The Cost of Vices

We’ve all got our vices some of them are mostly innocent such as having a latte in the morning or watching some completely brainless TV. Regardless most of us have some form of vice or another and most of us have a few vices that we probably shouldn’t have. I definitely fall into the category of having a few vices too many and the worst part is that these vices aren’t cheap.

Vices in general aren’t cheap

Most vices are things that we do over and over again maybe not all the time but often enough to consider them a bit of a habit. The other bad thing about vices is that most of them cost us money. I know there are examples of vices that are essentially free but a very large amount of them aren’t.

My vices cost me lots of money

My particular vices happen to be smokes and having a few beers (or some wine). I’ve managed to keep them fairly low key since they were getting expensive. But even though I’ve cut back, my vices still cost me lots of money. The smoking is probably the worst once since it’s extremely bad for you and at over $8 per pack it really adds up. I’m smoking about a pack every two days so each month I’m spending about $120 on smokes. Not a huge amount but when you think about it that’s $1,440 per year! A simple vice such as smoking can be killing you financially.

Now if I were to tabulate all of my vices that cost me money it very quickly ads up to about $60 a week, give or take. Again $60 for something you enjoy isn’t that much (I do enjoy having a few beers or a glass or two of wine); but that amount grows very quickly and amounts to $3,120 per year.

I’m using two pretty common examples with vices and the truth is the $60 per week that I spend on these two really isn’t a great deal. Without much effort you can increase the numbers a lot especially if you live in a big city and like to go out for a couple drinks.

Cutting back on Vices can speed up debt repayment

Now that I’ve got a baby on the way and I’m still in debt (and still frustrated by my debt) I’ve been thinking about my vices and the fact that there’s a lot of money going into them (even though I’ve toned them down). I know that I should cut back or even eliminate my vices but I do like them. Its a bit of a catch-22 in that I like them and enjoy a few drinks but the extra $60 per week would mean I get a head that much quicker. As a temporary move cutting back on vices can really help me repay my debts.

Not all Vices are created equal

I guess part of any discussion on the cost of vices needs to be tempered by the fact that some vices are considerably more costly than others. A chocolate bar with lunch isn’t the same as having a $200 bottle of wine with dinner each night. Vices can be completely benign or they could be illegal and extremely expensive. You have to know your limits and adjust as necessary which is why I think I might have to trim my smoking and drinking even further and possibly eliminate them completely for a time just to get the debt under control.

What vices do you have? Have you considered how much they ‘re costing you and what you could do with the money? If your vices are of the once in a blue moon variety and don’t cost much then it’s not really a big deal but when they’re regular and costly they can add up.

3 thoughts on “The Cost of Vices”

  1. Food is probably my biggest vice. Not that I’d give up eating, but I love ethnic food and eating out (at one point in the past I was eating out almost every day). Definitely adds up, as you say.

    Its a tough balance, life is for living. If you cut to the point that you’re not enjoying it that’s silly, but if you’re putting tons of money and/or time into something you don’t really value, that’s no good either.

    I’ve always been a big fan of radical changes. When you “cut back” on something, its easy for it to creep up again when you hit a stressful period in life. I’ve found sometimes going cold turkey and swearing off of something (at least for a period of time or until a goal is reached) is more effective for me.

    You should give up smoking and put all the cash you would have spent into Philip Morris stock. Then you could check out the account whenever you get the craving and see all the cash you’ve accumulated by kicking the habit…

  2. Mine is yarn, the good stuff. I budget $50/month for it and usually end up close to budget/sometimes a bit over. I only feel guilty because I have enough stashed under the bed to last me a year or two..

    On the other hand it’s kind of like an emergency fund. When I was unemployed I greatly reduced that category of spending and worked from the stash..haha 🙂

  3. I consider myself lucky that I never took up smoking (actually, it was probably more determined since my parents both smoked and I didn’t want to).

    I also don’t have too many other vices. I drink but not much these days so I consider it more of a treat than a vice. Maybe my only vice is chocolate though again I do that rarely now.

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