A latte here, a cocktail there, a splurge on a nice lunch now and then. Is that so bad?
It’s true: the occasional treat likely won’t break the bank. But make these splurges a habit, and you’ll be surprised by how quickly costs add up. Consider how these common little indulgences run up a big tab over time.
Eating out: Say you eat out at lunch every workday, at $10 a pop. That’ll add up to $2,500 by the end of the year. Pack your lunch two or three days a week, and you’ll easily cut that bill in half. Bonus: Make healthy lunches, and likely you’ll eat less and eat better. Restaurants tend to serve rich foods in giant portions.
Coffee: You love a nice latte and it’s only four bucks, right? That daily coffee shop stop adds up to $1,000 or more over the course of a year. Enjoy your joe at home, or, if there’s free coffee at the office, pour yourself a cup there.
Late fees: Put off your bills and you’ll pay. Americans spend about $20 billion a year in credit card fees and penalties. Set up automatic payments, or at least pay off the minimum the minute you get the bill. Bonus: you’ll avoid dinging your credit, saving you from higher interest rates on a car loan or mortgage down the road.
Bottled water: Regular drinkers of bottled water spend about $1,000 a year; by contrast, drinking water from the tap will cost you less than a dollar a year, according to AARP. Refill your water bottle every morning and start saving.
Impulse purchases: We’ve all done it: bought stuff we don’t need. Don’t shop for groceries when you’re hungry. Don’t shop for clothing without a list of real needs, like a new shirt for work or a dress for a special occasion. Resist the urge to browse.
Drinking alcohol: Love going out with friends on Friday night? Or enjoying brunch on Sunday with plenty of mimosas? Swig five drinks per week at a cost of $6 each and you’ll rack up a $1,560 tab by the end of the year. Share an inexpensive bottle of wine at home with friends instead, and you’ll cut the cost considerably.
Cigarettes: Smokes retail for about $5 to $12 a pack, depending on where you live. That adds up to at least $2,000 a year. And that’s just the cost of the cigarettes; smokers pay more for insurance and medical expenses.