5 Unexpectedly Expensive Habits

Guilty pleasures come in all different forms. They vary by person and can cause you to spend more money than you think. It may not seem like a lot when you look at it as a daily number, but once you put that number into monthly and yearly terms you will see your habit in a totally different form. You may be surprised how quickly unexpectedly expensive habits add up!

We aren’t saying to cut out your guilty pleasures and deprive yourself, we are simply sharing some insight from the other end of the spectrum. The CGS Team is providing you the monthly or yearly monetary value of your daily habits to help you understand why your money may be disappearing!

The Daily Latte

Sure, $5 for a latte to help your day go smooth sounds completely reasonable. $25 for a whole work-weeks’ worth of coffee. Those numbers aren’t scary at all. But what about $100 a month for coffee, or roughly $1200 a year! That is a lot of money to just be giving Starbucks or whichever coffee shop you prefer.

In fact, that number doesn’t include any treats or differences in price above $5. If you make it a habit to also get a muffin with your coffee, you are spending much more than $1200 annually. Even cutting back to 2 lattes a week would run you over $500; can you really justify spending that much on coffee?

Try making your own coffee with a Keurig or regular brewer. With the right ingredients, you can make it just as good as a professional barista!

Wasted Groceries

Did you know that in the U.S. alone, 30-40% of the food supply is wasted? What about this? The second highest component of landfills is organic waste! (For more, check out World Food Day). So much food is purchased and eventually wasted. Maybe you are trying to eat fresh produce but don’t have time to make food before they spoil.

Your intentions are good, but you are hurting your wallet big time. If you are wasting 30-40% of your weekly grocery bill of $100, you are giving up $30-$40 a week, $120-$160 a month, and $1560-$2080 a year!

Groceries alone aren’t cheap, but to purchase food and not eat it is like throwing money in the trash. If you want to eat healthy, try frozen produce. They are still packed with vitamins and nutrients, but last you much longer than fresh items.

Throwing away leftovers contributes to wasted food as well. Instead of buying your lunch at work, eat leftovers from your dinner the night before. Make it a point to eat all of your food before it goes bad.

Vending Machine & Other Snacks

Vending machines, school cafeteria snacks, and break room treats are a major culprit for eating away your money slowly and consistently. The reason for this is because these items typically cost $.50-$2.50 a piece. That isn’t expensive at all. However, it’s that mindset that persuades people to continue buying these items on a consistent basis.

Similar to the latte, one drink won’t hurt your budget, but once you get into the monthly and yearly cost of that one drink on a consistent basis, it’s daunting.

Snacking on items in the vending machine or available at work can hurt your budget and your waistline! Not only are these processed foods unhealthy, but they are designed to temporarily curb hunger.

This leaves you wanting more and thus taking another trip to get a snack. Start bringing little bags of fruit, veggies or nuts with you. These are healthier options that help you feel fuller for longer.


The ladies of City Girl Savings love magazines! In fact, love is an understatement. We thrive on magazines, and if we do, then we know other women do too. This obsession with magazines can be extremely expensive. Most fashion magazines range in price from $3.99-$5.99 each.

With great reads like Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Vogue and Elle, that’s nearly $25 already! If you need your read every month, magazines can cost you as much as $300 a year.

We haven’t even gotten into the guilty pleasure gossip magazines! Unlike fashion magazines, gossip reads like Life & Style, InTouch, and People may cost less, but they come out on a weekly basis.

That means you are really spending more over time. If you subscribe to yearly mailings, you could get up to 75% off the purchase price. That way you don’t overspend, and you still keep reading your magazines!

While magazines may be a necessity for you, there are ways of getting your dose for free! You can also take online surveys that offer magazine subscriptions.

Most surveys want to give you something for your time, so they will offer 1-year subscriptions to popular magazines. Spend 5 minutes taking a survey and get a year of your favorite magazines for free! Just remember to unsubscribe before your year is up, or you will be getting a bill.

Dollar Buys at the Store

Have you ever wondered why grocery stores, drugstores and shops have shelves of little, cheap items right near the checkout counter? Well the idea of this clever placement is that you will see a few items that you like and quickly throw it in your cart or basket. Have you ever done that?

We have! You are waiting for the person in front of you to finish checking out and you have nothing to do but look at your surroundings.

You realize you need to re-up on your gum, chapstick, or whatever else is available; or you realize your stomach is rumbling and want a Snickers to fuel you until your next stop. Regardless of the reason, placement specialists know that these items play on your needs!

Don’t fall in to the trap of getting 5 $1 items at checkout. If you do this every time you go, you are wasting your latte money and creating a larger budget deficit over the next month and year. If you don’t need it, then don’t buy it!

Related: 7 Bad Habits Making You Broke

It’s hard to believe that items so cheap can cost you so much over time! Don’t fall into the trap of the 5 habits listed above. Be mindful of every purchase, large or small. Are you guilty of any of the habits listed above? What other spending habits are costing you money? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below or in the City Girl Savings Facebook Group!

-The CGS Team



4 thoughts on “5 Unexpectedly Expensive Habits”

    1. I was, too, LaNeese Ray and I recently began subscribing to Hello Fresh for that very reason…I do not work for Hello Fresh nor am I affiliated with the company in any way other than as a very satisfied customer. I love that all items are delivered fresh, portioned and ready to cook! Saves me time and money not having to shop and there’s no waste because of the portioning…Now, if I can just give up my 3x per week Starbucks Teavana….!

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