One of the worst habits I used to have was drinking soft drinks. There are no two ways about it – I was addicted to them. I would have a minimum of three a day and was spending close to $100 a month on them. I knew I needed to drastically reduce the number I was drinking, but the more that I was told I couldn’t have my daily sodas, the more I craved them. It wasn’t until I used a simple trick that I was able to break the habit.
We’ve all grown accustomed to to having some type of flavor in our drinks. Usually the flavor is pre-made and thus can become quite expensive over time – not to mention being unhealthy in many instances (and if they are “healthy” pre-made drinks, they’re even more expensive). If you’re like I was, you could save over $1000 (I still think about what a waste of money that all was!) a year, but even the average person can save well over $100 a year by cutting down on flavored drinks. The simple answer to this is to go back to drinking water instead of soda, fruit juices, etc.
When I came up with the plan, all my friends laughed. They knew how addicted I was and when I mentioned that I was going to begin drinking water, they had already dismissed the plan before I could even explain. What they failed to understand was that my plan wasn’t to stop drinking soda and only drink water, but to use water to unhook me from my soda addiction.
For those who would like to stop drinking expensive beverages to save money, my ultimate success came about by taking a different approach than trying to replace soda with water. I instead told myself that I could have as much soda as I wanted. The trick was that before I could have the soda I wanted, I had to drink a full glass of water. Simple. I could have as many sodas as I wanted as long as I drank a full glass of water before having the soda. The result? I didn’t feel deprived of my soda because I could drink one anytime I wanted, but by making myself drink a glass of water first, the water reduced my cravings for the soda. It didn’t eliminate my soda cravings, but drastically reduced them to the point that I now rarely have them.
For those who are not addicted to the extent I was, simply drink three glasses of water a day. One when you get up in the morning, one at noon and one in the early afternoon. many people go for flavored drinks becasue they aren’t getting enough liquids and by committing to 3 glasses of water a day, they won’t feel near as thirsty.
I think this lesson is a close analogy to how many people approach saving money. Many approach saving money as “no longer being able to spend” which just makes them want to spend more. Part of the challenge is to come up with fun ways to save money so that it is no longer an activity that is depriving you of something, but is an activity that is something that you want to do to achieve certain goals.