Imagine your daily spending habits stretched out over the course of a year.

When it comes to making a buying decision it is easy to just see the item that you want to purchase right now. One thing that I did to help me save money was changing my mindset from “how much does this item cost me today?” , to “how much does this item cost me a year?”. Take buying your breakfast every morning for example. If I were to go to the gas station here in Florida and buy myself a coffee and a doughnut it would cost me approximately $4 USD.

This is not an extreme sum of money you might say, but what if I were to make this a habit and do it everyday for a year? Well now…. It’s more than a little bit of money. Actually it adds up to $4 x 365 = $1460.00 over the course of one year. That is just for the privilege of coffee and doughnuts in the morning. What if I were to make the coffee myself at home and buy a box of snack cakes instead?

That is a great question! A canister of ground coffee cost $8.48 at my local grocery store and right on the label it says that it makes 380 6 oz cups of coffee! Let’s say you really enjoy your coffee and you decide to double your morning intake. That would still be a 190 day supply of coffee for $8.48. Or put differently 4.6 cents a day for coffee.

Now let us turn our attention to the doughnuts. If we can think ahead and put our impulsive urges aside, we can buy a box of snack cakes 2 weeks in advance. 12 come in a box and the box cost approximately $2 USD. Which means that the snack cakes cost us about 16.7 cents a day.

So if we have a little forethought and self control we can provide the same morning ritual, coffee and a doughnut, for a whopping 21.2 cents. If we do the math on what this new habit would cost us it would be 21.2 x 365 = $77.38 per year. Can you believe it!? All you have to change is where you buy this stuff and you can save yourself $1460 – $77.38 = $1382.62 a year. This is real money that could be going into your savings account or retirement.

Ok, we have conquered your morning breakfast habits. Now what are you doing for lunch? In America most people drive to the closest fast food place they can find and order themselves a bag of fattening, expensive, and gas inducing food everyday. The most likely culprit would be the standard cheeseburger, french fries, and a soft drink.

Not only is this meal laden with calories and salt, it is also harmful for your wallet. The average fast food lunch is now pushing $8 per meal. And if we did the fun math similar to above you will quickly see that this will cost us $8 x 365 = $2920 per year for this habit. I have personal experience with this particular cost savings technique. I have recently started to pack my own lunch everyday and was able to get the daily cost of my lunch down to about $3.15 per day. “Are you starving?”, you may ask. Actually not at all, if anything I pack too much food.

My lunch consists of an old school Thermos and an actual lunch box. In my Thermos I heat up a can of condensed vegetable beef soup every morning and in the Thermos it goes. Amazingly the Thermos keeps the soup very hot for about 5-6 hours. Then in the lunch box I pack the following: 2 cans of soda, 1 bottle of water, 2 mozzarella chees sticks, a little baggie that contains a handful of pretzels, and a ham and swiss cheese sandwich. Trust me it is hard to eat all this stuff, but I manage to pull it off!

So what does this banquet cost me? Well the 2 cheese sticks are 24.3 cents, the 2 cans of soda are 49.8 cents, the bottle of water is 9.5 cents, the handful of pretzels are 16.5 cents, the sandwich is $1.14, and the can of soup is $1. So let’s add that all up $.243 + $.498 + $.095 + $.165 + $1.14 + $1.00 = $3.14 per day for a lot of food that is actually more healthy for you. So how much do you save? Subtract the fast food lunch cost from the packed lunch cost and multiply it out over a year. $8 – $3.14 = $4.86 per day in savings, or $4.86 x 365 = $1773.9 per year in savings. And once again, this is real money that could go towards your other bills or retirement.

If you were to change these two habits, in this scenario it would save you $1382.62 + 1773.90 = $3156.52 a year or $263.04 per month. I really hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it for you. If you have any questions or comments feel free to contact me via the email address provided. Also If you would like to have more money savings tips like the one you just read be sure to join my mailing list by clicking here. Thanks for reading!