Give It Up: Bad Habits Sucking Your Wallet Dry

Posted on 06/24/2009

We’ve all got bad habits. You know the one I’m talking about—it’s appeared on the top of your list of New Year’s resolutions nine years running. It’s probably been the focus of a spousal disagreement or two. And it may be what’s keeping you from being a perfect ten. That bad habit may also be what’s sucking your wallet dry. Here are seven bad habits that could be busting up your budget plans.

Bad Habit: You’re a Junk Food Junkie - If Wendy, the Dairy Queen and the Burger King are your best buds, chances are you’ve got a habit on your hands. If the fact that you’re spending potentially hundreds of dollars a month on food that is giving you little nutritional value isn’t enough to help you kick KFC to the curb, check out and find out just how many calories is in that bacon cheeseburger.

Bad Habit: You Smoke Like a Chimney - If you’re a smoker, money is literally going up in smoke. According to, a smoker who inhales a pack a day will have spent over $15,000 on cigarettes alone after a decade. That doesn’t even count the extra money they’ll spend on medical bills, insurance rates and the decreased value of their homes and cars. Kick this habit and you will definitely notice your wallet fatten up.

Bad Habit: You Speed - That lead foot of yours could be eating up your income. Not only are you more likely to get a speeding ticket which will require you to pay a hefty fine, you are more likely to get in a car accident which means increased insurance, car repairs and even medical bills. Plus there is the day-to-day expense of gas. By speeding you are using up more gasoline than you would if you drove the speed limit.

Bad Habit: You Shop Way Too Much - If you shop when you’re sad, happy or anything in between you may have a problem. There’s no reason you should own more pairs of shoes than you can wear in a month. And even if your habit is more intellectual in nature, signing up for a library card will cut your need to buy new books. Stop thinking of shopping as a recreational activity and only do it when necessary.

Bad Habit: You Love the $4 Latte - If your barista knows you by name, knows your dog’s name and even knows your yoga instructor’s name that could be a clue that we’ve got a little situation here. Making your coffee at home at least a few days out of the week will put a significant stash of cash back in your bank account.

Bad Habit: You Play the Lotto - Gambling is a serious problem. Besides putting unnecessary strain on your relationships and finances, playing the lottery is a quick way to lose cash. Instead, set that money aside in savings and you’ll eventually create your own jackpot rather than waiting around to win one.

Bad Habit: You Don’t Have a Budget - If you’re paying bills late, getting slapped with overdraft charges or putting your purchases on credit cards just so you can get some airline miles, you’ve got to reevaluate your finances. Your bad habits are having a direct impact on your money and your quality of life. Make a few changes, get rid of some bad habits, and soon you'll be back on track.

By Alison Storm

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