How Much Do Your Bad Habits Cost?

How much do your bad habits cost? Think your cappuccino is a harmless splurge? If you make a habit of indulging in it, it can turn into a significant drain on your wallet. Your daily habits — including happy hour, eating out and spa treatments — can really cost you.

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Alcohol

Millions of Americans welcome the weekend by relaxing over a glass of wine or beer, or partaking in happy hour with colleagues and friends. In fact, 56.9% of Americans take a drink at least monthly. 1 But the amount they spend on alcohol each year is sobering.

  • The average American spends $515 a year on alcohol, with those making over $200,000 spending $1,777 and those making under $15,000 spending $204. 2
  • What’s more, spending on alcohol is rising, $229.8 billion for the past 12 months ending August 31, 2016, up 3.8% YoY. 3

Smoking

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The messages are clear: smoking causes cancer, respiratory diseases and stresses the heart. 4 Still, 40 million Americans smoke cigarettes, and more than 16 million Americans live with a smoking-related disease. 5 Sticker shock should also be a deterrent: In Missouri, smokers pay $4.38 for a pack of cigarettes, and in New York they pay $8.87. 6

  • The average American spends $349 a year on tobacco and tobacco-related products. The number doesn’t vary widely by income; those earning less than $15,000 spend $306 a year, while those making more than $200,000 spend $215 a year. 2

Diet

It’s no secret that eating out can have a negative impact on your waistline. In fact, an average restaurant meal contains 1,205 calories, or about half of a person’s typical recommended daily allowance. 7 But eating out also affects one’s wallet.

  • The average American spends $3,008 a year on food away from home, with those making $200,000 or more spending $7,850, and those making less than $15,000 spending $1,228. 8
  • What’s more, eating out is more popular than ever. In 1992, Americans spent about $162 at grocery stores for every $100 they spent at restaurants. By January 2015, they were spending $50.4 billion at restaurants and $50.4 billion at grocery stores. 9

Daily Spending Habits

If you think little things like a daily bagel on your way to work or a weekly manicure at your favorite spa doesn’t dent your wallet, think again. Seemingly small purchases like this can add up to hundreds of dollars a year.

  • The average American spends $683 a year on personal care products and services, $2,842 on entertainment, $1,023 on cell phone service, $374 on non-alcoholic beverages and $346 on bakery products. 2

Set a Budget to Resolve Bad Habits

When your spending habits seem worse for wear, consider a budget to help curb spending in certain categories. By starting a budget and sticking to it, you may find that you spend less on your “bad habits” and more on saving for the future.

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Legal Disclaimer: This site is for educational purposes and is not a substitute for professional advice. The material on this site is not intended to provide legal, investment, or financial advice and does not indicate the availability of any Discover product or service. It does not guarantee that Discover offers or endorses a product or service. For specific advice about your unique circumstances, you may wish to consult a qualified professional.

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