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Are Your "Bad" Habits Worth Savings?

December 6, 2011
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We all have costly habits that eat up our cash. Overbuying at the drugstore was my habit. I could easily spend $20 to $100 on any visit to an online or physical drugstore. And I visited these stores a lot.

Breaking my drugstore buying habit was not easy and did not happen overnight. Once I committed to breaking the habit, I needed an action plan to make it a reality. This was my action plan but I think it could work for anyone.

  1. Figure out what you are spending money on and place the items into categories of needs and wants. No need to create a complicated spreadsheet. Review your bank statements from the previous 6-12 months. If you pay for your habit with cash, estimate how much you spend per day or week and convert the amount to a monthly then annual amount.
  2. Create a monthly budget for your habit (needs) and stick to it. If your purchases take you over your budget, return the items and wait until the next month.
  3. Commit to giving up all or some of your habit (wants). If you cannot commit to giving up all of your wants, look for ways to reduce the cost of these items (e.g., use coupons, buy in bulk alone or with family and friends, purchase on sale or out of season).
  4. Save the money you once overspent on your habit, but treat yourself from time to time.
Habits that cost money (for example, designer coffee) are a good place to find savings in your budget.
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