4 Steps To Breaking Bad Habits That Can Save Money

On the long list of potential bad habits, smoking and drinking coffee are always in the top five. These are the habits that many folks try to kick and with good reason. Not only can your health greatly improve when kicking the nicotine habit and cut back on the caffeine but you’ll also see an immediate impact on your weekly budget.

Consider a Grande caffe latte from Starbucks. That will run you around $3.45 a pop. A “one a day” habit during the workweek will cost $17.25. Over a month, it will be $69. That could be a nice night out or pay off your cell phone. Then there are the cigarettes. You would be hard-pressed to find a pack for less than $5 anywhere in the country. If you live in New York, then you’re paying over $12 for a pack. At the low end, a pack a day habit is $35 a week. Do I even have to tell you how much money you can save in a month of not smoking? It’s easy to break a bad habit, right? It is if you set your mind to the task.

According to Dr. James Claiborn, co-author of The Habit Change Workbook, “habits have three components: The cue, the response, and the reinforcement.” Breaking a habit is all about getting to the core of those components.

Step One: Define Your Habit

This seems like a no-brainer, but you need to go beyond just the “I smoke too much” definition. Get down into the numbers. How many times a day do you smoke? How much does smoking cost you? How does smoking impact the rest of your life? You can replace the word “smoking” with any bad habit to see the toll it takes. Also, write down your answers. Seeing this information in print will be a true eye-opener.

Step Two: Define The Triggers

The triggers for your bad habit would be the “cue” mentioned above. In many scenarios, you can remove those triggers to cut down on the bad habit. For instance, if you just have to have a smoke every time you have a cup of coffee then maybe you need to cut out both. If every time you get stuck in traffic, you light up, then look for an alternate route or add time to your travel to reduce stress. Once you identify the common triggers, you can start to modify your behavior.

Step Three: Find A Good Habit Replacement

There are some triggers you can’t avoid. Suppose you’re the type of person who likes to smoke after a meal. Does this mean you need to give up eating? What you need to do is replace the bad habit. If you’re home after dinner, then it’s the perfect time to go for a stroll instead of a smoke. If you reach for a cigarette to break up your afternoon, reach for a carrot instead.

Step Four: Ask For Help

No matter what bad habit you’re trying to break, someone else has already gone through the same situation. Seek out the online forums that can provide you with support and insight. You should also let your friends and family know about your change so they can support you as well. You’re not going to break a bad habit over night, and you’ll probably “fall off the wagon.” Embrace that and move on! What habit are you trying to break?