We’ve all got pet peeves, you know those little things that drive you crazy in life. I have a few. Lately I started thinking about some of my financial pet peeves. These are my top three.

1. Sales tax on used items

When someone buys a new car they pay sales tax on it. It often works out to thousands of dollars. If that same car is sold a year or two later, the next buyer also has to pay sales tax. In fact every time that car is sold, the person buying it has to pay sales tax even though the tax was paid in full at the time of the first purchase.

One of the reasons I like shopping on Kijiji or Craigslist is so I can avoid paying sales tax. It doesn’t work when it comes to car buying but it’s a great way to buy other things without having to pay tax. The government shouldn’t be double dipping. Used items, including cars, clothing, furniture and other items should be free from sales tax.

Don’t even get me started on the proposed HST for Ontarians. Lets just say, if we ever do get a dog we’re seriously considering the names Dalton or McGuinty.

2. Bank fees

People should not have to pay to keep their money in a bank. Having an account should be free. Basic cheques shouldn’t cost you anything. By placing your money with a bank, you are letting them borrow your money and lend it out to others for a profit. Most banks charge a fee between $9.95-$13.95 per month for an unlimited chequing account. You do not have to pay this fee. Many of the banks have a minimum balance, often as high as $3000 where they will waive the fee. Other banks have a mulit-product rebate where you can get reimbursed on your bank fees by having a certain number of products with the bank.

If you pay bank fees, ask your bank how you can get them removed. If they won’t, there is always PC Financial. I’ve been banking with them for 10 years and I’ve never paid a bank fee, my cheques are free to order and I have unlimited chequing and debits.

At $13.95 a month for unlimited transactions, it may not seem like much but that’s $167.40 a year and $1674.00 over ten years. All for just keeping your money in the bank.

3. Items as ‘investments’

Have you noticed recently there is a trend that people are calling things ‘investments’ that clearly aren’t? I heard someone say the other day, “I couldn’t decide between the two sweaters so I decided to invest in the more expensive one.” A sweater is not an investment! You may have chosen to pay more for a quality item but it’s not about to start increasing in value. I hear this all the time. A car is not an investment unless it’s an antique that’s going up in value. Some items are questionable. I had a friend who collected comic books and swore they were a huge investment. They were probably worth thousands of dollars if he ever sold them. They are technically going up in value. Yet, they still sit in boxes in his basement. I once asked him if he had any insurance on his investment. He didn’t.

We all have pet peeves that drive us crazy. What are some of your financial pet peeves?

Kathryn works in public relations and training for a non profit. In her off hours, she volunteers as a financial coach helping ordinary Canadians with the basics of money management. Her passions include personal finance and adult education. Kathryn, along with her husband and two children live in Ontario.


  1. Financial Samurai on December 7, 2009 at 5:26 am

    Mine is easy, getting taxed 35% federal and 10% state on the income I earn. Now THAT’s ridiculous!

  2. Dave on December 7, 2009 at 3:26 pm

    Mine is when banks charge you random fees for no reason and hope you don’t look at your statements. Last month I had $13.50 in reversed “sneaky” charges for a transfer I didn’t make out of my high interest account and when they changed the minimum monthly balance amount and didn’t tell me!


  3. oyunlar on December 7, 2009 at 7:27 pm

    great work thank you for post

  4. Gregory House on December 7, 2009 at 9:16 pm

    Observer, sales tax on used items IS double dipping. If you dont think so, your an idiot.

    If anyone actually thinks HST will cause lower prices, well I have a bridge for sale.

    And your an idiot too.

    No wonder gov’t can raise taxes. Nobody minds them!

    For the record I hate HST, and used item sales tax. It was already paid.

    Land transfer tax is another peeve. Nevermind double dipping it is forever dipping with no value received what so ever.

    ANyway I have a show to tape.

  5. Diana on December 8, 2009 at 4:44 pm

    When faced with uninterested frontline store staff I always try to remember they are only making minimum wage and working for an uncaring company.
    and then I have one less pet peeve

  6. dee on December 10, 2009 at 12:12 pm

    Here’s a new one.

    With regards to the Canadian income tax system. I would like to know why a parent is not entitled to claim the full basic personal amount for a child that they are supporting. Is that amount not what the government has decided is the ‘minimum necessary’ to sustain life, therefore your income on that amount is not taxed. How is it less to support a child? If anything it’s more. My daughter’s first year in daycare cost us $15,400 in AFTER TAX income. Only $6,000 of that was tax deductible. Granted we live in Toronto where childcare is very expensive and very hard to find but that was in a non-profit centre. Who sets the arbitrary maximum on childcare expenses? If your child attends a non-profit and you have the receipts, then you should be able to claim the full expenses.

    Okay, that was really two peeves but both child related.

  7. Jan on December 11, 2009 at 1:25 am

    I hate paying property taxes on “investment land” because we do not farm. We did not buy the land to sell off. We pay almost triple of what the farmer with five times the acreage pays- after we pay state and federal taxes. It stinks (the main reason I will sell this place the minute after my husband passes- but that will probably be in about 30 years anyway:>)

  8. ?????????? on March 30, 2010 at 12:12 am

    hate paying property taxes on “investment land” because we do not farm. We did not buy the land to sell off. We pay almost triple of what the farmer with five times the acreage pays- aft

  9. Disgruntled on May 6, 2010 at 3:26 pm

    Forget PC financial, their “No Fee” account is full of hidden fees, such as $40 NSF, Overdraft fees, Certified Check fees. If you dont write checks, then maybe they are OK, but if you write even a few checks a month, forget them! I even called to plead my case (the check was written to one of their own accounts, so they took $40 on both sides!)

    I’m currently checking out ING Direct, I believe they have no NSF fees, that would save me at least $40 a year. Plus I’m sure their Customer Service is better, you’d have to reach through the phone and slap me in the face to be any worse.

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