That's easy! It's simple math.
No, actually it's called "perspective."
Want some more?
The average cost for a single trip to a nationally recognized coffeehouse is $3.25, according to CBS News. Bought five days a week is $16.25. That's about $65 a month and $845 a year. Even if you don't buy it every day, or maybe buy cheaper coffee, you're still spending the equivalent of a car payment.
Point being, it's something you don't need, especially if you're in debt. Every day Americans are wasting tens of thousands of dollars on stuff they don't need.
Here are 10 things that most people could probably do without. In fact, I'm more than sure that anybody could do without.
1. Up-Sizing Your OrderAll you want is lunch, but the teenager on the other end of the speaker has been trained to rope you into purchasing more with a plethora of options. "You want a cookie with that? How about a super-sized drink? Apple pie? Extra fries?" Whatever the options, a lot of people are saying "Yes!" because, hey, it's only an extra buck, maybe even 50 cents. ... Who cares?! You're not 15 anymore. Stop giving in to the peer pressure and just say no!
2. Purebred DogsMy wife has fallen in love with a new kind of dog breed, a cross between a Husky and a Pomeranian, called a Pomsky. I'll admit, they're deliciously adorable. They're also about $4,000. Let the pompous wealthy develop their expensive dog breeds for the sake of having something expensive. Meanwhile there are plenty of loving dogs (and kitty cats) that make up in loyalty what they lack in pedigree. Save a dog. Save some cash. Gain a friend. Sounds good to me!
3. Private EducationWhat do Starbucks' founder Howard Schultz, fashion entrepreneur Ralph Lauren, Apple Co-Founder Steve Jobs, and filmmaker Quentin Tarantino have in common—aside from the fact that they're all millionaires? They all went to cheap, lowbrow high schools and colleges. Not to mention John D. Rockefeller, John Glenn, Mark Twain, Henry Ford, Winston Churchill, Abraham Lincoln, and Albert Einstein, among many, many others.
Listen up America! An alma mater isn’t going to guarantee your sweetie a six-figure income—only hard work and determination can do that. I spent seven years working for a wealthy couple whose two children graduated ivy league colleges and struggled for years afterward trying to find jobs, and even though they're both employed now mommy and daddy are still paying some of their bills. So before you pay for another tuition hike, make sure you’re actually getting a better, safer or more faith-centered education for your money. And absolutely do not go into debt for it.
4. Lottery TicketsFor every 259 million people that play the Mega Millions lottery, only one will strike it rich. That's right. One.
Gosh'um golly gee whiz, I love perspective!
Want some better odds? Did you know that if you invested $100 a month in a good retirement plan for 40 years, you’ll almost always retire a millionaire? The math is simple. Lottery tickets = money leaving your pocket. Planning and budgeting = a little thing called prosperity.
5. Brand-Name MedicineI was a seasonal allergy sufferer for almost twenty years. As a little kid I remember just laying on the couch and sneezing again and again and again and again all afternoon. Over the years I've tried countless brand name drugs to battle my allergies. Some worked well enough to clear me up for a spell, others didn't work at all. Then one day my wife and I saw a huge bin at Walmart filled with cheap allergy medication—$1 a box for 12 pills. I figured, why not? And you know what? It was the BEST allergy medicine I've ever used. Brand-name drugs usually have the same exact ingredients as their generic counterparts. So read the labels and buy your meds based on what’s in them, not based on who’s advertising them.
6. At-Home PartiesYou’ve been invited to yet another jewelry party. Last month it was tote bags, and before that it was essential oils. But your best friend is hosting this one, and she’s asked you to come along as a favor. So you RSVP—even though you never make good decisions in a room full of women eating, drinking and writing checks for fun. Next time, if you can’t afford it, say no. Blame the budget if you have to. A true friend will understand.
7. The Newest GadgetsZombies are all the rage on TV and in the movies these days, but the there's a genuine zombie apocalypse happening in our streets every time a big gadget company releases a new version of the latest thingy. People swarm to the nearest store in droves to buy a thing with more storage space or a bigger screen or more megapixels or faster processor or whatever. Look, does your phone still make calls? Does your computer still turn on—maybe it doesn't boot up like a shiny new Mac, but it still works doesn't it? Relax, people. Whatever it is, chances are, you don't really need it.
8. Car Payments and LeasesGiven the choice, would you rather pay someone else $500 a month, or pay yourself $500 a month? Thought so. Instead of buying a car on payments, hunt for a vehicle you can actually afford right now—even if it’s just a $2,000 get-you-to-work-and-back beater. And in just three short years, you’ll have enough money saved for an $18,000 look-at-you-now beauty. Then you can take that $500 car payment and put it in the bank every month for 40 years. That's $240,000, not including interest!
9. Singing Birthday CardsThat hilarious singing birthday card may be cute, but it’s not seven dollars cute! Plus, your brother-in-law is just going to throw it away in a week’s time. So save some cash by grabbing a generic card for a buck or two and writing a meaningful message inside. What you say will mean so much more than the paper you say it on.
10. Bottled WaterThere’s really no excuse to buy something that’s practically free. And yet, in 2012, Americans spent more than $11.8 billion on disposable water bottles. Come on, folks. This one is really dumb, especially considering a group of German researches discovered in 2011 more than 24,000 chemicals on bottled water. Furthermore, a study from the Natural Resources Defense Council has shown that the quality of tap water is held to a much higher standard than that of bottled water. So if you're an avid drinker of bottled water, here's a money-saving that could potentially save you hundreds of dollars a year: buy a 32oz Camelback water bottle and fill it up with water every day. Drink at least one every day. You'll be richer and healthier!
In ClosingIt's not fair to dog those of us who can afford private tuition or a nice new car, so, if you can and you want to, by all means, go for it. But if you're still paying down debt, catching up on bills, or stockpiling your emergency fund, these expensive life add-ons need to wait.
What about you? What things are you throwing your money at that you could probably live without, or at least long enough to gain some financial traction?