By Marshall Loeb, MarketWatch
RISMEDIA, August 3, 2007—(MarketWatch)—You’re committed to paying down your credit bills and putting money away toward a down payment — so committed you decided to forgo this year’s vacation, stop eating dinner out and start cutting back on luxuries like movies, CDs and clothes. Yet you still find yourself blowing your monthly budget. It’s time to break down your daily expenses to determine if small indulgences are bleeding you dry.
Bankrate.com, a leading aggregator of financial information, suggests these six everyday expenses are likely to drain your bank account:
Coffee. Brewed coffee costs an average of $1.38 a cup, per the National Coffee Association. If you make a habit of buying a cup every weekday morning, you’ll end up spending more than $350 a year.
Bottled water. A 20-ounce bottle of Aquafina water costs around $1, says Bankrate.com, which means a bottle-a-day habit will run you $365 a year.
Abandoned gym memberships. The average monthly fee for a gym membership is $35 to $45, says Costhelper.com, which means your unused membership may cost up to $480 a year.
Cigarettes. According to the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, the average cost of a pack of cigarettes is around $4.50 in the U.S. If you smoke a pack a day it will cost you roughly $1,600 a year.
Buying lunch. If you spend $9 a day on lunch every workday, you’re annual bill will come out to over $2,000.
Alcohol. Prices for alcohol vary so much that it’s hard to accurately estimate the cost, but consider this: If you indulge in two $4 beers a day, you’ll spend $2,920 a year. Add a tip of $1 per drink and you’re looking at $3,650.
Marshall Loeb, former editor of Fortune, Money, and the Columbia Journalism Review, writes for MarketWatch