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5 Expenses to Trim Instead of Coffee

Samantha Rose
Samantha Rose is a personal finance writer covering financial literacy for OppU. Her work focuses on providing hands-on resources for high school and college-age students in addition to their parents and educators.
Read time: 3 min
Updated on December 1, 2022
woman with curly hair holding her phone and coffee learning about 5 expenses to trim instead of coffee
Can’t give up coffee? With these saving tips you don’t have to.

Here’s a hot take: Coffee isn’t the problem.

Yep, there’s been a lot of coffee hate going around lately, and to be fair, we get it — $8 lattes can add up. But personal finance gurus who demonize coffee as the type of frivolous purchase that’s sending America nose-diving into debt might be missing the forest for the trees.

The goal is a worthy one: Trim costs and free up money for saving. However, coffee isn’t the only expense that offers a cost-saving opportunity. And when you do the math, it might not be the best one, either.

High-dollar expenses like housing and transportation present budget-trimming opportunities that can yield far greater savings. We talked to the pros to get to the bottom of budget-buster expenses. Here are the five purchases they suggest cutting for the biggest savings opportunities.

Expense No. 1: Cable

Nicolle Yates, investment advisor representative at Hamilton Financial Planning

"There are so many alternative options available now for cable. YouTube TV acts very similar to cable, but is much cheaper; you can live stream certain channels just like watching regular cable; you can also record your favorite shows and movies on multiple TVs/devices. Roku and Apple TV are great options for switching through different streaming platforms while also offering a ton of free streaming apps."

Expense No. 2: Transportation

Tana Williams, personal finance blogger at Debt Free Forties

"One significant expense to minimize is transportation. Rather than buying new vehicles, I recommend finding reputable used cars.

My favorite hack for purchasing used vehicles is to buy from a rental company's car sales services. Hertz and Enterprise both resale their cars after they reach about 25,000 to 40,000 miles. The pricing is low and no-haggle, you have a great selection to choose from, and the model years available are usually from the previous year or two. Both companies do a thorough inspection and provide the ability to rent the vehicle for a three-day test to ensure that it's the correct fit for you.

By purchasing through Hertz, we were able to about $3,000 on each car and were able to find the specific vehicle we wanted without having to haggle with a salesperson."

Expense No. 3: Dining Out

Amit and Chhavi, personal finance bloggers at Mrs Daaku Studio

"I am guilty of this. Amit and I used to eat out a lot but when we started budgeting, we realized two things. Not only did we eat unhealthy a lot of the times, but we spent a major chunk of our earnings on eating out. If you are eating out 2-3 times, it could easily add up to $100 and more. So, we made a plan. We budgeted for eating out every Friday, but for the rest of the [week], we cook at home. We have been able to save tons of money in this manner."

Expense No. 4: Groceries

Carey Zielke, founder of Realities and Dreams

"One item, or should I say many items, that are often overlooked when trying to save money is groceries. I mean, we all have to eat right? However, the name brand items are a waste of money in almost all cases. In my household, we save on average 150 dollars per month by simply not buying the name brand items. Did you know that for the most part, the store brand green beans are canned by the exact same company, and then a different label is placed on the can!"

Expense No. 5: Rent

Nicolle Yates, investment advisor representative at Hamilton Financial Planning

"If you live in a city where the cost of living is crazy expensive, consider getting a roommate or moving in with your partner. If you own your property, consider using Airbnb to rent out your home on weekends you won't be there! That's a great and easy way to make some extra cash."

Bottom Line

Looking to cut costs? Do it the smart way and look for the expenses that offer the biggest savings — whether it’s coffee, or something else.

Article contributors

Nicolle Yates is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin with honors and a long-time community initiative volunteer; she utilizes her leadership skills on a daily basis to guide and educate clients through the financial planning and investment processes. Yates is a registered investment advisor representative and licensed in FINRA Series 65, and is currently preparing for the national exam to become a certified financial planner.

Tana Williams is the founder of and has paid off more than $27,000 in debt in just 17 months. Her primary goal is to help others who have had a late start with finances get on the right track to financial freedom. She loves using her personal finance know-how to help others gain control of their finances and conquer their debt, one dollar at a time.

Chhavi and Amit are personal finance experts, career coaches and owners of the blog Mrs. Daaku Studio, a place where you can find out all about working remotely. After several years of working for corporations, they decided to quit and start blogging to help others find legitimate ways to make money online or from home. You can connect with them on their Facebook Group, Be your own boss (quit 9-5) or on YouTube.

Carey Zielke bw

Carey Zielke is a Navy veteran and the founder and author of the Realities and Dreams blog, specializing in personal finances. His goal is to inspire and help as many people as he can in their pursuit of financial freedom. When he is not working, or writing articles for his blog, you can find him exercising, playing with his kids (two dogs and three rescue cats), or playing video games.

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