No more “Buying morning coffee is SO financially irresponsible!”
You know what’s financially irresponsible? Taking excessive vacations or renting an apartment that eats up 75% of your income.
But a coffee? Unless your morning coffee is grossly expensive like the Super Venti Flat White, I’d say keep your caffeine-fix.
The Latte Factor is just a metaphor for how little expenses add up over time. And sure, that’s good to keep in mind.
However, if you really want to save money and retire early or heck, even retire at a normal age, focus on the big purchases, like your apartment, car or tech gadgets. Opting for an apartment that’s just $200 cheaper per month saves a whole lot more than a daily latte over time.
I’ve walked an hour to work to save $2.75 on subway fare. I’ve hauled a 35 pound, used rug on the subway to save $20 instead of buying a new one. I’ve sat at restaurants with friends and not ordered anything because I already ate my $1 oatmeal at home.
Sweating over a $5 latte just causes financial anxiety. In the past, I’ve walked an hour to work to save $2.75 on subway fare. I’ve hauled a 35 pound, used rug on the subway to save $20 instead of buying a new one. I’ve sat at restaurants with friends and not ordered anything because I already ate my $1 oatmeal at home.
Granted, food is second largest expense for most households, so it is worthwhile to look at how you spend your food money.
However, the Latte Factor should not be the golden rule for financial advice. Make it simple on yourself, and set aside a percent of your income as savings and another portion as spending. Then, go ahead, pour all your spending money into lattes, but don’t touch your savings money. Pull back on the larger expenses, and think of side-gigs or additional income streams you could work on.
I’ll give the Latte Factor this though: it has made me rethink some lifestyle choices. Sometimes friends and I will stay in a for a movie or board-game night rather than going out to eat.
However, gurus like Grant Stephan who consistently shame people for buying a $5 latte or $10 avocado toast are why the Latte Factor needs to be obliterated from the front pages of financial advice. For me, the Latte Factor will be an afterthought, not a lifestyle I live by.