The workweek grind often feels automatic. Routine has been molded into our day-to-day lives so much so that it feels nearly impossible to do anything differently. It’s as if we’re just like these machines performing multiple preprogrammed functions every day. Everything from our morning coffee to our after-dinner activities is repeated without skipping a beat. Though this is the way most of the world functions, it can pose a detrimental threat to your wallet if the cycle’s not broken. If you want to avoid the need for in the future, start keeping an eye on these daily purchases.
What’s the first thing that most of us will readily break out our wallets for at the crack of dawn? You guessed it: coffee. Whether you’re a Dunkin man or a Starbucks girl, you probably spend more money on that morning commute beverage than you realize. The average coffee costs roughly $3.00 a cup (closer to $4.00 from Starbucks). If you buy one coffee a day every day for a month, you’re racking up a sizable bill of at least a $100 – that’s a lot to spend on coffee! You can drastically reduce this cost buy making your own coffee at home. Invest in a good-sized travel-tumbler and pour yourself a cup to go. You’ll save more money and time!
Coffee is one thing, but the ‘buying lunch’ habit is a tough one to break. Mostly because it’s easy to forget to pack a lunch the night before and there’s just not enough time to pack one in the morning. Solution? Food prep! Instead, of piecing together a lunch from thin air every night, try prepping your lunches in plastic food containers ahead of time. Your lunches don’t have to be extravagant. A chicken salad will do. Though you might be tempted to head out for lunch with your coworkers, the money you’ll save is totally worth staying behind with your brown bag lunch.
Afternoon crashes are a real thing and most of us suffer from them about a half hour after lunch. While there are many different ways of handling these sluggish episodes, there seems to be one popular go-to ‘remedy’ that most people turn to: energy drinks. Energy drinks have been around for a while now and despite all the health concern controversies surrounding them, they’re still extremely popular. Be careful though. These drinks are as pricey as they are caffeinated. A cheaper alternative? Try these:
This one might be the hardest spending habit to break. Nobody wants to cook dinner after a long day at the office. It’s so much easier to just pick up some Chinese take-out and spare the dishwashing. An easy solution to this problem is the same solution to the lunch problem. Food prep! You might be more inclined to skip dining out when you have a ready-to-go meal waiting for you in the fridge. Again, food prepping makes meal time easy, affordable and a lot healthier too! Invest in a good Tupperware set and use your Sundays to cook up meals that’ll last you the whole week. Sure, leftovers aren’t always as great as getting something fresh from a local restaurant, but the cash you’ll save is totally worth the change.
Having a budget plan in place will ultimately help keep your spending under control. Knowing exactly how much you have to spend for the week could stop you from overindulging on Starbucks coffees, fast-food lunches and everything else in between. Break out the calculator app on your phone and piece together a budget that works with your current income. Living within your budget allowance will be challenging in the beginning, but it’ll become second nature before you know it.