3 Ways to Deal with Your Bad Habits

by Alexa Mason · 5 comments

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?

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{ read the comments below or add one }

  • GetRichWithMe says:

    The only time you can kick a bad habit is when you REALLY want to – otherwise you just go through the motions and the bad habit kicks back in at the first opportunity.
    Were all slaves to our subconcious controlling our concious actions.

  • John S @ Frugal Rules says:

    That is a huge chunk of money for cigarettes. My Mom had to go the cold turkey route on quitting as my step-dad had heart surgery and he could not smoke anymore. It was really tough for her and she still wants to smoke, but has been able to stay away from it.

  • Meghan says:

    And more people who smoke fall are lower income than not, so that eats up a substantial portion of someone’s income.

    The hardest thing to quit, at least for me, is going out for lunches! If I bring one, I’ll want to save it for another day. If I quit cold turkey, I’ll succumb when a friend wants to go out. When I am having a bad day? Five Guys. Finally, I decided to allow myself one per week.

  • Christine says:

    The cigarettes one is a big one. A girl I know at work is always complaining about how she’s down to her last dollar at the end of each paycheck but she smokes. I resist the urge to tell her to quit because I don’t think the “advice” would be taken well. 😉 As far as the energy drinks, I used to buy one almost every day for about a year! I had a really exhausting and stressful job and felt like if I didn’t start the day with one I wouldn’t make it! I’m guessing I spent about $300 JUST on energy drinks in 10 months. Doesn’t seem like I lot but I only made about $1000 per month at the time. :/

  • Michelle says:

    Wow that’s a lot of money on cigarettes. I will have to chime in and say that my dad passed away from lung cancer, so there are many negatives besides just the cost!

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