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4 Everyday Purchases
That Are Costing You Thousands

14 July 2016 | Mri Grout - A Lifelong Vagabond

The unfortunate thing about one’s salary is that it acts like a lady’s purse: no matter how big it is, it somehow always gets used up (even though we swear all we have in it is a few dollars and the budget book...). But it’s only when we start looking at the individual items we buy that we start to realize that we have more way money than we initially thought – it's just that we've been quietly spending it all on these little everyday purchases that end up costing us thousands of dollars a year.

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1. Drinking - $1200/year

I get it; life sucks and you want to have fun drowning out the harsh realities of your world, but did you know that the average American spends $50/month on beer? And that's not even including the price of any alcohol-related accidents... Even more shockingly, found that the average UK college student spent FOUR TIMES the amount of money on alcohol than they did on food. Granted, they seem to starve themselves on a measly £80/month for food, but still, that £3840/year they spend on alcohol and nights out could really help alleviate their ‘skin tight budget’...or be used on a very nice holiday abroad.

How to Save Money on Drinking:

  • Get a friend to secretly give you fake alcohol from time to time – the alcohol placebo effect is really strong
  • Take a SET AMOUNT OF MONEY with you when you go out drinking; NO CREDIT CARD
  • Spend less time at bars and clubs; instead drink at home with friends
  • Build more self-confidence so you don’t ‘need alcohol’ to socially interact

2. Smoking - $1800/year

The average smoker smokes a pack a day. For Americans, this means that smoking is a $1800/year habit. For the English it's £3000/year and for a Kiwi, it's a whopping $8000/year. Then of course, there's the cost of any medical procedures needed and the emotional toll that could potentially bring. Smoking is a very expensive addiction and one that is extremely difficult to quit, but if you're motivated in doing so it is possible to stop smoking. Just think of all the money you can save.

3. Eating Out - $2700/year

eating out costs the average American $2700 a year

The average spending on a fast-food meal in America is about $12.50. Now granted, you have to eat for that meal regardless, but the average cost of a home-cooked meal is less than $3 a person and that cost drops significantly with each extra mouth that needs feeding. This means, that given the average number of meals eaten out a month is 18, you’re spending an extra $225/month or $2700/year. In the UK, the average spending on eating out is £4000 – more than double the £1800 groceries normally cost.

How to Save Money on Eating Out:

  • Throw a dinner party where everyone pitches in on the cost...and cooking!
  • Cook two or three times as much as you need to and then freeze the rest for those days you don’t feel like cooking
  • Eat out only during happy hour or lunch time when you can find cheaper deals

4.Buying Snacks - $3300/year

snacks cost the average American $3300 a year

According to numerous surveys around the world, the majority of snacks are bought on people’s way to work. A $5 coffee here, $2 worth of donuts there, maybe even $3 worth of chips on top of it all – all of that equals about $10/day. Some days will be less, some will be more, but most studies have found a whopping $3300/year is spent on snacks by Americans; £1900 for the English.

How to Save Money on Snacks:

  • Eat fuller meals
  • Make more proper meals and then have the leftovers as snacks
  • If you’re snacking out of boredom, try distracting yourself in other ways

Total Money Saved: $9000/year*

Every time you have the urge to spend money on one of the above activities, stick the amount you would have spent into a jar. Then at the end of the month (or even week!) see how much money you’ve really saved by cutting back on these expensive everyday purchases. Does it tally up to more than over a thousand dollars saved?

*For the average American

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