5 Bad Habits To Kick To Save Money: 21 Days To A Richer You

Money is never far from our minds these days, whether it’s obnoxious sales adverts coming from your television or the endless news reports on fiscal downfalls. If you’ve decided this is your year to shave off the excess spending and become a lean, mean saving machine, there are steps you can take today, to keep that money in your pocket.

Most psychologists agree that it takes 21 days to kick a habit or learn a new one. So take action now and make a real difference in less than a month by kicking some bad habits. You might end up saving more than money.


Cigarettes are probably the most expensive item in our corner shop and yet, we don’t think twice about buying them. But how much are they really costing us? The ‘Smoke Free’ dedicated NHS website has a handy calculator that gives the cold hard digits. A 15-a-day habit would cost £2094.19 a year. If money isn’t motivation enough, think of the extra time that quitting buys and the health benefits; two things you can’t buy at the corner shop.


21 Day Action: For every single cigarette you don’t smoke, put the equivalent money in a jar.

Tip: Consider using a ‘Counter’ app and click every time you have a cigarette – it will make you more conscious of your smoking.


As bar prices soar, many of us are meeting at home for a pre-pub get together or hosting our own parties. You might think it’s cheaper option, but think again. When we stock up on booze for stay-at-home soirees we buy more, for everyone, and often end up going out for a nightcap afterwards as well. For this type of weekly spending binge, the real cost is often much more than if you had agreed to go out for the few drinks you really wanted in the first place.

21 Day Action: Stick to a cash budget – no cards allowed.

Tip: Replace every other alcoholic drink with a glass of water, you and your pocket will both feel better the next day.


It’s difficult not to notice the rise in casual gambling companies and websites in recent years. ‘The bookie always wins’ is a well-known expression for a reason, but the occasional win for a punter often feeds their risk-loving personality.

21 Day Action: Place no-money bets. Play as if you were playing with money and tot up what you would’ve spent against what you would’ve won. It may feel risky, but by Day 21 you may have kicked the habit altogether.

Tip: Gambling is often a way of avoiding boredom. Try a sport for thrill seekers instead or take up a hobby.

Eating Out

Dining out is a national pastime. We love to while away the hours across a candlelit supper or around a table with friends. But it can seriously put a dent in your basic bank account, especially if you not only dine out at weekends but also call for a midweek takeaway. Add to that lunches with colleagues or the Meal Deal scoffed at your desk and you could realise that you’re eating out a lot more than you thought.

21 Day Action: Keep a food shopping diary of everything you buy that isn’t in your weekly grocery shop.

Tip: Plan a dinner party instead of making reservations; but ask everyone to bring a course and a drink to match it – after all, you’re doing the washing up.

Wasting money

We all do it. The 3-for-2 purchases that end up being thrown away because you only needed one of the items; staying with the bank/home energy/broadband provider even though they charge more than their competitors; buying that substandard coffee on the way to work every morning, even though you have a travel mug and a percolator at home. The list is endless and we are all guilty.

21 Day Action: When you log onto your emails each day, make the decision to research a switch you can make that would save you money. Just take 5 minutes – set a timer – and you’ll be amazed what you can find out.

Tip: Make your own reward card. For every nine coffees you make at home – get the tenth one in a café.

  •  License: Royalty Free or iStock source: photodune.net/licenses/photo
  •  License: Royalty Free or iStock source: photodune.net/licenses/photo

By William Masters

This article was written in association with the financial service provider and online banking expert eccount money.

Based in London, William Masters has established himself as an in-demand journalist for topics of international economics and personal finance.

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