Ditch that expensive habit

16:00, Mar 15 2014
Cigarettes
STUB IT OUT: Cut out the ciggies and you could save $4000 a year.

Want an instant pay rise? Simply tackle a bad habit.

Studies show smokers average 14 cigarettes a day, and a pack of 20s is $15.50. That's about 100 cigarettes a week, or 5 packs, which is more than $4000 a year.

Imagine having a $4000 pay rise just from ditching one habit. That's a pay rise of 13 per cent for someone earning $35,000 a year.

Of course, that won't work for everyone. Many budgeting clients are working with very little and the occasional smoke is the only luxury they allow themselves, smoking nowhere near 100 a week.

A better example might be hopping in the car to go around the corner. If you can, get in the habit of walking to the shops, or at least drive to a central point and do several errands before returning to the car.

Another habit might be the way you use your cellphone. Everyone seems to have a second (or third) screen with them these days. Using data on your phone can be expensive and, unless you really have to, it's better to wait for a home WiFi connection, or a free hotspot.

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A prepaid plan works really well to keep your cellphone bill under control. Someone who goes from a $40 per month data plan to a $12 per month prepaid plan will save more than $300 a year.

That's a pay rise of 0.85 per cent for someone on $35,000.

Next week we'll look at two more habits that you can easily tackle and work out just how big a total pay rise could be on the table.

Raewyn Fox is chief executive of the New Zealand Federation of Family Budgeting Services.

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