Manage your vices and gain $50 a week

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Cut back on your vices and put money in your pocket
You don’t have to stop those vices, but by cutting back your body and your wallet will be happier.
By Anna Rogan

Are your vices getting in the way of a good holiday?

Imagine what could you do with an extra $50 plus a week in your wallet?

Saving $50 a week for a year would give you enough for return flights to Paris – and a little spending money too.

Indulging in our vices can be bad for our health and wellbeing and your wallet takes a hit too.

Some of the most common vices Australian’s spend their money on regularly include junk food, caffeine, smoking, and drinking alcohol.

Even small indulgences can rack up to big bucks. Read on to learn how to save money by cleverly removing or reducing spending on everyday vices.

Manage your junk food vices

Eating junk food on a regular basis can take a chunk out of your budget. Worse yet, a regular diet of junk food can lead to weight gain and increase the risk of lifestyle-related diseases.

How much money does junk food cost you?

A 2-litre bottle of soft drink from the supermarket will cost around $2.50, a large packet of potato chips costs around $4, and a block of mid-range chocolate costs around $2.75. A meal for two from your local fish and chip shop or Chinese takeaway can set you back around $30 to $40.

How to save money on junk food

Aim to eliminate soft drinks from your diet completely and reduce junk food and takeaway food intake by at least half.

How much money could you save?

If you’re buying a bottle of soft drink, a packet of chips and a block of chocolate in your weekly shop, and you’re having takeaway once a week the savings potential is significant.  You could potentially save around $25 a week by reducing your intake by half.

Manage your caffeine vices

Enjoyed in moderation, caffeine is not just delicious; it may actually have some health benefits. But in Australia, takeaway coffees come at a steep price.

How much money does caffeine cost you?

If you’re only buying one takeaway coffee four times a week, at between $3 to $5 per takeaway cup (and more for fancy iced or blended drinks), your caffeine habit could cost you up to $20 every week!

How to save money on coffee

Set a goal to reduce buying coffees to just once or twice a week, and have tea or coffee at home instead.

How much money could you save?

If you buy a takeaway coffee four days a week and reduce this to half, you could save $10 a week.

Manage your cigarette smoking vices

The ABS reports that 2.8 million Australians smoked daily in 2011 – 2012 and many more reported smoking occasionally. Smoking has been linked to increased risk of serious diseases including heart disease, stroke and cancer of the throat, lung, mouth, bladder and stomach. And the costs are high and continuing to rise.

How much money do cigarettes cost you?

A 25 pack of cigarettes can cost around $27, that’s more than a dollar for every cigarette smoked.

How can you save money on cigarettes?

Quit smoking, it’s a no-brainer. For support visit the Australian Government’s Quit Now website.

How much money could you save?

If you’re a two cigarette a day smoker you’ll save around $15.00 a week by quitting.

Manage your alcohol vices

Most Australians indulge in an occasional drink. The ABS reports that in 2014-15, 80.6% of Australians aged 18 years and over had consumed alcohol in the past year. Drinking alcohol in moderation can be a safe and enjoyable way to socialise with friends and unwind, but it’s not cheap.

How much money does alcohol cost you?

If you’re buying alcohol to drink at home, a mid-range bottle of wine costs around $15 while a six-pack of mid-range domestic beers can cost $15 to $20.

If you’re buying alcohol while out for dinner or with friends the cost can increase by up to 80 percent!

How can you save money on alcohol?

Cut back on your drinking and stick to a weekly budget when going out.

How much money could you save?

A glass of wine with dinner every night equates to 1.5 bottles of wine per week, while a beer after work every day equates to more than one six-pack of beer per week. Reducing your drinking at home to every second day or just Friday to Sunday nights could save you around $10 a week.

Save over $50 a week from cutting back your vices

Using the estimates above, you could put more than $50 back in your wallet every week by simply cutting down on junk food, caffeine and alcohol. And if you’re a smoker you could save even more money (and substantially improve your health) by committing to quit.

Know how much you spend

We’ve done the research to provide estimates and potential savings, but the best way to save money is to make decisions based on your own personal spending. You might not drink alcohol or spend on junk food, but maybe impulse buying and designer clothes are more your thing.

You can track spending by keeping a pen and paper journal, or by using a tracker like the ASIC track my money app.

For more information

For more on managing your money visit

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

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