Your Habits are Making You Broke
Author: Anna Newell Jones

breakfast burrito

Most the time I like to think that I’m immune to bad spending habits because of my success with the Spending Fast buuuuttt, turns out, I’m completely not immune to anything. Even though I’m not impervious to slipping back into my old ways one big side-effect of the Spending Fast is that I do recognize my bad habits a lot quicker, and that is totally worth something. Before where I might have gone oh, you know, like 6 months without balancing my checkbook it’s just not something that I would let happen these days. Now, on the worst of months I balance my checkbook just once a month (and by balance my checkbook I mean that I input all incoming and outgoing expenses into the Balance app on my phone, make sure things match up, that I know where my money is going, and that everything is as it should be).

I can recognize my bad habits faster and I’m no longer in denial (or completely oblivious) about them like I used to be. That’s growth and change; that’s a good thing.

So, I’ve got to admit something that happened recently (I find there is a lot of worth in stating what’s going on because it makes whatever might be troubling you lose it’s power- no matter what it might be).

I found myself really looking forward to these breakfast burritos that I can get at this little place on the way to work. They encourage calling ahead, thank you profusely when you do, and then you just go about your business, food in hand. They make the whole process so easy.

So naturally, I decided this was a super handy and delicious was to start the day.

I realized that for quite a few mornings in a row I was dropping over $5 at this place (I decided a small coffee was also a handy and delicious was to begin the day). I started to think about how much money this breakfast burrito habit of mine was going to add up to come months end and knew that I had to hurry up and cut it out already. A breakfast burrito here and there is just fine but every day? Totally expensive and unnecessary.

The calculations have been tabulated and at the rate I’m going I’m looking to spend approximately $341.25 this year on breakfast burritos alone. Uhhhh…

How I’m Breaking My Breakfast Burrito Habit (these will work for other habits too. Just adapt them to your situation)

1. Eat breakfast

When I’m hungry it’s hard to turn down food so by eating at least a little something I’m helping myself stay reasonable.

2. Pack a lunch

When I think I’m going to be hungry later on it’s also really hard to turn down food.

3. Walk on the other side of the street

And fight the urge to glance longingly at the cafe from the other side of the street while thinking, “Yumm breakfast burritos…”

4. Get Enough Sleep

When I’m tired I don’t make good decisions. I’ve found that when I’m sleepy breakfast burritos always sound like a good idea.

5. Make my own breakfast burrito at home

Tortillas, cheese, and eggs are cheap — but not at restaurants. For a portion of the price and zero guilt I can get my breakfast burrito fix. Complete win.

6. Delete the “call ahead” number from my phone

This cafe makes it incredibly easy to pre-order. By deleting the number I will be less likely to get myself into trouble. I don’t want to make ordering burritos easy.

7. Tell myself over and over that breakfast burritos are disgusting

Hey, sometimes it works. Even though we all know it’s a complete lie.


Have you gotten yourself into financial trouble with any of your habits? Think about your day, do you have a habit that could be costing you more money than you realize/want to admit?


in Do Without, Practical Solutions


  1. Anna Banana // August 8, 2013

    I used to have this problem with Starbucks and breakfast sandwiches. I drink all my coffee at home or at work now and I, too, eat breakfast at home.

    I was also having this issue with non-breakfast burritos, and I didn’t notice until my car broke down and I’ve been getting rides to work. No detour thru filibertos when someone else is driving!!!

    • Anna Newell Jones // August 15, 2013

      Girl, you’re saving so much money! I can see it now, “Uh, hey guys, how ’bout a quick stop at Filibertos!!” ;)

  2. kap39 // August 8, 2013

    Oh starbucks – is there anything more dangerous than letting you pay with your phone!? I used to go every day and sometimes again in the afternoon, because the starbucks was in the same building as my office – talk about convenient and tempting! But since I started a new job in a new location, I’ve been going a LOT less, which makes me realize how i totally didn’t NEED that stuff!!

    • Anna Newell Jones // August 15, 2013

      Pay with the phone AND it’s in the same building?!!?!? Temptation at it’s finest. My word. Yeah, getting out of the habit cycle is sometimes the hardest part…

  3. suri // August 8, 2013

    I limit myself just one eat out for lunch and one Starbucks per week.
    Many times I don’t even do either.

    Packing lunch definitely a HUGE savings. Lunch these days range from $5-$10.

    Just thinking about how much I would spend a week, make me sick.. and a lot of time they don’t even taste that good!!

    Pack your lunch a night before really helps me in staying in on the budget!

    • Anna Newell Jones // August 15, 2013

      That’s so awesome that you set the limit for yourself and stick to it! I’ve found that packing lunch the night before is a huge help too… especially if you tend to run late/cut it close with getting out the door.

  4. Jammie Hermans // August 8, 2013

    I came up with a solution to my Starbucks problem. (And I’ll be honest, it was REALLY out of hand.) I took an old broken boarded up armoire (free) and repaired it and painted it ($30) and turned it into a coffee bar for my house. I bought chocolate sauce, flavored syrups and some baskets to hold instant coffees, k-cups and sugar packets and now I have an awesome piece of furniture and I’ve been to Starbucks once in the last 2 months!! So proud of myself. :)

    • Anna Newell Jones // August 15, 2013

      Such a great idea- fun and I bet it’s a cute little set-up too! Not going to Starbucks in 2 months is kind of freaking amazing too, by the way!

  5. Pieliekamais // August 8, 2013

    It’s the IKEA cafe muffins that get me.

  6. Caitlin Johnson // August 8, 2013

    I definitely can’t resist a good sale at Kohl’s. When you’ve got your rewards points, and a back-to-school sale, plus some semi-decent percentage off, I can get more clothes that I absolutely DON’T need!! I’ve made more than a few sneaky purchases that I regretted later… Curse you, you wonderful, beautiful Kohl’s!! >.<

    • Anna Newell Jones // August 15, 2013

      I’ve heard SOOO much about Kohl’s great sales and rewards… I think Kohl’s is a spending problem/issue for a lot of people.

  7. Tinybluefishy // August 8, 2013

    As a chef this is one of the hardest things for me, I work all the regular meal hours so before and after work I’m starving then end up with McDonalds or KFC and then regret the bad food choice and the money spent!

    • Anna Newell Jones // August 15, 2013

      That would be tricky. Could you eat before you leave the house and keep healthy snacks with you so ou don’t let yourself get too hungry? I know you didn’t ask for tips… just food for thought (no pun intended;) .

  8. Meghan // August 8, 2013

    Lunches out. Get this: my office does not have a KITCHEN! We have no way to wash dishes outside of the bathroom, which is gross. That makes it hard to bring lunches. Of course, I could just use plastic containers with lids and take them home daily… We do have a fridge next to the filing cabinets that we bought ourselves.

    • CLV // August 9, 2013

      Yup, mine too. Mini fridge is the extent of the “kitchen” here. I end up bringing a lot of sandwiches with cut veggies or olives or something like that to go with them. This way I can just throw away the plastic wrap and/or baggy and have no dishes to wash. I also found that investing in a decent set of containers was motivating for me in the area of bringing foods that couldn’t just be wrapped or zip-lock bagged.

      • Anna Newell Jones // August 15, 2013

        I’m glad you pointed out how the containers helped you stick with actually bringing your lunch. Make it easy on yourself, right!

    • Anna Newell Jones // August 15, 2013

      That’s such a bummer! Thank goodness you have a fridge at least! I always bring my containers home at the end of the day to re-wash them for the next day if I don’t they pile up and then that’s not a fun bus ride home with all those;)

  9. No Waste // August 9, 2013

    Ice Cream at the grocery store.

    Every. Single. Week.

    Intervention may be needed.

    • Anna Newell Jones // August 15, 2013

      Ice cream is kind of amazing so well, um, I guess I’m not helping much. Yummm… ice cream…

  10. Jen W. // August 9, 2013

    Coldstone Creamery. Oh the deliciousness–awful for my pocketbook and my waistline. On a side note, you can totally make a massive amount of burritos ahead of time and freeze them! Then you have them on hand for a quick to-go. Here’s a link for a recipe!

  11. Tianna // August 9, 2013

    not proud of it but I so have this habit!

    • Anna Newell Jones // August 15, 2013

      Got any tricks/tips to share that you use to try to cut down on the habit?

  12. Amy // August 9, 2013

    I also had a burrito problem when I was pregnant (I suspected I was having a boy, and I was right)! It became my regular go-to lunch. Now that I’m on maternity leave, Starbucks is my guilty habit that I’m trying to break. They really do try to suck you in with their rewards/loyalty card.

    • Anna Newell Jones // August 15, 2013

      Hmmm… new old wives tale in the making… Breakfast Burritos = Boy. Lol;) Starbucks has the potential to be trouble for me too. Luckily there’s not one on my route! And I’m going to try to remain blissfully unaware of their rewards/loyalty program. This way to get free coffee is just about the only trick I know about with Starbucks.

  13. Katie // August 10, 2013

    I always bring my own coffee and lunch to work, but sometimes I feel slow in the afternoon and am tempted to get a coffee from a place in the mall I work near. Sometimes I make myself drink water instead (which sometimes helps) but last week I just had to have one(or so I told myself). I walked down to the coffee place, and as luck would have it, a coworker-who always buys students coffee when he sees them-paid for mine. This experience was a reminder to me just how powerful cravings and convenience can be. I bring some mix in instant coffee to keep in my drawer now at work just in case I find myself reaching for my coffee card.

    • Anna Newell Jones // August 15, 2013

      Keeping the instant coffee at your desk is a great (& thrifty!) idea. Sometimes when I get those afternoon sleepies I go into the bathroom and put my head down in between my legs (while standing) so I can get a rush of blood to my brain. Sometimes it works to shake out the cobwebs and wake me up a bit! Also, I’ve found that water helps (good to hear it works for you too) and walking works also because, let’s be honest, sometimes I get sleepy in the afternoon because I am just bored to tears at work.

  14. Betsy / CollegeMom // August 10, 2013

    My routine doesn’t take me by anything that offers much of a temptation, but I’m a sucker for art supplies and buy them online far too often. I’m not sure how I’m going to change my routine to break this habit!

    • Anna Newell Jones // August 15, 2013

      Ohhh you’re lucky you don’t have any temptations on your route. To break the online art supply habit could you try not buying them for a day, then a couple of days, then a week, then a month, etc… then you will slowly start to break the habit. Another idea is this… do you find that you are buying the art supplies at a certain time of day? Maybe try to distract yourself with a new activity during that time period…?

  15. Money Beagle // August 12, 2013

    If I had to pick one, I think the ‘make your own’ option woud work best. You still get the deliciousness of what you crave but without the expense, and it’ll probably be healthier out of your own kitchen.

    • Anna Newell Jones // August 15, 2013

      That is a really good option. Maybe I could even make it the night before (since I run late a lot) and then just toss it in the microwave at work for a quick heat-up!

      • Caitlyn // August 20, 2013

        It’s so funny that you posted this now, because last weekend, I made a batch of these:
        (with veggie sausage since I don’t eat meat) and I’ve been having one each morning. One Sunday afternoon of work and 2 weeks worth of weekday breakfasts done – heating up one of these is even easier than pre-ordering a burrito on your phone. Also I know what is in each of them so no mystery ingredients AND they were SO cheap per burrito. WIN!!

  16. Heather // August 19, 2013

    Love your blog. You may have shared this info. in another post already, but can you share the name of the balance app that you use on your phone? Thanks!

    • Anna Newell Jones // August 21, 2013

      The only name it says is on the app is ‘Balance’. It kind of looks like an old school check register with dark green and light green lines. It’s super basic.

  17. Teddy Sullivan // January 31, 2014

    I bet if you life in a canvas tent deep in the forest, wrap yourself in a wool blanket, and eat only what you can find around you, you can save a whole heap of money!

  18. Anisha // May 2, 2014

    I go to uni at least 3 days a week, and I CRAVE for coffee twice a day when I am there. There are coffee shops of campus and it’d really hard to ignore them. I also end up buying cupcake, brownie or muffin with coffee. Also, home made coffee doesnt taste good to me. Please help?

  19. Rachel // July 17, 2014

    Mine is a coffee and a pastry or cake for £1.50 at the local morrisons. Everyday, I am in there! Today I was like no, I realised how this was my bad habit two days ago, and then found this article. Today I walked straight past and had toast and a coffee at home! I am going to make time for breakfast x

2 Trackbacks

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