Trimming Daily or Impulse Habits

Do you kick off the day with a $2 cup of Joe? Or buy a $5 pack of cigarettes every day? Do you grab a pack of gum at the grocery store… just because?  Lately I’ve been visiting the corner convenience store at work for lunch… because I’m on the GAPS Diet, there’s not a lot to choose from, so I’ve been walking over there once a day… to buy one single serving package of cashews and a banana.  I’m embarrassed to admit this, because I know it would be MUCH cheaper if I just bought a pound of cashews and a bunch of bananas.

Convenience store
Convenience store (Photo credit: wilhelmja)

Most impulse purchases can be purchased substantially cheaper at wholesale stores or just buy purchasing them at stores in the back areas and NOT at convenience stores or in the “impulse section”.

Here are some common splurges and how to purchase them for less:

  • Coffee and tea – brew it at home for a fraction of the price. If the to-go container is really what makes buying it convenient, purchase a reusable to-go mug or even disposable cups (which cost money, but still are cheap than 1-2 days’ coffee and will be used over several times).
  • Cigarettes – don’t smoke, but if you are a smoker, purchase cigarettes in bulk. The caveat here is not to smoke more – if buying massive quantities encourages this addiction, then forget I mentioned buying them in bulk. Smoking more will cost more (and you know it is bad for you), but if you know you always smoke a pack over a set amount of time, you should be able to monitor this. At the very least, purchase cigarettes at grocery stores, not convenience stores (saving $1-2 a pack).
  • Gum and Candy – purchase gum and candy in the back of the store, not in the area right next to the check-out. These individually wrapped items are marked up quite a bit, in the hopes that you won’t go look in the back at the normal prices. There is a reason why they place them right next to check-out!
  • Magazines – purchase at thrift book stores, if you have them in your area. If not, the local library usually gives away magazines older than 2-3 months.
  • Morning breakfast taco/sandwich/food – I know that most restaurants have inexpensive breakfast options, but there are so many dry cereal, oatmeal, breakfast bar, fruit, egg, and frozen options that are even cheaper at your local grocery store. You could really save dough here! Of course, the best option to save money is just to eliminate these little purchases from your typical routine.
  • Bottled water – bring your own filtered water from home, or if you absolutely must bring a disposable bottle of water, buy a 24 pack instead of buying an individual bottle at the checkout.  Same for bottles of soda.

I find that if I actively seek to change my routine, it can help cut out the desire for these purchases. Notably, you cannot replace this expense with another and still be saving money, so don’t just swap one habit for another, but actually eliminate the habit!

What ‘little’ habit or impulse purchases do you make?

This post was included at:

Yakezie Carnival at Budget for Health
Carnival of Financial Independence at Carnival of Financial Independence
Carnival of MoneyPros at Money Soldiers
Aspiring Blogger Financial Carnival at Aspiring Blogger
Carnival of Retirement at Mom and Dad Money

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7 thoughts on “Trimming Daily or Impulse Habits

  1. I work from home so, except for the occasional pastry (maybe weekly or every 2-3 weeks) I don’t need the rest. I don’t drink coffee, I don’t smoke, I eat at home and we buy our water in big bottles from the hypermarket. The items you mentioned can indeed be a huge money drain, especially since you’re paying little for them and, unless you track your expenses (to know how much it amounts to each month), you’ll never ‘feel’ the payments
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  2. My bad habit has been driving my kids to school. Not only was it a waste of petrol and extra wear and tear on my car but once I was in the car I’d often pop into the shops to get milk or whatever and end up spending more money.

    So I stopped it. And we walk to school. I am using less petrol and shopping only once a week again. It really adds up, all those little amounts.
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