All of us want to make more, save more, and at the same time, spend more. It’s ingrained in our society to buy, buy, buy. Thousands of ads for material excess are pushed into our heads on a daily basis. Bigger is better and more is a success. Bad habits wind up derailing your savings efforts because they often come from the need to have more. So what are the biggest bad habits you need to kick to save money?
Thinking about what you’re buying before you commit to a purchase is a great way to challenge your brain and make yourself distinguish need from want. These six habits are quite common and are potentially costing you thousands every year. Get ready to kick them to the curb.
Smoking is more than just a financial burden, it’s a public health crisis. With millions of smokers throughout the world, the tobacco industry is raking in billions in profits on a yearly basis, and you’re paying for it in more ways than one. For starters, the cost of a pack of cigarettes continues to rise and is currently about $5.70 per pack.
Using this same figure, let’s look at some numbers. If you smoke two packs per day, you’re spending about $342 per month, $4,100 per year, and over $20,000 over five years.
Give up smoking for good, and your wallet and your body will thank you! Try tobaccoless products (like Black Buffalo) or nicotine patches to ease you into the cessation process without becoming overwhelmed.
2. Impulse Buys
Impulse buying is something we all fall victim to. Stores place items at the checkout for the purpose of encouraging last-minute purchases, and clever online advertising can make us believe we must have that item. Eliminating impulse buys and being more conscious about what you’re purchasing can save you thousands over the course of a year.
According to CNBC, consumers spend about $5,000 a year on impulse purchases. The problem with impulse buys is that they’re usually small, so they don't seem like a bit deal. However, those costs add up over time. Impulse purchases trick our brains at the moment into thinking that it won’t hurt to spend just a few more dollars.
Those small purchases can add up quickly, piling on credit card debt and reducing the amount of money you have leftover to put into your savings.
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3. Eating Fast Food
Eating fast food on a regular basis can slowly degrade both your wallet and your health. Fast food is usually full of sugar, carbs, and fat—the opposite of what our bodies need in large quantities. Those who eat fast food on a regular basis are much more likely to develop conditions like hypertension, heart disease, and diabetes.
Let’s not forget the financial strain that fast food can cause. Let’s say you purchase an $11 meal three times per week. That’s not all bad, right? Wrong. At $33 per week, your monthly total comes to about $132, and your yearly can be around $1,500. That is, of course, assuming you’re only eating fast food three times per week.
It’s no secret that America is hooked on coffee. Each year, the nation consumes billions of gallons of the stuff, and the average citizen spends over $1,000 per year on coffee. That might not seem like much, but think of what else you could do with that 1K! Additionally, when you combine it with other bad habits, you’re looking at losing more money.
While limiting your caffeine intake won’t make you rich, if you reduce or eliminate your habit altogether, you’re putting money back into your pocket.
5. Avoiding Debts
One of the biggest mistakes that consumers make is ignoring their debt. This “out of sight, out of mind” tactic is used to avoid the inevitable: paying off the money you’ve borrowed that you now regret. Here’s the hard truth—debt doesn’t go away on its own, and the more you ignore it, the more it will cost you in the end.
From late fees to collections and attorney fees, a small debt can add up quickly if you continue to ignore it. It’s time to take responsibility and start chipping away at those outstanding debts so you can move on and start saving more money each year. Collections and outstanding balances don’t help your credit score!
There are many ways to save money, and if you can kick these bad habits, you'll be well on your way. If you are truly dedicated to saving more money, check out our article Why You Need A Money Saving Chart Now to get all the tools you need.