Everyone frets over major purchases and overanalyzes them as if their financial future depends on their choices. But rest assured that when you’ve really screwed things up and you’re sitting there wondering where it all went wrong, it will have been the small, regular questionable decisions that led you to your calamity.
Maybe then you’ll realize that it was the coffee that killed you.
Small, everyday expenses that you make out of habit rather than conscious choices tend to eat away at your budget like bulimic termites. Beverages, eating out for lunch and other low-return creature comforts can sap away extra income, stopping you from saving money, paying down debt and re-purchasing all your childhood toys that your mom sold at a garage sale.
Since He-Man and the Masters of the Universe action figures aren’t going to re-buy themselves at the flea market, it’s best to stop bad spending habits cold and replace them with cheaper habits that will sate the same urges.
Here are my suggestions of cheap addictions to swap out for expensive ones:
Go with water rather than coffee.
Daily trips to Starbucks rob you not only of money, but time. If you’re worried you’ll be sleepy without all that caffeine, just make sure you compulsively drink water rather than coffee. It’s free, has no calories and does not stain your teeth. And if you drink enough of it, water will wake you up just as much as coffee will, because nothing is better at keeping you alert than an overloaded bladder.
Get curbside takeout rather than dining in.
Any chain restaurant worth its oversalted food has created a delightful alternative to dining in, dodging crying children, rude diners and off-key wait staffers’ birthday rhymes. Not to mention paying ridiculous prices for sugary drinks, suffering dessert menu had-sales and having to leave big, fat tips for questionable service.
Curbside takeout saves you the hassle and the extra costs associated with restaurant dining, all while giving you the same food that tastes so much better because you didn’t have to make it. Just pull into one of the parking spaces set aside for your kind, pay at the counter as if you’re ordering fast food, and dash back to the friendly confines of your home to munch on your grub.
Use a swamp cooler rather than air conditioning.
While central air is the preferred method for combatting summer heat, it’s far from the only option. Old-fashioned swamp coolers — though they may be loud, stinky and, well, swampy — work just as well to combat dry heat. Swamp coolers are vastly cheaper, reduce your carbon footprint by reducing electricity, and all that other delightful hippie stuff.
Get a pet goldfish rather than a dog.
Pets you can walk and talk to about your problems? Totally overrated, not to mention expensive!
Goldfish are fantastic not only because they’re so cheap to feed and never need to go to the vet, but because you always know where to find them, they rarely dig through your trash or pee on your carpet, and will never attack the neighbor child and make you vulnerable to a lawsuit. And don’t even get me started on all the way’s they’re superior to cats. Why, after all, do you think it is that cats are always trying to eat goldfish? Because of their marvelous taste? Nonsense, it’s because felines know that goldfish are superior to them so they’re attempting to eliminate the competition.