The Oxford Dictionary defines a habit as being: ‘A settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up.’ Most of our habits are considered bad because they encourage us to develop poor health or to be lazy, but have you ever considered that some habits you aren’t even aware of could be hurting your finances?
From drinking habits to working out to ensuring that you are adequately dressed, we’ve got you covered. In this article we’ll identify all the habits that you could be doing that are costing you big time, and we’ll show you the alternatives you can do instead to help you save.
1. Shopping or Online Shopping Out of Boredom
We’ve all been there, a spare hour or twenty minutes to spare in our own company or with an electronic device and you end up finding yourself browsing the world wide web and come across a product or item that you find yourself hopelessly pining after. Well, you’ve fallen into the trap!
Ideally, we should only be online shopping when we have something in mind that you need or would like to buy. Online shopping websites are made to appeal to you so that you make a purchase, therefore to peruse the internet in hopes of finding something you’ll like is a hazardous game to play, as there are so many products available online, you’ll always find something that you’re bound to want.
As well as this, advertisers and brands set ad campaigns based on your search interests and patterns. Meaning that once you’ve searched for something, you’ll find that you end up seeing more advertisements related to your search which is only bound to end up tempting you further to make a purchase and waste your money on things that you don’t need.
2. Only Drinking Bottled Water
Don’t like the taste of tap water? Prefer to opt for some fancy or even some not so fancy bottled water instead? There’s a lot of people out there who feel the same, especially in large cities where two of the main complaints about drinking tap water is that it's water is too hard (due to a build-up of calcium and magnesium) and that the water tastes like chlorine.
The average person is supposed to drink at least 2 litres of water a day, and the average bottle of water is around 65p per litre. Which although it may not seem like much, this still means that the average person will spend £474.50 on bottled water in just one year, compared to the 73p it would cost to drink water straight from the tap.
Now, if you live in a big city or a block of flats and don’t feel safe or happy drinking the tap water then we are in no way going to force you to drink water that you feel unhappy drinking it, however, there are other cheaper options than opting always to go and buy bottled water. Instead, you can purchase a water filter jug instead which will set you back around about just £10 for the jug and £20 for six cartridges which need to be replaced every two months so they will last you the year. That way you’ll find yourself paying around £30.73 instead of £474.50 for the clean and filtered water that you need for a year.
Now you may not be surprised by this one, but smoking is one of the most common habits that will find you out of pocket very quickly as the average pack of cigarettes currently in the UK will set you back around £10.40 out of pocket for a box of 20. Now while that figure alone may not deter you from your smoking habit, if you’ve been pondering over whether you should quit for a while, then you’ll want to look at the maths that we’ve done.
|Number of Cigarettes per Day||Total Cost over a Year|
|2 a day||£379.60 per year|
|5 a day||£949 per year|
|10 a day||£1,898 per year|
|20 a day||£3,796 per year|
|30 a day||£5,694 per year|
|40 a day||£7,592 per year|
Times that by how long you’ve been smoking and you’ll be able to see how much of your hard-earned cash has gone up in smoke, literally! Think about how much money you could save if you quit smoking today, not only will you be helping your wallet and your finances significantly but you’ll also be improving your health, and there are lots of health benefits to be had from quitting smoking.
The NHS has some other helpful resources to help you if you are considering quitting smoking.
4. Skipping on Going to The Gym
Whether you pay a lot of money to go to a fancy gym with a spa and a swimming pool, or whether you just choose to go to a small gym for a few hours a week, most people will find that they’ll be paying a monthly fee or subscription to use the gym and all of its amenities. Now, while most of us who aren’t professional athletes can’t spare the time to spend every waking hour of our time at the gym, you should be able to find yourself a gym routine which suits you and be able to stick to it, to ensure that you are getting your money’s worth out of your subscription.
This is because it’s extremely easy to fall out of your habit of going to the gym and instead, fall into the habit of skipping on your workout and wasting your money on your gym subscription. However, if you do find that you don’t feel like going to the gym at all, but still keep your subscription in the belief that it will get you motivated enough to go to the gym eventually, then you are mistaken, this will not motivate you at all.
As an alternative, you’re better off cancelling your gym subscription and opting to buy your own gym equipment for your home instead. As we all find it hard to get motivated to go to the gym after work, looking after your children, or doing housework, but it becomes a different story if the gym is at your home. You don’t have to start out buying a treadmill, instead invest in some weights or maybe a punching bag to get you started and then begin to build up your gym equipment collection instead.
5. Only Buying Brand Name
Everyone prefers a brand name that they recognise, but aside from the familiarity of the brand and the higher price, really is there much difference between these big brands and a supermarket’s own brand? The truth is, is that you pay more for the brand name then you do for the actual product and in fact, most brand food and supermarket brand food will be made in the exact same place but will have different packaging, and you will have to pay more for the branded stuff.
|Item||Supermarket Brand Price||Brand Name Price|
|10 Fish Fingers||80p||£2.75|
|Apple and Blackcurrant Squash||£1 (1.5L)||£1 (1L)|
|Micellar Water||£2 (500ml)||£5 (400ml)|
|1kg White Granulated Sugar||70p||£2.15|
All in all, buying brands isn’t always the best bet for your money and instead, the majority of the time you find yourself getting more for your money buy purchasing off brand products. So, if there are any products that you’re happy to ditch the brand for, then why not make the jump and start saving today.
6. Not Insulating Your Home or Yourself Properly
Sitting at home only to find that you’re getting a little chilly? If you go straight to your thermostat, then you’re doing it all wrong. Instead of opting to turn up the thermostat and boost your heating bill alongside with it, there are a few things to consider beforehand, such as: is the room to the door you’re in closed? If not, you could close it to keep the heat in better. Are you wearing enough clothes? If you’re sitting in a t-shirt and shorts in winter, then you may which to reconsider your options and maybe invest in a good dressing gown and a pair of slippers or even just put on a jumper. Are your windows or doors letting in a draft? Consider getting them fixed for better heat insulation.
Do you have any roof insulation? Consider getting some as heat rises, and by insulating your roof space will ensure that you keep and feel the benefit of the warmth in your home. So why not consider all these things before racking up your heating bill.
7. Always Eating Out
Everyone likes eating out, a lot of the time it breaks the monotony of eating at home and gives you a break from doing the cooking and washing up every once in a while, but when does it cross the line from being helpful to being harmful? Just going out to eat once a week can be quite an extravagant expense alone; however, the average Brit will eat out around twice a week whether that be at a restaurant, picking up pre-made food from a café or a restaurant or having a takeaway delivered. Depending on what food you wish to eat and where you want to go eat out, the expense can differ significantly, however, regardless, rarely ever is eating out cheaper than opting to eat indoors instead.
As a cheaper alternative to when you cannot be bothered to cook or cannot afford to eat out or have a takeaway then why not go to your local supermarket and try to pick up a ready meal or a food kit to make your favourite go-to restaurant meal instead. This will work out a lot cheaper, and instead try to cut yourself down to just one eating out a week, opt for bringing your lunch into work or for a meal deal.
8. Buying Your Morning Coffee
On your commute to work, or after you’ve dropped your kids at school do you always stop at your local coffee shop barista to get your favourite coffee? Well then maybe you should reconsider this expensive habit. The average cost of a cup of take away coffee can set you back around £2.70 per coffee per day, which may not seem like much but can build up steadily in the long run, depending on how often you grab a morning or lunchtime coffee.
|Amount of Coffee/s Per Week||Total Cost Per Year|
|1 Coffee a week||£124.80|
|2 Coffees a week||£249.60|
|3 Coffees a week||£374.40|
|5 Coffees a week||£702|
|7 Coffees a week||£982.80|
When compared to making your coffee at home, buying coffee on your daily commute can be quite a hefty and unnecessary expense. Instead, why not opt to make your own coffee at home by purchasing a coffee filter or even a percolator and make your own every morning and take it with you in your own reusable cup. Not only will you be helping to save those pounds and have your coffee just the way you like it but you’ll also find that you’ll be helping the environment too by eliminating disposable cup waste.
It is so easy to form habits that can cost us a fortune in the future and build up overtime, however it takes time to form a habit just as it takes time break one! Always ensure that you keep on top of your finances by monitoring your spending and finding alternatives to costly habits, but that’s not to say don’t treat yourself every once in a while!
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