Most people have a vice of some sort. Something that causes you to go weak at the knees and give in. For some this is comfort food (think obsession with carry-outs or ice cream) or maybe drinking too much (one drink leads to another or you just don’t know when to stop)! My vice is probably Lucozade – a brand of fizzy drink or soda – and cheesecake…. I frequently them both!
Like any habit, it is difficult to control and discipline yourself, but there are a few different techniques that I use in order to stop myself getting carried away!
1. Don’t Buy it / Limit your Purchases!
This sounds so simple, but simply by not buying Lucozade or cheesecake, my cravings are far less likely to be answered! Traveling to the shop to buy a single bottle of juice seems far less appealing than taking a bottle out of the fridge. If you plan to treat yourself now and again, limit how much of whatever it is that you crave, that you buy. This almost goes against my rule of saving money on groceries (buying in bulk), but in this case it is necessary. If I buy myself a single packaged slice of cheesecake, I am probably paying about 3 times the equivalent price, but it helps me to retain control and stops me getting fat! Trust me, I will eat that whole cheesecake in about 2 nights otherwise!
This was a hard lesson to learn – the engrained frugal side of me was cringing at the savings to be had on buying a multi-pack of the drink as I put a single bottle into the trolley!
Substituting items is a great way to help break a habit or simply save some money. For those who like to have a few too many drinks, you could try substituting for a cheaper brand. Not only will this save you money, but drinking might lose some of the appeal. Shopaholics – try substituting your trip to a high-end mall to a lower end shopping center or even a market. Heck, perhaps try shopping online! If your vice is smoking, try buying an e-cigarette. This will provide you with the nicotine that you crave, but at half the cost. It is also a lot more convenient given that they can be used in many public places without stepping outside! (In the UK we are not allowed to smoke indoors in public places)!
3. Pay Cash
The world of contact-less payments and fancy plastic has made spending money far too easy! People were far less frivolous with their money when they had to write a cheque or hand over cold, hard, cash! Paying by card is so much quicker and more convenient, that we don’t have time to consider if we can afford something or change our mind on what to buy. You see the total, you slam your card in and BOOM the money is gone. Where we were once constrained by how much we had in our wallets / purses, we are now constrained by how much we have in our banks or overdrafts…. or credit card allowances!
4. Keep Track
Finally, if non of the above tips are working for you, try monitoring just how much your habit is costing you. If you are a latte-aholic, keep tally of how many you have in a given month and work out what proportion of your pay that is. Consider what else you could buy. Maybe buying a travel mug would be the best investment you could ever make?!