We've all heard it time and again -- if you cut out your daily trip to Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX), you could save thousands toward retirement. My colleague Seth Jayson trotted that stat out in a recent column, claiming to show the riches that could be yours "if you make only a modest effort to differentiate between need and greed." Along with lattes (savings after 20 years: $48,111), Seth mentions cutting out premium cable ($24,055), fast-food lunches ($68,730), and opting for used cars over new ones ($342,962).

But here's the rub. One person's greed may be another's need, and who's to judge which is which? I enjoy my daily latte (Grande Skim Caramel, if you please), and the prospect of forgoing $48K causes me not one moment of lost sleep. Of course, I pick up my caffeine fix on my walk to work, easily saving in gas and maintenance what I spend on coffee. And it sure makes my day a bit easier, given that I get to work at 7 a.m. so I can leave at 3 to spend the afternoons with my toddler (saving money on child care and gaining priceless hours of playground time).

See, we all make trade-offs in how we spend -- and save -- our funds. I would never choose to drive an SUV, but a very savvy coworker who does points out that she and her husband share the car to offset the added cost. Another colleague brings his lunch to work but splurges on music and comic books. I belong to Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) instead of going to the movies or subscribing to digital cable or premium movie channels from Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA). The amount I save in popcorn and Junior Mints alone covers the monthly rental fee. Just don't try to deny me my TiVo (NASDAQ:TIVO) service (another Stock Advisor pick). It's worth every cent in my book.

Planning for retirement itself is a trade-off. Do you squirrel away every penny you can now in hopes of living lavishly later? Or do you enjoy some of those dream vacations today, realizing they may cost you a cruise or two in your golden years? For me, the answer is simple: both. I save lots, but I don't fret too much about spending some on things that make my family's life enjoyable now.

So lay off my latte. With a little planning, I'll be drinking them for many years to come.

Spenders and spendthrifts alike can make the most of their retirement savings with a little help from Robert Brokamp's Rule Your Retirement newsletter service. A 30-day trial is free -- a price we can all agree on!

Fool editor Robyn Gearey and her 17-month-old daughter can be found every morning at their local Starbucks. Neither of them owns shares in any of the companies mentioned.