When personal finance experts discuss ways to save, they often suggest putting your daily trip to the coffee shop on the chopping block. But what if the very thought of doing so makes you shudder?
While you can save a few bucks by skipping your daily cup of joe or brewing it at home, there are plenty of other ways to trim the excess from your budget so you can keep more money in your wallet.
Following are 15 things you can give up instead of your lattes.
Companies can be sneaky about getting you signed up for subscription services that cause you to spend money on autopilot.
For example, perhaps you sign up for a seven-day free trial that automatically renews at full price at the end of that week. Four months later, you’ve spent more money than you wanted to without even realizing it.
To save money, do a subscription purge and keep only the ones you use on a regular basis.
Too many meals at restaurants
Americans spend nearly half of their total food budget at locations away from home, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The cost of even a meal or two at a restaurant often is the equivalent of several lattes.
Brown-bagging your lunch or swapping a date night dinner out for a cozy evening at home will give you a lot more room in your budget for that morning brew.
Most people don't love cutting the lawn, but paying someone else to do it can cut into your budget. Remember, grass, weeds, and tree limbs grow back fast, so this is an ongoing expense.
If you're unable to do all of the yard work yourself, take care of the easier chores — such as mowing the lawn and trimming bushes — and outsource only the dangerous, time-consuming tasks, such as pruning tall trees.
Cable TV/streaming services you don't use
There is so much overlap among Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, and other streaming services that it doesn't make sense to have them all.
Figure out which service — or services — carry your favorite shows. Then, drop the streaming services that you can live without. And if you still pay for cable, consider how many of the channels you truly watch regularly, and how many cups of cappuccino they might be worth.
A gym membership is a great investment — if you use it. If you only sporadically go to the gym, see if it offers day passes. It might be cheaper to pay each time you go than to pay for a membership that gives you access every day of the year.
Or you can get an espresso before you engage in a free outdoor run or bike ride. That drink might cost about the same as paying for the gym.
Lightening up on the booze can save you a significant amount.
The BLS says Americans spend an average of more than $500 per year on alcohol. Cutting back even a bit should leave you with ample funds to redirect to your coffee habit.
Paid apps you don't use
Perhaps you have the best intentions to use an app to learn a new language, keep up on the news, or organize your life. But if these apps end up sitting in a forgotten, unloved fourth wallpaper screen on your cell phone, it's time to let them go.
If your app screen feels empty, you can always add the free Dunkin’ Donuts rewards app and earn your way to gratis cups of coffee.
Books you could borrow from the library
Audible and Amazon have made books much more accessible — and that can become expensive. An old-fashioned library card will give you most of these benefits for free.
Ask your librarian to order any books you don't see on the shelves. Also ask if the library offers access to services such as Libby and OverDrive, which allow you to check out free ebooks and audiobooks.
Name-brand products instead of generics
Many generic products are cheaper than brand-name products and offer the same quality.
If you want some extra cash for fancy coffee, buy the plain-Jane breakfast cereal or cheese instead of the national brand.
Pro tip: One of the best Costco hacks is to buy Kirkland Signature products. This store brand is legendary for its quality, and you might save some money purchasing these items instead of name-brand versions.
Water comes out of the tap for close to free, so get yourself a reusable bottle and fill it up at home. If your water doesn’t taste great, you can invest in a pitcher with a filter or use water flavoring.
By drinking tap water, you’ll help save the planet, stay hydrated, and leave room in your budget for more interesting morning beverages.
Use less energy
Using less energy is another way to save that is also good for the environment.
Start by dialing back on the use of your air conditioner or furnace when you leave the house. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, turning back your thermostat by 7 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit eight hours a day could save you up to 10% per year on your utility bill.
Whether you turn down the heat, walk or bike to work, or turn off the light when you leave a room, using less energy means more money for Starbucks splurges.
Find a discount cellular service
Discount cellular services use the same towers and cell phone models as their big-brand counterparts, but charge a fraction of the price per line.
Legacy companies such as Verizon, AT&T; and T-Mobile may offer better rates if you use a lot of data or have a large number of people on the same plan.
But for light users with just one or two phones, discount providers such as Mint Mobile and Cricket Wireless often will save you more.
Warranties aren’t just for expensive electronics and cars anymore. These days, a retailer might ask if you want an extended warranty on a $40 blender.
Companies wouldn’t offer this insurance if they weren’t making money on it. But for the most part, you can safely skip it on smaller purchases. The worst-case scenario is you have to fork over $40 for a new blender. Is that really so awful?
Chances are good that your blender will work fine for a long time to come, and you can redirect the money you saved by not buying the extended warranty to your next espresso.
Deli lunch meat
If you’re bringing your own lunch to work, take things a step further and skip the $9-per-pound lunch meat. Instead, roast a turkey cutlet and slice it up for half the price, or cook a whole bird for just a couple of dollars or so per pound.
This strategy works for roast beef and chicken too. Freeze the leftovers and pull them out when you need them to make cheaper sandwiches.
Nobody likes to pay for bank fees, and more banks are reducing these costs as a way to gain new customers or retain existing customers.
So, look for a checking account with no monthly fee. These aren’t hard to find if you’re willing to receive online monthly statements and sign up for direct deposit.
Many of these accounts also offer sign-up bonuses as incentives, which can mean more coffee money.
If you’re a coffee lover, there are other ways to trim your budget instead of sacrificing your morning latte.
By carefully minding your spending in other areas, you should have enough money to splurge on coffee on a regular basis and still keep more money in your bank account.
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