Ways to Save Money

Could Your Bad Habits Help You Save $3,500 a Year?

March 29, 2016
by Dana Sitar
Contributor

Do you know where your paycheck goes every month?

If you’re not keeping a budget, losing track of where you spend money is easier than you probably think.

You have the big stuff under control, with decent enough income to cover rent, bills, food, gas and other necessities.

But you’re still living paycheck-to-paycheck and wondering why you can’t seem to save any extra.

You’re thrifty. You don’t overspend when you go shopping. You don’t waste money on unnecessary big-ticket items.

But what about all the little things?

Are you spending $2 a day on coffee? Maybe $20 each week at happy hour? Or $5-$10 every day on lunch?

How Much Do You Spend on Small Stuff?

The little expenses add up.

Coffee is only two bucks each work day, but that comes to around $500 per year.

Those happy hours can quickly add up to $1,000 a year.

Buying lunch at that rate would put you out almost $2,000 a year.

That’s $3,500 each year you could be saving, investing or using to pay down debt.

How to ACTUALLY Break Bad Spending Habits

But maybe this isn’t the first time you’ve heard this.

You know you spend too much on the small stuff, but bad habits are hard to break. How do you convince yourself to actually make any changes this time?

We’ve got a simple trick that will help you cut your spending, increase your savings and maybe even offer some incentive to break those habits hurt you in more places than your wallet.

Instead of just vowing to cut your spending and relying on willpower, build in a reward.

Each time you skip morning coffee, put that $2 into a savings account.

Each time you pack a lunch, add $10.

Skip happy hour? Add $10 to savings.

Building better habits is much easier when you can see immediate results.

How Much Can You Save?

As you skip your small expenses and save the money instead, you’ll immediately see your savings account balance grow.

See a balance of more than $65 at the end of the first week.

See a balance of more than $250 at the end of the first month.

Watch that number grow every time you forgo the small stuff. Pretty cool, right?

Plus, money just might be the best incentive to break those unhealthy habits, too. Save money while you cut back on smoking, lose weight, eat healthier or exercise more.

Over time, these little things will add up, too!

This simple trick can help you slowly change your habits and develop healthier finances and a healthier, happier lifestyle.

Your Turn: What tricks have you used to break bad money habits?

Dana Sitar (@danasitar) is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She’s written for Huffington Post, Entrepreneur.com, Writer’s Digest and more, attempting humor wherever it’s allowed (and sometimes where it’s not).

by Dana Sitar
Contributor for The Penny Hoarder

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