Monday, April 6, 2009

Get Rid of Expensive Habits

Tip #112 - Get Rid Of Expensive Habits. There are all kinds of habits – good, bad, expensive, cheap, and everything in between. And unless you are a saint, everyone has them. A cheap habit may be drinking water at every meal. That’s a good habit, too. Drinking freshly squeezed juice every morning may be a good habit, too, although it may not be so cheap. These are not the types of habits, however, that I am suggesting you get rid of. Oh, no. I am talking about those habits that cost money and are not so good for you – drinking a couple of beers every night when you get home from work. Chewing gum twice a day. Smoking a pack of cigarettes every day. These are expensive habits, and while we’re at it, they’re not so good for you either. So, if you want to save money, try getting rid of some of these habits.

If you have a habit that you would like to get rid of, figure out what you spend on it per day and then multiply that number by 365. Then you know what you spend on it per year. If you have more than one bad habit, then add them all up to see how much you spend on habits per year. If you take all of that money that is normally spent on habits and put it into an account, it can be the start of a nice savings fund for you.

Most people cannot get rid of their habits easily, I know. Smoking is a habit that is notoriously hard to quit. But maybe you can just cut down – go from 12 cigarettes per day to 10. Or if you like to drink two beers per night after work, cut it down to one. It will still be a significant savings, not to mention better for your health, too.

I do realize that some habits serve a purpose. Drinking a beer may calm your nerves. Chewing gum may keep you from eating. So only you can know the balance of what you need from partaking in your habits versus your mental health that the habits fulfill. At the very least though, try to give it a try – if not for your health, then for your pocketbook.

In Real Life – I am fortunate in that I have never partaken in terribly bad habits – I’ve never been a smoker and very rarely drink. The worst habits I probably have ever had are drinking soda, chewing gum, and eating sweets. For a while I was drinking soda almost everyday. It wasn’t a terribly expensive habit, but it is not a healthy one and it can lead to greater costs in other ways. If I bought two bottles of soda per week at $1 per bottle, I can save $104 per year by drinking water. That is a habit I am happy to get rid of.

I vowed a few months ago to stop buying soda and I haven’t in a long time. However, I had some women over my house a few days ago and I bought some soda to serve. I have been drinking the leftovers all week and I am falling back into my habit. I really enjoy it. But I am not going to let myself buy it at the grocery store except for parties. This helps keep my grocery bill down. Drinking water is much cheaper and healthier, too. It won’t lead to weight gain and other problems that too much sugar can lead to.

Growing up, my mom had a habit of chewing gum. Sure the pack of gum didn’t cost too much, but oh what it did to her teeth. I used to chew a lot of gum, too. Again, it is something I enjoy and I justify it by saying it’s not the worst thing in the world. But, it is terrible for your teeth, unless you chew sugar-free, which I do not for other reasons. Chewing gum is one habit I have successfully kept at bay, but I can see picking it up easily because it does relax me. But I refuse to give in. The expense of the dentist is what motivates me to drop that habit.

My last habit is a harder one to give up. I have no willpower when it comes to sweets. And while I try to limit buying them, I cannot control myself it they are already in my house. Again, while this habit is not terribly expensive, indirectly it may cost a lot in terms of my health and dieting. I am still working on controlling this habit, but as of yet I have not been too successful.

What habits can you drop or cut down on that would save you money?

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