Just $1 for an extra espresso shot. Only $2 more for fries. These don’t sound like high costs, do they?
It’s shocking to discover how much an extra dollar here or there can add up. When I got serious about budgeting, it turned out I could’ve flown to Cancun based on my year’s worth of coffee alone.
So, let’s evaluate our spending and see: Which habits are costing you $1,000s a year?
Your Daily Starbucks
If you get a lavish barista-made coffee once a day, like the Grande Latte with an espresso shot I used to order, that’s $4.50 a day, or $1,642.50 a year.
Try getting a standard coffee (only $2.50 for a grande) instead, and keep it fun by adding milk or cream and powders at the sugar counter (cinnamon, chocolate, vanilla).
The simple switch takes costs down to $912.50 a year, saving over $700 annually. The best option, of course, is to brew coffee at home, however, if you love hitting your local coffee joint, this is the next best thing.
ATM Fees (from Out-Of-Network ATMs)
Most of us carry credit cards rather than cash. However, at events like concerts, festivals, farmer’s markets and swap meets, we often find ourselves needing physical money. ATMs at these events and bars always charge for withdrawal, typically a $3 minimum.
Even if you drew money from a out-of-network ATM just once a month, that’s nearly $40 a year. Instead, hit your bank or credit union’s ATM before such events or make sure to have $20 – $40 in cash with you at all times.
Magazines at the Newsstand
Buying magazines issue-by-issue is another habit that costs $1,000s across enough years. Whether it’s Time, Sports Illustrated, Bon Appetit or your beloved Cosmopolitan, these average about $3.50 each.
If you buy two magazines a week for a year, such as top selling American mags Shape and Cosmopolitan, that’s $364 a year alone.
Cut costs dramatically by getting an annual subscription. It may be more cost up front (typically between $25 and $70), but it’ll save you far more in the long run.
Leaving the Lights On
I used to be horrendous about leaving the kitchen without flipping the light switch. After finally making it a habit to turn off lights in empty rooms, my annual electricity costs dropped by about $50 a year.
Impulse Buys at the Grocery Store
A jumbo pack of Oreos on sale. Protein powder on clearance. A $ 2 pack of gum at the register. These impulse grocery buys are habits that cost you a lot. An extra $14 on impulse buys per week? $728 a year.
Eating Lunch Out
I love brown bagging my lunch. It means knowing exactly what’s on the menu, avoiding lunch time rush lines and saving big money.
Let’s say purchasing ingredients for a week averages lunch at $3 a day. (Keep in mind, my typical lunch is a hearty sandwich and some seasonal fruit or enjoying leftovers from dinner the night before.)
$15 per work week x 52 weeks a year = $780 a year
In contrast, even a “cheap” deli deal may be $6.50. If an average lunch is $8, then lunch for an average work week would add up to $2,080 across one year.
By bringing lunch, it’s $1300 in savings a year and high fives for the brown bag.
The scent of french fries are mighty tempting. Whether it’s these or another favorite side (like heavenly sweet potato fries) let’s say you spend $8 extra on sides eating out per week.
That’s $416 a year and a habit that costs $1000s before long. Owch.
Would You Like a Drink With That?
Drinking soft drinks is bad for your health and wallet. There are many levels of soda drinkers, from those who enjoy several a day to one occasionally.
Let’s average it and say you drink one soda for $1.50 a day. That’s $547.50 a year, more if purchased at restaurants or sporting events. (A Coke can cost upwards of $5 at a MLB game!)
Procrastinating on Car Maintenance
Did you know that the heavier your car is, the lower its fuel economy? For every 100 pounds of picnic blankets, heavy jackets and camping equipment, your car can drop fuel economy by up to 2%.
Take extra stuff into your house and save unnecessary spending. Here are other elements that can mean huge savings each year:
- Properly inflated tires (when air level aren’t prime, efficiency decreases)
- Properly running engine (If not properly cleaned, your engine has to work harder and use more fuel to run your car correctly.)
If you smoke cigarettes, you already know expensive these puppies are. A $5 pack of cigarettes once a way drains $1,820 a year.
What would you do with nearly $2,000 extra? I’m thinking a trip to Costa Rica or some much needed house projects and decoration.