I’m a big coffee fan — strong, black double expressos with no sugar. Every morning I sit down at my desk to write this blog post with one by my side, and I refill it many times through the day. It’s a part of my daily ritual; I can’t say I give the cost of it much thought. They are £3 or £4 each from a café, so where’s the financial harm?
I imagine you have your daily rituals that cost a similar amount of money. Your chocolate muffin mid-morning or the latte on the way to work. We don’t give the cost of these small, daily items much thought. It’s the loose change in our purse.
But Seth Godin has been giving it thought, and the results are staggering. If like me, you are in some debt, then our little treat that costs £4 per day is going to end up costing us £37,000 over the next ten years. This massive amount got my attention. Seth worked this out as follows:
Over ten years, if you’re funding that daily purchase with ongoing credit card debt, at £1,000 a year, it’ll cost you £24,408, and you might never find the means to repay the debt.
On the other hand, if that same £1,000 went into a low-cost investment fund that paid about 7% a year, you’d end up with £13,816 in the bank.
The difference between those two figures is huge. You are minus £24,408 or you are plus £13,816. Our daily-treat has just cost us £37,000
Debt is the real kicker here. Not the £4 cost of the treat. When we are in debt things, cost us much more than they need to. So, the real lesson for us is to concentrate our efforts on reducing our debts.
Easy to say, but as I know all too well hard to do! But remember, we climb the mountain, not in giant leaps but one small step at a time.
PS. For simplicity, I have used pounds rather than dollars at a 1:1 rate, that Seth Godin used in his example.