As a baseball player, I often see people using chewing tobacco. This got me thinking about habits — both good and bad — and what they cost us.
My wife and I enjoy getting coffee from Dunkin Donuts in the morning, while some people enjoy traveling or shopping. Anything that we do consistently is a habit, and these habits often come with a price tag.
Sometimes, the cost may not be worth the benefit. Here are some examples:
Physically Unhealthy Habits
Using tobacco products is a great example of an unhealthy and costly habit. It costs many people well over $1,000 a year.
Alcohol and gambling also fall into this category. These habits serve a purpose in many lives, and, when used sparingly, can sometimes have benefits. For your social life, it’s great to enjoy a drink with friends. I also enjoy going to the horse track to place a few bets once or twice a year. When these become more than occasional pleasures, however, they become detrimental.
In college, I saw a lot of binge drinking. This is when alcohol can become harmful — both physically and financially. Gambling can also strain relationships and drain savings accounts.
Monetarily Unhealthy Habits
Occasionally, my wife and I enjoy getting coffee, going out to a movie, or going shopping. What we try to keep in check is the frequency with which we do these things. When you start to get coffee from a coffee shop every morning, or shop every weekend for something new, that’s when it becomes a problem.
A while ago, I wrote an article about people’s coffee drinking choices. Going out for coffee costs more than brewing at home. My wife and I decided to use a Keurig to make coffee because it’s quick, easy, and tasty.
If you’re an avid movie watcher, why not get a movie service like Netflix? Or get a Redbox one night instead of going out? Movie ticket prices are routinely over $10 a piece. For a family of four, along with snacks, this can get really expensive.
Finding unique ways to deliver the same entertainment is vital. Cooking a special meal at home can sometimes be more meaningful than eating out. Get creative and save yourself a large chunk of cash.
We all have habits that cost us money. The thing we need to find out is if they’re worth it. If the cost outweighs the benefit, you need to take a look at the decisions you’re making.
Why do you continue your habit? Can you change your routines and do something different? I often consider which habits cost me the most. When I think they’re taking up too much room in my budget, I switch things up.
What are your costliest habits? What, and how, are they costing you?