Daily Planner: Why small, every day expenses are killing your savings

When you are wondering why you can’t save any money, think about a few expenses that you partake in on a daily basis?
At this point, your mind probably draws a bit of a blank, and then thoughts move into the major line items you’re dealing with on a monthly basis, such as your car payment, mortgage or rent or perhaps a utility bill that has suddenly spiked or is hard to budget for based on inconsistency of usage.

But don’t gloss over and go back to that first question, those incidental expenses that could be accounting for thousands of dollars spent each year, even though at the point of sale they’re only costing a few dollars instead.

There are essentially three purchases that the masses buy daily (although it won’t pertain to everyone, at least not all three) that can add up quickly and take a huge chunk out of not only your budget but actually keep you from being able to save any money as a result.

They are coffee, cigarettes and water. Now, the last item seems to be a real head scratcher, along with the first one. The real conundrum is as follows: you buy coffee for your coffee maker at the grocery store and the water comes out of the tap or fridge for free, but yet in both instances you make it a point to spend money even though you really don’t have to for either.

Coffee can be made in the morning but how many times do you skip that for a stop at a local cafe or coffee house instead? There’s $4 to $5 dollars spent on just that one cup of coffee and for some that’s the cost of an entire can or bag at the store. One five dollar coffee purchased each day accounts for nearly $2,000 out of your bank account each year. Imagine retiring after 30 years of work and knowing that you spent $60,000 on just a cup of coffee each day.

The average bottle of water is $2 per day, so while the total number isn’t quite as bad per year as coffee, you still can avoid spending any of it, particularly since most studies now have shown that bottled water is just tap water that is cleverly marketed, with little if any difference.

And, not to be outdone, the average smoker (one pack per day) spends about $7 per pack, and that means they’re at right around $2,500 per year on cigarettes.

Ouch, and then ouch again. So a smoker who loves their take out coffee and a bottle of water before the gym is going to have a yearly grand total of nearly $5,000 per year on just those three items.

When you put it that way, those small expense are hardly inconsequential to your budget and prospects of trying to save money.

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