Monday, February 15, 2010

Leave the Latte Factor

Leave the Latte

The 'latte factor' has been on my budget-weary mind for a couple of weeks now. With the holiday expenses slamming into tax season woes for the new year, and being the intense coffee addict that I am, it has a new meaning. The latte factor is a game plan- an idea really, that by skipping your favorite morning pick-me-up, and pocketing the average $5 a day- you can save a chunk of cash at the end of the year. Except for the unsavvy budgeter, this usually just means holding onto another $5 bill that will inevitably burn a hole through your pocket and come out on the other end in the form of a breakfast scone or a couple of sodas from the office vending machine. I even tried physically depositing the money, daily, into a ceramic piggy bank. This thought was more of an opposite "out of sight, out of mind" tactic. It didn't work.

Forget the latte factor. While redesigning my daily spending habits in a slow form, I actually figured out another method of saving at least one chunk of cash: my hair.

As far as extravagant purchases for a person like me, visiting the beauty salon and the same hip stylist for a number of years, is like a mini-vacation every other month. I make an appt., and when I arrive, my coat is hung by the desk staff, and I'm seated in an airy, pleasant-smelling, and indubitably clean booth.

Thirsty? They bring you coffee (with cream), cranberry juice, hot tea, or bottled water. Need a snack? Several granola bars or other healthy miniature bites await. Then you're greeted by your stylist, chatting about everything, starting at what you've been up to over the last 6 weeks, the condition of your hair, and the direction all things are going today. Life, looks, and any tidbits of goss you happen to collect over your 3 hour visit is layered into your brain- so that you forget the outside world. You forget the countless errands- pick up, drop off, oil change, post office, grocery store, and making lunch. You enter into a bubble of bliss and come out refreshed, and gorgeous. All this, for a tag price of about $125. What's not to love?

Hmmm..., looking at this way, 52 weeks a year, divided into 6 week visits is about 9 visits total at $125 each equals $1,125. HOLY SMOKES! I spend that much on my hair? (not withstanding any shampoo, conditioner, mouse, brushes, hair dryers, de-frizz spray, and the list, unfortunately, goes on). I've FOUND my Latte Factor. Like a therapeutic quickie, I realized I need that daily coffee fix to get me through the day, more than the 3 hour escape. It was a tough decision.

I say HELLO to DIY beauty-in-a-box now, which I've done so many times I've mastered my technique to a minimal mess fest and pretty good outcome. For only $7 a month, or $84 a year- my color is glossy. Plus, with an 8 week trim cycle at the local mall, there's an additional $150 a year. This is a grand total of $234.

$1125-234= $891 LESS spent than last year.

There's my latte factor in a nutshell. Another step to being a millionaire, possibly. What's yours?

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