1. This illustrates perfectly my objection to the latte factor, which is that the latte rarely occurs in a vacuum. A lifestyle of little splurges isn’t usually confined to one single habit; it becomes a mindset of small indulgences, or not so small conveniences, that takes over your financial life. Thanks for illustrating this so well!

  2. Jo-Anne

    Oh I feel your latte factor this last half of the month. I’m not looking at my cc statement for a reason…. I know I will have to throw more money than I want to on it. Thank you tickets to Elton John… Ballet… Symphony… who knows what else! I will absolutely enjoy all of these events but I probably should have behaved myself more. And I 100% went out more than I had anticipated this month. I was doing really really well the first 1/2 of the month and then just fell off the waggon. good thing I have maxed out my required gov’t savings (CPP, EI) for the year so I get some extra on my pay cheques to make up for my spending.

    Good luck going forward and the little stuff might not break the budget but it could easily put you over on your spending!

    • You hit the nail on the head with your last sentence. If we keep going at this pace, I won’t actually get to enjoy my raise at all. I will be spending all of it instead of saving any. Grrr!

      (But also omg Elton John tickets. I’ve seen him three times in Vegas, and it was worth every penny every single time!)

  3. It’s already sort of looking like that as I committed the biggest of latte factors for our lives: adopting a second dog. My subconscious is really mad about it because it gave me a whopper of a nightmare the other night – we adopted two MORE dogs. I woke up in a sweat swearing up and down that I’ve learned my lesson and won’t try to adopt more than our two dogs. I can’t imagine anything worse than getting in over my head adopting dogs that we can’t take care of adequately, it seems

  4. For me, it’s been a challenge to identify the difference between “self care” and straight up going overboard with the treat yo’self mentality. As a recovering impulse shopper, the lines REAL blurred for me already. Ugh.

    I think the key is to try to find treats that don’t require consumption. For me that’s guilt-free time for naps/video games, going on a walk, or reading.

    • That’s exactly it. And it’s worse with a baby. I use him to justify all sorts of convenience. But honestly, he doesn’t need string cheese. I end up having to cut it into pieces anyway. Buy the dang block of cheese, Penny.

  5. I got to go on a conference last week and treat myself to meals and coffee out knowing I’d get reimbursed. It was nice, but I also noticed it’s a slippery slope. We’re coming up on a busy month and I want to make sure I don’t fall on bad habits- it’s easier to slide when you’re stretched for time.

    • And for me, the consequences ended up being more than financial. Why in the world am I drinking Diet Coke again? Or now I make my own latte in the morning. I used to be perfectly content with plain tea, and now I start my day with 150 extra calories and all that extra sugar. ARGH.

  6. Raina

    I agree with FrogDancer Jones that Kalie’s comment summed it up. It’s not the Latte, it’s the mindset. I never JUST buy the latte. ?

  7. Doris @ Your Financial Launchpad

    I really like that you brought in environmental considerations on top of what I call the “financial leakage factor”, which is what happens when we preface any purchase with “It’s only….” Leaks are like rabbits – they seem to double in the blink of an eye. What few of us ever think about, however, is the environmental cost of our latte indulgences. Great point.

    • Thank you! It’s so easy to only talk (and think!) about money. But I’ve been realizing more and more lately how much overlap there is between money and health and the environment.

  8. I’d probably go to the brewery 2-3 nights a week. That’s my latte factor. And while I’d love to pat myself on the back for walking to the brewery and drinking out of a glass… I’m sure the process of brewing beer is not as friendly to the environment as I’d like to imagine.

  9. I try to tell myself “I don’t need that” in similar situations. But Im really only commenting to tell you how much I loved that you used the word “pop”!

  10. I’ve been guilty of frequenting our on-campus coffee shop all too often this past year. The devils brought the mainstream Starbucks competitor right into our headquarters. Bastards.

    Once, maybe twice a week I find myself getting that small americano as part of a social experience with a colleague. Can I afford it? Yes. Am I going to lose on a few grand when I’m 80 because of this nasty habit? Yep.

    Where it becomes a problem is when it’s a bellwether for bigger nonsense spending, like the “happy hour factor” or the “brunch factor” or even the “i’m going to FinCon dammit and you can’t stop me! factor”. 🙂

    • HA! Those jerks!

      I do think regular splurges are fine, especially when they are planned and thoughtful. I always build in a bit of spending money for each of us (even my baby!). But man, oh man. If I give myself an inch, I’ll take a mile!

  11. Love this. It’s not a lot until it is. It’s the “little foxes” that destroy the vine. Thank for sharing and taking the conversation beyond $$ and cents.

  12. I’m all for having a latte – when you want it and when it really enriches your life. It’s just so bad when neither of those criteria are met. Then it’s just mindless consumption.

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