Breaking Bad Habits & Building Wealth Go Hand in Hand

Last updated on August 9, 2023

Are you tired of feeling trapped by your bad habits?

Are you sick of watching your hard-earned money slip away because of bad habits?

Well, you’re not alone. Bad habits are a tricky beast that can have a devastating impact on your health, your relationships, and yes, your finances.

But here’s the thing: it doesn’t have to be this way. You can break bad habits and gain control of your finances (like so many others have done).

In this article, I’m gonna get real about the financial costs of bad habits. I’ll:

  • Talk about how bad habits can lead to job loss, decreased productivity, gambling losses, impulse spending, and more (the problem)
  • Give you practical strategies for breaking bad habits and regaining control of your finances (the solution)
  • And much more (including suggested books, quotes to get inspired from, and good habits to replace the bad ones)

Let’s dive in and take action together.


What you'll learn:

The financial costs of bad habits

Okay, so let’s talk numbers.

Just how much is your bad habit costing you?

The truth is, bad habits can be a real financial drain. They can lead to job loss, decreased productivity, and even bankruptcy. And it’s not just the big expenses that add up, it’s the little ones too.

Job loss and decreased productivity

Let’s start with job loss and decreased productivity. When you’re struggling with bad habits, it can be hard to focus on work. You might call in sick more often, miss deadlines, or even get fired. And if you do lose your job, finding a new one can be tough.

Employers are often hesitant to hire someone with a history of addiction. But even if you don’t lose your job, addiction can still hurt your career. You might not get that promotion or that raise you’ve been working for.

Gambling losses and accumulated debt

Then there are the gambling losses. Gambling addiction can lead to serious financial problems, as people can rack up huge debts from gambling. And if you’re borrowing money to gamble, you’re just digging yourself into a deeper hole.

Impulse spending and lack of financial discipline

But it’s not just the big expenses that add up. Bad habits (of any sort) can also lead to impulse spending. You might buy things you don’t need.

Or you might blow your budget on alcohol, consumerism (and other drugs). Before you know it, your savings are gone, and you’re living paycheck to paycheck.

Costs of bad habits treatment and recovery

And let’s not forget the cost of addiction treatment and recovery. Rehab, therapy, and medication can be expensive. But without treatment, it can be nearly impossible to overcome (major) bad habits.

It’s easy to see how addiction can quickly spiral out of control and ruin your finances. But don’t give up hope just yet. In the next chapter, I’m going to talk about strategies to help you break bad habits and regain control of your finances. So stay with me.


Break bad habits and regain control of your finances

It’s clear that bad habits can have a serious impact on your finances. But the good news is that there are strategies you can use to overcome addiction and regain control of your finances.

Ask for help when needed

First and foremost, it’s important to seek help to break bad habits as soon as possible. This may include seeking professional treatment, attending support groups, or working with a therapist or counselor. The earlier you seek help, the easier it will be to overcome your addiction and get back on track.

Develop healthy coping mechanisms

Another important strategy is developing healthy coping mechanisms and financial management strategies. This may include finding new hobbies or activities that you enjoy.

Or setting and sticking to a budget. Budgeting apps can help you keep track of your expenses and stay on track with your budget.

Here are some:

Seek financial counseling

Additionally, seeking financial counseling can be a valuable resource in regaining control of your finances.

Organizations offer financial counseling services that can help you create a budget, pay off debt, and improve your credit score.

Here are some:

Avoid triggers

It’s also important to avoid triggers that may lead to impulse spending or gambling.

This may include:

  • staying away from certain places (or people)
  • or finding healthy alternatives to cope with stress

Set and achieve goals

Finally, setting and achieving financial goals is a powerful way to regain control of your finances and your life.

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This may include:

  • saving for a down payment on a house
  • paying off credit card debt
  • or building an emergency fund.

By setting and achieving financial goals, you’ll be able to see progress and stay motivated in your journey towards financial freedom.

And remember: breaking bad habits and regaining control of your finances isn’t easy. But it’s possible (with the right support and strategies).


Balancing bad habits and financial goals

So, you’ve decided to take control of your addiction and your finances.

But how do you balance the two? It’s not easy, but it’s possible.

Tips for managing alcohol consumption

When it comes to managing alcohol consumption, it’s important to set limits for yourself and stick to them.

This may include:

  • setting a limit on the number of drinks you have per week (or per night)
  • or avoiding drinking during times when you’re trying to achieve financial goals (such as paying off debt or saving for a down payment on a house).

Strategies for quitting smoking

Quitting smoking can also have a positive impact on your finances. Not only will you save money on cigarettes, but you’ll also save money on healthcare costs in the long run.

Nicotine replacement therapy, such as gum or patches, and prescription medications can help with nicotine cravings. Understanding the health risks involved might give you an extra push to quit too.

Tips for controlling gambling

Controlling gambling can be a bit trickier, but it’s not impossible.

It may be helpful to avoid places or situations that trigger the urge to gamble, such as casinos or online gambling sites. Setting limits on the amount of money you’re willing to spend on gambling and seeking support from a therapist (or support group) can also be beneficial.

Set realistic financial goals

Ultimately, setting and achieving financial goals is a powerful way to regain control of your finances and your life.

But you need to be realistic and specific when setting financial goals.

And to have a plan in place to achieve them. By setting and achieving financial goals, you’ll be able to see progress and stay motivated in your journey towards financial freedom.

And remember, it’s okay to slip up and make mistakes. The most important thing is to keep moving forward and stay focused on your goals (anybody can do it if they really want to).


Support groups and organizations

You’ve come a long way in your journey to overcome addiction and regain control of your finances. But it’s important to remember that you don’t have to do it alone. There are many resources available to help you on your journey.

For example, organizations like:

And support groups like:

You can also seek help from a therapist, counselor (or specialist). They can provide guidance and support in your journey to overcome bad habits and addiction.


Top 5 books to break bad habits

“The Recovery Book: Answers to All Your Questions About Addiction and Alcoholism” by Al J. Mooney, M.D. and Arlene Eisenberg.

This book is a comprehensive guide to understanding addiction and alcoholism. And provides practical advice on how to recover and maintain long-term sobriety.

It covers topics such as the causes of addiction, the various types of treatment available, and the importance of support groups and therapy.

“The Financial Diet: A Total Beginner’s Guide to Getting Good with Money” by Chelsea Fagan and Lauren Ver Hage

This book is a practical and approachable guide to personal finance. And covers a wide range of topics from budgeting and saving money to investing and paying off debt.

It is specifically designed for people who are just starting to think about their finances. And provides clear, simple advice on how to get your money under control.

“The Easy Way to Quit Smoking” by Allen Carr

This book is a guide to quitting smoking and provides a step-by-step plan for breaking the addiction to nicotine. It’s based on the author’s personal experience of quitting smoking. And provides practical advice on how to overcome cravings and avoid triggers.

“The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness” by Dave Ramsey

This book is a personal finance guide that provides a step-by-step plan for paying off debt, building an emergency fund, and achieving financial freedom. It covers topics such as budgeting, saving money, and investing, and provides practical advice on how to achieve financial goals.

“The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business” by Charles Duhigg

This book is a guide to understanding and changing habits. And provides a thorough examination of the science of habit formation.

It covers topics such as how habits are formed, how they can be changed, and how to harness the power of habits to achieve goals. It also includes case studies and examples of how habits can be used to overcome addiction and improve financial habits.


⓺ Top 7 quotes on breaking bad habits

“Wealth is the product of man’s capacity to think”

— Ayn Rand

“Wealth is not the result of spontaneous generation. You must create it. Work, save and invest”

— Henry Ford

“A bad habit never disappears miraculously; it’s an undo-it-yourself project”

— Abigail Van Buren

“Bad habits are like a comfortable bed, easy to get into, but hard to get out of”

— Unknown

“The chains of habit are too weak to be felt until they are too strong to be broken”

— Samuel Johnson

“Habits are at first cobwebs, then cables”

— Spanish Proverb

“The more one does and sees and feels, the more one is able to do, and the more genuine may be one’s appreciation of fundamental things like home, and love, and understanding companionship”

— Amelia Earhart

Poverty and bad habits

Poverty and addiction are closely linked. When people are living in poverty, they may turn to alcohol or drugs as a way to cope with the stress and hardship of their financial situation.

It’s a vicious cycle.

Bad habits can make it even harder for individuals to find and keep a job, manage their finances, and improve their overall standard of living.

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But it’s not just the financial burden of addiction that’s the problem. It’s the emotional toll as well.

Individuals living in poverty are more likely to experience high levels of stress, trauma, and mental health issues, which can make them more susceptible to addiction.

It’s important to note that addiction is not a choice, it’s a disease. And it can happen to anyone regardless of socioeconomic status.

But the fact is, poverty can increase the risk of addiction and make it even harder to overcome. This is why it’s important to address both poverty and addiction together. To break the cycle and help individuals improve their overall standard of living.


Wealth and bad habits

You might think that addiction is only a problem for people living in poverty. But the truth is that addiction can affect anyone (yes, even wealthy individuals are at risk).

For wealthy individuals, the challenges of overcoming addiction may be different.

They may have more resources at their disposal to enable their addiction. Such as the ability to pay for expensive treatment or cover up their addiction with their wealth.

They may also face a lack of understanding and support from friends and family, who may not understand the gravity of the problem.

But just like anyone else, wealthy individuals who struggle with bad habits need support and understanding to overcome their addiction. They need access to professional treatment and support groups, just like anyone else.

And just like anyone else, they need to be able to talk openly and honestly about their addiction without fear of judgment or stigma.

All in all, no one is immune to addiction. And it’s important to destigmatize the disease and to provide support and resources to those in need (regardless of their financial situation).


How to break bad habits: 3 easy strategies

Overcoming addiction is not easy. But there are strategies that have been shown to be effective in helping individuals to break free from the grip of addiction.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy

One of the most effective strategies is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). This type of therapy helps individuals to identify and change negative thought patterns and behaviors that are associated with addiction.

Motivational interviewing

Another effective strategy is motivational interviewing (MI). This approach focuses on helping individuals to find their own motivation to change and overcome their addiction.

It involves helping individuals to explore the pros and cons of their addiction, and to identify the personal reasons why they want to overcome it.

Contingency management

Contingency management is another strategy that has been shown to be effective in overcoming addiction. It involves providing individuals with rewards for achieving certain milestones in their recovery, such as remaining sober for a certain period of time.

The rewards can be tangible, such as vouchers for shopping or cinema, or intangibles like praise or recognition.

Everyone’s journey is different. And there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. It may take some trial and error to find the strategy that works best for you.


The importance of self-care

Overcoming addiction is not just about breaking free from the substance or behavior, it’s also about taking care of your overall well-being. Addiction can take a toll on your mental and physical health, and it’s important to prioritize self-care while you’re working on overcoming addiction.

Take care of your well-being

Self-care can mean different things to different people. But it generally includes activities that promote physical, mental and emotional well-being.

For example, regular exercise, healthy eating, getting enough sleep and engaging in activities that you enjoy. It also includes taking care of your mental health by practicing mindfulness, meditation, or yoga, and seeking support from friends, family, or a therapist.

Manage your stress

It’s also important to practice stress management techniques (such as deep breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation, or journaling). Because stress can be a trigger for addiction. And it’s important to learn how to manage it in a healthy way.


Bad habits and their impact on wealth

Bad habits can have a significant impact on our wealth and income. Not only do they come with a high financial cost, but they can also lead to health issues that can impact our ability to work and earn a living.

Smoking

Let’s take smoking for example, not only are cigarettes expensive, but smoking can lead to serious health problems like lung cancer and heart disease. These health issues can impact our ability to work and earn a living, and the medical expenses associated with treating them can add up quickly.

Gambling

Gambling is another habit that can have a significant impact on our finances. While a little bit of gambling can be fun, excessive gambling can lead to debt and even bankruptcy.

It’s important to set limits on the amount of money or time spent gambling and to seek help from a gambling addiction counselor if needed.

Drinking

Drinking too much alcohol can also have a negative impact on our finances. Not only is alcohol expensive, but excessive drinking can lead to health problems, legal issues, and loss of work.

It’s important to set limits on the amount of alcohol consumed and to seek help if needed.

The good news is that there are strategies that can help you to reduce or quit these habits.

Nicotine replacement therapy or prescription medications can help smokers to quit, setting limits on the amount of money or time spent gambling can help gamblers to reduce their habit, and seeking help from an addiction counselor can help heavy drinkers to quit.

Remember that change takes time. And it’s normal to slip up. But with the right support and strategies, you can break free from these bad habits and regain control of your finances.

Minor bad habits

Bad habits don’t always have to be big, like smoking or excessive drinking, sometimes they can be small things that we do every day (without even realizing it).

Habits like overspending, not reading, and wasting time meaninglessly, can also have a significant impact on our health and wealth.

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For example, overspending can lead to debt and financial problems. It’s important to create a budget and to seek help from a financial advisor if needed. Not reading, on the other hand, can limit our knowledge, vocabulary, and concentration.


Replacing bad habits with good ones

One of the most effective strategies for overcoming bad habits is to replace them with good habits.

Instead of focusing on what you can’t do, focus on what you can do. By replacing bad habits with good ones, you can not only improve your financial situation but also your overall well-being.

For example, instead of smoking, take up a new hobby like running or swimming. These activities not only improve your health but also save you money.

Instead of gambling, focus on building an emergency fund or saving for a down payment on a house. Instead of overspending, focus on creating a budget and sticking to it.

It’s important to have a clear understanding of your financial goals and to make sure that the habits you adopt align with them.

For example, if your goal is to save money, then focus on developing good saving habits. If your goal is to pay off debt, then focus on developing good spending habits.

It’s also important to remember that change takes time and it’s normal to slip up. The key is to stay focused on your goals and to be patient with yourself. With the right mindset and good habits, you can achieve your financial goals and improve your overall well-being.


Good habits that align with financial goals

Saving a percentage of your income every month: This habit not only helps you to save money but also teaches you to live below your means.

Investing in a retirement plan: This habit helps you to plan for your future and provides you with a sense of security.

Learning about personal finance and investing: This habit helps you to make informed decisions about your money and how to grow it (through stocks, and other vehicles).

Building an emergency fund: This habit helps you to be prepared for unexpected expenses and gives you peace of mind.

Paying off debt: This habit helps you to reduce your financial burden and improve your credit score.

Having a side hustle: This habit helps you to increase your income and achieve your financial goals faster.

Budgeting and financial planning: Creating a budget and sticking to it, and regularly reviewing and updating your financial plan, is another great habit to have. This habit helps you to control your spending, stay on track with your financial goals, and make informed decisions about your money.

Avoiding unnecessary debt: Avoiding unnecessary debt, such as credit card debt, and making a plan to pay off any existing debt, is another habit that can help you to become wealthy. This habit helps you to reduce your financial burden and improve your credit score.

Continual learning: Continual learning about personal finance, investing and wealth management is a habit that can help you to make informed decisions and grow your wealth.

Patience and perseverance: Building wealth takes time and patience, and it’s important to have perseverance and stay the course, even during tough times.


How to break bad habits: 5 simple tips

Set small, achievable goals: Start with small, achievable goals and work your way up. This will help you to build momentum and increase your chances of success.

Track your progress: Keep track of your progress and celebrate your successes. This will help you to stay motivated and on track.

Reward yourself when you reach your goals: Reward yourself when you reach your goals. This will help you to stay motivated and reinforce positive behavior.

Surround yourself with supportive people: Surround yourself with supportive people who will encourage you and hold you accountable.

Be patient: Remember that change takes time, and it’s normal to slip up. The key is to stay focused on your goals and to be patient with yourself.


Popular FAQ on bad habits and wealth

How do bad habits affect my wealth?

Bad habits such as smoking, excessive drinking, gambling, and overspending can lead to increased healthcare costs, lost income from missed work, and a lack of savings for the future.

These habits can also lead to financial stress and debt, which can negatively impact your wealth in the long term.

How can I break free from bad habits and improve my financial situation?

Breaking free from bad habits can be challenging, but it is possible. One way to do this is to set specific, measurable goals for yourself, such as quitting smoking or cutting back on alcohol consumption.

Another way is to find healthy alternatives to bad habits. For example, replacing smoking with exercise or replacing gambling with a hobby. It’s also important to have a support system in place, such as friends, family, or a therapist, to help you stay on track.

How does taking care of my health impact my wealth?

Taking care of your health can lead to lower healthcare costs, increased productivity, and the ability to work and earn a living for longer. Additionally, good health can also lead to a better quality of life and improved relationships, which can have a positive impact on your wealth in the long term.

How can I make healthy habits a part of my daily routine?

Making healthy habits a part of your daily routine takes time and effort. One way to do this is to start small and make small changes, such as taking a short walk after dinner or packing a healthy lunch for work.

Another way to make healthy habits a part of your daily routine is to schedule time for them, such as setting aside 30 minutes every morning for exercise or 30 minutes every evening for meditation.

How can I balance my goals for health and wealth?

Balancing your goals for health and wealth can be challenging, but it is possible. One way to do this is to set specific, measurable goals for both your health and wealth. And to make a plan to achieve them.

Friends and family (or a therapist) can help you stay on track. Remember to focus on making small changes and prioritize your well-being.


Final thoughts

Breaking bad habits. And building wealth. Go hand in hand. Make no mistake about it. The sooner you realize this. The faster you can get going towards the right direction.

And if you’ve been waiting for a sign to start taking your health and wealth seriously, then here it is:

the sign you've been looking for
Photo by Austin Chan on Unsplash

And remember: building wealth is not only about making money. It’s also about managing it well and making smart financial decisions.

And finding a balance between working towards financial goals and taking care of your overall well-being. Never forget that.

And everyone is different. So try to see what works for you. The point is to stick to your decisions for the long term. So anything that works for you (in the long run) is better than something that works only for a while.

I’ve lost friends from all sorts of bad habits. I’ve seen people ruin (or end) their lives because of a bad habit that went too far. Bad habits always come smiling to lure us in. But once they get comfortable, they get a mind of their own. And can get out of control. So cut them loose asap.

Personally, I find it easier to cut bad habits cold turkey. Because that takes it out of the picture once and for all. But for some, that creates unnecessary stress. So take action and stick to your plan. And always do what works for you (no matter what others say).


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Pavlos Written by:

Hey — It’s Pavlos. Just another human sharing my thoughts on all things money. Nothing more, nothing less.