Thursday, December 10, 2015

The (Literal) Latte Factor + Money Saving Tricks

This is a sponsored post brought to you by EverywhereAgency.
All thoughts and opinions expressed are honest and my own.

I will never forget when my husband first told me about “the latte factor,” a term he read about in a book called “Finish Rich” by David Bach. We were sitting on our couch inside the family room of the cozy two bedroom apartment we rented shortly after getting married. I was still in my scrubs, having just arrived home from a hellish day at work and even worse commute home. As usual, I had rewarded myself with a caramel macchiato from Starbucks on my ride home. 

It was a pit stop that I made often, the barista knowing exactly what I would order before I walked up to the register. It felt homely and just like how the lady behind the counter at the dry cleaner knew my name and how my husband liked his shirts starched, I liked the feeling of being known, welcome and recognized. The latte was a bonus.

So, what is the latte factor exactly? It’s the simple idea that the small, inconsequential things we spend money on every day add up to an extremely large amount over time. It doesn’t necessarily speak to just lattes- rather it could be the candy bought each day to snack on while studying or the magazine subscription we haven’t yet canceled because “one day soon” we swear we’ll get around to reading them, yet we continue to pay for it monthly. For me, it just happened to be the actual lattes I was unconsciously spending hordes of money on.

While I didn’t think twice about buying that $4 cup of coffee, I quickly realized that, on average, I was spending $14.85 per week on those lattes. Even worse, $59 per month and an astounding $700 per year, give or take. That knowledge alone should have been enough to curb my habit but I was none the wiser, despite knowing what “the latte factor” meant.
Fast forward several years, several kids and one less income. The latte habit was a hard one to break, much harder when the stress of raising children and keeping home crept in.

See, I’m an emotional coffee drinker. There’s just something about the warmth and comfort found in that cardboard cup that soothes my soul. I’ve tried and tried to replicate the taste and feeling that consuming one of those lattes would give me by brewing my own coffee at home, doctoring it up with various flavored creamers and sweeteners but I just couldn’t do it.

What started as a “special treat” for myself and the boys each week became a downright habit made only worse when a drive-thru Starbucks came to town and the baby started sleeping less and less. It wasn’t until one afternoon, over lattes no less, that my girlfriend suggested I start using one of those cash back reward programs for my habit. She explained how she had started using hers for her daughter’s monthly subscription to ABCMouse and within several months she had earned nearly $100 cash back.

Up until this point, I had no idea that my bank, Bank ofAmerica, even had a cash back program. I hopped online and within minutes I not only found BankAmeriDeals, their preferred cash back program for both credit and debit cards but also I enrolled myself and was able to scroll through numerous deals curated for me based on previous shopping interests almost immediately.

I didn’t need a coupon or a punch card to start saving. The app itself is ridiculously easy to use and I’ll admit, it’s kind of nice being able to save money at stores I already shop at. I only wish I had realized this kind of service existed with my bank earlier! If I have any advice to offer you, it’s to check with your banking provider immediately to see if a similar service exists for you and whether or not you would benefit from enrolling.

It might not seem like much at first but the 10% cash back rewards I receive on all of my Starbucks purchases helps makes me feel a bit less guilty about my habit. In a roundabout way, it’s a latte that rewards me for consuming it and I definitely can't argue with that. Take that, latte factor!

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