Mar 2024)

3 MSNBC: Being a woman hurts your credit score — Here's what you can do about it (Dec 17, 2018)

4 Huffington Post: MLMs are a nightmare for women and everyone they know (Jan 29, 2021)

5 Competition Bureau Canada: Pyramid schemes

6 Statistics Canada: Intersectional perspective on the Canadian gender wage gap​ (Sept 21, 2023)

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David Saric Associate Editor, Money.ca

A Toronto-based writer and editor with both in-house and freelance experience on a variety of topics, including art, fashion, pop culture, film, television, music, current affairs, breaking news, and managing and money and P&C insurance.

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