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How many times have you heard that one of the best things you can do to save money is to forgo your morning Starbucks coffee run and make coffee at home? I have heard it soooo many times.
Lately, I have seen a lot of social media comments from people about how they are so tired of so-called financial experts telling them they will become rich if they stop buying their coffee at expensive coffee shops. The way they see it is that those experts just don’t get how important their morning vanilla latte with cinnamon and extra whip is to them! And if it’s going to get them through the day, then no one should tell them to forget about it.
I totally get it! You’re a busy, tired mom – you deserve to get yourself a nice cup of coffee that you love and crave. Or you’re cramming for finals and there’s nothing like a jolt of energy from something other than your own coffee pot. Or a nice hot cup of your favorite latte is the one thing that will help you keep your cool as you head into the office for the day. There is nothing wrong with any of these scenarios!
I’ve also seen people on social media complaining that they already make their coffee at home and yet don’t have money and so why should they keep hearing the advice to stop? It clearly doesn’t work!
Okay, it’s truth time: I actually agree with those financial experts that believe you can save a lot of money buy not buying coffee out every morning. Please don’t hate me for saying that! Just stick with me and I think you’ll feel better about it in a bit.
So, let me answer the question in the title of this post: can you really become rich by only making your coffee at home? Of course not! But if that’s what you’re taking away from financial experts, then you’re likely missing the point.
The point is not that you’ll become rich and completely financially independent only by having your morning cup of joe from your own coffee maker. The point is that purchases, no matter how small, ADD UP. It may not seem like it, but over time, they do.
When you really start to pay attention to all of those extra little amounts you spend here and there, you start to realize you could have a lot more money in your pocket than you actually do.
If you had just said no to a few of those purchases, your financial situation might be a tad different. It doesn’t mean you would be rich. But you could certainly have a little more money in the bank.
But you know what? Don’t just take my word for it. See for yourself!
My challenge to you
This is what I am challenging you to do: for one month, track everything you spend money on that costs $3 or less (that means there’s a good chance your Starbucks coffee won’t even count toward that!). For this challenge, I’m talking only about things you don’t necessarily need that are rather small spending amounts. Examples could include a candy bar at the gas station, McDonald’s cookies (my weakness!), or a drink when you’re out to dinner instead of just having water. After a month, add up all of those small purchases and see how much you spent.
The total amount might not seem like much at first. But once you have your number, I want you to then multiply it by 12 months. If you continue on the same spending trend, that is how much you will spend on all of those small purchases in only a year.
For example, let’s stick with my McDonald’s cookies, which are 3 for $1. And let’s assume I buy those cookies 3 times a week. (This is actually pretty accurate – I used to work next to a McDonald’s and I kid you not, I was often there 3 days a week. Don’t judge me!). In one month, I will have spent $12 on cookies. That’s not too bad, right? Well, if I continue on that trend of spending $12 on cookies each month, I will have spent $144 just on McDonald’s cookies over the course of an entire year! Whoa! That sure puts things in perspective. (And this doesn’t even count a hundred other small purchases I made throughout the year.)
I could have done so much more with that $144. I could have had a few extra date nights with my husband. I could have gotten my son a few more clothes or toys. I could have put it towards debt or savings.
That money could have most certainly been put to better use other than empty calories, as delicious as those calories may have been. (In fact, I could have even bought sooo many more cookies at the store for less money.)
The challenge I am presenting to you is for purchases $3 or less. But also think about routine purchases you make that cost more than that, perhaps $4, $5, or even $10. THEY ALL ADD UP. Include your morning coffee runs.
Now please listen to me: I am not saying you can never have things that you want. Things that make you feel good and brighten your day are important! If your morning run through your local coffee shop drive-thru means that much to you, then you should continue to do it, as long as you budget for it and can afford it!
Related post: How to Create Your Own Budget in 5 Easy Steps
But after you complete the challenge I presented to you, decide for yourself and your family if that is a habit you want to continue. If it is, then awesome! Add it to your monthly budget if you have yet to do so. But then think about if there is anything else you need to cut back on when it comes to spending money. If you were to cut back, how much more money can go toward your debt? Or in your pocket? Or toward that vacation you’ve been saving for? After all, it’s your money – spend it wisely!
Related post: How to Get Your Spouse on Board with Your Financial Plan
Do you have any spending habits you have had to cut back on? Please share in the comments below!
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