Looking through my bank account history the other day, I realized just how much I am spending on those small purchases throughout the week that I don’t even realize. You know the ones I’m talking about, the $5 – $10 purchases at gas stations or random purchases that are small enough that they seem like a no-brainer. Well, I’m here to tell you, those add up. As a person on a budget, I decided to sit down and really find ways to cut back my spending and this was the first on my list. Are you spending more than you realize on these “small” purchases?
Gas station snacks
Stopping by a gas station before work or before a road trip is an easy habit to get into. You might have stopped for gas, but found yourself inside and grabbing some fuel for the day. This could be a bottle of water, a donut, or just a bag of chips that are probably $2 or less. However, making this a habit can cost you. Imagine spending $5 at a gas station 3x a week. Seems harmless enough, right? Well, $5 three times a week now turns into $15 dollars, which turns into an extra $60 you spent that month.
This adds up, fast! Instead of stopping by the gas station in the morning, plan. Wake up 10 – 15 minutes early in the morning and eat some breakfast at home or make yourself a cup of ice water or coffee to bring with you on your commute. If you leave the house with treats in hand, you won’t feel the urge to stop for more.
Eating out can be convenient, but did you know that the average American spends around $10 for every meal that they eat out. Compared to around $6 a meal when they eat at home, according to a VISA survey. Cooking a meal for yourself can seem like too much work when you’ve had a long day, but it’s worth the extra effort. Prepare a little more than you need and store this for your lunch the next day. That way you’re extending that $6 meal farther and saving yourself the extra dough.
Coffee to go
Grabbing a coffee at your local coffee house has become a routine for a lot of Americans today. I mean, just look at all the Starbucks around the country. While this is a luxury that can be enjoyed sometimes, it should be treated just as that, a luxury. Treat yourself to a purchased coffee once a week or every other week, and in the mean time start making yourself a cup of coffee at home. Coffee is usually around $4 a cup, so even getting coffee 2x a week will end up costing you an additional $32 a month. Buy a bag of grounds and some creamer and make the coffee at home. If you have a problem forgetting your cup at work, purchase some disposable coffee cups. I know it’s not the eco-friendliest solution, but if it solves the problem of making coffee at home, then it will be worth it.
Music and on phone purchases
Until I looked at my bank account, I didn’t even realize how much I was spending on purchases through my phone. Adding apps on your phone that are $0.99 – $2.00 seems like a no-brainer purchase, but again these add up. Adding these small purchases on top of any subscriptions that you have and your phone bill as it is, really adds to your expenditure. Instead of choosing the app that costs money, do a quick Google search if there is a comparable app that is free. It might not be “name brand” but if it does the same thing, then who cares? Limit the amount of purchases that you’re making on your phone and find $5 – $10 more dollars in your pocket every month.