**This is not a sponsored post. But it should be. I’m looking at you, Starbucks and Raise.com. However, there are affiliate links.**
If you’re taking your first baby steps into the personal finance world, you might be reading about something called the “latte factor.” This is essentially the amount of a small expenditure you regularly indulge in multiplied by the number of times you do it.
So if you stop at Starbucks on your way to work every day, that’s $5 a day, $25 a week and about $1300 a year.
$1300 a year is a lot of money. Don’t get me wrong. If you are really struggling to make ends meet, things like the “latte factor” (or the lip gloss factor or the magazine factor or any number of other odds and ends) can really make or break your budget.
But for a lot of people, the “latte factor” isn’t really a big deal.
Confession time: I kind of love Starbucks. Do I drink it every day on my way into work? No. That would be nuts. That’s a freaking month of rent, folks. But do I drink it several times a month? Sure do.
And I drink those sugary, frothy, totally unhealthy, delicious, caffeinated concoctions that cost considerably more than a Grande Americana or whatever that cup of boring old coffee is called there.
So I’m advocating something new here:
Embrace your “latte factor.”
Or heck, even without moderation. If you’re just going to buy the coffee anyway, buy the coffee, but do it smartly.
Use gift card swapping and reselling sites.
I embrace my latte factor using Raise.com and you can too. Turns out, not everybody loves Starbucks. When these weirdos get a Starbucks gift card, instead of thinking they’re just outta luck, there are awesome websites were they can sell them such as Raise.com (there’s also Card Pool, or GiftCard Granny to name a few) for the majority of what they’re worth.
Then I swoop in and buy a $100 Starbucks card for $78, which equals 4 free coffees.
So you’re not a caffeine junkie? These websites have cards for pretty much any “latte factor” foul you usually commit. Love lip gloss? Buy Sephora. Can’t walk out of Target without a little extra something? They’ve got those too. Got a bad book habit? Turns out a lot of people aren’t readers – there are plenty of Barnes & Noble cards. See a lot of movies? They have Cinemark, Regal and AMC.
Now I’m not advocating you start spending money all willy nilly. I’m advocating that you look at what you are already spending money on and find a way to save some cash. Plunking down $78 in one chunk for coffee seemed a little nuts to me the first time.
Until I used that gift card for 4 months and realized it definitely did save me a fair amount of money.
Even moving away from the “latte factor,” you can save money on clothes and groceries using this method too, if you regularly shop at certain stores.
Remember – preparation is 100% of the battle.
A cinnamon dolce lattes are worth the splurge.