You don’t need a large coffee. No one does.
I was sitting in front of my computer, staring at the sea of 7-Eleven coffee cups in front of me. Many of them were large. Heck, I’d even bought an extra large. What the fuck was I doing? Half of these still had coffee in them. “I should clean up more often,” I thought to myself. It’s far too often I bring a fresh cup of coffee home, and end up taking a sip of yesterday’s by accident. Ew.
I already know to limit my Starbucks habit to once or twice a month, but a working entrepreneur NEEDS coffee. I figure $1.57 for the large coffee at 7-Eleven isn’t too bad. If I had one every day for an entire year, we’re looking at $573.05. When I calculated that out, I was surprised! That’s not insignificant! If I cut out coffee, I could buy a 50” HDTV every year! Naturally, I busted out the calculator and started looking for ways to save.
The next size down is a medium: $1.31. I’d save 26¢ on every transaction if I simply went down a size. Just one less. Maybe I could have only six cups of coffee in a week. Well, I cheated because I found out the 7-Eleven app gives me every seventh cup of coffee for free. I’m paying for “just one less”. Cool, I save $1.31 every week, and since that cup of coffee is free, I can go nuts and even get an extra large like some sort of Russian czar. $1.31 x 52 = $68.12, so I save $68.12 every year solely due to that app. That’s pretty fucking good. And since I’m saving 26¢ on each of the 313 cups of coffee I actually pay for, I’m looking at an additional savings of $81.38. Just like that, by employing the mentality of “just one less”, I’ve liberated $149.50 per year at the most basic level of daily spending. Now, here’s the crazy part: If you invest that $149.50 every year in US index funds generating an average of 7% each year from the time you’re 35 to 65, YOU GET $15,110.42! Doesn’t seem possible? Math it out yourself.
I even find myself thinking “just one less” when I’m buying only one thing. Do I need it? Can I borrow it? Often, I can do enough mental judo to put the item back on the shelf. This has saved me thousands and kept crap from accumulating in my home. It even helps with household necessities. Do I need to have the most expensive dishwasher, or will the next level down do? Is it really worth an extra $5 to feel like I’m wiping my butt with angels, or can I buy no-name toilet paper? Sometimes, you’ll find you really do want butt angels, but simply by remembering “just one less” every time you make a purchase, you’ll figure out your non-negotiables and be far richer for it.
This can apply to healthy habits as well. “Just one less” doughnut. “Just one less” hour in front of the TV. “Just one less” cigarette. By giving yourself tiny nudges over a long period of time, the compound effect builds into huge gains.
Can you live with less? Prove it, and tell us in the comments.