5 Everyday Expenses worth Eliminating, from buying coffee on the way to the office to paying for hundreds of unwatched television channels, it’s not hard to throw money out the window. As insignificant as these purchases may seem, taken together, they put a huge dent in your wallet.

Fortunately, getting into better financial shape doesn’t always require life-altering sacrifices. As you’re beginning to brainstorm possible resolutions, consider adding some of these money-saving techniques to your list.

1. Forgo that “cup of Joe”

More than half of South Africans over the age 18 drink at least one cup of coffee a day. While there’s nothing wrong with enjoying your daily dose of caffeine in the morning, buying coffee on your way to work is a wallet-emptying habit. Though the convenience is undeniable, the accumulated annual cost can be staggering.

Think about it, you pay on average R18 – R20 for a cup of coffee at your local coffee shop on your way to work.

So let’s do the math, not including the weekends, that’s an estimated 269 day a year at R20 a day equalling R5, 380.00…for a cup of coffee on your way to work.

Think about it, in four days you’ve spent R80.00 whereas Nescafe Classic goes for R80.00 a bottle and can last you a whole month. You can even buy a bag of 300gm filter coffee for between R60.00 – R70.00, if you’re a self proclaimed coffee snob if you’d like to feel better about the exercise.

Ultimately don’t try to be pretentious buying a name branded cup of “go go juice” in the morning. The only person you’re fooling is yourself, so go ahead and kick yourself for depriving “yourself” of a substantial sum of money better used towards a holiday or end of year Christmas shopping…over a simple cup of coffee.

So consider buying ground coffee at the grocery store pop it in a carry mug and “BANG!”

Simply brewing your own java at home will eliminate one of today’s most expensive habits.

2. Cut down on transportation costs.

Speaking of things you purchase on the way to work, it may do your bank account some good to reconsider your daily commute altogether.

If you have the opportunity to share a ride to and from work with someone else, consider carpooling. You can even change it up in your car pool where everyone gets a turn to pool in their car. It significantly reduces wear and tear on your car and petrol expenses. Another option is to evaluate the cost savings of taking public transportation versus driving your own car.

In addition to draining your finances, long commutes also make you unhappy. Robert Putnam, a public policy professor at Harvard University, asserts that every 10 minutes a person spends commuting results in 10 percent fewer social connections, which intensifies feelings of loneliness and despair. On the other hand, chatting with someone while stuck in traffic can help make your trip to the office a little easier on your mood.

3. Pack your lunch. 

After brewing your own coffee and carpooling to work, you’ve made it to the middle of the day without doing too much damage to your wallet. And then you suddenly realize you didn’t pack a sandwich.

There is just no justifying buying your lunch, I’m sorry but if there was ever a way to punish your wallet this is it!

There is nothing stopping you from making sandwiches in the morning (20 minutes tops will get the job done) or even a salad. Hey! Even have a cup of coffee while you’re at it, I’ll allow it!

Heck even make a little extra supper for lunch the next day, it’s really not rocket science.

Psycho-metrics proves that keeping your kitchen fully stocked with fresh groceries will decrease the temptation to eat out during the week.

Eating out is an expensive luxury, say it with me!

It’s always helpful to plan out your meals in advance. Have a shopping list prepared (do it on a Sunday while you’re having your coffee and morbid about tomorrow being Monday) before you go to the store. That way, you know exactly what items you need and can estimate how much your total bill will cost.

4. Cut the cord on your satellite television provider.

If there ever was a waste of money this would definitely graduate top of the class. THERE IS NO JUSTIFYING R789.00 A MONTH WHICH COULD BE BETTER SPENT ON GROCERIES OR PAYING OFF AN ACCOUNT!!!

R870.00 over a year is R9, 468.00, so please explain to me why you don’t like going on holiday or hate to give yourself an end of a year bonus?

Perhaps not incidentally, Experian reports the number of people who no longer subscribe to satellite T.V. has increased by 44 percent over the past four years. Aren’t you wondering why there are suddenly so many specials and “free installations” being offered?

In the age of Hulu, Netflix and free streaming TV, there’s no reason to pay an exorbitant amount per month on cable or satellite television.

As you deliberate the pros and cons of cutting the cord on your cable or satellite provider, think about the hundreds of channels you’re currently paying for. Chances are you’ll count the stations you watch on one hand. What’s more, the shows on those channels are probably available online.

5. Ditch your pricey gym membership.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle by exercising and cutting back on unhealthy habits like smoking can help you avoid costly medical bills.

Still, forking over hundreds of rand each year on a gym membership may not be necessary to keep your gut in check. Much like the television channels you actually watch, you might find that you don’t use much of the equipment your gym offers.

Let’s be honest here, and I talk from experience, going to gym is not so much about getting fit anymore as it is about social status.

You can get into peak physical condition by training just as well at home as much as you ever could at gym (Spartan Warriors didn’t have a local Virgin Active), I’ve personally done it. Ultimately it comes down to your willingness and drive to get into shape, not the sauna and sweat lodge offered at your local gym.

So consider running, swimming at your public pool or going to the local sports clubs to burn some calories on the squash court. If after a few months of training you feel you’d be better served by joining a gym then by all means join!

The Bottom Line

Your spending habits won’t change overnight. Weaning yourself off that daily iced mocha java will require discipline and self-control, and you may have to do some planning beforehand.

I recommend people keep a spending journal where they write down everything they spend for a few weeks. It can be painful to look at your spending habits face to face, but it’s great for finding the small expenses that add up to make that financial dent on your bank account.

Getting started on some of these money-saving habits now can set the tone for a financially successful 2018 so don’t knock it, try it!

Therefore OUDS is willing to assist consumers in this predicament with a free service of a financial assessment, assist the consumer to organise an affordable, realistic and structured monthly budget and debt management plan thereby providing consumers with a guideline for eliminating and remaining out of debt.

Anybody seeking debt advice can contact OUDS on 079 980 0822, for free assistance, help, or more information or visit our website.

OUDS is uniquely placed to tend to your best interests and see that you are financially secure, which you deserve.