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SMALL EXPENSES THAT ADD UP FAST
THEIR CHEAPER ALTERNATIVES
There are always purchases being made for daily “must haves” but how much are they costing you? Small expenses add up fast and you probably don’t even think twice about it.
Beware of little expenses; a small leak will sink a great ship
– Benjamin Franklin
You might not realize how much money you are actually spending. If you don’t know how much you are spending, then I’m sure you don’t know how much it is actually costing you in the long run.
When you’re aware of how much money you are spending each day it can help you to:
- Plan out your monthly or weekly budget better
- Realize where your money is going
- Save your money easier
- Make better educated financial decisions
Without realizing where you’re spending your money at, it could be difficult to reach your savings goals. Below are examples of some, common, small expenses that add up fast. You’ll also see some examples of a cheaper alternative to these common expenses.
1. Brew Your Own Coffee Instead of Going to Coffee Shops
I myself am not a big coffee drinker. I’m more into the better tasting route of energy drinks, but it applies the same way. Many people, that I know, just have to get their morning coffee. They always tell me “I’m unable to function right until I get my coffee”. This is probably true for many of you reading this as well. This is what you would likely expect to see if you bought an average priced grande (16 ounces) freshly brewed coffee from StarBucks (around $2.10 a cup) vs if you bought a 30 ounce container of Folgers ground coffee (around $8.15 a container). 30 ounces of ground coffee can make around 90 16 ounce cups of coffee. That means you would pay around 10 cents for every cup of coffee! That’s a savings of $2 dollars a cup and you get to skip the line of traffic in the morning. Here is what that one cup of coffee would look like over time.
Grande Starbucks Coffee 30 Ounce Folgers Ground Coffee
Per Day $2.10 $0.10
Every Week $14.70 $0.70
Each Month $58.80 $2.80
Per Year $766.50 $36.50
Every 10 Years $7665.00 $365.00
As you can see over the course of just 1 year, you’re saving $730.00 and that’s just on coffee! So if you’re going out of your way to get that coffee in the morning, think about what you could do with an extra $56 dollars every month.
2. Bring Your Own Snacks Instead of Buying From Vending Machines
Everywhere you go there seems to be some type of vending machine. It doesn’t matter if you’re at the grocery store or at work. Personally I have a bad habit of grabbing a bottle of Mountain Dew while I’m at work. Normally I pay around $1.25 every time I get one. Even if I just buy a drink three times a week, that’s costing me about $200.00 a year. For a little less than that I could go to Sam’s Club and purchase 11 cases containing 24 bottles of Mountain Dew. Buying Mountain Dew by the case would cost me around $0.70 per bottle! That’s a savings of just under $110.00 a year!
3. Cancel Unused Monthly Memberships/Subscriptions
Every month I have a few things automatically drafted out of my bank account. A few of the smaller expenses are Netflix, Hulu, and a gym membership. I normally don’t have a lot of time as it is so normally only 1 or 2 of these are getting used on a regular basis. As far as the gym membership goes, I currently have TWO gym memberships and that’s at least 1 too many. Each of them are about $25 every month which isn’t bad given the amenities at each of them. The problem with having two gym membership is, I only go to ONE of them! So why haven’t I canceled my other membership? Laziness? Not enough time? It isn’t that much anyways? If you’re in the same boat as I am then your spending an unnecessary $300.00 every year! Even just having a single gym membership can be a waste if are able to use free alternatives. You can go to a local park and jog around or you could use everyday household items to “lift weights”. For all of those parents out there with young kids, just try keeping up with everything your kid does for an hour if you want a good workout.
4. Quit Buying Cigarettes Instead of Burning Your Money
Cigarettes are not only an addictive habit to have but a very expensive one! If you’re lucky enough to live in a state with the cheapest cigarettes, such as Missouri or Virginia, then you’ll be paying around a whopping $5.25 for every pack. That’s about $0.21 for every cigarette if you were wondering. This means you’re spending over $150 a month if you smoke just 1 pack a day. At that rate you would be saving a little less than $2000 every year you quit smoking. Sounds like an incentive to me and not to mention the health benefits of quitting!
5. Carpool Instead of Driving Alone
Luckily gas prices have dropped from what they were a couple of years ago. That doesn’t mean you still can’t save some money by carpooling to work. If you and one coworker are always arriving and leaving around the same time then it can be profitable for both of you to ride with each other. You can take turns each week driving the other to and from work. I know a few people that meet close to where they live then drive to work. Personally I drive 25 miles to work and 25 back home. The average gas price here in America (as of the time of this article was written) is around $2.25 a gallon. With a decently fuel efficient vehicle you can get around 28 miles to the gallon. That’s two gallons, or $5.50, every day you go to work. By car pooling you’re looking at saving $55.00 every month, if you take weekly turns driving. Not including the time you take off for vacations or illness’, You are looking at saving over $650.00 every year!
6. Cooking at Home Instead of Eating Out
It’s nice to be able to go to a restaurant and let someone else cook for you and clean the dishes but how much is it really costing you? Going out once a week for dinner is a nice treat but you can save a lot of money by just choosing to cook at home. Lets take a trip to Olive Garden for one of my favorite meals, Chicken Parmesan. This will cost you a little over $15.00, NOT including a tip. If you decided to cook the same meal at home after buying the chicken breast ($3.50), bread crumbs ($1.50), cheese ($2.75), sauce ($2.35), and eggs ($1.75) your looking at an approximate grand total of $12.00 for all of it. The best part about cooking my favorite meal at home is I get more than just one serving. With the listed ingredients you can make about three meals. If you’re cooking for yourself, you’ve just made yourself two lunch/dinners for another time. Even if you’re cooking for two other people you saved at least $3.00! That’s $156.00 over the course of a year. Plus that’s not including the money you saved by not having to buy two other meals during that same week!
All 6 of these are very common small expenses that people make everyday. If you happen to be someone who does all 6 of these, during your year you could save just under $4000.00! With that extra cash you could treat yourself to a couple nice vacations or even get yourself out of debt much quicker!