The problem is this: spending money on slightly frivolous things isn’t entirely bad. Most people have a few expenses that they could live without. Technically, all entertainment is unnecessary, but we don’t tell people to entirely cut out books or those two movies they attended last year in order to grow their savings. For some reason, society has decided that it’s okay to pick on lattes when everything from cable t.v. to that one skirt that you wanted but didn’t technically need is an “unnecessary” expense. That’s particularly ridiculous since the vast, vast majority of Americans aren’t exactly meeting all of goals for best financial practices (full emergency savings account, retirement accounts funded with 15–20% of income, life insurance for all money-making members of the household, etc.), yet no one is telling you to give up your McDonald’s or me to give up my Amazon Prime until we’ve met these goals.
I’m not saying that cutting back on lattes is a bad move, particularly if the buyer isn’t that enamored by them. But people do need fun to thrive — which is why I used the quotation marks around unnecessary above — and if those lattes truly give the buyer pleasure, then, well, maybe those people need them more than you or I assume they do.
Honestly, it seems a bit ridiculous to use the latte argument in an article about emergency savings since the argument was designed to show people how much money they could save for retirement if they cut out more luxuries (and it was a bad argument even then). I doubt that most people with less than $1,000 in savings are buying lattes every day or even 5 days a week.