You’ve probably heard that if you had just stopped buying your coffee at Starbucks every day, you would have shaved a few years off your mortgage. Or maybe if you weren’t buying so much avocado toast, you could own a home. While it’s true you could probably forego some daily habits to save a lot of money, you don’t necessarily have to give up your daily coffee run just yet!
Here are some places in your budget to look for savings before blaming it on your daily indulgence:
Think of other places that are eating up expenses. A high-interest credit card or loan will likely impact your ability to save greater than a cup of coffee. Missing or making a late payment on a bill can also have repercussions that exceed the cost of Starbucks. While these may not be “easy fixes” (like skipping a coffee run), focusing on these larger areas will have much more of an impact on your savings. You may also have some fees associated with banking and other accounts or services you use (or don’t use) that are worth re-negotiating. You may also have services or subscriptions that aren’t getting used. Take a look at your expenditures and ask yourself if there are any unnecessary expenses hidden in your budget.
What’s taking up space in your life? One woman writes about how all her old, unused baby gear in was taking up unnecessary space. While posting on a Sell & Swap site or group on Facebook can be a hassle, she was able to make a little bit of money back, and clear some space in her apartment. Ditching unused possessions can help get you organized and score you a little cash — a win-win.
Personal Finance is just that — personal. There is no “one size fits all” budget. There are plenty of ways to get financial advice online, but there’s no guarantee that advice will fit your lifestyle. What works for one person may not work for you. For instance, you may be told to cancel your gym membership and work out at home. While that may save you money, there could be a personal cost, especially if you value the friendships made through your spin class or the encouragement of a favorite spotter. That’s why combing through your budget and figuring out what holds value for you is important — you’re much more likely to stick to a budget that takes your happiness into account.
What emotions are connected to certain purchases? For some people, that daily coffee purchase comes with a sense of “I’m about to work really hard, I deserve this!” It might even be a stress-reducer, an award, or something to look forward to. On the other hand, some folks engage in stress spending — making large, unnecessary purchases as an emotional outlet during times of emotional duress. Finding better stress management and coping mechanisms will prove more healthy for both your budget and emotional well-being. This post from Embracing Simple has 10 tips for curbing emotional spending.
Before you cut out your daily coffee, take a look at the other places in your finances that may have a larger impact on your overall expenses. Things like spending sprees and high-interest rates will cause damage to your wallet much faster than a cup of Joe.