The $5/day Leaky Faucet

I like coffee, and I like working. But I really enjoy working in coffee shops. When one works from home, in order to avoid falling into a “cabin in the woods” rut I’ve found that the simple act of getting out and working in a shop helps keep me creative and thinking from other perspectives.

I’m reminded of David Bach’s “Latte Factor” while watching people — and too often myself — order drinks. Sure it’s delicious, but it’s a $5 drink. Who can’t afford $5 on occasion?

Road to Ruin or Real Fun

“Dang” is right. However, I hear you protesting:

But I don’t buy a whip cream laden drink every day!

No, but if you’re like me you easily “waste” $5/day on something. If you were to save up that $5/day over the next five years and put the $9,000 into an investment fund for your kid’s retirement, The Motley Fool muses that after 50 years he’d retire a millionaire. Or you would.

I can get into “slumps” where I buy coffee in the morning ($2), do lunch with a friend ($12) and then stop off for coffee in the afternoon ($5). That’s almost a $20 hit. Do that enough times a week and it adds up: $20 x 3 days is $60/week. That scenario sinks almost $250 a month.

I’m not here to suggest that we should all stop buying treats — not with my sweet tooth. But it’s always good to do the math and remind ourselves that there are are tasty alternatives for that $5/day habit.

I’m developing “Cashlight”, an iPhone app, that will will provide the planning tools to give insights into how today’s spending decisions will impact tomorrow’s financial health. Like our page on Facebook to follow the progress and give feedback.

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