14 Tiny Splurges That End Up Costing You Way More Than You Thought
We all know how quickly a $6 latte can become a habit. Here's a look at the "small" reasons your bank account might be running on empty.
There are a lot of secrets your pet won't tell you—but "I need a spa day" probably isn't one of them. Luxe treatments for pampered pooches can add up quickly and can be a real factor in wasting money. "One national chain advertises 'Groom + Top Dog Add-On' priced at up to $148, which includes 'upgraded shampoo and conditioner, teeth-brushing/breath freshener, bandana or bow, scented cologne spritz, nail grind (separate from regular trim), scented face wash, paw massage, coconut-oil nose and paw rub, and ear flushing,'" according to Kimberly Foss, CFP, founder and president of Empyrion Wealth Management. "Don't Splurge above basic grooming! The opportunity cost over 10 years is $21,185—even more if you bathe your dog at home too." Here's a look at five more pet items you might be wasting your money on.
This little luxury really adds up. According to consumer pricing site CostHelper.com, a small nail salon (not a spa or resort) charges an average of $12.50 for a manicure and $20 for a pedicure. "That's an opportunity cost over 10 years of $17,358!" Foss says. Plus there are dangers with in-salon nail treatments, so all the more reason to opt for a DIY mani/pedi. Here's what nail salon technicians won't tell you.
Bank machines are everywhere, and you may find that super convenient when your wallet is empty. But if you aren't a member of that bank, get ready to pay a fee. "On top of the $2 or $3 dollars charge, your own bank may charge an additional amount for not using their machine," says founder of Harvin Consulting, Calvin Harris Jr., CPA. "Suddenly the $30 you pulled from the machine really costs you $36. If you go to an ATM just once a week that isn't your bank, you could give away over $300 in a year!" These are the habits of people who are great at saving money.
With your credit card on file or easy swiping or tapping of a card, it's so easy to make purchases that you may not even realize how much of a bill you're racking up! Think of that smoothie you can just charge to your account after you finish your workout. "Merchants are not dumb—they've developed whole ecosystems and apps that keep your credit card on file and bring convenience to your life, but you pay for that convenience," says Owen Malcolm, CFP, managing director of United Capital. "Whether it's impulse buys through Amazon Prime or with Apple Pay, corporate America wants to do whatever it can to make it very easy for you to part with your money." Watch out for these nearly invisible ways stores trick you into spending more.
Only using credit/debit cards
Plastic cards don't feel like money the same way cash does. "It's so easy to swipe your cards!" says Harris, Jr. "Odds are you'll end up making many more splurges throughout your days without noticing." If you're anti-cash for whatever reason, make sure you're at least signed up for a good credit card rewards program.
TV services like DirecTV and Comcast can be costly. "Often they're over $100 a month, which depending on your package, is over $1,200 a year," says David Reiling, CEO of Sunrise Banks. "A better option is Netflix for about $10 a month or about $120 a year." (Check out these awesome shows we bet you didn't know are on Netflix). Or you can skip both and opt for a streaming device. "If you stick with strong Wi-Fi and use a streaming device such as AppleTV or Roku, you can easily cut your cable bill in half each month," says Harris Jr.
That cheesy pizza is affecting a lot more than your waistline. "Ordering Dominos Pizza once a week can be about $30 or $1,560 per year," says Reiling. "Conversely, buying groceries for a meal in place of this to cook can be under $10 per meal for a family of four or $520 per year." He underscores that the same thing applies for breakfast and coffee. "This can add up to $10 per day depending on your choices—that's $3,650 per year! As an alternative, make a pot of coffee at home or even a K Cup Blend for under $0.50 per cup, and buy some eggs and bread for a quick and easy breakfast, which will cost you $365 per year or less." You can also try these healthy breakfast ideas.
This is a classic case of being blindsided by small dollar amounts. "Those small in-app purchases start out small, often just $1 or $2, but they can quickly add up," cautions Harris Jr. "Just one small in-app purchase a day, can take you over $400 in a year."
While online shopping is exceedingly convenient, most of us want our items promptly and will pay extra for it, effectively wasting money. "Online stores know this, and they offer expedited shipping that can add $15 or more to your bill," says Harris Jr. "Instead, go with the fastest free shipping offered. If you expedited just one or two package a month, you could spend over $200 extra in a year." Check out these tips for saving money online.
When those multi-state lottery games have prizes in the hundreds of millions of dollars, many of us shell out in pursuit of the dream of wealth. "The occasional ticket can be fun, but daily lottery habits quickly add up," says Harris Jr. "Playing just $2 or $3 of lottery tickets on a daily basis—and many of the multi-state games have tickets that start at $5—can have you spending $1,000 or more."