What Everyday Expenses Actually Cost

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We’re all guilty of it: Whether it’s regularly stopping at Starbucks, eating lunch out or splurging on a monthly mani, we all spend money on small daily or monthly indulgences. In actuality, these everyday expenses quickly add up and can set you back thousands of dollars even over the course of just a few years.

Think about how much money you’d have if, instead of picking up a coffee, you put that money in your savings account or toward credit card debt. It may not seem like much at first, but you’d be surprised at how quickly it adds up. Ready to take control of your spending? Here’s a breakdown of how much money you could be saving and how to make it a reality.

If you pick up coffee regularly

Many of us frequent coffee shops despite the fact that we can easily whip up our own coffee at home. Take a look at this example, per U.S. News & World Report. Let’s say you spend $4.93 on a coffee each weekday. In one week, you’ve now spent $24.65 on your coffee habit. Not terrible, right?

But, if you take that $24.65 and extend it over a year, excluding the two weeks you’re off on vacation, your coffee habit has now set you back $1,232.50. What happens if you keep your coffee-buying routine up for five years? It means you’ve spent a grand total of $6,162.50 just buying coffee. That’s a lot of money for a daily dose of caffeine.

If you eat out for lunch

Whether you don’t give yourself enough time in the morning to pack a lunch or you simply enjoy treating yourself to a midday meal, there’s a good chance you’re spending much more than you think when eating out. Purchasing a sub typically costs around $8, which is a lot when you consider that you could make a similar sandwich at home for $3, according to Daily Finance.

It’s made even worse if you’re getting food delivered to your office, which can easily cost between $10 and $15. If you eat lunch out three times a week, at an average cost of $10 per meal, it’s costing you $30 a week. Extended over a year, taking into account your vacation time, you’ve just spent $1,500. Ready for this number? After five years of eating lunch out three times a week, you’ve spent $7,500.

If you pick up a daily soda

It’s harmless, right? After all, it only costs $1 to get a soda out of the vending machine. If you have one every day, you’re looking at $5 per week, which translates to $250 per year. Over the course of five years? You’re spending $1,250 just to sip a sugary, carbonated beverage. Looking for a substitute? Water — it’s free and healthier for you, too.

If you indulge in monthly manicures

There is nothing better than spending a relaxing hour getting your nails done — and you only get it done once a month, so what’s the harm? Unfortunately, it may not be as relaxing when you realize exactly what it’s costing you. Assuming your manicure is $40 and you only get it done once a month, you’re spending $480 per year. Over five years, that number grows to $2,400, and after 10 years, your monthly manicure has now cost you a total of $4,800. Ouch!

Now, think about if you are guilty of more than one of these spending habits. Perhaps you eat out for lunch and purchase a daily soda. Over the course of five years, you’ve spent a total of $8,750.

Take control of your spending

Luckily, you have the power to change this. You don’t have to spend nearly $9,000 per year eating lunch out and sipping cola. Curious about how you can take hold of your everyday spending? Here are four tips from Save and Invest:

  1. List your regular monthly bills, such as rent, mortgage payments, car loans, utilities, cable, cellphones and any other unavoidable expenses. This is designed to give you a better idea of your finances and budgeting, but it may even open your eyes to other ways to save, such as getting rid of cable and opting for Hulu or Netflix instead.
  2. Now it’s time to track your out-of-pocket spending for a week. Over the course of seven days, write down everything you spend, including money toward groceries, gas, meals, clothing and entertainment. Don’t skip anything, including your daily coffee, soda or lunch.
  3. After a week, sit down and review the numbers. This should really open your eyes to where your money is going. Maybe you didn’t realize how often you eat lunch out or how regularly you pick up a snack or soda. Now it’s time to apply your knowledge.
  4. Create an action plan. You’ve got a ton of information on what you’re spending and how much it’s costing you. Take that, and create a plan of action that will ensure you aren’t throwing away thousands of dollars over the course of a few years. Maybe it’s packing your lunch the night before to ensure you don’t run out of time in the morning. Or, maybe it’s simply a matter of pre-programming your coffee pot, so it starts up for you in the morning.

Remember, these expenses may seem small, but over time, they add up to a substantial amount. Think of all the things you could do with $9,000. Rather than paying for sub sandwiches, you could use the money for nice vacations, a downpayment on a house, or as a way to eliminate your debt.

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