10 Daily Purchases That Hurt Your Budget as Much as Morning Coffee

10 Daily Purchases That Hurt Your Budget as Much as Morning Coffee

You’ve probably heard people talk about how buying a daily cup of coffee can drastically hurt your finances. Some refer to this as the latte effect. A daily cup of coffee would cost you anywhere between $15 and $25 a week. That amounts to about $1,000 per year (assuming $20/week at 50 weeks/year NOT accounting for lost opportunity cost).

However, buying that cup of coffee isn’t the only daily habit that could be hurting your finances. There are tons of ways to blow money on a daily basis. Here are a few other daily purchases to watch out for:

1. Breakfast Snack

Do you like stopping for a muffin or bagel each morning? Maybe there’s a coffee shop whose breakfast pastry you enjoy. Or maybe you “don’t have time” to eat breakfast at home so you stop at a fast food restaurant to pick up a breakfast bite. Well, those daily breakfast foods are just as harmful to your finances as a morning cup of coffee. Even if the sandwich or bagel only costs a few dollars, you’re still spending a lot over the course of the year on food that you could have just eaten at home. Crazy.

2. Lunch Out

Many people choose to buy their lunch at work instead of prepping one at home. While it may be easier to just run out and grab lunch, it’s also wayyy more expensive. Eating lunch out almost every day will end up being a serious drain on your finances. TIME claims you can trim $2,500 off your budget each year by simply packing your lunch.

3. Takeout for Dinner

Takeout can be a nice treat every once in awhile. But if you have a habit of buying takeout daily (or close to daily), then you’re wasting a SERIOUS amount of money. A lot of restaurants increase the price of their takeout dishes in addition to adding delivery fees. It’s much cheaper to just make one large meal on the weekend to last you for the rest of the week or to make quick dinners every night or every other night.

4. Happy Hour Drinks

Getting a drink after a long work day can seem like a great way to unwind. But that bar tab will add up – especially if you’re partaking in happy hour drinks every day. One $5 beer a day amounts to $25 a week and $100 a month and $1,200 in a year. Could that money be put to better use elsewhere?

5. Soda or Energy Drinks

If you have a habit of purchasing a daily soda, juice, smoothie, or energy drink, this is also a purchase that will hurt your finances. Like a daily cup of coffee, purchasing other drinks is something that adds up over time. Plus, soda and energy drinks sap your productivity in the long-run. That means you won’t have as much energy to make money.

6. Late Morning or Afternoon Snacks

Do you have a habit of visiting a vending machines each day? Maybe you have a café around the corner that offers a chocolate covered afternoon pick-me-up. Put the cookie down! Wouldn’t you like to bring a healthy snack from home and spend the money on an annual vacation instead? Is buying snack food a boring way to spend $1,000+ per year? I think so.

7. Cigarettes

It’s 2015. Are you seriously still smoking? Are you a smoker who can easily go through a pack of cigarettes a day? If so, this is definitely hurting your finances. Cigarettes seem to keep rising in price. They have a good way of keeping you financially (and physically) ill.

8. Newspapers, Magazines, or Silly Apps

If you’re one of the few who makes these purchases, consider shutting them out. Even though newspapers, magazines, and apps seem fairly cheap, buying one each day is basically pouring money down the drain. The internet is full of free news and entertainment.

9. Lottery Tickets

Lottery tickets are perhaps nice to buy every once in awhile, but the chance of winning is so slim that it’s a well-known waste of money. Some people are addicted to buying lottery tickets, however. This is dangerous. If you’re someone who stops to pick up a few tickets each day, you might want to consider spending your money on something more worthwhile.

10. Parking

Do you drive to work? Do you have to pay for parking in the city or parking at a train station for your commute? If so, this may be a necessary expense, but it’s also a daily expense that is hurting your finances. If you live close enough to someone who works at your office, consider carpooling and splitting the cost of parking. Consider biking or simply walking.

Final Thoughts

Cutting out these small costs would be like getting a raise of thousands of dollars per year. Wouldn’t you like to get a raise today. Consider cutting several or all of these daily budget busters.


About Will Lipovsky

I'm a personal finance freelancer writer and website manager. Feel free to connect with me at firstquarterfinance.com.
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