Kicking Your Worst Spending Habit

by Stacy Francis, CFP®, CDFA

In line at the grocery store the other day, I picked up a magazine and spotted an article about women who had kicked the one habit that was the most detrimental to their health. They were able to beat their 20 year habit of smoking. This is such an amazing accomplishment. The article placed great emphasis on the huge impact this had on their lives and bodies. So I got to thinking: why not apply this to finances as well?

We all have spending habits we’re not too proud of. Some of us buy too many clothes. Others gamble. Still others burn oodles of cash on restaurant visits or high maintenance cars, or simply waste it by carrying debt on high-interest credit cards. Whatever it is in your case, making a change could truly transform your life for the better. Of course, no change is too small, and the little changes really do add up and put you in a better position in the long run. But many times, this one change can have a greater impact than all the little ones combined.

My husband and I decided not to get cable in our new condo. This was a huge step as I am a big fan of the Bachelorette, Dancing with the Stars and America’s Got Talent. I know: a little embarrassing to reveal my TV guilty pleasures. Well, not only are we saving money, but we are spending more time together and reading; it was a small change with big results.

So take a step back and study your life as though you were an outsider. How much would you save per month if you got organized and did all your grocery shopping once per week at a cheap supermarket? If you consolidated all your loans into a lower interest one? If you started to bring your own lunch to work three times per week, or bought a thermos for coffee? Chances are the answer will be: quite a bit.

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