Resolution: Cut Back On ‘Treats’ And Save Cash

January 5, 2012

Fast FoodNow’s the time to take action on those New Year’s resolutions before they become just a distant memory. Like many of you, I’ve come up with a list of my own hopeful achievements for the new year.

One of my resolutions came about after I saw some numbers that really grabbed my attention given the state of our still-sluggish economy. The resolution? To stop spending money unnecessarily on fast food and beverages.

Over the years, I have developed the bad habit of visiting a fast-food joint at least once a day, whether it’s grabbing a sandwich from Subway or a warm drink from Starbucks. The disturbing thing to think about is the amount of money these little stops add up to over the years. Spending $4 or $5 here and there doesn’t seem like much, but when it becomes an everyday habit, those numbers add up to some alarming figures.

The killer part about this is these fast-food stops are completely unnecessary. It’s not like it’s hard to throw together a sandwich at home for lunch at work or to wake up five minutes earlier and make coffee at home. So what’s the issue then? I hate to say it, but sheer laziness and feelings of entitlement to these little “treats.”

After seeing how much money I’m wasting, I think I’d rather save the money or at least put it to better use. A $4-per-day treat from Starbucks sets me back $28 a week, about $120 a month and $1,460 per year. Do that for five years and I’m down $7,300, not including any money I may have earned had I invested my cash instead.

The numbers are even more absurd if your habit is lunch or dinner instead of lattes. No matter how you slice it, these overlooked, unrealized and unnecessary daily purchases could instead be going towards a car, a house, a dream vacation, college, retirement, charity, you name it! Just as quickly as those numbers add up for a latte a day, they will also add up for bigger and better things.

What is your biggest new year’s resolution? Do you have any bad habits you are hoping to kick? What are your thoughts on daily fast food indulgences? Do you think they’re necessary?