Finances are one area that newlyweds tend to struggle with after their marriage. Some people have no debt, others have a lot, and maybe even both have some debt. Ryan had worked hard to be debt free and with him being a few years older than I he did not have any student loans. I, however, graduated college after Ryan and I met, but also had to purchase a new car (I was still driving the one I bought when I was 15!). After we got married we also purchased a house. Our finances are a bit different now than when we both were single.
Luckily for us (one of the things that drew us to each other) we both are pretty frugal with money. We buy things we need and sometimes the things we want, but we both tend to sit on or research our purchases first. So far finances have not been an issue or argument for us that so many have said they have had with their spouse.
With that all being said Ryan and I still try to make good decisions with our money. Ryan introduced me to a concept that he had learned from David Bach called the “latte factor”. The latte factor is referring to something you send money on each day, or regularly, that is wasting money yet you don’t think about it because it is typically a small amount. For instance: you stop by Starbucks to grab a latte every morning on your way to work for $4 (and that is probably the small one!). Four bucks may not seem like a lot, but that is 20 bucks in a week or $80 a month. Eighty dollars for lattes?! And that doesn’t even include the weekends.
Not everyone grabs a latte in the morning, but most people have something. Chew gum? Drink soda? Vending machine snack? Cigarettes? These all could be your latte factor. So what does the latte factor have to do with newlywed finances? Well once you find out what your latte factor is you can then role that money over to paying off debt, saving or investing- whatever you and your spouses goal is.
To find out what your latte factor is you will need to record EVERYTHING you spend money on for a few days. This means cash, check, and credit. ANYTHING that is purchased write it down. Here is a tracking sheet to help you out! For those of you that are a bit more frugal you may need to keep track a bit longer. Over time you will find something!
A few examples of things that could be latte factors for Ryan and I:
- We have new trash service which you can choose what size can to use. Smaller the can equals the smaller monthly payment. Now that recycling is included we could probably opt for a smaller can. Saves $3 each month. Save $36 in a year. Seems pretty small, but why not save $36 dollars.
- Something on a little larger of a scale. I love me some Lush Cosmetics! I order a few times (probably 3) a year. I would spend about a hundred bucks with shipping and such. However, after doing some investigating I found some other products that I like (almost) just as much for half the price! So $300 down to $150 (or less!) in a year.
Lets go back to the actual latte example. $80 a month times 12 = $960 a year ON COFFEE!!! I know from year to year I am looking for a raise and to think you could save almost a thousand dollars by skipping your coffee! Alright, alright enough about coffee and lattes.
If you and your spouse are looking for ways to save or pay off debt take this newlywed financial advice and look into your latte factor! Track your spending with this worksheet. Then, calculate just how much you could be saving yourself with the latte factor calculator. Next, start putting that saved money where you really want it to be going!
Leave a comment below telling what you think your latte factor might be!