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Top 5 Guilty Pleasures Millennials Spend Their Money On and Tips to Cut Back

What’s your favourite way to treat yourself?

A new study conducted by Capital One Canada and Credit Canada uncovered that whether it’s clothes, coffee or dining out, we as Canadians are no strangers to indulging in our guilty pleasures. As a self identified hedonist quite familiar with treating herself, I see absolutely zero shame in putting some of your hard earned cash towards little efforts to make yourself feel great. That being said, if you indulge without limits or a budget then your habits could become a source of stress rather than helping you cope with it.

According to the study, the top 5 guilty pleasures Canadians spend their money on are:

  1. 1. Dining or ordering out (71% said they spend upwards of $199 a month on takeout and restaurants)
  2. 2. Daily Coffee purchases (50%)
  3. 3. Online Shopping (44%)
  4. 4. Clothes Shopping (33%)
  5. 5. Beauty Services (23%)

How do your spending habits stack up against the national average? If you notice uncontrolled habits are starting to hurt your wallet or are stopping you from adding to (or creating) a savings account, here some ways to cut back.

Dining or Ordering Takeout
$200 a month ends up equaling $2400 a year on takeout. Even if you only buy a 13$ lunch twice a week, that still works out to spending $1248 on lunches every year.

– Cut down on this cost by meal prepping and bringing lunch to work. Make large portions for dinner so you have leftovers.
– Not keen to eat the same thing for four meals straight? Coordinate with your work wife/husband to switch leftovers, or cook with your roommates to create more variety.

Daily Coffee Habit
Let’s say you’re getting your Starbucks fix 5 times a week (that’s a basic coffee without whip cream, flavour shots or extra espresso). Even if each coffee only costs you 3.25$, at the end of the year you’ve spent $780 on coffee.

– This one is straightforward: make your coffee at home or start drinking the coffee provided by your office.
– To make this daily chore something more enjoyable, invest in a bougie travel mug you’ll actually use.
– If your current office doesn’t provide coffee, see if your coworkers will pitch their weekly allowance together to buy one together, or convince your boss.


Online Shopping
Retailers are doing everything they can to ease the process of buying online to encourage your spending. With services like Amazon Prime that promise to get your goods to you within two days of ordering, convenience can often win out over sense. Impulse purchases are a surefire way to blow a monthly budget. Remove triggers you know will weaken your resolve.

– Delete those e-mail newsletters that are always tempting you
– Unsubscribe from services if you find they are causing you to overspend on pointless things rather than making your life easier.

Clothes Shopping
This is the category that consistently kills my budget, and can add up to very large amounts, very quickly (thank you Aritzia). 

– Challenge yourself to a “no shop” month
– Host a clothes swap with your friends
– Rearrange your closet: sometimes lack of things to wear are a result of not knowing what you have to begin with. Make sure you can clearly see each item hanging in your closet.
– Bring old pieces to your favourite thrift shop (Value Village anyone?) to trade in for cash or store credit.


Beauty Services
The average Canadian spends between 20-49$ on beauty and personal care each month. Primping services can be costly and require frequent upkeep. If you find your appointments are running consistently over, try some of these tips instead.

– Go in for free trims between haircuts
– Cut your own hair (there is a tutorial for everything these days)
– Dye your own roots
– Give yourself at home manicures and pedicures
– Do everything in your power to avoid Sephora 

In light of the uncertain economic realities that point to a scary financial future of today, it’s so important to pay yourself first. Taking the first step is not as daunting as it may seem, here’s a quick FAQ we did with certified Money Coach and Financial Intuitive Brenda St. Louis to get you started.  

Carla Bragagnolo

Carla is in constant pursuit of the extraordinary; she is based out of Toronto due to its proximity to great food, its diverse music scene, and because it allows her to catch a flight to pretty much anywhere. Follow her adventures at @carlabrags.