We're often told that if we want to accumulate millions, all it takes is a few small changes to our daily lives. Well, I'm here to tell you that that's bogus. Pocketing a few extra dollars each day most likely won't make you a millionaire. What it will do, however, is put you in a much better place financially in the near term. With that in mind, here are four expenses that can make a difference in your day-to-day life.
1. Your daily latte
Whether you like it for the caffeine or the flavor, your daily latte is no doubt a treat you look forward to. But the fact of the matter is that it's easy enough to make coffee at home for less than $0.10 a cup, which means you're paying a serious premium each time you hand $3 over to your regular barista. Therefore, if your savings are lacking, pocketing close to $90 a month is something worth doing, even if it means downgrading your morning coffee in the process.
2. Your weekly takeout meal
Most food establishments charge a 300% markup for the items they serve, which means that if you typically spend $30 on food once a week from your favorite takeout place, you'd otherwise manage to make a similar meal at home for just $7.50. All told, you might manage to bank close to $1,200 a year by skipping that takeout spot and spending a little more time in your own kitchen.
3. Your cable plan
Though you don't need to cut the cord completely and deprive yourself of the nightly entertainment you've come to enjoy on your TV, scaling back your cable package could work wonders for your budget. Take a look at the channels you most frequently watch and ask yourself whether you can get by with a basic cable package alone. If so, you might easily slash your bill by $60 a month or more.
4. Your gym membership
The average gym membership costs somewhere in the ballpark of $60 a month. Now if you use that gym on a daily basis, then by all means, keep paying that fee. But if your gym attendance hasn't been particularly strong to date, you may want to explore free means of getting some exercise in. You could take up running, bust out your old bike, or skip the elevator and walk up to your 25th floor office, just to name a few options.
Of course, you don't need to slash the above expenses completely to reap some instant savings. If, for example, you love your fancy store-bought coffee, consider treating yourself to it three times a week instead of every day. Similarly, you might choose to buy takeout every other week instead of weekly, or subscribe to a midlevel cable package instead of a premium one. And as far as your gym goes, it never hurts to ask about the option of paying for daily passes. If you only tend to go once a week and can get in for $5 a pop, it'll cost much less than the $60 you might currently be paying.
Remember, while the above changes won't make you rich, they can help improve your financial picture in a meaningful way. An estimated 40% of U.S. adults, for example, don't have the money to cover a mere $400 emergency, which means they risk racking up debt when an unplanned bill lands in their lap. So if you're able to make a few changes and put some cash into your bank account, it'll put you in a much less precarious position the next time you're hit with an unexpected expense.