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Save Money with a Healthier Lifestyle - How Much are Bad Habits Costing You?

Updated on January 28, 2011

 Think of how much money the average person spends each day on items that are not only draining their bank accounts, but are also hazardous to their health.  Now I am not writing this to tell you to stop the unhealthy habits you choose, but I am writing this to point out just how much it is costing you per year.  The choice to change is entirely up to you, but maybe by seeing the effects of your unhealthy habits on your financial situation will be an eye opener.

Smoking and Alcohol Consumption

The cost of cigarettes is constantly on the rise, yet the cigarette companies are still banking millions on everyday smokers.  The average cost of a name brand cigarette is approximately $7 per pack, the generic cigarettes are approximately $5 per pack.  Even if you purchase them by the carton the savings are not that great, usually about $3. 

The cost of consuming alcohol varies by the way you choose to enjoy a drink.  Some choose to go out to the bars on the weekends, others have a few beers each night, and some purchase it by the barrel.  I will use the weekend drinker in my example.

Below is a chart on the yearly costs of smoking and drinking.

Cost per Day 
Cost Per Week 
Cost per Month
Cost per Year
Name Brand Cigerettes 
Generic Brand Cigerettes 
Average Cost of Weekend Alcoho (Bar) 
This is average costs a person might be paying for their habits. The alcohol consumption is based on a single night at a bar. The costs may vary by location. If more than one person per household also uses these items, just multiply the cost by nu

 If you are a person who is smoking and going out on the weekend you will be paying either $4684 (brand name and alcohol) or $3940 (generic and alcohol) per year.  If there are two smokers in the house it is costing you $5208, or $3720 per year.  (These are approximations)  I know everyone can find many other uses for the money they are spending on bad habits.

If you were to stop doing any of the above it would be a great idea to place the money you are saving directly into a savings account.  You should think of this savings as though it were "ghost money", because you spend it everyday and it is not of any purpose to something else.  So just act like it doesn't exist and tuck it away in a savings account for future use.

Fast Food and Junk Food

 How many times a week do you order out?  How many times a week do you buy junk food from the local convenient store, or vending machines at work?  The cost of eating out is not cheap, and even though junk food is usually about $1-$2 it adds up over time.

Lets say you order out 2 times per week in the evenings, but you order out everyday for lunch, instead of bringing a lunch to work, school, etc.  The average cost for one person to order lunch everyday is $6, the average cost to order out for a family dinner is $20.  Every time you purchase junk food for a snack it is costing you about $2.

Take a look at the chart below to see the long-term cost of these items.

Cost per Week 
Cost per Month 
Cost per Year
Ordering out for lunch daily 5x per week
Ordering out for dinner 3x per week 
Purchasing junk food 5x per week 
Amounts are estimates, lunch is per person, dinner is family of 6, junk food is per person

 The table above only factors in the cost of ordering out for lunch for one person, along with the junk food.  If more than one person is ordering out and purchasing junk food you need to multiply the amount by the number of people. 

If you were to pack a lunch for work with leftovers from the night before, your lunch would technically be free, if you purchased lunch meat or something similar your cost may only be $6 for the entire work week.  By purchasing healthy food from the grocery store for your snacks you would also be entitling yourself to a decent amount of savings.

The Affect on Your Yearly Income

 Now lets say your yearly salary is $25,000, lets take a look at how your bad habits affect your salary.  This will give you the actual amount of your salary you have available to spend on the other areas of your life.

 One Bad Habit
3 Bad Habits 
5 Bad Habits
Smoking Name Brand 
Smoking Generic Brand 
Alcohol Consumption on Weekends 
Ordering Out for Lunch
Ordering Out for Dinner
Junk Food
 Total adusted income for more than 1 bad habit
There is a noticable difference in income when more than one bad habit is involved. The normal hourly rate is about $12, three bad habits drop you to $9 per hour, and five bad habits drops you to $7.80 per hour.

You are actually dropping your hourly pay rate for each bad habit you wish to use, or keep using. The higher the cost of these habits rise, the lower your hourly rate will become.

So if you want to give yourself an instant raise drop a few of your bad habits.  When you look at the cost over a longer period of time, it tends to have a greater affect on the way you view the information. 

Are you considering quiting any bad habits after reading this?

See results

A Richer Healthier You

 The advantages of dropping your bad habits, or even just cutting down on your bad habits, will not only affect your finances.  It will also help you to live a healthier lifestyle.  So it is a win-win situation, you save a ton of many, and you increase the quality of your health.  You may even save yourself in doctor bills, because when you are living healthier you tend to become ill less often.  Keep this in mind the next time you are ordering out, going to the bar, or buying your daily pack of smokes.

Remember no judgement is being passed, just the information to make you aware of the financial strain you are putting on yourself if you choose to continue your current lifestyle.



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