Changing habitual spending patterns has probably been the biggest battle I’ve faced on my debt free journey.
Those habitual spendings are often quite small, unassuming amounts. What I have also learnt is those small amounts can cause even the best budget to become derailed. It’s the purchases you make without thinking / on auto pilot due to habit that you need to watch out for.
So, these were my top habitual spends:
COFFEE – Yep, those who have followed along for some time on the Debt Breakup will know my never ending struggle to not buy coffee every day. Up until recently I have still struggled, although I haven’t purchased a coffee every day for a long time. I’d have 3 during the week. Lately though, I’ve only purchased 1 during the week and 2 on the weekend. This also has to do with a lack of coffee shops that ACTUALLY MAKE GOOD COFFEE in the city. To be honest, I got sick of buying shit coffee for $4.20 a cup
Old weekly coffee habit approx: $30.00 per week
Current coffee purchases approx:$12.00 per week
Magazines – Celebrity gossip and general fitness / health. Firstly, buying a celebrity gossip mag is like taking a $5 note and setting it on fire. Absolute waste. And I’ve gained nothing from reading it…except the knowlege Kim Kardashian has had a 3rd butt augmentation and Lady GaGa is now spewing green foam from her mouth during live performances. At least with the fitness and health mags, I gained some knowledge. I REALLY struggle not to buy magazines in airport lounges, and with all the interstate trips I did last year I spent almost as much on magazines as flights!
Old weekly magazine habit approx: $10.00 per week
Current magazine purchases: $0.00 per week. I read stuff online and I also received a yearly subscription to a health magazine Prevention for a gift at Christmas so I get a mag every month 🙂 my gym also gives out free magazines.
Friday lunches: I’ve always been pretty good at taking my own lunch to work because it is straight up just a huge cost saving. But I would still treat myself to lunch on Friday. I do think it’s a nice treat for a Friday, but I’ve tried to minimise the cost a bit. Rather than purchasing a full meal – from $11 – $15, I’ll buy a side of hot chips or a sushi roll to have with the lunch I bought from home, so this will only set me back about $3.
Old Friday lunch habit approx $11.00 per week
Current Friday lunch habit: $3.00 per week
So by working on breaking the cycle of habitual spending on the above 3 things, I have saved myself over $40 per week which is pretty awesome. It has taken awhile though…but I no longer wrestle with the decision to buy these things like I used to when I first started cutting back. I see them for what they are – a waste of $$ with the potential to delay my debt free date!
What items do you habitually spend money on?