Do you have a bad habit that’s flushing your money down the drain?
If so, you’re in good company. Everyone has their own set of faults, addictions, and bad habits. Some, however, are more costly than others.
I’m usually not the person to offer the “skip your daily latte” type of financial advice. Recently though, I was thinking about a friend’s smoking habit and just how much money he was wasting.
When I added it up, it was quite shocking. He smokes two packs of cigarettes per day at $6 a pack. Though it may not sound like a lot, that adds up to $12/day, $84/week, and $4,068/year. Now, that is a lot of money!
My habits are a bit different: I tend to purchase energy shots more than I should. This habit is a little less costly than smoking, but is still unhealthy and a waste of money.
The way I see it, you have three options when it comes to these money-sucking bad habits:
1. Do Nothing About It
Some people aren’t willing to slow down on their costly or unhealthy choices. My grandma is a smoker, and every time she goes to the doctor, they warn her of the dangers and tell her she needs to cut back or quit.
She always responds with the same old answer. She’s been doing it for so long, why quit now? Plus, she enjoys it.
She fully understand the repercussions of smoking, as well as the amount of money she spends on cigarettes. However, she has no desire whatsoever to turn her bad habit around. This could also be the case for you.
2. Slow Way Down
I know from personal experience that it can be nearly impossible to quit a bad habit cold turkey. But, by gradually slowing down, you can save yourself a lot of money and, in the case of smoking or energy drinks, simultaneously improve your health.
Tip: If you can find additional benefits of kicking a habit that aren’t financial, you’ll have far more motivation to do so.
3. Go Cold Turkey
If you have the will power to quit your bad habit cold turkey, I applaud you. It takes a lot of motivation and determination to nix a habit so quickly. If this is something you’re capable of doing, then I’d highly encourage you to follow this path.
The Bottom Line
The costs of any small, but regular, habits add up rather quickly. The cigarettes, lattes, convenience foods, or energy drinks you turn to every day are costing you a lot. With compound interest, that little bit of money you spend each day could significantly add to your retirement. It could also help you afford a nice vacation or add to your emergency fund.
The next time I make a pit stop to fuel my bad habits, I’ll be thinking of the long term cost and hopefully resisting temptation. Will you?