16 Expensive Habits to Quit That Will Save You Money
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We’ve all got some expensive habits that could use a good kick to the curb. A lot of the times we turn a blind eye to our spending habits and carry on with our lives. Next thing you know, your savings account is empty and your checking account is almost there, too. I’ve been there, and I’m sure you have, too.
It’s in these times that we usually tend to reevaluate our spending and tighten those purse strings. However, catching these expensive habits early on is going to make your life a heck of a lot easier and allow you more financial freedom. That’s why I created this list of expensive habits – to help you realize where you’re spending unnecessary amounts of money so you can cut back before it’s too late.
16 of the Most Common Expensive Habits You Should Quit
1. Trying to “Keep up with the Joneses”
I kind of hate this saying, but it’s the number one expensive habit most people have. Trying to keep up a false image purely because you want to show everyone how successful you are is insane. Especially when it puts you in debt. Once you learn how to live your life for yourself and not for people that don’t even matter, you’re going to feel a heck of a lot better about yourself and your finances.
Who cares if you drive a vehicle you can afford and won’t put you into thousands of dollars in debt? Why does it matter if the bedrooms in your house don’t all come with their own bathrooms? And what the hell makes you any less respectable for living below your means instead of buying things you can’t afford?
None of that stuff matters. All you need to do is focus on yourself, your family, and not pay any attention to how other people are living their lives. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else, because everybody is different! Once you can accept yourself and the financial situation you’re in, it will be a lot easier to live more comfortably below your means but within your needs. 🙂
2. Driving a Large and/or Inefficient Vehicle
Growing up, I always thought owning a fancy GMC Yukon was THE vehicle to own. They have a nice look to them and it’s what people with money buy. Now that I’m grownup, have bills to pay, and am an environmentalist, I realize how senseless large vehicles are if there’s no use for them.
Not only are larger vehicles typically more expensive to buy, they also usually don’t get great fuel economy. So already there’s 2 higher costs associated with large vehicles: a larger purchase price and the significant increase of money spent on fuel. In addition, maintenance costs are also more expensive. If you have a large vehicle with a large engine, your routine oil change will be more expensive since your car needs more oil. And trust me, oil isn’t cheap.
I have never owned a large vehicle myself. My first car was a 2014 Chevy Cruze I leased and the current car I own is a 2000 Honda Insight. While my Insight isn’t that much smaller (it’s pretty small though), I’ve been averaging 70 MPG over the course of this past summer, compared to high 30s in my Cruze. Yes, you read that right. I get 70 MPG in my car without even really trying. That means I only spend $20 to drive 600 miles, and it’s even cheaper when I use my Kroger Fuel Points (I filled up for $14.12 once). And my oil changes are stupid cheap because I only have a 1 liter engine in my car.
Now I’m not saying everyone should go out and buy a 2000 Honda Insight. That’s partly because it’s not practical for everyone and also because they’re hard to find. What I am saying, though, is to invest in a vehicle that will safely and efficiently get you from point A to point B. Because in all actuality, that’s all vehicles are meant to do. Looks do not matter one bit! My car looks like a fricken spaceship but it safely delivers me to where I need to go and costs me next to nothing to maintain and fill up. And honestly, that’s all I could possibly want at this stage in my life since I have no need for extra space.
Note: I have a few posts I’m going to publish on efficient new and used cars that we recommend. I’ll also throw in a checklist of what to look for when buying a used car, as many people are hesitant buying used cars. I bought my car back in February and have had zero issues with it except for the battery pack but that’s because it’s 9 years old and it was to be expected.
3. Buying Things You Don’t Need
The majority of the things on this list fall under this category. For some reason, we all end up buying things we don’t need! Why we do this, I do not know. Regardless, it’s an expensive habit that definitely needs to be kicked to the curb.
I think my biggest weakness is thinking I need more clothes and buying them. Since I’m taking October through December off work, I no longer have to dress in clothes that I don’t want to. I’ve been wearing yoga pants, leggings, and occasionally jeans. I’ve realized that the clothes I have are sufficient for everyday life and I have plenty to wear. Therefore, there’s no reason for me to purchase any more. Sure, I would love another cute pair of leggings or another sweater, but do I need them? Heck no.
Once you realize that what you have is enough and isn’t going to fail you anytime soon, you’ll learn to question yourself before buying things. I’ve been doing this a lot lately and it’s helped me differentiate between what is and isn’t important.
4. Always Wanting the Newest Gadget
In this day and age, most people obsess over new technology, thinking it’s always better than what they have and it’s something they need. Helllloooo, expensive habit!
I’ll admit it. I sometimes get hyped up about the latest iPhone or other new electronics. However, now that I have real expenses and know that my phone isn’t going to break anytime soon (knock on wood), there is absolutely no need to upgrade to the iPhone 8 or X.
Yes, it’s nice having new things. But it’s even better having money to pay off debt or not having any debt at all. Just think of all the money you can save by sticking with the electronics you already have and using them until they no longer work. Trust me, you’ll save a lot.
5. Not Looking for Deals & Sales
When my mind is set on buying something, I obsess over it and eventually purchase it. Usually this happens with larger purchases, such as a new laptop or phone, and I don’t wait for it to go on sale. I get greedy and too excited about using something new and lose all self control.
Unfortunately, this is a very big financial mistake that I’m sure all of us make.
Now that I’m taking the next 3 months off to focus on my mental health and blogging, I’m essentially broke until school resumes in January. Let me tell ya now: nothing makes you close those purse strings faster than realizing you’re running out of money.
Due to this, I have been staying away from buying really anything but food. And when I buy food, I usually try and get what’s on sale or what I have a coupon for. Honestly, there’s no better feeling than checking out and entering my Kroger Plus Card number and watching all that money come off my total.
My advice is to always look for sales and coupons if you’re thinking of making a purchase, big or small. If you know it’s going on sale soon, wait until then. Or if you can, wait until Black Friday or Cyber Monday. You can get amazing deals shopping on those days. In order to maximize savings and earn cashback on those *few* purchases you end up making, I highly recommend using cashback sites. Refer to my post below on my favorite cashback sites. 🙂
6. Online Shopping
Online shopping is so convenient, but with that ease of use comes big risk. I have spent so much money shopping online it’s ridiculous. And chances are, you have too.
A lot of the times I browse sales and get carried away looking at things I don’t need. Sometimes I get emotionally attached to items and either buy them right away or keep thinking about them until I buy them. I know this has cost me a lot of money and I’ve bought things I don’t even need. Yes, another pair of jeans is always nice but do I really need them? No.
Once I finally realized how much money I’ve been spending online, I decided to stop clicking on emails advertising sales. Resisting the urge has been hard, but after time it’s gone away. I do still enjoy browsing items online, but the urge to buy them has pretty much gone away.
Now if you’re still struggling to resist the urge, I have a few suggestions. Will they work for you? I can’t see into the future so I have no idea if they will, but this is what I’ve done and it’s helped.
1. Unsubscribe from company newsletters. You won’t be getting emails about current sales or new products. Therefore, you won’t be tempted to click on them, see what’s on sale, and spend money you don’t have.
2. Turn off Apple Wallet, remove your card from PayPal or Venmo, and make sure your wallet is not by you when you’re online! Whenever there’s an option to pay via PayPal, I use it. Why? Because it means I don’t have to get up and grab my wallet on the other side of the house. It doesn’t sound like this will make much of a difference, but boy does it. Not having your debit or credit card ready at the click of a button makes you really wonder if it’s worth it.
3. Wait a few days before making a purchase. Whether it’s for $5 or $300, WAIT. Ask yourself if you really need it, why you need it, do research to see if it’s the best product for what you need, and look for coupons / sales. And if you can, wait until Black Friday or Cyber Monday if it’s something you can get for a steal on one of those days.
Now for the times you do end up purchasing things online, I highly recommend using cashback sites. They pay you for shopping. Isn’t that great? Check out my post on The Top 3 Cashback Sites to Start Using Today. But don’t justify buying something just because you’ll get cashback! Only buy things you need!
7. Paying for Cable
We haven’t had cable for over a year and don’t miss it one bit. Especially the high cost associated with it. Did you know there are tons of alternatives to cable? One of them’s even free! Here are my faves:
• Pluto TV
If you’re looking for a way to get rid of cable but still watch the shows you love, Pluto TV can help you. Pluto TV is a FREE online television streaming service with over 100 channels to watch. The reason it’s free is because they show commercials, but doesn’t the cable you’re paying for do the exact same thing….? You should seriously check out Pluto TV. You’re not going to miss your cable bill!
We recently made the switch from Netflix to Hulu. Since I’m still a student, I was able to get the Spotify Premium + Hulu Limited Commercials Plan for $4.99/month. Yes, you read that correctly. I get both of those for $4.99/month.
If you’re not a student, you can still get the Hulu Limited Commercials Plan for only $5.99 for a limited time. At first the commercials seemed really annoying, but that’s because I haven’t had to sit through them in over a year. However, I’ve gotten used to them pretty quickly and don’t really mind them at all. It’s definitely worth it, considering I’m only paying 50% of what Netflix cost. Hulu does come with a no commercials planned aka Hulu Plus.
Hulu has a ton of awesome shows and I’ve been loving it. As of 10/19/2017, Hulu has Scrubs, Key & Peele, Love it or List it, Flip or Flop, Community, Fresh Off the Boat, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, New Girl, + many more awesome shows. Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s new season just aired a few weeks ago and after the new episodes come out on TV, they are uploaded to Hulu for me to watch right away. I love it. You can get a FREE 1-month Hulu Limited Commercials trial here.
Netflix was my first true love. It’s where I first watched The Office, among many other shows. You can find a lot of Marvel series and Netflix Originals on there and they’re really good. You can get a free 1-month trial of Netflix here.
I’m just going to start off saying that if you don’t have Amazon Prime already, you definitely should signup for a FREE 1-month trial right now. No matter what you need to purchase, Amazon usually has it for cheaper. Especially if you use Amazon Subscribe & Save.
Now on to Amazon Prime Video. With your Prime membership, you get access to Amazon Prime Video. You can watch tons of shows and movies on there. We’ve watched Sabrina the Teenage Witch, The Grand Tour, plus some good movies. It comes free with your Prime membership, so there’s no reason not to take advantage of it.
You can signup for a FREE 1-month trial of Amazon Prime here. Students can get a FREE 6-month trial of Amazon Prime and get 50% off a Prime membership once those 6 months are up. My freshman year of college I signed up for the free 6-month trial and have been using Amazon Prime ever since.
8. Going to Movie Theaters
Movies are definitely more enjoyable when you get together with friends and see them at the theater. And that popcorn is so addicting (good thing I can’t eat it anymore). However, this is a very expensive outing, especially if you do it frequently. A $10 movie ticket can quickly turn into $25+ once you add in the popcorn, candy, and a drink.
Ian and I rarely go see movies in theaters. I think we’ve gone maybe 5 times in the past 3 years. Instead, we find things to watch on Netflix, Hulu, or rent movies for cheap. This way, we get to enjoy the movies from the comfort of our own home in our PJs. We can pause the movie whenever we need, make as much noise as we want, and even pig out on some ice cream. I personally prefer this over going to a theater, especially since we moved the living room around. It’s so much cozier now that I never want to leave!
9. Getting Manis & Pedis
There’s nothing more relaxing than a nice mani & pedi. Except, well, having money in your savings account.
The average cost for a manicure is $25 and about $40 for a pedicure. If you’re someone who gets these done regularly, you’re wasting a lot of money. That’s why this is something that should be done in moderation. This way, you’ll be able to enjoy the experience even more (and save some $$). The good thing is there are tons of fun, relaxing ways to do your nails for a fraction of the cost.
You can get together with a girlfriend and do each other’s nails. It’s the perfect time to catch up and beautify your nails. All you need is your favorite nail polish and you’re good to go!
Another option is doing your nails yourself. Take a day to just take care of yourself and relax. You can take a nice long bath, do a face mask, and do your nails while binge watching your favorite shows. I don’t know about you, but that sounds a lot better than having to get dressed and leave the house just to get my nails done.
Tip: Save even more money by ditching fake nails and going with your natural nails. You won’t have to worry about chipping/breaking a nail.
10. Dyeing & Highlighting Your Hair
A few years ago I was looking for a change and wanted some highlights. I did some research and quickly found out that dyeing and highlighting hair is expensive!! Like, holy cow. The lowest price I found was $70 just to have some highlights put in. Thankfully my aunt went to beauty school and I was able to have her highlight my hair for free. However, not everyone is that lucky.
My suggestion is getting a friend or family member who is willing to learn. When I lived with my parents, I had to dye my moms hair. I even highlighted my sisters hair once. It’s fairly simple to learn how to do and will save you tons of money.
Another option is going to a beauty school and allowing a student to color your hair. Their prices are significantly cheaper than a normal salon but you’ll still be getting a quality experience and look.
11. Getting Haircuts Frequently
As with coloring and treating hair, getting frequents haircuts gets expensive. In high school, my aunt would cut my hair so it wasn’t an expense I had to worry about. However, I quickly realized how expensive a nice haircut costs. I’ve had my hair cut maybe 4 times in the past 3 years and my hair looks fine.
Going with short hair requires a lot less work, hair products, shampoo & conditioner, and time. That’s why I paid to get my haircut – I went to roughly my jaw line and just let it grow out until it got too much of a hassle. As someone with very thick hair, short hair rocks and doesn’t require as many haircuts.
I know a lot of people can’t pull it off, so it might not be an option. If you get your hair cut frequently and pay a pretty penny for it (anything over $30 is A LOT to me), you have options. You can have a friend or family member cut your hair for free or cheap. Or you can go to a beauty school and have a student cut your hair at a discounted price. You’ll be saving money and helping a student get more practice.
12. Buying Coffee from Coffee Shops
Buying coffee everyday is a big expense, especially if you upgrade to an iced coffee or frappuccino. I compared the cost of buying a 12oz coffee from Starbucks 5 days a week vs. brewing Starbucks coffee yourself. The numbers speak for themselves.
As you can see, buying a 12oz cup of Joe before work every morning costs almost 4x as much as brewing it at home. You can buy a simple coffee maker (because who needs a Keurig?) and it will pay for itself in a month. Why pay more for something if you don’t have to.
13. Eating Out
Eating out makes life so much easier. End of story. Unfortunately, it doesn’t make sense financially for really anyone. It’s really expensive and definitely contributes to a low savings account. Try and cut back eating out by one meal each week. You’ll definitely notice the savings.
If you’re struggling with this, I highly recommend trying the $5 Meal Plan. It’s a meal planning service that sends you a weekly meal plan and grocery list directly to your inbox each week. There are also tons of other options that let you customize your meal plans. All of the meals cost around $5 per person, which is most likely less than half what you’re paying when eating out. You can even try the $5 Meal Plan for FREE here.
I like to think I’m lucky that I don’t like the taste of alcohol. Mainly because it’s not good to consume but also because it’s expensive. Being in college, I almost always hear people talking about drinking and partying. That just sounds like dollar signs and no fun to me. Especially when people talk about how awful they feel in the morning after partying but say they’re doing it again the next night. *eye roll*
If you drink frequently, you should probably (definitely) consider cutting back. It’s better for your health (your liver will thank you) and you’ll be saving a boatload of money.
Smoking is a an extremely costly habit, both for your wallet and your health. Assuming a pack of cigarettes costs $5.50 and a person smokes a pack a day, that’s roughly $2,007.50 a year. Even if that’s cut in half, $1000 a year for cigarettes is stupid expensive.
I know quitting isn’t as simple as just throwing away cigarettes and being cured. But if this is something that resonates with you, I highly suggest you try quitting. Here are some websites that might help you on your journey: How to Quit Smoking and Steps to Manage Quit Day. Remember, you can always consult a doctor for help. They are more than willing to help!
16. Paying for a Gym Membership
A lot of people signup for gym memberships and rarely end up using them. Even if it’s a cheap monthly payment, you’re still throwing money away. I fully believe that exercise is important for living a healthy life, but there are so many cheaper alternatives to gym memberships.
1. A very common way to workout without a gym is through outdoor activities. You can go for a walk, jog, run, swim, or bike ride, among many other things. And if the weather doesn’t permit, you can find a cheap treadmill on Craigslist or in a Facebook Group.
2. Another way to bring outdoor activities inside is by buying a bike trainer exercise stand for your bike. We are going to purchase these in the next month so we can “ride” our bikes inside.
3. Lastly, you can either watch and follow along to workout videos on YouTube for free or purchase some. We have P90X and absolutely love it. The videos are a but lengthy, but they include nice warm ups and cool downs. Another favorite of ours is Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred. It consists of 3 different videos: beginner, intermediate, and expert. I’m just gonna let ya know this now: both P90X and the 30 Day Shred will kick your butt. There are several times we’ve had to pause the videos to catch our breath.
4. If you’re wondering what to do about equipment: don’t fear, Bri’s here. We went out and bought a bunch of dumbbells. I think they were on sale BOGO free or BOGO 50% off. Regardless, weights are expense, even if you’re buying them used. Fortunately, there are tons of alternatives. One of my favorites are resistance bands. The P90X videos show alternatives to dumbbells using resistance bands and you still get great contact using them.
5. Another option is using bricks. They are fairly cheap and you only need a few. I was moving some bricks from the backyard and realized they would work well as dumbbell replacements.
6. You can also fill a jug with water or sand and use it for a weight. Once you’re ready for something heavier, all you have to do is add more!
Clearly, there are tons of alternatives to working out in a gym. Yes, you might have to purchase a few things, but they are one-time costs. You also get to keep the products you buy so they can be used over and over again. So if you’re looking for a cheaper way to stay fit, try some of these ideas! Many people have seen results from working out at home, so why not give it a try?
Do you have any other expensive habits you need to kick? If so, consider giving them up or finding cheaper alternatives. Don’t forget to share this post if you enjoyed it. Thanks! 🙂