How to Save by Quitting Bad Habits

Enjoying sweet food, alcoholic beverage or smoking could be a stress reliever for some people. However, these habits could turn out to be not only bad for your health but also costing in more ways than one. LiveOlive breaks down how much money you can save – and can be used instead for investments – if we stop those bad habits.

Do the math and you may be shocked

Some bad habits do require professional and medical attention in order to be stopped, but there are problems that can be solved with strong will and high discipline.

Psychologist Rosdiana Suryaningrum said that adding the amount of money spent for those habits, can give one shock therapy. Indeed, without realizing it, we spend a lot of money for the things we actually don't need but become dependent on. "This is when you're spending money for unnecessary things; you spend a lot but in the end it's not good for your body," she said. 

Take smoking as an example. Although cigarette prices in Indonesia is relatively cheaper than in other countries, a smoker doesn't realize how much he or she spends by consuming it on a daily basis. According to data from the Health Ministry's Research and Development Agency (Balitbangkes), in average, a smoker in Indonesia consumes one pack of cigarette a day. This amounts to as much as Rp 6,120,000 per year.

The same thing applies to alcohol beverages. Although most people consume alcoholic drinks once or twice a week to release some stress over the weekend, this adds up to millions of rupiah a year. Let’s say one consumes two bottles of beer and one glass of wine per week –assuming that each item costs Rp 50,000 and Rp 100,000, respectively, then within a year he or she would spend no less than Rp 9.6 million.

Sometimes sweet food becomes an outlet when feeling stressed out. It doesn't have to be a fancy dessert; a simple hot chocolate or bubble drink could also turn out to be an expensive habit. For instance, spending Rp 200,000 for ice cream in a month and enjoying 2-3 glasses of bubble tea worth Rp 25,000 every week amounts to more than Rp 5 million a year.

Nowadays, having more than one gadget is common. Let's say you have one BlackBerry, one Android phone, a tablet and a laptop. In a month, you would have to spend Rp 400,000 in order to maintain those four gadgets. In a year, this amount becomes Rp 4.8 million.

Getting over bad habits

Setting new goals is an effective way of eliminating those bad habits. For example, Rosdiana said, saving up for a wedding or child's education. "If we know what to do with the money, the motivation to stop the bad habit will be stronger," she explained.

It is also important to distinguish between "needs" and "wants". According to her, sometimes people prioritize what they want instead of what they need. "In addition, we also need to think if those habits would reduce our problem? Is smoking, drinking, eating sweets getting us nearer or further away from our goal?" Rosdiana said.

Make the money productive instead

There are enough opportunities to invest with reasonable amount of money. Simply set aside the funds you save into a separate account and choose an affordable investment product that can be bought with the money. 

For example, a mutual fund can be bought for as low as Rp 100,000 a month and can give returns of around 4% a year or even up to 20% a year.

Read also: Identifying Investment Myths

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