You know how much money is coming in, and it should be more than enough to make ends meet and even put away a little something in the savings account each month. So, why does it seem like you have to stretch every cent once you reach the final days of every month? And why hasn’t your savings account seen a deposit since you got that birthday check from your Gram-gram last November? We think we might have the answer.
“Beware of little expenses. A small leak will sink a great ship.” So said Benjamin Franklin, great American inventor, statesman, and all around revolutionary guy. As one of the smartest dudes in American history, we think he’s worth listening to. So, let’s all take a moment to reflect on this knowledge he dropped way back in the day. If we’re picking up what ole’ Ben was throwing down, and we think we are, here’s the gist: no matter how sound your financial ship might seem, how padded the bank account, those little pleasures, those petty little purchases we make day in and day out that seem so small as to be insignificant, they add up, and quick! Maybe you won’t find yourself destitute and out on the street because of them, but you might find that the new car or new house you’ve been dreaming about or that college education for your children remains out of reach. Do you really want those ships to sink?
So, just where are those leaks? While we don’t know your exact spending habits (because that would be creepy), we do know a few things about how people spend money today. So read on to discover three of the most common financial leaks that plague our bank accounts: coffee, cigarettes, alcohol. Don’t worry, we’re not telling you to quit these things. We want you to save money. That said, each of these habits could lead to substantial financial leaks.
Coffee. When you make coffee at home you’re spending mere cents. Buy that same cup of joe at Starbucks and you’re paying over two dollars. For a small! Don’t get us started on lattes and blended coffees that cost between four and six dollars a pop. Do that every day and you’re spending around $120-$180 a month. No offense, but that’s insanity. So what to do? Make your own coffee at home and at work and occasionally treat yourself to coffee out. It won’t kill you, we promise. In fact, cutting out all of that sugar will do quite the opposite.
Cigarettes. A single pack of cigarettes can cost anywhere between $6 and $14, depending on the state you’re in. That’s between $180 and $420 per month if you’re a pack-a-day smoker. The irony here is that you’re paying money to slowly kill yourself. That means medical expenses later on in life due to the toll cigarettes take on your body. We said we wouldn’t tell you to quit them, and well, we lied a little bit. Switching to vaping (e-smoking) has both immediate and long-term financial benefits. For instance, with NJOY vaporizer kits, you can get up and running with all the gear you need plus e-juice for as low as $49.99. And because vaping doesn’t carry the same health risks that smoking does, you’ll likely save money on medical fees down the road.
Alcohol. The cost of drinking every day can get pretty high, depending on your particular poison, as the bartenders like to say. Two glasses of wine a night—if you’re drinking, say, $8 bottles—ends up costing you $120 a month. That’s assuming you can stand the $8 stuff. If you’re palate is more refined, it’s going to be hard to dip below $12 a bottle, which brings the total to $180 a month. And it only goes up from there. Of course, drinking every day—even within the surgeon general’s guidelines—taxes the liver over time and leads to weight gain because of all those liquid calories, both of which can create medical expenses down the road. So, why not cut back a bit and save some money? Why not drink only on weekends or special occasions? Believe it or not, life sober manages to be pretty all right. When it comes to drinking at bars and restaurants, all we can say is don’t do it. The markup on drinks is astronomical. The cost of two beers at a bar generally will get you a twelve-pack at the grocery store. That’s a no-brainer.
There you have it: three possible leaks in your financial ship. Plug those leaks up and watch as your debt decreases and your bank account set sails on the seas of economic stability.
Join our newsletter
Subscribe to get the latest "Engineer Your Finances" content via email.