Small Treats Can Cost Big

In these tough economic times, many people have put off landscaping or vacations trying to cut large sums from their budgets. But one local money management expert says it’s the small expenses that add up; the coffees and meals out that make the biggest difference. In any trip to downtown Naperville, you can see people having lunch with a friend or grabbing coffee from Starbucks to treat themselves.
“What can I say? That’s where I’m headed right now,” said Peter Glidden, a Naperville resident. “Gotta love those mochas!”

“At least once a week I try to get away, go with a girlfriend to lunch,” said Nicki Anderson, a Naperville resident. “There’s so many choices downtown Naperville. That’s my treat to myself. There’s lots of lunch specials so I try to take advantage of that.”

The couple of dollars that you spend on that treat don’t seem to break the bank but in your yearly budget the expenses really add up. Alice Wood is the president of Wealth Watchers International, a company that helps people spend less and save more by telling them to do a daily reality check.

“Ben Franklin had this great quote that “Little leaks sink great ships,’ and this is what he’s talking about,” said Wood. “Does anybody really care if they lose three dollars? I mean, not really.”

But if you spend three dollars a day that becomes just under $2,000 a year, so breaking the daily habits can put a lot more money in your wallet.
Brewing your own coffee in the morning can save you $500 a year. Packing your own lunch can save you more than $3,000 a year, and instead of eating dinner out, you can eat in.

“I’m doing more parties with people coming over for dinner bringing hors d’oeuvres and sitting around and chatting,” said Lee Weiss, a Naperville resident.

Wood says that the occasional cup of coffee or meal out is a worthwhile treat, just make sure it fits in your budget.

“If you can afford it then great because our economy needs the help,” said Wood. “Hopefully while you’re at it you’re shopping locally because the sales tax supports services in our community and you’re employing one of your neighbors.”

Wood added that if you write down all your expenses, it can be an eye-opener and motivate you to spend less. Or, you can download the Wealth Watchers daily tracker iPhone app.

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