Old habits die hard. But they do die.

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?


8 thoughts on “Old habits die hard. But they do die.

  1. Maria says:

    FOOD! In 2012, I spent $5300 in food – and that’s primarily on myself except for a few dinner treats for family, celebrations, etc. No groceries either! So all fast food/dining out. In 2012, I made a conscious decision to cut back – no more snacks on the drive home, cheap casual dining vs fine dining; and ended up spending $2900. This year, I aim to decrease that even more by packing lunches to work and buying coffee less.

    And I agree, every little thing helps! A dollar here, a dollar there…. hundreds of dollars soon enough!

    • Food is such a huge expense! It’s probably the only area left in my budget where I have any flexibility left…previously I’d budgeted $250 per fortnight (I share the grocery bill with my boyfriend) but the last 2 pays I have tried to get that down to $200.00. To do this, I’ve decided to eat vegetarian at home – meat is so expensive and often makes up a large portion of a big shop….my bf will continue to eat meat, I just won’t split the cost with him on those purchases. Well done on making such a huge saving on your food budget to date, it will make a huge difference to the bottom line huh! Snacks really eat through your cash, I rarely buy them anymore. It’s a good tactic to avoid them on the drive home – breaking habits works! Thanks for your comments 🙂

  2. B. says:

    That is awesome! It’s good to know that I’m not the only person out there who refuses to totally kitsch the coffee (though I will admit that the cafe by work actually makes good coffee!) and it gives me hope that I can cut back on my own!
    Way to show some ways to save throughout the week 🙂

    • I will never give up coffee totally. I’ve accepted it as my little vice, my little cup of love (when it’s good!) and decided just to cut back rather than give up. The best way to start a day is with a hug and an amazing cup of coffee….it’s the little things 😉 and really, I don’t treat myself to much these days due to gazelle like focus on paying off this debt, so coffee is it.

      From one coffee lover to another – you can cut back 🙂 but you don’t need to give it up!

  3. Coffee is the new addiction, and if not monitored the expense really adds up overtime. Trust me the day a Coffee Anonymous group starts up…..I’m in!

    • hahaha! I should totally start a coffee lovers anonymous group….we’d all come together on a Wednesday night and confess our coffee sins..’My name is Elesha, It’s been 5 hours, and 30 minutes since my last cup’

      Yep, it adds up alright! Actually only this week I’ve found a groovy cafe in the city that does a pretty good latte for only $3.40 for a small – which is great! For the mornings I plan to buy a coffee, I’ll be stopping off there!

  4. morgaine80 says:

    I like your idea of just supplementing lunch out 1x per week instead of eating out once per week. I really like to break the routine and eat out once – usually Wednesdays but maybe just getting a treat instead of a full lunch is a better idea. I also don’t buy coffee during the week anymore either, so many better things to spend our money on 🙂

    • I found supplementing my ‘take out’ lunch to be be a good tactic – and often healthier too. Sushi is so cheap and it’s so good when it’s fresh…and for the days when I want something a bit bad, a small serve of hot chips with my home brought salad or sandwich really hits the spot. I think it’s nice to have a little break in the routine – just about minimizing the damage 🙂 thanks for your comment!

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