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3 Small Expenses That Really Add Up

A small expense won’t have that much of an impact on your budget if you make it one time. But, what if you make this same small expense over and over again? All of a sudden, that small expense grows into a big problem. 

These are some small, “harmless” expenses that might be hurting your budget.

1. Coffee Orders

You pick up a coffee to go from your favorite coffee shop every single day. Sometimes, you pick up two. This seems like a cheap expense until you start to add up all of the coffees together. 

If you bought two $2.00 coffees every day, you would spend almost $1500 in a single year. If your usual orders were more expensive drinks, like pumpkin spice lattes or mochas, that spending would balloon to almost $3000 by the end of the year. That’s a lot of money for just coffee.

How can you save? According to the USDA, homebrewing your coffee is a lot cheaper than buying it from your favorite coffee shop. 

2. ATM Fees

Whenever you use an ATM that’s outside of your bank card’s network, you might get charged extra. First, the ATM’s bank will charge you an operator fee. Then, your own bank will charge you an out-of-network ATM fee (also known as a foreign ATM fee). These fees are small — they’ll only amount to $1-$5.00 per visit.

While the fees are small, they can add up over time. If you make a habit of using an out-of-network ATM once per week, you could lose out on over $250 in fees in a year. These fees are completely avoidable! Just use an ATM that’s in your bank’s network. If you’re not sure where one is located, you can use your bank’s mobile app to find one nearby. 

3. Rideshares

You need to go out, and you don’t want to drive there yourself. So, you decide to pull out your smartphone, open up a rideshare app and order a car to pick you up. Paying for this service once in a while isn’t going to put a dent in your budget, but making a habit of using your rideshare app will.

When you’re ordering a ride through a rideshare app, you’re not just paying to get to your destination. You’re also paying for a tip for your driver and for any additional charges that have been tacked onto the original cost. You’ll pay “surge prices” for busier driving times, like rush hour. In 2022, Uber and Lyft added surcharges to compensate for high gas prices. And some rideshare services add wait-time charges for customers that make drivers wait for them once they’ve arrived for pickup. 

You could save yourself a lot of money by using public transportation instead of rideshares whenever possible. If you’re a student or senior, you might be able to save even more by getting a discounted transit pass. 

What Should You Do with Your Savings?

All of that money that you’re spending on small expenses could be put to better use, like building up an emergency fund. An emergency fund can help you recover from urgent, unplanned expenses that are outside of your budget. You can pay them off in a hurry without having to panic about how you’ll be able to manage your bills by the end of the month.

Without an emergency fund, you will have limited options for covering an urgent, unplanned expense that’s outside of your budget. You could charge the expense to your credit card. You could ask your friends for an IOU. Or you could go to a website like CreditFresh to see whether you’re eligible for an emergency personal loan. If you meet the eligibility requirements, you can fill out the personal loan application in no time — it can take you as little as five minutes to do this. With an approved personal loan, you can use borrowed funds to manage the expense in a short amount of time. Then, you can prepare your budget for a steady repayment plan. 

These small expenses are draining money from your bank account. Stop making them and put those savings to better use!

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