I talk a lot on my show about big expenses like housing and cars. But how much do those little expenses -- such as getting coffee or lunch on the go -- cost you per year?

The Denver Post ran some numbers and found that drinking coffee away from home on a daily basis costs nearly $1,100 annually. Eating lunch out during the week costs $2,500.

Add those two up and that's $3,600 a year for two things that just kinda happen in life. We don't really gauge the long-term financial impact of them in the moment.

But consider this: If you go to a fancy coffee place everyday, what if you skip it one day a week?  That means a few hundred dollars back in your pocket every year. Same thing with lunch. If you eat out four days instead of five, you'll have an extra $500.

Between the two, that could be $700 or $800 back in your pocket annually. Once you get used to brownbagging lunch or brewing coffee at home one day a week, maybe you do it twice a week and then you're up to over $1,000.

As you make those little changes, as you "deprive" yourself of those little things, suddenly you now have $3,600 to put in a Roth account or for a nice vacation.

Would you rather have the nice coffee or be on a beach somewhere, or touring Europe or skiing out West? It's your choice.

Image of Clark Howard About the author: Clark Howard

Clark Howard is a consumer expert whose goal is to help you keep more of the money you make. His national radio show and website show you ways to put more money in your pocket, with advice you can trust. View More Articles

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