Overspending? Avoid these DAILY pitfalls.

This post contains affiliate links

Today, it's easier than ever to overspend without even realizing it. Many people are spending mindlessly without even realizing where all their money is going. Today I wanted to share a story, a story that may sound all too familiar, a day in the life of an overspender:


7:00 AM The alarm goes off. You promised yourself you would take full advantage of your unlimited class pass at that swanky spin studio; but your bed feels so warm and cozy, you’ll just skip it this morning…. and again the next morning… and again the next morning. Before you know it you're only going once a week, which is averaging out to be about $45 a class!

What to do: You have 2 options here:

1. Start waking up or making the time after work to start using the class pass. Enlist an accountability buddy if you need. You bought that pass in the first place because you clearly had a goal in mind (whether it was to feel better, lose weight, etc.), so start working to achieve that goal and stop throwing money down the drain!

2. Sometimes life really does get hectic, in which case you need to be honest and realistic with yourself. Do you have the time to use this membership? Do their classes work with times in your schedule? If the answer is no, it is time to cancel the membership. Look into either joining a cheaper gym altogether or seeing if you can buy a class package (i.e. 10 classes for $120) with no time limit for usage on it. This way you have the freedom to go when it fits within your schedule. I personally try to pay $10 per class. So what that means, is if I do buy an unlimited membership, my goal is to go as many times that month, that it whittles the cost of each class down to $10. This is beneficial to me in two big ways: 1. I am feeling like I am getting my money’s worth and feeling good, 2. I am getting those endorphins going usually a three to four times a week, which again, leaves me feeling good.

8:30 AM You stop by the coffee shop on your way into work to kick start your morning. If you are like the average American, you are probably spending about $20 a week on coffee, for a yearly average of almost $1,100!

What to do: Make coffee at home! Putting forth a small investment in a killer coffee maker will save you hundreds of dollars in the long run. I personally drink iced coffee, so I got this great cold brew coffee maker:

Hario Water Brew Coffee Pot, 1000ml, Brown

for about $20 on Amazon* (note, the above are affiliate links, but I used this every day and am obsessed!)  Since the coffee never heats up, it does not have that icky bitter burnt taste. I spend (on the higher end) 8.99 on a pound of coffee, which usually lasts about 3 weeks at a rate of 4 cups a day; that’s about 11 cents a cup!!

12:00 PM Lunch Time! You call your favorite lunch spot for a carryout salad. Then you head over to pick it up and decide you want to grab a water bottle why you are there. There goes another $12 bucks, oh wait, you throw in a $2 tip for good measure… make that $14.00.

What to do: Brown Bag! I know, I know, how uncool does that sound? BUT you have to ask yourself, would you rather spend thousands each year on running out for a quick bite OR going on a great vacation? Saving for your future retirement or home? Getting out of debt? Lunch money can probably be spent better elsewhere. Plus, why are you buying bottled water during the workday? Most offices these days have a filtered water system in the office; so USE it! This move alone can save you hundreds of dollars. Need more motivation to brown bag your lunch? Check out this article by TIME on How to Save $2,500 a Year on Lunch.

2:00 PM Flash Sale! You know the feeling, it’s late in the work day, you are getting tired and restless… you check your inbox and yelp! There’s a flash sale at your favorite store! Only 2 hours remaining?? Hmm, let’s buy some stuff! Now you feel alert and ready to close the day on a high note!

What to do: Do NOT open that email. Consider using unroll.me, which will bundle your subscription, e-mails and send them as one mass e-mail daily (way less tempting and it’ll help get your inbox under control!). You are probably checking your personal email at work because you are in need of a few minute break/refresher to clear your head… not go shopping. Go for a brisk walk around the building to get some fresh area and your blood flowing again. This will have the same revitalizing effect as a new pair of shoes (that you really didn’t need anyway), without hurting your budget. Plus, ask yourself, do you really want to be that person that falls for the gimmicky “flash sale”? Let’s be realistic, if it happens every week, it’s not really a “flash sale”…. Just sayin’.

6:00 PM One of two things usually happens here:

1. Your friend texts you to grab a bite to eat or

2. You are exhausted from your day and you decide to just order take out for dinner. Regardless, the damage is usually the same: you wallet is another $20-$40 lighter.

What to do: Meal prep and Meal plan. Spending money on food is one of the fastest ways to sink you budget or increase your flex spending; it all depends on what you decide to do. When you take the time to sit down and plan your meals for the week, create a grocery list, then stick to that grocery list while shopping, it will save you money. End of story. Don’t let all those groceries go to waste either! Create a meal plan to make sure you’ll use all those veggies throughout the week and then take the time on Sunday to cook some dishes for the week ahead, and then all you need to do is reheat them when you tired during the week. No excuses anymore for take out.

10:00 PM It’s late, and you are mindlessly scrolling through television channels or Instagram feeds. When you find yourself struck by a new workout program or gadget being advertised. One thing leads to another, and before you know it you just spent $160 you really don’t have to spend.

What to do instead: Stop the late night scrolling. My dad was a big culprit of this one. He would watch QVC and workout infomercials till odd hours of the night. We would randomly get a shipment of the latest fad diet or a kitchen appliance in the mail far too often (my dad struggled with overspending in case you were wondering). Instead try reading at night, meditating, journaling, try doing anything to unburden the mind before bed. You will sleep more peacefully and your bank account will thank you later.


[RELATED] Is Wealth Coaching Right For You?

[RELATED] A Millennial's Guide To Money Management


Ready to step your budget up? Grab the checklist for saving on a tight budget!


108 thoughts on “Overspending? Avoid these DAILY pitfalls.”

  1. Haha the JCrew flash sales get me all the time. Now I delete immediately unless I’ve been specifically waiting for something to come on sale

  2. Flash sales are what kills me! I may not need anything but when I see it pop up, my brain goes “what if you need a cheap sweater and it never goes on sale again.” I need to say no!

    1. That’s awesome insight! so many people would just keep it “hoping” they would have the time

  3. Courtney Patterson

    I was wasting SO MUCH money buying my lunch all the time. I finally said “enough” and now bring my lunch to work. I didn’t really realize the impact on my budget until I literally added it up one month. Great post.

    1. Thank you! and that’s awesome! What are some of your go-to lunches? My husband just started having to go to an office and is struggling with what to bring lol

  4. So many of what you say here are so true…I spend $7 a day on a cup of coffee, that could rack up a lot in a month…I also get hooked whenever I see flash sales and keep thinking I need to buy something…thanks for these tips!

  5. Chrissa - Physical Kitchness

    Sooooo smart. So so so smart. You and I absolutely have the same mindset. I love it. Thanks for educating us ALL to be better with our finances – it’s so important in a world of want want want right now!!!

  6. this is super helpful! last year, I removed myself from as many email subscriptions as possible so I wouldn’t see the sales & promos going on, motivating me to go shop. it’s definitely helped decrease my online spending, so I’d recommend. x, nicole // http://www.nicoleeigh.com

    1. I have a list of “emergency meals” that can be made in under 30 minutes, and I always have the ingredients on hand, to avoid eating out so much. it really helps!

  7. These are all spot on! The only one of these I struggle with is dinner. I have a Keurig at home and work, so I almost never buy coffee out. I rarely online shop. I pack a lunch daily. But when we get home from work, Dave and I always immediately want to order dinner rather than cook!

    1. Thank you Erin! Have you tried crockpot meals? You sound exactly like me and when I worked a 9-5 coming home to cook dinner that took 30-40 minutes sounded horrible, so I started prepping the meal the night before (which would take 5-10 minutes) and just dumped it all in the pot before work in the morning and cooked on “low” all day. You can make some really healthy meals that way too!

    1. Once in a while isn’t bad, as long as you are reaching your financial goals, treat yo’ self!

  8. I usually spend the most of my money at night, so journaling instead of being on my computer would save me a ton! Meal planning is great advice, I do that!

  9. Such great tips to save money! I know for me a lot of my money goes to eating out or getting coffee with a friend/my husband. Taking just a month off from these habits has improved our finances noticeably!

    1. Yeah I can imagine!! I like Dave Ramsey’s mentality where he says “pay yourself first” and then whatever is left over you can pay to the big companies for your coffee or meals out. IT really shifted my perspective on who I wanted to prioritize!

    1. Awe that is so sweet! Thank you! I love the idea of minimalism! We don’t need as many things as we typically surround ourselves with!

  10. Since I work from home now I don’t get hardly anything outside of the house so that’s been helpful and I have been going to the gym 5x a week so that justifies my gym membership haha.

  11. Are you spying on me? Jk lol this sounds just like me! I’ve quit my full time job to become a freelance writer full time.so right now I am on a very limited budget, this makes me want to rethink my spending lifestyle.

    1. Lolol You know, you aren’t the first person to say that! haha when I went into business for myself in 2014 I definitely rethought my spending habits majorly as I was trying to bootstrap! It’s totally doable!

    1. Agreed! People don’t realize how much they spend on meals out! And just food in general! I’ve had friends spend over $1,000 a month on food for just themselves!!

  12. Yes! So, so true! I save a lot on coffee because I actually prefer making coffee at home, but then I spend money because I give in to my Chick-Fil-A cravings more often than I’d like to admit. Self control is my main issue in both food and money. Ugh.

    1. Girl! Shift your mindset! Pay yourself first! Then pay the big companies (chick fil a and where ever else!) — why are you investing in others rather than yourself?

  13. Yes! Yes yes yes. It’s all the small things that add up. I noticed how much money I’m saving ever since I: stopped buying coffee (I can just make it at work) and stopped ordering takeout during the week (I meal plan/prep). Those two things have made an insane difference!

  14. Jennifer Ostroski

    It’s crazy how much all those little things like coffee can add up. It’s really the little things that are the biggest culprit for me, because you don’t really think about them.

  15. This is brilliant! Taking through the day, really adds a point of how relatable it is for everyone! I really need to check out unroll.me! Thanks! 🙂

  16. Everything really does add up! I’ve gotten so much better lately at making my own coffee at home, but I’m still trying to work on snagging an extra snack after class everyday!

    Amy | Pastel N Pink

  17. Great post! I’m good at most of these (French press has made me a coffee snob and saved me from my Starbucks habit), but I’m feeling a little called out on that gym one. Haha! I’ve had a membership for 4 months, and I don’t want to think about how the cost breakdown works when I go maybe once every other week. With a 2 hour roundtrip commute and a 9-6 workday, I just truly don’t have time if I want to spend time with the hubs + have some time for myself. Time to cancel the membership and start doing YouTube yoga videos…

    Maggie | amillennialmarriage.com

    1. Lol! thank you! And you are so not alone! I know finding yoga videos on youtube can be tough sometimes, I really like gaiam’s channel (i think it’s like $10 / month) – I used to do it everyday but had a shoulder injury so cancelled it like a year and a half ago… but am thinking about getting back into it…

  18. Loved this post! I have been seriously trying to budget lately because I’m so tired of being in credit card and student loan debt, so these tips are just what I needed to hear! Thanks for posting!

    1. Thanks Brittany! Trust me, getting out of debt is totally do-able! Just remember that you are investing in yourself every time you don’t buy that coffee or new shirt!

  19. I love how you put this together by going through the day instead of just giving a list. And everything on here is so true. It’s amazing how much those coffees and lunches out add up to. Also, once I cut back on those types of things, I enjoyed going out for lunch and grabbing a coffee from a coffee shop whenever I did. It becomes the treat that it should be.

  20. Last fall semester I easily spent $200 on coffee, but I never realized it because I was “only” putting $10 onto my account each time I went. Well $10 adds up hella fast! I got a really good percolator for Christmas (and ground coffee to go with it) and I’ve only bought coffee for myself once this past month as a treat. It really does give you so much more money if you cut it out!

    One of the places I really fail is in transportation. I don’t have a car, so I find myself Ubering when I’m too lazy to walk or take the bus and that adds up SO FAST! I feel like I truly try to limit myself, but I still spend like $100 on transportation every month. Uber is such a sneaky expense!

    1. haha it does! — also on the coffee note, if you buy whole beans ever and go into a starbucks they will grind it for you (if you don’t have a grinder at home) so you can still have “fresh” coffee (at least that’s how it was when I worked there) — Agreed about transportation! I don’t have a car either and I walk pretty much everywhere, but there are times I end up with a $60 uber ride without realizing it! I try to remember that it’s still WAY cheaper than paying for car insurance and a car haha

  21. Being aware of how much you spend on things like food and coffee are so important! I think my husband and I kind of got off lucky because neither of us drink coffee. He likes iced tea so he’ll brew up a pitcher of tea at home every other day or so, but by comparison, tea bags only cost pennies, so that’s nice! I personally prefer water, haha!

    1. I mostly drink water myself! But I do start my day with a cup of coffee and have an afternoon tea!

  22. I LOVE this! It’s amazing how much you can spend without realizing! I’m definitely guilty of shopping flash sales LOL!

  23. Wait, I REALLY love this post! I totally skip my classes that I’m paying for, so I really need to change that! Awesome tips!

  24. THIS. SO much. Especially the workouts… I started keeping track of every time I went to the gym to see how much on average it cost to have a gym membership a month. It ended up being about $3 each gym session which isn’t bad, but that still feels like a lot to me because sometimes I would barely work out and just break a tiny sweat while catching up on a tv show. I guess it could be worse, but all of the points you mentioned are SO true! Thanks for the tips on stopping the spending madness!!

  25. It’s so crazy how much money people spend on coffee! I live and swear by my coffee pot and I can usually survive just off the two cups I make with it every morning. I’d rather spend money on a snack later in the day for an energy boost.


  26. It’s pretty amazing when you sit down and calculate just how much of your budget goes towards little things, like coffee, snacks, or the-random-object-you-found-at-HomeGoods-and-must-absolutely-make-your-own (talking to myself here). LOL

    1. Totally agree! and I’ve totally done the homegoods thing too haha you find stuff you never even knew you “needed” haha

  27. I’ve never heard of unroll.me but I think I need it! I’m definitely going to take a look at it because flash sales kill me! I love how you laid out this post by the time of day, I felt like I was actually reading a day in my own life!

  28. All of these are such great tips! I totally recommend making coffee at home- I do this and it saves SO much money. I am also a big fan of meal prepping– I use the app Meal Maker to help schedule my meals and then I use the app ShopShop to list out all the ingredients and items I need for the week.

  29. I love how you formatted this! I don’t drink a lot of coffee but I sometimes go out and get myself hot chocolate when I’m heading to class! Recently I’ve cut a deal with myself to bring it down to only once a week, if that! I think I’ve only gone once this whole semester so far.

    Kayla | kaylablogs.com

  30. This post speaks to my heart! I’m so guilty of EASILY spending $100 per month on coffee… it’s bad. I do have a Keurig and I have been better at using it!

  31. I take my lunch to work nearly every day and I love how it saves me money! Sometimes I’ll treat myself and grab a bite to eat with coworkers, but spending money on lunch can definitely add up.
    Katie | Millennial on the Move

Comments are closed.