We all have at least one bad habit. For me, it is nail biting. No matter how hard I try – including using ‘stop n grow’ and similar products – I just can’t seem to kick it! Each time that my hand goes near my mouth, my loved ones nag me not to.. especially Mrs Scot! This is a habit that I have had for as long as I can remember and I have always put up with; I have never really properly tried to stop.
I am lucky in the sense that my bad habit doesn’t come with a (monetary) cost. I can bite my nails over and over again and they keep growing back for free! Most bad habits however, don’t come at such a financial convenience…
Gambling is extremely addictive and it has the ability to get me hooked. I get sucked in by the noise of a roulette wheel and the excitement of the unknown; random possibilities. Student days aside, I don’t often go near a casino or a sports betting shop; I work too hard for my money to risk losing it. The stock market is a far more exciting ‘gamble’, of which I have a lot more control over. I can research companies, predict industries that will thrive and take a educated guess at which stocks will pay dividends… roulette balls and playing cards are all the same. Consider the following individual that wasn’t quite so self-restrained:
One of the all time biggest loses due to gambling occurred in Las Vegas during 2009. Mr Watanabe is thought to have lost in the range of $127 million over a year long binge. The 52 year old’s loss accounted for over 5% of the casino’s parents company revenue for that year!
Whether it be a Saturday night gander at the Casino, a weekly lottery ticket or a weekend sports coupon, gambling costs a lot of money. It is too easy to allow a gambling fund to become part of your weekly expense; why not try going cold turkey by quitting and saving the money towards a weekend break with your friends instead. Guaranteed after your first ‘free’ break, it will make you realise what better things could be done with the cash!
Britons actually supposedly spend more on gambling than life insurance and (perhaps a more shocking statistic) more than on fresh fruit or vegetables!
Eating / Drinking Out
This is perhaps the biggest budget killer of all. In Britain, research shows that we spend more on eating out than eating in! Is that outrageous or what?! You have probably heard of the latte factor – the vast costs that buying a takeaway coffee every other day amount to. To put it as simply as possible, consider the following (pretty typical) weekly spend on eating / drinking out:
- 3 takeaway coffees – 3 x £2.50 = £7.50
- Sandwich & a drink for lunch – £4 x 5 = £20
- Few pints at the pub at the weekend – £10
- 1 x takeaway meal during the week – £10
- 1 x meal out at the weekend – £20
- Total – £67.50 per week / about £300 per month
My example is far from extreme, but by making your lunch at home and taking coffee into work in a flask… you can already save a significant amount! The takeaway meal can be substituted with a frozen leftover (or supermarket healthier ready meal) at a fraction of the cost. This has huge health benefits in addition to saving money! A couple of hundred quid a month amounts to a couple of thousand a year… that is equivalent to an amazing holiday every single year!!!
This woman wasn’t so sensible:
Holly Francis’s diet consisted of over 6000 calories per day and by the age of 23 she was in excess of 22 stone. She spent £25,000 on takeaway food over an 8 year period and tragically suffered a miscarriage, likely caused by obesity. This led Holly to a complete life change and she lost 11 stone in only 6 months. Read the full story.
A miscarriage is an extremely sad way to spur a life change… believe it or not all you need is willpower.
Smoking is another habit which costs the earth. I know a lot of friends and other bloggers who have had the willpower to kick this habit, but it is far from easy. My own mother smokes heavily and I am forever battling with her to give up. Unfortunately, you have to want to give up; you need to proactively go about changing habits to truly break them. My mum doesn’t want to stop, so I am already fighting a losing battle.
The associated costs of smoking are enormous and governments can’t help but continue to raise taxes and exploit those with the addiction! If you really can’t kick it, consider roll-ups or an electronic cigarette as a cheaper alternative. Patches and other medication is available to help you beat the cigarette if the willingness is there.
In order to visualise the associated costs, consider the below quit smoking calculator to see how much you could save:
Created by ECigarette Direct
If I were a smoker and had a consumption rate of a pack per day, I would save around £170,000 in my lifetime from quitting…. That is the cost of a freaking house!!
Kick the Bad Habit in 2013
It is not too late to make a change. Some people might find this hard to believe, but you can actually make a resolution or commitment to change any day of the year! Just because January 1st has passed, it doesn’t mean you have to wait :PAfter all, can you not think of anything better to spend your hard-earned cash on?
Do you have any expensive bad habits? Are you planning to kick them in 2013?
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