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Apr 14, 2011

9 Expensive and Un-frugal Habits to Quit

Nearly all humans look for patterns and consistency in everyday life. When we grab onto these patterns and repeat them, it then becomes a habit. Habits often have a negative connotation of being bad, however we certainly do have positive habits in our daily life. We make it a habit to have good hygiene, right? Or eating well? Exercising? These are positive habits that reinforce a positive and healthy life. However, there are also exists a realm of negative habits. Habits that can not only have negative effects on your body and mind but also your wallet. If you have the following habits, trying and make an attempt to break such un-frugal behavior.

1. Smoking - While one should realize the main benefit of quitting smoking is for increased health benefits, the second most important factor in quitting smoking is the price. The average smoker will spend thousands of dollars on packs or cartons of cigarettes alone in a single year.  This can be much higher for those who smoke more frequently. This is only the cost upfront, however. Other costs include higher insurance rates since you are a riskier client, higher health bills from smoking causing a deterioration of physical and mental health, lowered re-sale value of property and physical assets due to smoke smell, as well as the discoloration and degradation of teeth, which can account for higher bills as well. This list is by no means exhaustive of the costly effects of smoking. Quit now, save now...and later.

2. Eating - We humans have a basic need to eat, and that's fine. However, sometimes we simply eat too much. Not only is it detrimental to our health, but it is detrimental to our personal finances as well.
  • Cut back on fast food. It's very expensive in the long run
  • Eat until you are satisfied, not until you feel overly stuffed. 
  • Make eating a separate process. Watching TV or using the computer while you eat will cause you to eat without realize how much you really are consuming. This can lead to weight gain as well as far too much food being rationally consumed. 
  • Do not eat when bored or when depressed. There are better outlets for both situations. Eat only when you are hungry and require energy and nutrition. 
  • Only buy what you need at the store. This is a simple way to ensure you won't over eat. Simply buy what you need. 
  • Only make what you should eat. Attempt to make near exact portions so there is little to waste and little to tempt.
  • Limit the amount of times you eat out at restaurants. You can often make the same or similar dishes at home with a much cheaper and more frugal price.
3. Driving -  Driving is something almost all of us must do in our daily lives. However, some of us do it in a more un-frugal way than others.
  • Slow down on the highway. Speeding drastically decreases your fuel efficiency. 
  • Drive with a positive mindset. Do not be a victim of road rage. It can drastically reduce your fuel efficiency. 
  • Keep a steady foot. Unsteady feet on the accelerator wastes gas and essentially wastes your money. 
  • Plan your route ahead of time and give yourself extra time. You never know what you will happen upon during your commute. You don't want to be the one who has to speed to their destination because they're late. It simply wastes money. 
4. Bottled Water - Understandably, bottled water is convenient. However, the mark-up is perplexing.
  • A single bottle of water has an average price of 1$-$1.50, not counting the obscene 'luxury' water brands. For this same price of 20oz bottled water, you can get, on average, 1000 GALLONS of tap water. Try buying a filter and a reusable water bottle. You'll save a great deal of money. 
5. Gambling - This habit is fairly self-explanatory.  If you are known to have an addictive personality, refrain from most sources of gambling. It simply is not worth becoming addicted to such a money devouring habit. Practice your gambling habits by the games on-line, but for no monetary gain.

6. Laziness and Forgetfulness - For some, this is one of the hardest habits to break. There can be certain psychological aspects to consider.
  • Remember to pay bills and other services that will accrue a late fee. Stay on top of credit cards and other non-cash items. 
  • Remember to shut off lights, water, computers, and other household peripherals. 
  • Keep track of bank statements. Bounced checks and overdraft fees can really be damaging to personal funds. Track your spending.
  • If repairing is better than replacing, repair the item immediately. The longer you wait, the more damaged and unsalvageable the item may become.
7.  Student Loans - Wait before you blindly sign up for private student loans. The loan provider knows that college students are desperate and/or unfamiliar and will take loans even if the interest rate is absurd.
  • Do what you can to pay for college before loans are considered. 
  • Use the FAFSA agency to help apply for grants and government loans that will help towards tuition. Government loans are much wiser than a private student loan. 
  • Look for work-study programs and meet with your student aid advisor on campus to sign up for as many scholarships as possible. You can never have too many. 
  • Make sure that you pay off your loans on time. Do not forget about them
8.  Buying the hottest new items - Many of us are heavy consumers at heart. We love to shop, we love to buy, and we especially love to buy new things.
  • Don't buy new items. Still have a working TV? Why buy a brand new one? Try eBay for used items.
  • Brand name clothing is higher in price because of the label. Try shopping elsewhere. 
  • Control your shopping. Buy what you absolutely need, and not what you want. Many new high ticket items are bought, and will often lose their luster and fun after awhile, only to sit in the corner and collect dust. Make sure you will use and benefit from your investment. 
9. Vitamins, Herbs, and Drugs - A new trend has emerged where a plethora of vitamins and herbs are being sold and marketed as miracle drugs for the body.
  • Do not buy herbs and other vitamins unless instructed to do so by a professional. Multi-vitamins and other essential vitamins may be taken, however a proper diet should alleviate the need to do so. Many of these herbs provide relief in the vein of placebo reactions, or no found relief at all. 
  • Take over-the-counter medications only when needed. Don't slam down 2-3 ibuprofen for every minuscule pain you might feel. 
  • Do not chew antacid and Tums as if they were candy. Take them as directed. The extreme excess of calcium from the calcium carbonate antacid tab may be harmful.

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