Seven deadly spending sins that are hell on your budget

By Nila Sweeney
Cutting out these bad spending habits could save you more than $13,000 a year!

Consumers are being more conservative in their spending habits in 2011 saving 11% of their disposable income – the highest level since the mid-80s.

But there are always ways to save more money.

Here’s a look at seven common spending sins and what you can actually save by cleansing your spending habits.

1.)    Cigarettes
Cigarettes are bad for your health and killer on the budget. A pack of cigarettes costs $16 and most smokers will go through 3-4 packs a week. According to Galaxy Research, the average smoker will spend $2,500 a year. Cutting smoking is therefore one of the best ways to save a dollar.
2.)    Booze
On average Australians spend $23.32 week ($1213 per year) on alcohol. But by shopping wisely you can save $450 each year. A recent survey by Your Money Magazine reveals that the market leaders for low-cost beer, wine and spirits are Dan Murphy’s and 1st Choice.
3.)    Caffeine
A daily addiction for many Australians, coffee is nonetheless a luxury many could survive without. At $3.50/cup – say 5 days a week, you’re looking at $900 a year. Could you get a bigger buzz from seeing that money in your bank account?
4.)    ATM Fees
Using bank machines that are not linked to your financial institution can really damage your budget over time. Fees are between $2-3. If you’re taking money out twice a week from another bank machine you’ll spend between $100-$150 for the privilege.
5.)    Generic brands
Australians spend approximately $153 on food and non-alcoholic beverages each week, according to the ABS. But an exclusive survey of shopping giants by Your Money Magazine recently revealed you can cut your grocery bill by $6,300 a year by switching from a premium trolley of items at IGA to a generic trolley of items at ALDI.
6.)    Take-out
An average family of four could spend from $35-$50 a week on one take-out meal. Over the course of a year that adds up to $1,820-$2,600! By making a meal at home instead, you’ll grow your bank account and shrink your waistline.
7.)    Lottery tickets
The chance of winning is about one in 45 million. The University of New South Wales worked out that if you buy a ticket the day before the next OZ Lotto draw, you have a greater chance of dying before the lottery is drawn than you do of winning the grand prize. The average Australian spends almost $6 per week on the lottery. By pocketing that money instead, you would save almost $312 a year!