We all live in a society that is fuelled by money. This shouldn’t come to a surprise to anyone. Almost everything we feel we want or need in life will cost us. Whether it’s necessities like food and water, to things that make us happy like yoga memberships or that new cute top for work.
The notion that the world revolves around cash isn’t going anywhere, but there are a ton of things we spend money on each day that may seem like only a few dollars here and there, and really they’re adding up to be a much larger expense in the long run. For example, take spending $5 a day at Starbucks or your local coffee shop for your daily fix. The cost may seem minimal when you’re spending it, but if you look at how much $5 a day is for a year, you’re now spending around $1,000 just on caffeinated beverages that you can make at home for significantly cheaper.
There are a number of little things like your daily coffee that you are spending your money on that in the grand scheme of things are adding up. Whether you’re trying to save money (who isn’t?) or just blowing your budget every month and still can’t figure out how or why, here are some of the areas you may want to look at that may seem like small expenses but they add up quick.
This is a no brainer, we’ve already used it as an example in this article. Coffee/tea purchases can add up super quick and so many people are too lazy to make their own at home or in the office. It’s easier to grab a cup of coffee on the go then make it at home, we get it. However, grabbing a quick coffee, even only once or twice a week, can add up so quick. Plus, when you start getting fancy with your order by ordering lattes instead of plain coffee or tea, you almost double the price. Instead, opt to only allow yourself to buy a coffee as a treat now and then and get into the routine to make your own at home and take it in a to-go cup!
Just like coffee, eating out can be an incredibly expensive habit that may not seem like much at the time but when you actually add up how much you’re spending on it in a week or month, the cost can be astronomical. Buying your lunch everyday at work does not equal out to be the same cost as making it yourself, not to mention that it is never as healthy as making it at home. On top of that, ordering in or eating out every night for dinner also adds up. Groceries can seem expensive when buying them, but the food will go a lot further, be healthier and significantly cheaper in the long run.
Take a long hard look at all the things you pay for in a month that aren’t necessary. For example, are you paying for a larger data plan on your cell phone that you’re not actually using? Do you have cable but for the most part stream all your shoes online? Do you have premium accounts to things like Spotify? Have you actually calculated if it makes sense for you to buy an unlimited pass for transit or at your yoga studio? Look at your options every few months to reevaluate if a) you’re using these services enough to get your money’s worth, or b) if there are other membership/plan options that can save you money and make more sense for you.
There are so many other areas of your life where you are likely spending money that’s adding up and blowing your budget without you even realizing it. It’s crazy what you might discover about your spending habits when you start tracking your purchases. Here are some other places you can keep an eye on:
At sometimes $5+ a card, these can add up quick and they almost always end up in the trash. Try making your own instead!
Textbooks and books
Books add up quick so scope out your options like used bookstores versus buying new.
Bottles of wine at restaurants
Have you ever compared the price of a bottle of wine while dining out versus when buying it in a liquor store? The difference is astronomical. Think twice before you purchase!
Bring your own and refill it!
Set bills to automatically come out of your account so you don’t forget and have to deal with late fees!
Opt to pick-up your order in store, or go to the store versus having it delivered. Same goes for ordering food. You can save by getting take-out instead of delivery!
Uber’s and taxi’s
Are you opting to take an Uber or taxi way more than you should be? Even if a ride is only $5-$10 here and there, those costs add up. Look at different modes of transportation to get to your destination.
Look at how much you’re spending on little purchases
As you can tell, there are a ton of little ways that you can be spending money where it’s adding up to be more than you’d think. So before you do anything, you need to get an idea of how much you are spending in a specific category and this means taking a look at where ALL your money is going, including the spare change that collects in the cup holder of your car. Track your spending for a week or even a month to really get an idea of what your money is being spent on. Especially keep track of all the money going to things outside necessities like rent or your internet bill. To do this you can use an app like Mint or if you’re paying with cash, collect your receipts and sort them at the end of each week.
Determine how much is too much
Once you’ve taken a look at how much you’re spending where, set a budget for yourself or determine how much is too much to spend on these little things. What’s a reasonable amount of money to set aside for eating out or grabbing a coffee each month? Set a limit and stick to it. This doesn’t mean you have to completely cut these things out of your life, but when you start to be more aware of how much you are spending on these little things, you’ll be saving more for bigger things like trips, a house, car, whatever your bigger goals are.
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