Skipping Lattes Won't Make You Rich -- but It Could Help You Start Investing

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  • You'll often hear that making your own coffee is the ticket to getting rich.
  • While that's bogus, skipping those lattes could make it easier to start your investing career.

It pays to pass on those lattes -- but not for the reason you'll often hear.

Do you love store-bought coffee? I sure do. 

Granted, I'm not a latte fan. I like to keep things simpler, and my daily order fluctuates between an iced and hot coffee with milk, depending on the season.

But whether you're buying lattes or a more basic cup of joe, the reality is that you're spending much more money than you would by popping a pod in your coffee maker at home or brewing yourself some instant caffeine. And some financial experts might try to shame you into thinking that by doing so, you're dooming yourself to a lifetime of financial ruin or preventing yourself from meeting major financial goals.

So let's set the record straight. You can't un-latte your way into a home down payment in today's market if you're starting with nothing. And skipping your daily lattes won't leave you with a $4 million IRA

But could making your own coffee be your ticket to investing in a brokerage account? Maybe.

A change worth considering -- within reason

It's a big myth that you need a lot of money to start investing. In reality, you can open a brokerage account with $50 and start buying stocks. And the earlier in life you do, the better, because that way, your money will have more time to grow.

What’s more, it's a good idea to fund a brokerage account consistently so you can keep investing and gaining wealth. But if money is tight, you may have to cut back on a discretionary expense to continue pumping money into that account. That's where the whole "skip the latte" mantra comes in.

Now look, as someone who loves her store-bought coffee, I'm not going to tell you to give up a simple luxury that makes your mornings more tolerable. But should you consider cutting back on your lattes? Maybe -- unless there's another expense you care less about you can cut. 

If the idea of not stopping into your local coffee shop even one day a week makes you want to cry, then find another way to squeeze out some money for your brokerage account. You can look at canceling a streaming service you don't watch that often, or buying cheaper groceries.

The point is that it doesn't take a lot of money to start investing consistently. But you also don't have to give up your lattes if the idea of doing so makes you miserable.

Don't buy into the shame

Some financial experts equate buying lattes to setting wads of bills on fire. Rest assured, that's not what you're doing. 

Maybe you're not investing that money in stocks, but you're investing in your comfort, your happiness, and, in some cases, your productivity (heck, that's definitely the case for me). And so those store-bought coffees should not serve as a source of shame in any way. But if you're willing to cut back ever so slightly -- either on lattes or on something else -- you may be surprised at how nicely your brokerage account balance grows over time.

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