Some of the people considered to be the greatest financial minds around will tell you, to mind your lattes. Just $3 a day amounts to $90 month….ooooh! Sure, I agree if we’re not mindful with some of our obsessive habits, they can become costly but trying to manage your willpower regularly in such a menial area can become taxing to the psyche. I prefer Ramit Sethi’s suggestion, instead look at your largest variable spending areas and make the cut there instead. More impact, greater gain, less effort. And step 2, to ensure this change is manageable and long-lasting, instead of doing it suddenly you can do it gradually.
For me, this was great! I’m no latte drinker, my vices are apps and SaaS and like lattes, they can quickly add up. The challenge is, I’m also married to a techie ( more like a certified tech junkie so he’ll give me every opportunity to exercise my addictions – actually, come to think of it he’s the reason I became an addict) and it’s really hard to argue when the apps either make my life easier or save me TONS of time.
So instead of focusing on the counter-productive task of reducing my expenditures here, we took on one of our biggest variable expenses – our SUV. The Murano was one of my dream rides as a teen so when we outgrew our last vehicle, I caved in and got it. It was absolutely the way I had imagined it and more but after relocating to the downtown area, it now spent most of it’s time parked in our driveway. So we got rid of it and use our bikes. The savings between the lease, gas, insurance and maintenance? Over $10,000 freaking dollars a year…now how many lattes do you think I could buy for that?!
Now, I know it’s not the most convenient thing for most people to get rid of their cars and replace it with bicycles or walking, but if this isn’t your speed, what other changes could you make?
Could you carpool or car-share, sometimes walk, bike or take public transport to help reduce your expenses? How about possibly getting a cheaper car or an e-bike etc. Or could you organize your tasks and errands in a way that you could do them together instead of taking multiple trips? There’s a lot options- just remember you don’t necessarily have to drop your vehicle entirely (although the financial benefits not to mention health & lifestyle benefits are truly amazing), implementing just one or a few of the above options even occasionally can have a substantial effect.
But let’s not limit this idea to simple transportation – what other major areas could you find that could make a huge dent with minimal effort instead of giving up your beloved lattes? Your home? Entertainment? Eating Out?
You may be surprised at what you can find!