1. Extra investing fees

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Investing is essential to building wealth; you shouldn’t let your money stagnate in some savings account that pays next to nothing in interest. But depending on your broker or investing platform of choice, a range of forgettable fees could be ripping into your profits.

Even discount brokerage firms will charge anywhere from $5 to $30 in commission when you buy or sell, and at full-service firms that number can easily hit $100. That’s in addition to any management fees you need to pay just to maintain your account.

Take a moment to consider how much value you’re really getting for that money. If you can’t see the benefit, consider sticking with the cheapest option you can find.

Wealthsimple’s robo advisor service, Wealthsimple Invest, comes with a mere 0.5% management fee, and its discount brokerage service, Wealthsimple Trade, charges zero commission.

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2. Inflated insurance rates


It’s easy to set-and-forget all of your insurance policies, but you should never forget how much money is leaving your bank account every month.

Are you sure the company that offered you the best coverage for the best price years ago is still the superior choice? Rates change fast, and any loyalty discounts you might be getting by sticking around could pale in comparison to the savings you find elsewhere.

Some experts suggest poking around for better rates at competing companies every six months. That includes car insurance, home insurance and life insurance premiums. If you haven’t already invested in life insurance, remember that term policies — which only last as long as you need them — make protecting your family much more affordable.

3. Little-to-no interest bank accounts

Woman consulting with a female financial manager at the bank
Zivica Kerkez / Shutterstock

Banks only flourish because they get to hold on to our hard-earned money. Make sure they’re paying a fair price for the privilege.

Traditional savings accounts from the big banks typically pay a pittance in interest — right now, something like 0.01% to 0.05%. Digital banks, which don’t have to pay for brick-and-mortar locations or lots of staff, can offer you much more.

EQ Bank is currently offering 1.50% to all of its customers — 150 times as much as some competitors — and you won’t pay any monthly fees, either.

If you do decide to stick with a big bank, look into their higher interest options. Scotiabank’s Ultimate Package can boost its savings account by an additional 0.1% (so long as you leave the money alone), and offers a cash bonus of $350 for a limited time.

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4. Unconscious overspending

Shopping mall at the time of coronavirus
faboi / Shutterstock

The big purchases are easy to keep track of: the new rug, the piano lessons for the kids, the hammock for the backyard. But no one wants to scribble down every packet of gum they buy.

So they don’t. And every tiny tap of the debit card goes without record. The same goes for that streaming subscription you never use and that free trial that suddenly became not-so-free.

To make sure you’re only spending what you want on the things you want, consider using an automatic budget tracker like Marble. In addition to keeping an eye on your purchases, the software can help you achieve other money goals like improving your credit score or reducing debt more quickly.

5. High mortgage interest

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Freedomz / Shutterstock

No one actually likes their mortgage, so don’t act like you’re attached to it. If you can switch to a better loan, do it.

Mortgage rates remain at historic lows, though they’re starting to climb back up. Don’t miss out on an opportunity to refinance and potentially slash your monthly payments by hundreds of dollars. You can use a free online comparison service to track down the best offers from dozens of lenders.

So long as you’ve got good credit and minimal debt, you should qualify for the lowest rates available. Just be sure to check your credit score before you get started.

6. Shopping without getting rewarded

business and modern lifestyle concept: young woman shopping online at the park
McLittle Stock / Shutterstock

Even when you’re spending money, you should be making money. Too many people leave cash on the table when they could get rewarded for buying items they want anyway.

Buying just about everything with a cash back or reward credit card is one obvious method. But if you connect your debit or credit card to RBC’s Ampli app, you could earn extra cash back automatically with purchases at Indigo, Rexall, Petro-Canada and more.

Likewise, you can earn free gift cards when you shop online through a service called Swagbucks. Plus, you can earn even more by answering surveys or watching videos, if you have the time.


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Serah Louis Senior Staff Writer

Serah Louis is a senior staff writer with Money.ca. She has a Bachelor of Science from the University of Toronto, where she double majored in Biology and Professional Writing and Communications.

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