money addictions

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1. The Addiction: (The Wrong Kind of) Boxed Breakfast
Why It's Making You Poorer: Over the past five years, breakfast food sales have climbed by 20 percent in the United States. But the growth isn't because we’re all buying doughnuts on the way to work. It's because we're buying more packaged waffles and pancake mixes.

An individual box of Pop Tarts ($3.19) or a carton of Eggo Waffles ($3.69) may not seem like a splurge, but think of it this way: If people are spending 20 percent more on breakfast, that means they’re buying some kind of packaged breakfast food roughly one extra day per week. A family of four can easily go through a 10-piece box of Eggo Waffles in one breakfast, meaning that if they used to buy one box of waffles weekly, but now they’re buying two, they’re spending $7.38 per week on two days of breakfast alone. If they want cereal for the rest of the week, they still have to buy two boxes to have enough for the remaining 5 days of breakfast, spending $14.74 total. By contrast, a family that buys two 18 oz boxes of Cheerios for $3.68 a piece has enough cereal to get through the whole week, plus some extra for snacking, and spends a total of $7.36 for the week. The punch line? The family that buys no waffles saves around $384 per year on breakfast.

How to Stop: If cereal every day doesn’t sound like so much fun, may we suggest these unbelieveably delicious pumpkin waffles? They cost less than the store-bought version and (bonus!) your whole house will smell delicious after you make them. Or, if you’re pressed for time in the mornings, try making these homemade pop tarts, which reheat quickly in the morning.
money addiction

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2. The Addiction: Beauty Products
Why It's Making You Poorer: A few years ago, Beth Kobliner, a member of The President's Advisory Council on Financial Capability and author of Get a Financial Life: Personal Finance in Your Twenties and Thirties interviewed a teacher who had amassed $25,000 in credit card debt. Kobliner asked what the woman had gotten for her money. The woman paused for a moment before finally replying, "Well, a lot of makeup. A lot of lipstick." Sound crazy? We might not all be in danger of racking up that much debt, but it’s easier to spend more on makeup than we think we do: A 2008 study by the YWCA found that American women spend an average of $100 a month on cosmetics.

How to Stop: Get your beauty fix for the entire year with this E.L.F Studio Makeup Clutch Palette. For $15, you get 32 eyeshadows, 6 lip colors, 2 blushes, 1 bronzer, 1 eyebrow powder and face shimmer. It’ll be a long time before you’ll need to go makeup shopping again.
money addictions

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3. The Addiction: Coupon Sites
Why It's Making You Poorer: It's a discount! On a massage! Which you definitely have time to get! So you buy it, and print the coupon, and put it in a drawer. Three months later, when you have time to go, you take out the coupon—and it's no longer valid.

If you’ve been there, you’re not alone. Twenty to 40 percent of Groupon deals never get redeemed.

How to Stop: Take a deep breath. Scroll to the bottom of that daily deals e-mail. And then, hit the Unsubscribe button. If you’re subscribed to a ton of different coupon services and don’t want to deal with getting out of all of them individually, consider using, which will securely remove your e-mail from all the daily deals lists you’re on in two quick steps.
money addictions

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4. The Addiction: Bottled Water
Why It's Making You Poorer: In 2011, the average American drank 29.2 gallons of bottled water, up 3.2% from the previous year (even though we all know we need to stop). Assuming the average bottle of water costs around $1.35, it turns out Americans spend roughly $315 per year on H2O.

How to Stop: Either switch to tap water, or, if you feel strongly about filtration, try a Hydros bottle, a kind of to-go Brita filter. The bottle costs $28 and comes with a filter, and a 3-pack of extra filters costs $25 (the company assumes that you should go through 4 filters a year with average use). That's $53 for the year, and $262 that you can put into your savings account.

Next: 5 costly shopping habits to break today


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