Always spending, never saving: story of my life. Every month when rent is due, palpitations of financial panic run through me and I’m left feeling as broke as a joke. Where did my paychecks go? I try to avoid answering this question, but if I’m honest with myself, I'll know where they went: a delicious Frappuccino, a cute new dress and that taxi home from the bar last night.
In a world in which we can access so much with the swipe of a card and YOLO mentality, we’re always trying to make it rain. Even when I think I’m budgeting my money, I’m buying luxuries that I make myself think that I need.
I can’t be the only 20-something who’s living paycheck to paycheck — we’re all guilty of indulging in some unnecessary expenses far too often. But, I did some math and the results were eye-opening. Here’s a little perspective on how much cash we could have if we stopped splurging on these 6 things:
With caffeine pit stops like Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, Caribou and 7-Eleven on the corner of most blocks, it’s hard to resist that pricey cup of joe. But, think about it this way: If you buy a grande caramel macchiato at Starbucks three times a week, it adds up to $663 a year.
You could have bought admissions to Lollapalooza and Firefly Music Festival or paid off a hefty chunk of your student loans. Plus, drinks like those are loaded with calories and fat. Do yourself a favor and make your coffee at home.
2. Bars, Bars, Bars
If you start your night with pre-gaming, maybe a bottle of wine or a 6-pack, that’s already $10 spent, easily. Then, you hit the bars and it’s all downhill from there. Let’s say you go out once a week and a drink’s average price is $5. If you get three on top of pregaming, you've spent at least $25, plus tip for the bartender. That one night out a week will cost you $1,300 per year. That’s disturbing. If you can stick to house parties or sobriety, you’ll undoubtedly save a lot of cash.
3. The Mall
Window shopping doesn't exist at the mall. There’s always a sale that’s too hard to resist, but spending $50 per month at the mall adds up to $600 a year.
Without a car, options are limited to walking, taking public transportation or hailing cabs. Companies like Uber and Lyft make getting taxis so easy, and I see the charges on my credit card statements far too often. On average, a 7-mile cab ride is $14, so one of those every week equals $728 a year.
Always a pleasure to have around, but she doesn't show up without a pretty price tag attached. Buying $60 worth a month is $720 a year. For the stoners who can’t make an eighth last that long, you’re looking at $1,200 per year; put that in your pipe and smoke it.
Life can be busy and grabbing a quick, convenient bite here and there is something most of do (especially if #5 applies to you). But, have you ever really calculated what you spend to eat each month? Even a single Chipotle burrito each week adds up to $360 a year. Try cooking at home to eat more cheaply and get more for your money. Leftovers!
You spend a total of $4,371 on the above, totally unnecessary expenses each year. Budgeting wisely seems like a pretty damn good idea right about now, doesn’t it?
Photo via We Heart It