Ever Wonder How Much Your Bad Habits Cost You? This Calculator Tells You

Bad habits
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I’ll tell you one of my money-wasting habits if you tell me yours.

OK, I’ll go first.

I binge watch bad TV.

I’ve never seen a “reality” cooking show I didn’t like (oh, Gordon Ramsey, you slay me). To be honest, I can happily rack up hours of TV time on the weekends if I’m not careful.

I feed my TV habit mostly through Netflix and Hulu, but sometimes there’s a fun show or two on Amazon Prime. I wasn’t feeling anything (but excessive hunger) by binging these shows…until Lending Tree’s new bad habit calculator showed me the error of my ways.

At $9.99 a month for Netflix and $7.99 a month for Hulu, it turns out I’m dropping $215.76 per year to live vicariously through goofy celebrity chefs.

I also watch shows on Amazon Instant Video, but that’s included with my Amazon Prime membership, so I don’t pay any extra.

On the other hand, if I end up keeping Sling TV after my trial period is over, that extra $20 a month bumps my yearly TV subscription cost to $455.76!

That’s almost my family’s entire food budget for the month — and I sometimes splurge on expensive ingredients.

The bad habits calculator righteously shamed me into finding ways to cut back on my TV subscriptions. Fortunately, I have options.

I can watch Groupon for great deals on Hulu or ditch Sling and add free HBO to my Amazon Instant Video account instead.

I don’t have time to work for Netflix as a tagger, but at least I can download some of my favorite Netflix shows to my iPad (hello, “Chef’s Table”!). Then I can just let them play in the background while I work on my side gig projects.

Bad Habits, Better Alternatives

If Lending Tree’s bad habits calculator tweaks your guilt-o-meter, check out some of our money-saving alternatives.


Look, there are no good alternatives to smoking except to quit altogether.

It’s hard, though. Believe me, I know.

On the bright side, there are at least 20 different things you can do with the money you save when you ditch the cigs.

Drinking expensive coffee

If you don’t want to give up getting your java conveniently handed to you by a professional barista, at least consider switching it up once a while at 7-Eleven, McDonalds, or even the local gas station.

If you’re really bold, follow my fellow writer Dana’s example and give up coffee entirely. She saves $500 a year!

Eating at restaurants

Even meals at inexpensive restaurants add up quickly once you factor in tax, tip and parking.

Stay home and try one of these easy, inexpensive recipes that taste like fine dining. Let me know if you need more inspiration. I can recommend a cooking show or two.

If you must eat out, at least try some of these ways to save money at restaurants.

Playing Powerball

Like smoking, this falls into the just don’t category.

When you start to feel the pull to plunk down $10 or $20 bucks on Powerball tickets, take a minute to read about these 21 lottery winners who had it all — and lost it all. Here are a whole bunch of better ways to spend that cash.

Grabbing money from out-of-network ATMs

Expensive ATM fees are the scourge of Penny Hoarders everywhere. Avoid them by keeping your accounts at banks that waive their fees.

Your turn: What’s a bad habit that’s costing you money? I’ll take your confession now.

Lisa McGreevy is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. Her other bad habit is spending too much time on Twitter, but at least that’s free. Go say hi to her @lisah.

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