Quit Your Costly Habits & Invest Your Proceeds – DFA Tip of the Week – 5/4/2009

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There are many ways to reduce costs in our every day lives, so to help do just that each Monday I will post a money saving “Tip of the Week”.

“And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities.” Luke 19:17

This weeks tip involves…quitting a costly habit to save money!

**Update** – This post was featured in the Money Hacks Carnival #64 – As American As Apple Pie!

For the purposes of this article we are defining a costly habit as any unnecessary or noncritical product, service, or practice that consumes your money on a regular basis.

What costly habits do you have?  Have you ever compiled a list of habits that cost you more than you want to pay?  Today I challenge you to make that list, kick those habits, and invest your proceeds!  I’ll get you started by listing a few expensive habits.

  • Tobacco – We’ll start with the obvious…quitting smoking can save a pack a day smoker between $150 and $200 a month, not to mention can save them a few years of life.
  • Caffeine – I won’t harp on coffee, I think that has been done enough, but if you quit drinking caffeine laden drinks altogether you will save money & most likely improve your health.
  • Eating Out – If you frequently dine outside the home then you have one of the most expensive habits around!  How do I know?  Before January 2009, my wife & I ate out an average of 3-5 times/week which cost us between $5,000 & $6,000 per year!  If you do not want to stop eating out altogether, then you can still cut costs by using my Frugal Guide to Eating Out.
  • Alcohol – Again, I always hear everyone harping on Starbucks and saving money by not getting a daily coffee…but how about quitting alcohol?  Alcohol is much more expensive than coffee and is one of those things that can be easily removed from your budget.  Stopping alcohol doesn’t mean you have to stop being social, just drink water!
  • Television – Yeah it may sound “extreme” and/or “unthinkable” to get rid of your TV, but just keep in mind that before 1954 pretty much nobody had a TV!  That fact helps put things in perspective.  If you cancel your television service and sell your plasma or LCD set…you stand to make & save some serious cash!
  • Shopping – Just wear what you already have!  Isn’t it high time for us to value things that matter and rid our lives of the vanity of fashion?  I think so.

Here are a few costly habits some of my Twitter friends suggested we could quit to save money:

  • Driving like Mario Andretti@ChristianPF suggested we save money by driving more conservatively.  A few pointers that come to mind include driving the speed limit and accelerating at a non-NASCAR pace. Bob also suggested to stop going out to eat on a daily basis.  (check out Bob’s website – ChristianPF.com)
    • Faster driving = more gas = more money.  Every 5 mph over 60 costs an additional $.10 cents per gallon.
    • Eliminating aggressive starts and stops can lower your gas mileage by between 20% – 50%!
  • Golf & Beer@SuburbanDollar advises to cut golf and, as I advised above, beer.  Since we’ve already touched on quitting alcohol consumption, let’s take a closer look at golf.  If we say the average golfer hits the lynx once/week at a cost of $20 each time, we see that eliminating golf (I can’t believe I just said that…I love golf…ah the things we’ll do to save money!) can save the average golfer around $80 or $100 every month!  If you do not want to stop playing golf altogether then consider cutting your frequency in half.  (check out Kyle’s website – SuburbanDollar.com)

Now grab your list and calculate out how much you spend on your habits every month and formulate a plan to take that amount and invest it in an interest bearing savings account (I recommend Capital One 360) or start a Roth IRA.

What are some other habits (not necessarily “bad habits”) that we could eliminate to save money?

Click here to see all our past DFA Tips of the Week.

DFA is passionately dedicated to helping others break the bondage of debt using biblical principles.



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1 Bob's Occasional Musings

I have gotten addicted to these sites that have sell one item each day. The most popular one is woot and I find myself buying gadgets on these sites (I check about 100 of them each day), when I am really just buying junk I don’t really need. I am trying to get better but…..

2 Alan @ Saving For Serenity

Some of these habits are definitely difficult to give up. Could you imagine trying to give them all up at the same time? One would go nuts! Maybe we should consider just “cutting back” for the first bit before we cut things out completely. One small step at a time.

Personally, I don’t think I could give up alcohol all together. I enjoy my occasional drink too much. Nothing quite like a nice cold beer on a summer’s eve.

3 Diana

I’ve done two of these so far this month – turned off my cable TV (kept my internet) for a savings of $50/month, and stopped eating out for a savings of about $200/month. Being a woman, my next biggest “habbit” is getting my nails done. This was the most painful for me, but I’m saving an additional $40-$120/month!

4 Matt Jabs

Wat to go Diane. The two things you mentioned are saving us money every month too! It is awesome to make some cuts here and there and watch the savings add up.

5 money to invest

Thank you for the post. I agree to some of them but there are certain things that you cannot let go because otherwise you will not live like a human being. However, we can stop certain costly habit like cigarette, alcohol and save good amount of money, which can be invested in SIP (Systematic Investment Plan).

6 Tess

Just cutting out getting my nails done every other week is going to save me $600 a year!! I can no longer justify that money for vanity. I have too many real expences. Now the only time I buy clothes is when I really need something. It is a good start but still there is so much more to do. I’m sure my husband would freak if I were to make the TV disappear but I could live without it.

7 Matt Jabs

Congrats Tess… as funny as it may sound at first, sometimes it feels good to sacrifice for a greater goal. My advice is… go get your nails done every time you reach a debt reduction milestone as a way to reward yourself. Then you’ll appreciate it all the more!

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