How Much You Can Save by Cutting Out Smoking, Fast Food and Other Bad Habits

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If you’re thinking of giving up a bad habit, the cost can sometimes be reason enough to quit. Giving up smoking, cutting out fast food and limiting the number of nights you go out for drinks can add quite a few dollars to your bank account. If you need a little more motivation, let’s break down how much nixing your bad habits can save you.

Quitting Smoking

Say you smoke a pack a day. According to the American Lung Association, giving up smoking cold turkey can save you between $1,380 and $2,540 a year. And that’s just the cost of cigarettes themselves.

Because of the effects smoking can have on your health, you might be making more trips to the doctor due to your habit. Smoking can compromise the immune system, so you could get sick more often the more you smoke. Going to the doctor can cost around $68 a visit, even with insurance.

Screenings for lung cancer can cost $300. If tests were to find evidence of cancer, treating the disease can cost anywhere from $10,000 to $200,000. By giving up smoking, you’re saving money you used to spend on cigarettes, plus the potential medical costs smoking can bring. 

Gambling Less

When in Vegas, you might be feeling adventurous and throw a few dollars down at a blackjack table. If you find yourself doing those more than once or twice a year, you might be developing a very costly gambling habit.

Make Your Money Work for You

If you play slots twice a week, you could be spending up to $18,720 in a year. The cost of gambling can be $0.95 to $165 per hour, depending on how much you’re betting. Reducing your gambling habit can put hundreds of dollars back in your pocket that you could invest in the stock market.

Even when the market goes down, there’s the inevitability that it will go back up, unlike when you lose at the casino. 

Not Skipping Your Oil Change

You know you’re supposed to get your oil changed every 3,000 miles or so, but you’ve let it slip to 6,000 and now it’s at 10,000 and your car seems fine. Is it really worth it to pay to get an oil change regularly?

Though you maybe can push it past 3,000 miles, you really shouldn’t press your luck that much. Leaving old oil in your car can wreak havoc on your engine, leading to warped parts, blown head gaskets and complete engine failure.

The cost to repair a warped part can be $500. A blown head gasket can cost between $1,500 and $2,000, and a new engine costs around $4,000. A typical oil change might cost you $100, so it’s best to just do the oil change and forgo any more costly problems. 

Cutting Out Fast Food 

It’s fine to eat fast food every once in a while, but the problem becomes when you depend on it. For example, if you’re going to McDonald’s for lunch and dinner, the cost can really add up. Say you get a Big Mac meal (with fries and a drink) for lunch and crispy chicken sandwich meal for dinner. That costs $15.48 for both meals. If you did that five days a week, that’s $77.40 a week. That would cost you more than $4,000 a year. 

Make Your Money Work for You

Going Out for Drinks Less

Having a drink with dinner, even if you do it every night, isn’t the thing that’s digging into your wallet. It’s going out nightly for drinks, especially when you’re drinking cocktails or top-shelf liquor. Even beer and wine are marked up from buying them at a store, so you can expect to pay premium prices.

Consider that your average bar tab for two drinks and tip is $30. If you do that five times a week, that’s $150 a week and $7,800 a year.

Cutting back the number of nights you go out for drinking can save you thousands a year. You also can stick to buying booze from the store, which will cost you markedly less than ordering a drink at a bar. 

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