Unhealthy Habits That Also Harm Your Wallet
Posted By :Elena Difiore
Posted At : Wednesday, Nov 03, 2010
When considering ways to cut back, many people tend to look for the most drastic solution that will save them the most money in the least amount of time. In reality, the best ways to save money are often the simplest; all you have to do is take a long hard look at the trail of money you leave behind you as you go through your daily routine. Ask yourself, “What did I buy today? Was it necessary? What else could that money have gone towards?” Many times, the stuff we spend our money on isn’t only bad for our bank accounts, but harmful to our health, as well. Let’s take a look at some of the most common harmful spending habits.
Coffee and Energy Drinks
Before you gasp in horror at the thought of starting your day without your usual “pick-me-up,” consider the costs of caffeine consumption, both financial and physical. Starbucks has long been a popular stomping ground for coffee enthusiasts and it’s no secret that their beverages can be pretty pricey. Consider an iced latte, for example. An iced latte or white chocolate mocha will run you $3-$5 depending on the size you order. Energy drinks are just as draining on your wallet at around $3-$4 each.
But it isn’t just money that you’ll be paying. Caffeine stimulates your central nervous system and therefore affects the function of several vital organs such as your kidneys, adrenals, and even your heart. Consuming large amounts of caffeine can lead to a plethora of negative effects such as insomnia, anxiety, irritability, nausea, muscle tremors, headaches, and restlessness.
We’re all guilty of it. Some days you just don’t have the time, or the patience for the ideal, well-balanced, homemade meal you know you should be eating. When you’re running back and forth from work, appointments, or even school, it’s often easiest to just swing by the nearest drive-thru and grab something to go. The next time you find yourself opting for that quick fix, take time to consider the very real consequences of your culinary decision. The Big Mac that beckons you from the brightly lit drive-thru menu carries along with it 540 calories, 1040 milligrams of sodium, and a whopping 29 grams of fat. After looking over the nutritional aspects of your favorite fast food menu, you may find that that “happy” meal you had your eye on will leave you feeling anything but.
The negative nutritional aspects of fast food are fairly well known. However, the detrimental financial consequences of this type of diet are more commonly overlooked, or even ignored. The marketing geniuses behind the popular “dollar menu” trend have us right where they want us. The cheapskate inside each of us lights up at the idea of spending such a small amount of money on something that’s so vital to us, food. However, let’s be honest-how often have you gone to a fast food restaurant and only ordered one item off the dollar menu? Chances are, like the majority of Americans, you end up buying two to three (or maybe even more) items because, “Hey, they only cost a buck!” Before you know it, you’re frequenting drive-thrus several times a week thinking it’s saving you money. Unfortunately, each buck spent adds up, which means those “value” menus you think are helping your wallet could actually be emptying it.
Convenience Stores and Vending Machines
Another common money-waster that many of us are guilty of is frequenting convenience stores and/or vending machines. Many times, the items being offered in convenience stores or vending machines have little more to offer nutritionally than the nearest drive-thru. We have become so dependent on these types of resources because of their “convenience,” which appeals to a wide range of situations, whether it be an individual who is in a hurry and needs something quick, or even just someone who is too lazy to pack food or a snack ahead of time.
Due to their extreme markups on food and retail products, these resources have the potential to become very financially draining. Items that may cost between $1-$3 in a vending machine or convenience store will be a fraction of that cost when purchased in larger quantities at your local grocery store. Stocking up on inexpensive snacks ahead of time prevents you from having to visit a convenience store at all and will protect you against the temptation of hitting up the vending machine in your office’s break room.
These are just a few of the myriad of unhealthy habits that can also harm your wallet. If you’re looking to cut back even more, start evaluating the other habits in your life that could be draining you physically and financially such as consuming alcohol, smoking cigarettes, chewing tobacco, or even tanning indoors. Just like coffee, fast food, and convenience stores, all of these habits can have serious effects on both your short-term and long-term financial and physical wellness.