One of the biggest misconceptions about building wealth is that it is merely a reflection of your income. In reality, it is much more a reflection of your spending habits. Most people are simply unaware of how much they spend—not so much in large purchases, but in the small things they spend money on every day.
Financial expert David Bach describes this behaviour as the “Latte Factor.” Look at it this way: if you buy a P40 store latte every workday, you’ll drink up more than P10, 000 every year! The idea is that spending on innocent purchases (like coffee) can add up, and that you could’ve saved or invested that same amount for something better in the long-term.
Achieving your financial goals often comes down to stopping money leaks wherever you can. You’ll be surprised that some seemingly harmless habits are really hurting your financial position. Here are some areas where being frugal can save you thousands of your hard-earned cash.
With all the convenient online services available today, it’s easy to lose track of how you’re paying for them–especially if you’re relying on promotional rates. From Netflix, Spotify, Amazon Prime to even your magazine subscriptions, be sure to check if your promotional rate has expired. Unknowingly paying at normal rates can bloat your bill if you’re not careful. Better yet, monitor how much you’re using the service every week and if you’re not getting your money’s worth, unsubscribe.
Potential Savings: P200-P1000/month, P2400-P12000/year
Your morning coffee
It might just be an innocent cup of Starbucks or cold latte from the convenience store but it adds up. We’re not saying that you should give up your daily dose of caffeine. In fact, coffee is good for you (sans the sugar and cream). But if you really need the caffeine to get you going, why not brew your own? Or maybe settle for a 3-in-1 sachet?
Potential Savings: P1100-2200/month, P13200-26400/ year
Paying the Minimum Amount Due
Impulse buying caught up with you and now you can’t pay the full amount of your credit card bill. If you’re really strapped for cash, you have the option of paying in minimum, which is roughly 1% to 5% of your total bill. However, paying in minimum means that your remaining balance will be carried over to the next billing cycle plus the interest. It means that the more minimum payments you make, the higher your total payment will be in the future. As much possible, monitor your credit card spending so you can pay in full every time.
Read more: I Can’t Pay My Credit Card Bill—What Now?
Potential Savings: 3.5% of your total bill
Gym Membership that You Don’t Use
You promised yourself that you’re going back to the gym only to backpedal at the last minute for other
excuses concerns. If you’re not going to use that dusty gym membership card then better cancel it. And if you’re using it only once or twice a month, going for YouTube fitness channels may be a more practical alternative.
Potential Savings: P1500-P3000/ month, P18000-P36000/ year
There are three powerful forces that influence the decisions we make: love, money, and peer pressure. The next time your colleagues invite you to eat out, pull out that lunch box, and let them get a whiff of your delicious (and cheaper) packed lunch.
Potential Savings: P2200/month, 26400/ year
(Futile) Lottery Tickets
Still trying to win the jackpot after all these years? Chances are, you will never even recover the cost of buying all those lottery tickets. Better stop looking at lottery numbers and start looking at numbers that matter. Try your luck at something more fruitful in the long term like investing or forex trading.
Potential Savings: P600/month, P7200/year
TOTAL POTENTIAL SAVINGS: P9000 per month, P108000 per year