Ever consider how much that bad habit is costing you? What am I saying? You’re reading a personal finance article about breaking bad habits, of course you have! So you also know that smoking those cigarettes or eating a ton of junk food is not only inching you closer to the end of the road *ahem*, it’s also destroying a part of your discretionary spending that could be building you wealth. Extreme wealth!
After committing to extreme frugality last year, we started to examine how we spend our time and every dollar of our money. Turns out, we were blowing hundreds each month on eating out. We REALLY love going out to eat! Really. But we realized that we were dropping about $200/week going out to eat. Ugh. I’m so embarrassed. Then, things changed…
We were all set to go down the rabbit hole of American consumerism and lifestyle inflation and purchase a huge house that we could barely afford, until a microorganism saved the day! The house was riddled with mold! Yay! We cancelled our contract, slept like babies for the first night in months, and decided our financial well-being was way more important than validating our lives through STUFF. We both have the “frugal gene” lurking in our genetics. This event just switched it back on. We also realized that we were now full-fledged adults and we needed to start acting like it. After all, time was slipping away and we were not focusing on what true adults should be focusing on. You know…destroying debt, building wealth, and leading by example.
We decided to swap out our old habits for new ones. Whenever we had the urge to go spend money, we suppressed it and replaced the activity with something not involving the outlay of cash. Read on.
My Struggle With Cheeseburgers
Let’s just say cheeseburgers is a code word for all junk food and meals outside of the home. This was our biggest cash suck each month. If we had taken that $800/month we spent eating out and invested it in mutual funds for 10 years, we would have a whopping $150k after a decade! Oh My God.
These days we swap out urges to go out to eat with a long walk around the neighborhood or a hike through the woods. This activity has become just as enjoyable than sitting in a restaurant and blowing our hard-earned cash on crappy food. We get to have the same conversation we would have over crappy, fattening food, while trimming our waistline! We have also incorporated a candlelight dinner at home followed by some Netflix binge watching. This sure does beat spending our entire night in some restaurant. We’re saving money and watching engaging television that spurs more conversations for our long hikes. Score and Score!
By the way, we’re not perfect. When the urge to “go out” becomes too great and we feel that we would benefit greatly from a change of scenery, we hit one of our favorite coffee shops. We just make sure this doesn’t happen too often and we only order coffee or tea. We typically get outta there for less than $7!
Here’s a challenge. You can do this too! Pick a habit that is moving you in the opposite direction of your goals and swap it out with a positive one. What are you going to swap out?
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