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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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


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


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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