Are Small Expenses Sabotaging Your Goals?

Axiom Bank, a fellow community bank in Florida, tweeted “It’s not always the big expenses that sabotage saving efforts; small expenses can add up and be a huge cash drain. When creating a budget, find those drains and stop them!”

Small purchases, like that daily sweet tea, may appear insignificant, but they do add up. Here are five small expenses to reconsider if you want to increase your saving goal.

Coffee, Soda, and Tea.
One or two dollars may seem like a small price to pay in the drive thru for that morning elixir, but if purchased daily, it can add up to $30-$60 a month. That’s more than $700 each year.

The Alternative:
Buy a bag of coffee from your favorite coffee shop and make it at home or the office. If you like lattes, warm your milk in the microwave, whisk it until it is frothy, and add to a strong cup of coffee with your favorite syrup. You can often purchase the same syrups the coffee shops use. It is also easy to make your own.

If soda is your beverage of choice, stock up on cans the next time they are on sale.
Lunch Out.
Eating out is convenient especially if you hit snooze a few times in the morning and race out the door.

The Alternative:
Bring your lunch one day a week and add $25-$40 to your wallet each month. If cooking isn’t your thing, try picking up a salad kit and precooked chicken breast strips. This will get you a couple days of meals for much less.
Subscription Services and Memberships.
How many streaming services do you have? Are you still using it now that the series you were dying to watch is over? Are you streaming your favorite movies and shows while the cable remote has slid unnoticed under the couch? Is your makeup drawer overflowing while the IPSY box still arrives without fail? When is the last time you visited the gym? Is the monthly fee still automatically being debited from your account?

The Alternative:
Keep your favorites and ditch the rest.
In-App Purchases.
It is just $1.99 to download the song that popped in your head from decades ago. A simple click authorizes the purchase of another book for your e-reader, or the newest movie release rental. Do you know how much you really spend each month? Review your online banking or credit card statement. Are you spending more or less than you thought?

The Alternative:
If you are spending more on music than the cost of a monthly music streaming service, maybe a subscription will save you money. Can you enjoy a different movie already covered under your subscription? Did you know you can borrow e-books from the library from free?
Grocery Store Impulse Buys.
Your favorite bag of chips has been moved to the end sale shelf. The Easter candy isle is begging for you to walk down and pick out your favorites. The candy bar in the check-out isle looks so good.

The Alternative:
Utilize that grocery pick up app. Ordering from home will help you stick to your plan and avoid in-store temptations.
The key to reaching financial goals is being aware of what you truly value, how much you are spending, and determining how that fits into your overall financial plan.