Daily Latte: Average cost- $5.00 x 365 days – $1,825.00
Eating lunch out: Average cost $8.00 x 261 working days = $2,088.00
These are just a few of the calculations of habits I have changed throughout the years. When we look at the microcosm of what we spend in a day it doesn’t look like much, but over the span of a whole year, the numbers become clear. By simply making coffee at home and bringing leftovers each day I am able to drop $3,913.00 into savings each year. This is, of course, the less what I spend on purchasing the coffee to make each day.
By simply analyzing what we spend on a daily basis and averaging out to the cost over a 1 year period we quickly learn that there may be other options.
Many of us enjoy going out to restaurants for dinner and especially on the weekends. Many of us shop for no other reason than shopping. We drive our cars each day to and from work when there may be an opportunity of car pooling or public transportation, and some of us even riding a bicycle. We have premium cable TV although we typically only watch several channels. We have premium cell phone accounts when there are cheaper comparable options. We forget to turn lights off when not in a room and keep our homes a little warmer or colder than needed. I could go on and on, but the bottom line is that these little added costs add up big time when their cost is calculated over time.
I decided one day to start carrying a small notebook and writing down everything I spent on a daily basis. For the first 30 days I didn’t change any habits at all. I just went through my typical day and wrote everything down. After 30 days I started to crunch those numbers and vowed I would come up with solutions to either stop or reduce my spending habits. After 30 days my little notebook took on a new name, “The Conscience Notebook”. Every time I opened it I had to reflect on the thoughts of what I am spending based on what I had learned.
After doing this for a year and making progress in reduced spending I learned that by simply changing a few small spending habits I was able to reduce my overall spending by 12%. I know 12% doesn’t sound like much, but ask yourself… When was the last time you received a 12% raise at your job? I am now contributing a little more towards retirement and even have enough to pay for a fantastic family vacation each year.