What Are Your Habits Costing You?

by AJ Pettersen · 7 comments


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.

Your Habits

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? 

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{ read the comments below or add one }

  • Kiko @ quickcashautoloans says:

    Drinking coffee is a habit that has america spending a lot of money everyday. The best way to save money if you will be drinking coffee long-term is to do some research on a reliable coffee maker. Make sure it will last at least 5 years but do not overpay for something that is unnecessary as well. Another tip to save money on coffee is to reuse the coffee powder the next day, therefore making every batch of ground coffee last you double.

  • Alexa says:

    It’s important to pick which habits to keep and which to throw away. Some people can’t live without their coffee, and others want to be able to go out every weekend, but they all should remember not to indulge in everything all at once. And for luxuries such as vacations and shopping there have to be savings! It’s hard not to spend but the first steps towards improvement are keeping track of spending and remembering to save!

  • Graham says:

    We down graded our cable as we wasted a fortune paying for channels we never watched.

  • Dennis says:

    I used to spend a ton of money on coffee and soda. About two years ago I made a conscious effort to switch to drinking water (tap water, not bottled water) instead of those two unhealthy choices. The first couple of months were pretty hard, but after my body got over its addiction it was great. I feel healthier, have energy consistently, and now I actually prefer the “taste” of plain old water to those other alternatives. Best of all the price is right 🙂

  • zimmy@moneyandpotatoes.com says:

    I have a massive coffee drinking habit but the drinking mainly occurs at work because I work at night. Luckily, I have a nice city job that finances every drop of coffee that I want to drink. If I had to pay for all of the coffee I drink. I would be drinking much less of it.

  • ARCpoint Labs of Herndon says:

    Some people also get a candy bar every day from a store or snack shop instead of buying in bulk at Costco (or wherever else). It’s an unhealthy lifestyle, but it also adds up fast. If you buy one candy bar at $1.00 a piece every day then you’re paying $365 a year. That’s a lot of money.

  • KM says:

    We never pay for a full price movie ticket anymore. We either go during matinees (tickets can be as low as $5 each in our area), or this drive-in theater we recently found and have been wanting to try – $8 per person for up to 3 movies and you can eat whatever you want to bring from home in your car. It creates a really late night, so we haven’t tried it yet, but it sounds like a good deal, even if you see only 2 movies.

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