Author Topic: I just figured up what I spend annually on STUPID S&%T. Time to QUIT!  (Read 11837 times)

rollie_in_mn

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I'm brand new here, trying to evaluate and re-shape my lifestyle. I feel like my active participation in a typical consumer lifestyle has damaged not only my finances, but the environment/world around me and my own freaking soul. You all have been very thought-provoking and inspiring :)

Today, as a first step, I totaled up what I spend annually on dumba$$ crud that is either totally unnecessary or actively hurting me and my health. I'm a true creature of habit, so when I say things like "I smoke 4 cigarettes a day", it's true (I have a schedule). But this s&%t is stupid, expensive, and ends right now.

                                         Per Day   Cost Per Unit   Cost Per Day   365
Cigarettes                             4              4.4               0.88         321.2
Subway                                  1           9.73               9.73        3551.45
Diet Coke @ home                  4           9.99              1.665        607.725
Diet Coke @ work                  2           1.75                3.5        1277.5
extra snack                          1           0.99               0.99        361.35
                                                                         Total: $6,119.23

WOW. Don't even tell me how much that's worth compounded at X percent over X number of years. One punch in the face a day is about all I can do right now.

All of this ends right now. I can make cold homebrew coffee to replace the caffeine in the coke, I can brown bag my breakfast and lunch instead of getting fast food 2x per day, I can drink water or make tea at work and Jeebus only knows why I need that daily extra snack at the vending machine. I'm not physically addicted to nicotine, so I know I can quit smoking without physical withdrawal. I already possess all the tools and supplies at home to make these changes.

Just posting this for the sake of honesty. Maybe it will help some other poor noob evaluate the actual cost of the stupid s&%t in their life.

So my challenge for March is to put an extra $510 (1/12 my annual spending on stupid crap), PLUS my regular $300 payment to my $41,000 student loan, and not miss that money because I've replaced the stupid spending with the smarter choices. True, those smarter choices will still cost something, so really I'd be saving a bit less than $510 per month, but that's the whole point of a challenge, correct? I will allow myself to do the $510 spread over my 2 March paychecks so I don't have to do a single lump sum.

c

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Re: I just figured up what I spend annually on STUPID S&%T. Time to QUIT!
« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2013, 05:16:32 PM »
It's really shocking when you see it all written down, but  now you know so can start making changes.

mushroom

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Re: I just figured up what I spend annually on STUPID S&%T. Time to QUIT!
« Reply #2 on: March 03, 2013, 06:11:39 PM »
You may enjoy reading Charles Duhigg's The Power of Habit (from the library, of course). Pretty simple but insightful. The author breaks his every-day-at-3:30-cookie habit by examining what exactly he gets out of that cookie (a chance for social interaction) and replacing it with something that gives him social interaction but does not require buying and eating a cookie.

Mrs MM

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Re: I just figured up what I spend annually on STUPID S&%T. Time to QUIT!
« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2013, 06:34:40 PM »
You may enjoy reading Charles Duhigg's The Power of Habit (from the library, of course). Pretty simple but insightful. The author breaks his every-day-at-3:30-cookie habit by examining what exactly he gets out of that cookie (a chance for social interaction) and replacing it with something that gives him social interaction but does not require buying and eating a cookie.

I'm reading that book right now and really enjoying it!

@rollie_in_mn Wow!  It's great when you break it down like that and see it in all it's glory.  That reminds me of when we first started and I saw my coffee, book, and clothing habits in their true light.  Especially with little things, you often forget what a big impact they make.  Let us know how it goes!

rollie_in_mn

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Re: I just figured up what I spend annually on STUPID S&%T. Time to QUIT!
« Reply #4 on: March 04, 2013, 09:50:13 PM »
You may enjoy reading Charles Duhigg's The Power of Habit (from the library, of course). Pretty simple but insightful. The author breaks his every-day-at-3:30-cookie habit by examining what exactly he gets out of that cookie (a chance for social interaction) and replacing it with something that gives him social interaction but does not require buying and eating a cookie.

Thank you for the suggestion! It is actually on a waitlist at our neighborhood library but I added myself to it :)

Today was an interesting day. I thought I had done a decent job of preparing myself with alternatives to my normal spending/eating habits, but I did have some road bumps.

I did not smoke any cigarettes and that was fine. I really just go have a smoke when I want to get away from my desk for 10 min, so I replaced the smoke with a walk around the block.

Though I brought food for breakfast and lunch, I found myself unprepared with alternatives for my late afternoon craving for a sugar/caffeine combo, and sure enough, at 3pm I found myself wanting a cookie and a diet Coke more than ANYTHING EVER OMG. So, there went $2.98.

So while today was certainly an improvement in terms of spending over my usual habits, it's clear that I have some work to do and additional strategy is needed. Virtually all of my spending during the workday is related to food/drink, so I think a few days of journaling will help quite a bit in identifying my patterns and triggers. I also clearly need to dial down my caffeine and sugar consumption. So, the experiment continues! This is kind of fun

Left

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Re: I just figured up what I spend annually on STUPID S&%T. Time to QUIT!
« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2013, 10:22:48 PM »
make your own cookie? It doesn't get rid of the cookie habit... but I've been eating banana oat cookies, similar to http://stephchows.blogspot.com/2009/03/banana-oat-cookies.html but mine is a bit modified to suit my own taste

It's fairly healthy, or healthier than the store bought ones. From what I can tell of costs, it's about a 25 cents per cookie once you figure out all the material costs (not counting time cost/cost to use oven), I'm not sure how much a cookie costs sold, but I'd imagine it's more than a quarter. After a week or two of this, you'll get used to not having all that sugar, and eating sugar-ed up cookie will taste bad.

The coke, hm... try tea/water instead? If it is the handy bottled/canned drink that you want, just buy a case of water to keep by your door and grab 1 or 2 when you leave (refill throughout day). You won't have to buy a case more than a few times, just enough so you get enough bottles then you can reuse them. I had the problem where I have 1 or 2 bottles for coffee/water but it always ends up that I forgot to wash it the night before and gave up on doing it in the morning. It was easier to buy a case of 12-24 water bottles and always have them by the door on the way out. Now I just save them and refill them on the weekend and have them ready for the week. It isn't environmental but I prefer these "cheap" plastic bottles since I can toss them if they get damaged/lost without feeling too guilty.

Kierun

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Re: I just figured up what I spend annually on STUPID S&%T. Time to QUIT!
« Reply #6 on: March 05, 2013, 12:50:55 AM »
Good on you rollie.  Recently just weened myself off of energy drinks.  The first week was a bit difficult but stuck with it and now no longer want them.  Whenever I felt myself wanting the drink I just drank water and it worked well.  Instead of constantly buying a case of water, maybe look at a refillable water bottle.

psychomoustache

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Re: I just figured up what I spend annually on STUPID S&%T. Time to QUIT!
« Reply #7 on: March 05, 2013, 08:20:52 AM »
Excellent !
I am a Coke Addict myself. When I stop it's cold turkey for me that works best.
Thanks for adding this up - I have said to my poor Mr Psychomoustache that I have drunk up the money for ER, for FI, for vacations.... It's Not Funny.
So far no Coke since last Thursday... Since last Month!

CNM

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Re: I just figured up what I spend annually on STUPID S&%T. Time to QUIT!
« Reply #8 on: March 05, 2013, 08:32:15 AM »
Another alternative to coke is sparking water.  It's more expensive than plain water, but maybe it can be an intermediate step.

momo

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Re: I just figured up what I spend annually on STUPID S&%T. Time to QUIT!
« Reply #9 on: March 05, 2013, 09:35:17 AM »
Good for you rollie! You are right when you put the numbers in plain view it is helpful. For the snacks I use fruit year round fresh and dried to help with the need for sugar. Also drinking a lot of water with no additional flavoring helps to fill the cravings to eat. If you really need to crunch on things have you tried carrots or celery? Both help me throughout the day. And not sure if you are a morning person but having a warm breakfast that is not processed meats or oily fast food helps too. If you can try oatmeal it is affordable, healthy, and I find lasts longer than a poptart or energy bars. Your mileage may vary.

Oh and if you are going to the library borrow Your Money or Your Life and The Behavior Gap. MMM reviewed the first here: http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/12/18/your-money-or-your-life/ and I find the second helpful b/c it helps explain behavioral patterns with money.

Good luck and thanks for sharing. Keep it up!

Jill the Pill

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Re: I just figured up what I spend annually on STUPID S&%T. Time to QUIT!
« Reply #10 on: March 05, 2013, 11:57:39 AM »
For the soda addicts: maybe look into "Soda Stream."  It's a device that carbonates a liter of tap water.  You can make soda by just adding a little juice.  I've had one for about 8 years, and while you have to replace the cylinder about once a year, it's still going strong. 

(I am embarrassed to admit I've even used it to fizz up flat beer!) 

eyePod

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Re: I just figured up what I spend annually on STUPID S&%T. Time to QUIT!
« Reply #11 on: March 05, 2013, 12:14:25 PM »
Thank you for the suggestion! It is actually on a waitlist at our neighborhood library but I added myself to it :)

Today was an interesting day. I thought I had done a decent job of preparing myself with alternatives to my normal spending/eating habits, but I did have some road bumps.

I did not smoke any cigarettes and that was fine. I really just go have a smoke when I want to get away from my desk for 10 min, so I replaced the smoke with a walk around the block.

Though I brought food for breakfast and lunch, I found myself unprepared with alternatives for my late afternoon craving for a sugar/caffeine combo, and sure enough, at 3pm I found myself wanting a cookie and a diet Coke more than ANYTHING EVER OMG. So, there went $2.98.

So while today was certainly an improvement in terms of spending over my usual habits, it's clear that I have some work to do and additional strategy is needed. Virtually all of my spending during the workday is related to food/drink, so I think a few days of journaling will help quite a bit in identifying my patterns and triggers. I also clearly need to dial down my caffeine and sugar consumption. So, the experiment continues! This is kind of fun

This post brings around the most important aspect of changing your diet habits.  PLANNING AHEAD!  If you don't, you're gonna constantly be in a similar situation.  Until you're dialed into a good routine and used to the new changes, you should bring extra snack (I always like the well rounded snack of 3 almonds, a tangerine, and a hard boiled egg - fat, protein and carbs all in one healthy package)!.

madgeylou

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Re: I just figured up what I spend annually on STUPID S&%T. Time to QUIT!
« Reply #12 on: March 05, 2013, 01:16:00 PM »
For the soda addicts: maybe look into "Soda Stream."  It's a device that carbonates a liter of tap water.  You can make soda by just adding a little juice.  I've had one for about 8 years, and while you have to replace the cylinder about once a year, it's still going strong. 

(I am embarrassed to admit I've even used it to fizz up flat beer!)

LOL! I have a Soda Stream, too, but have never used it for that purpose! Also, we go through about a cylinder a month, but we drink LOTS of seltzer. It's my replacement for Coke (which I was once addicted to) and wine (during the week at least), so at $16/month for a new canister, we still come out way ahead.

momo

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Re: I just figured up what I spend annually on STUPID S&%T. Time to QUIT!
« Reply #13 on: March 05, 2013, 02:43:48 PM »
Good point madgeylou!

@ Rollie, it takes about 30 days of consistent discipline to develop a new habit. So if you can stack the odds in your favor by planning your meals and activities in advance you can improve the chances you will stick to your new program. I write a daily meal, finance (spending, savings), and health log. Try it or some kind of hybrid method. The key is making is visible so you can SEE it, hold yourself accountable and build it into your daily routines. Let us know how it goes! Cheers!

norvilion

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Re: I just figured up what I spend annually on STUPID S&%T. Time to QUIT!
« Reply #14 on: March 06, 2013, 07:08:54 AM »
I'm afraid I'm not extremely familiar with the Soda Stream in particular, but a relative of mine had a water fizzer of some kind and mentioned refilling their own canisters. Apparently there was some kind of kit he found online that allowed him to refill reusable canisters from a large tank of restaurant grade CO2. He said that he was able to get 10-20 refills for the cost of one refill canister that way or something.

This was a year or two ago I heard about it so I may have the info wrong or it may have been an old-style machine but it may be something to look into if you use the fizzer often.

psychomoustache

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Re: I just figured up what I spend annually on STUPID S&%T. Time to QUIT!
« Reply #15 on: March 06, 2013, 10:47:32 AM »
I guess I really want to no longer be dependent on soda at all - so no soda stream thingamajig for moi.

Maybe just the real thing, Very Occasionally ? "The Real Thing" - 70's Coke commercial. Sorry.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2013, 12:51:31 PM by psychomoustache »

justchristine

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Re: I just figured up what I spend annually on STUPID S&%T. Time to QUIT!
« Reply #16 on: March 06, 2013, 12:10:19 PM »
I've given up soda multiple times and going cold turkey with no substitute has always worked best for me.  My problem is that I have chronic sinus/allergy problems.  Just about the time that I'm used to being soda/caffeine free, I get a sinus infection or my allergies flare up and I need the caffeine to offset the drowsiness from the sinus medicine.  Maybe some day I'll master my nose and be able to give up soda for good.

eyePod

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Re: I just figured up what I spend annually on STUPID S&%T. Time to QUIT!
« Reply #17 on: March 06, 2013, 07:22:23 PM »
I guess I really want to no longer be dependent on soda at all - so no soda stream thingamajig for moi.

Maybe just the real thing, Very Occasionally ? "The Real Thing" - 70's Coke commercial. Sorry.

I only drink soda when I'm mixing it with booze.  This isn't often so I figure its a good thing.  Working on trying something else with my captain but "captain and oj" or "captain and apple juice" just doesn't sound the same...

CNM

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Re: I just figured up what I spend annually on STUPID S&%T. Time to QUIT!
« Reply #18 on: March 07, 2013, 11:02:51 AM »
captain and pineapple!  Delicious but sweet.

eyePod

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Re: I just figured up what I spend annually on STUPID S&%T. Time to QUIT!
« Reply #19 on: March 07, 2013, 12:00:38 PM »
captain and pineapple!  Delicious but sweet.

I don't like pineapple flavor and I feel like that would be killer heartburn with more than one!

LizzyBee

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Re: I just figured up what I spend annually on STUPID S&%T. Time to QUIT!
« Reply #20 on: March 07, 2013, 03:33:18 PM »
Good for you for trying to quit all of these things cold turkey. It's very inspiring since I am trying to break my own soda/candy habit right now. I don't allow myself to buy soda and keep it in the house so I was going out and buying fountain soda or bottled soda at $1-$2 each 2-3 times per week. That's a lot of money over time! Sometimes I buy a 12 pack of seltzer water (~$3) and juice and mix them together (1/4 juice to 3/4 soda water). The cheapest option, of course, is to not drink it at all. Good luck and keep us updated!

Bearblastbeats

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Re: I just figured up what I spend annually on STUPID S&%T. Time to QUIT!
« Reply #21 on: March 08, 2013, 08:14:36 AM »

I only drink soda when I'm mixing it with booze.  This isn't often so I figure its a good thing.  Working on trying something else with my captain but "captain and oj" or "captain and apple juice" just doesn't sound the same...


I don't have a soda problem either. I also just use it for booze. I just happen to drink a lot of booze.

oldtoyota

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I spent $47 at the vending machine last year. 100% stupid. I probably spent more than that, but I stopped using my credit card (how I bet track purchases) when Dodd Frank went into effect, making the cost higher. Dodd Frank was pretty cool, because the extra charge just made me stop using the machine at all.

Now, I make sure to have almonds and apples at work for a snack.

I spent about $1600 on the subway. Do you commute a long way?

My grocery bill would make everyone throw up. DH and I are cutting that big time. I am too embarrassed to say how much it is.






swick

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I spent about $1600 on the subway. Do you commute a long way?


*blinks*  Now I have to ask...is that the transportation Subway or the Fast-food Subway? it is the only fast-food we have in town, and we have no Subway, or a bus for that matter, so I just assumed it was the restaurant :)

oldtoyota

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Transportation subway. =-) I don't do fast food. The DC subway is extremely expensive. It can cost $4 to go one way and that includes being crammed like cattle shoulder to shoulder.

mm1970

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Transportation subway. =-) I don't do fast food. The DC subway is extremely expensive. It can cost $4 to go one way and that includes being crammed like cattle shoulder to shoulder.

Wow that's gone up!  I lived in DC in the 90's and commuted by Metro from Ballston to Crystal City and it was $2.80 per day, or about $56/month.  Definitely cheaper than driving - parking at work alone was $75 to $100 a month back then.

footenote

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Looking for additional, non-monetary motivation for giving up soda? Both regular and diet soda are terrible for your teeth: http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/sodas-effects-tooth-erosion-3825.html

(I have really awful, expensive-to-maintain teeth. So the possibility of avoiding dental work is a powerful motivator for me.)

Also, when you drink diet soda, the brain thinks it's getting a glucose hit. When it does not get the glucose, your body says "Hey - where's that glucose hit you promised me, a$$hole??", creating an even stronger craving for sugar: http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2012-08-29/health/os-artificial-sweeteners-20120829_1_artificial-sweeteners-blood-sugar-metabolic-syndrome

OP: How's it going? Hope you are making the changes you want to make!

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My husband and I are recovering Diet Coke addicts.  We just drink water now and allow ourselves Diet Coke occasionally (once or twice a week) if we are getting gas or out to eat.  I still get the taste but after a few weeks of mostly water, I don't crave it on a daily basis.  I've also found that lemon slices in my ice water is just so fabulous and refreshing that it is just plain better than a soda!

LivingOnLess

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make your own cookie? It doesn't get rid of the cookie habit... but I've been eating banana oat cookies, similar to http://stephchows.blogspot.com/2009/03/banana-oat-cookies.html but mine is a bit modified to suit my own taste

It's fairly healthy, or healthier than the store bought ones. From what I can tell of costs, it's about a 25 cents per cookie once you figure out all the material costs (not counting time cost/cost to use oven), I'm not sure how much a cookie costs sold, but I'd imagine it's more than a quarter. After a week or two of this, you'll get used to not having all that sugar, and eating sugar-ed up cookie will taste bad.

The coke, hm... try tea/water instead? If it is the handy bottled/canned drink that you want, just buy a case of water to keep by your door and grab 1 or 2 when you leave (refill throughout day). You won't have to buy a case more than a few times, just enough so you get enough bottles then you can reuse them. I had the problem where I have 1 or 2 bottles for coffee/water but it always ends up that I forgot to wash it the night before and gave up on doing it in the morning. It was easier to buy a case of 12-24 water bottles and always have them by the door on the way out. Now I just save them and refill them on the weekend and have them ready for the week. It isn't environmental but I prefer these "cheap" plastic bottles since I can toss them if they get damaged/lost without feeling too guilty.

I totally agree with the bolded.  We have even cut buying juice and instead I make green tea and fresh ginger tea, or water with fruit in it.  Not only has it been healthier, but my SO lost some weight in the process.  Currently researching a recipe for making my own creamer...minus all the sugar.
Funny how when you put things on paper and in perspective you realize that you can do better.  I love this site for making me think outside of the box.   

rollie_in_mn

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I finally made it back to the forums!! Update is a long time coming :)

I have successfully kicked the Diet Coke habit! I weaned myself off by mixing some of those knockoff Crystal Light mixes into my water for the first couple of weeks, then I was able to wean myself off THOSE and have just been drinking water (and the occasional beer) for the last... two or three weeks now, I'm not quite sure.

I've also successfully kicked the buying food everyday habit! I got back into the habit of cooking big dinners every night for hubs and myself, and then packaging up what was left over for lunch the next day. So a $15 investment in a reusable lunch bag and some of that gladware stuff has paid off too! I still make allowances for the occasional lunch with a coworker who is also a close friend, but that's about once every other week. I also found a great high protein/no added sugar "breakfast cookie" recipe that I love and has helped me with the junk food cravings.

Smoking... I have has less success with. I'll just leave it at that. It's still something I'm working on, but it's clear that the "oh, just quit already" approach is not working for me, so I need to get creative and explore other options. I'm thinking I'll try "crowding it out" with exercise, now that the $*$(#)#)$^ snow is FINALLY gone from Minnesota (if anyone's reading this in Upstate NY, I am SO SORRY)

Thanks again to everyone for their ideas and advice! I put an extra $500 towards my debt at the beginning of May, which felt great :)

oldtoyota

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Great news! Thank you for updating us.

Mynameisnotfluffydude

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For the soda addicts: maybe look into "Soda Stream."  It's a device that carbonates a liter of tap water.  You can make soda by just adding a little juice.  I've had one for about 8 years, and while you have to replace the cylinder about once a year, it's still going strong. 

(I am embarrassed to admit I've even used it to fizz up flat beer!)

LOL. DH makes beer and and I insisted he also carbonate some tap water in a keg... Sparkly water on tap!!!  Not only green since it involves no bottles, but so refreshingly delicious you will never miss the diet coke.  Ok, maybe usage drops to once a month.  :)

The other advantage of having carbonated water on tap (at least here in earthquake country) is that you will have a week's supply of water in case of emergencies.

grantmeaname

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Carbonated water plus fruit nectar or fruit juice are to die for, and if you're a real gourmand you can make simple syrups and have raspberry soda or mint soda. They're phenomenal.

limeandpepper

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Carbonated water plus fruit nectar or fruit juice are to die for, and if you're a real gourmand you can make simple syrups and have raspberry soda or mint soda. They're phenomenal.

Agree, I make my own cordial. It's pretty amazing.

Albert

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Re: I just figured up what I spend annually on STUPID S&%T. Time to QUIT!
« Reply #34 on: June 29, 2013, 02:35:44 PM »
This is a thread for me as well... Fortunately I've never smoked, but I've been drinking ever more and more Coke and need to stop asap. It's no good for my health and I don't even dare calculate how much it costs me every year. I never drink it at work, only at home so I'll stop buying it from now. Will try to replace it with tea, sparkling water and apple juice (that's what I drink at work).

I also spend a considerable amount of money eating at work canteen (ca 2700 Swiss francs per year), but the food is not too bad plus those lunches often double as meetings with colleagues and informal business discussions.

StarswirlTheMustached

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Re: I just figured up what I spend annually on STUPID S&%T. Time to QUIT!
« Reply #35 on: July 01, 2013, 09:24:13 PM »
I also spend a considerable amount of money eating at work canteen (ca 2700 Swiss francs per year), but the food is not too bad plus those lunches often double as meetings with colleagues and informal business discussions.
Is there a rule against bringing a packed lunch to the canteen?

ep114

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Re: I just figured up what I spend annually on STUPID S&%T. Time to QUIT!
« Reply #36 on: July 03, 2013, 02:37:00 AM »
Lots of great changes in store for you! Besides saving money, you'll probably feel better too.  But I think giving up the cigarettes has got to be the #1 priority. Lung cancer and emphysema are BRUTAL (and expensive) I wish no one would go through that.

Rebecca Stapler

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Re: I just figured up what I spend annually on STUPID S&%T. Time to QUIT!
« Reply #37 on: July 03, 2013, 09:13:21 AM »

Smoking... I have has less success with. I'll just leave it at that. It's still something I'm working on, but it's clear that the "oh, just quit already" approach is not working for me, so I need to get creative and explore other options. I'm thinking I'll try "crowding it out" with exercise, now that the $*$(#)#)$^ snow is FINALLY gone from Minnesota (if anyone's reading this in Upstate NY, I am SO SORRY)


Great work on kicking Diet Coke! I kicked my 3:30 Diet Coke habit a few months ago when I realized that the sweetness was making me hungry. I'm really surprised that I don't miss it.

Anyway, about the smoking -- nicotine addiction (even just 4/day) is no joke. The good part, though, is that it leaves your system in 2 weeks. So, if you can kick it for 2 weeks, the physical addiction is gone (then you deal with the habitual and psychological addiction, but 1 out of 3 isn't bad!)

There might be some free resources in your state to help you quit -- from a "Quit Hotline" to nicotine patches, etc. (although, I'm not sure the patches are appropriate for quitting a 4 cig/day habit). Quitting smoking is HARD. But if you can change the habit and address the psychological attachments to it for 2 weeks then hopefully you can get on the right track. Pick one cig / week or every month to kick, and in 4 weeks / months hopefully they'll all be gone. GOOD LUCK!!!