Expensive Habits To Break in 2010

by Pam on February 27, 2010

If you take a close look at your current lifestyle, there are likely one or two habits that you have developed that have cost you a lot of money over the years.  My challenge to you is to work towards breaking those expensive habits this year so that you can use that money for bigger and better things such as saving for your future, doing some home renovations, or taking a much-needed vacation.

I’ve listed below just a few of the many expensive habits out there.  I’m sure you could come up with more of your own that you need to challenge yourself to overcome.

1.  Unused gym memberships – There’s certainly nothing wrong with paying for a gym membership if you actually go to the gym regularly and make good use of it.  Unfortunately, however, a lot of people don’t use the gym enough to merit paying for a membership.  If you’re one of those people, I recommend canceling your membership and getting exercise by some other method such as jogging with a friend or family member regularly.

2. Specialty coffees – If you find yourself stopping at Starbucks every morning for your favorite specialty coffee, consider buying the mix and making a cup at home.  You can bring it to work in a mug or thermos for a fraction of the cost.

3. Buying lunch everyday – Rather than throwing away your hard-earned money day after day by buying lunch at your work cafeteria, get into the habit of bringing your own lunch to work using leftovers from the night before.

4. Alcoholic beverages at restaurants – When you eat out, you can reduce your cost significantly by drinking water with your meal rather than buying over-priced alcoholic beverages.  Your meal will taste just as good and by doing so you will find that you can afford to eat out more often.

5.  Letting food go bad – If you’re like me, you sometimes end up throwing out food from the fridge that went bad before you had a chance to use it.  A good way to prevent this is to keep your fridge well organized and to try not to stockpile even if something is on sale.  Some people design a menu for the week before they shop to ensure they will be able to use what they buy within a short period of time.

6.  Being a lazy shopper – It’s important to always shop around for the best price when you are buying something expensive such as furniture or electronics.  Don’t settle for just anything, be sure to do your research and buy good quality products at the most affordable prices.  Do research online and make some phone calls to prevent having to drive around to several locations.

7.  Paying your bills after the due date – If you forget to pay your bills you often will end up paying expensive late fees that are completely avoidable.  The best way to ensure that your bills are always paid on time is to set up preauthorized payments from your bank account.

8.  Paying for services that you could do on your own –  Instead of paying a service person to fix every little thing around your home, try doing some of the small repairs on your own.  A lot of how-to information can be found online and often Youtube has how-to videos that you will find useful.

9.  Not paying attention to your bank accounts – You may be charged monthly fees on your bank accounts that you aren’t even aware of.  Most financial institutions provide options that will allow you to do at least some free banking.  Be sure to take advantage of those opportunities and be proactive in making sure that you are not being charged preventable service fees.

10.  Buying things you don’t need because they are on sale – Although it’s so tempting to buy gadgets and gizmos that are on a really good sale, it’s important to ask yourself whether it really is something that you will use.  By asking this question and being honest in your answer, you will save a whole lot of money and will prevent clutter in your home.

11.  Not paying off your credit card balance each month – It’s better not to use a credit card if you aren’t planning on paying off the balance every month as your hard-earned money will end up going towards high interest charges.  If it’s a matter of forgetting when to pay it, get into the habit of paying it down as soon as you receive the bill even if it’s not due for a week or two.

12. Speeding – Although it’s tempting to speed when in a hurry, speeding can actually cause you to burn excessive fuel and result in a more expensive gas bill every month.  Try staying within the speed limit and you will not only be safer, but you will save a lot of money over the course of the year.

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