Let’s face it—we’ve all made terrible spending choices. Unfortunately, some of us have taken on bad habits that could be impacting our ability to save for our child’s post-secondary education.  

Here are 5 things you could consider to help free up some of your hard earned money and start saving it towards future expenses:

1. Eating or ordering out

Eating and ordering out is a great way to take a break from your busy life. But it can be a huge drain on your bank account. According to a recent study, Canadians’ biggest financial guilty pleasure is restaurant food, with 72 percent dining out and 71 percent ordering takeout more than a few times a month—and spending upwards of $199 on this each month.

With a bit of advance planning and perseverance, you can break the eating out habit. Take time out a few minutes of your week to figure out what meals you will be making for the next seven days. Getting in the habit of planning your meals will save you a lot of money and probably a bit of sanity.

2. Daily coffee purchases

Canadians love their coffee, and we’ll pay more than we need to for it. In fact, 50% of Canadians treat themselves to daily coffee purchases, which is ranked second only to dining and ordering out. Let’s say you spend $3 per day on your caffeine fix, it can add up to $1,040 a year. Just imagine what you could do with that money!

So, skip the long line-ups at cafes and consider making your coffee at home. Or simply take advantage of free coffee around you, for example at your work.

3. Online shopping

Online shopping can be a convenient and even cheaper way to get what you need. But if you’re buying extra items just to reach the minimum for free shipping, or paying extra for purchases to arrive more quickly, you could be wasting some serious money.

Make a personal rule to only shop online when shipping is free and a mandatory waiting period to avoid impulse buying. This way, you can eliminate what is unnecessary.

4. Underused subscriptions

When you’re trying to tackle other commitments, it’s easy to forget about the 30-day free trials you signed up for. The result: you end up paying for them month after month. Shutting down a few subscriptions could save you hundreds each year.

Look over your last couple of credit card statements and determine which ones you use and which can be ditched. Whether it be gym membership, video streaming services, magazines, or software, ask yourself: Which can I cancel on the spot?

5. Missing out on your benefits

Saving money isn’t only about spending less. You can grow your savings by taking advantage of investing opportunities. For example, a TFSA can help you grow your savings tax-free; an RESP can help you save money for your children’s post-secondary education and an RRSP can help you save for your retirement.

Little habits can help you save and build your wealth. Of course, it’s okay to give in to guilty pleasures occasionally, but if you’re aiming to hit important financial goals, make sure you’re taking an active role in managing your finances and always looking at ways to maximize your income.

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