Three Things We Waste Our Money On

Young professionals like to spend money, and life is increasingly expensive in our cities. We want to enjoy the rewards of all of our hard work and there is nothing wrong with the odd splurge now and again. We could, admittedly, all be a little less frivolous with our precious dollars. We have identified particular trends, however, in what young professionals consider money wasters. Here are our top three… 

First Dates
When we asked young professionals about the biggest money wasters in the dating department, it was agreed that YPs generally spend more money when in relationships, simply because there is more to do; like dinners, vacations, day trips and other fun things you want to experience with your SO. These were, however, not seen as money wasters, as you genuinely want to invest time and experience fun things with your SO. What was agreed to be a major money waster were first (and maybe second) dates, especially when sparks don’t fly and you return home feeling like you’ve wasted not only an evening but your precious dollars as well.  

Many YPs feel they need to impress on the first date, making reservations at the hottest new restaurant, and spending money liberally, likely with a pre-meal cocktail, bottle of wine, appetizers, entrees and desserts. Headstrong, independent females: don’t shoot the messenger, but among our YP circle, it does seem that the guy usually pays on the first date, especially if he is the one who asked the lady out. That doesn’t mean the female gets off easy, however; among our circle of girlfriends, most of them admit to purchasing a new outfit, or piece of clothing for a date, likely a rushed impulse buy after nothing in their closet will suffice, and something that they will not wear again. 

A first date may never lead to a second, or may even be cut short. What a waste, right? Until you know the other person, at least to some degree, perhaps the most strategic dates involve a few drinks at a local pub, a walk through the city, a tennis match or the lost coffee date. Alternatively, we recently had a girlfriend get to know someone the high school old-fashioned way – on the phone. When they finally agreed to meet in person, they knew it was worth it.

Taxis are another major source of money wasters, especially in cities like Toronto, where cab fares are so high they shock visitors and residents alike. In fact, we have only seen higher fares in Zurich. While public transport is a relatively efficient option in all of our cities, it is tempting to hop into one of the cabs that are all too easy at our disposal and will comfortably take us from point A to our front door or office in peace and even offer the radio if we forget our iPods. There are of course times where the cab ride is inevitable – rainy days, when you are in a complete rush, or maybe when you have had a horrible day and can’t bare the grind of public transportation. We hear you.

Speaking from experience in recently breaking our cab habit (admittedly, an easier task to accomplish in the summer months), if you document all the money spent on cabs per month, it may very well equal the cost of leasing a car, paying half of your rent, or a plane ticket somewhere fabulous. When you look at the figures, it makes you wish you had taken transit all those mornings or enjoyed the mid-summer walk home instead of flagging a cab last minute. Even if your feet hurt, purchasing a pair of flip-flops for the walk could be cheaper, and at least you would have something to show for it. 

The best way to combat the cab habit is to stay organized with your time. If you are taking a cab just to make sure you have time for your morning workout after an indulgent weekend, kill two birds with one stone and walk to work. It will give you a workout (don’t underestimate the physical benefits of a lengthy walk, especially on the calves and glutes) and time to gather your thoughts to optimize your time and productivity at the office. Make a rule as to how much money you can spend on cabs per week and plan accordingly. Of course, there are times when cabs are absolutely necessary, like when you’ve indulged in one too many cocktails at a party…but try to reserve it for those times. 

Nights Out for the Sake of It
We are all for being social and it seems there are no shortage of must-attend charity events, restaurant openings, art exhibits and birthday parties

in our cities on any given week. But then there are also the times where we go out simply for the sake of it – perhaps for no reason other than it is Friday or Saturday night, or that you are bored and “feel like going out.” These are the nights where, much like a relationship, very few times does something good out of something forced.  

The nights where you go out without a plan can result in two things: one is the unexpected amazing night where you go with the flow and return home having one of the best and most memorable nights in months. Then there are the other nights, when you go out with expectations, perhaps to meet someone new, to let loose or to have an “epic night.” Sometimes, this all happens, but others, you spend the night chasing a party or good time that never really materializes. Maybe you are unimpressed with the venue of choice, or the quality of “talent”

inside, so you move on to the next (likely in a cab and perhaps involving cover charge) and return home frustrated, only to wake up with an unnecessary hangover and likely $100 poorer as a result. If the night was feeling “off” or forced from the beginning, you would have likely felt better had you stayed in and ordered sushi, gone to bed early and woke up feeling alert and productive.

Of course, things like your multiple Starbucks runs (when there is a fully-functioning coffee maker in your office) add up as well, but perhaps now you won’t be so quick to suggest the lavish date spot, take a cab there, then try to shake it off with a forced night out with the girls or guys if the date fails. Your wallet will thank you.