These are common expenses such as your midday coffee or mid-afternoon snacks. Individually they are not a huge expense, but if you stop to think about how much you spend each month, the figure may surprise you. In fact, coffee is one of the most common and that is why there is a term referred to as the latte factor, which illustrates what you can achieve in the long term by eliminating that midday coffee.
Each person has their own ant expenses , also known as vampire expenses , but these can average out at about 150 euros each month once you add them all up.
How can you eliminate these invisible expenses? The formula for getting rid of ant expenses is very simple: track your spending for a month, for example. Put another way, create a detailed budget that helps you know how, when and where you spend your money.
If you don’t want to go that far, but still want to cut down on your ant expenses, we’ve identified the most important ones for you:
Eating out is one of the main ant expenses that we don’t think about because it is convenient. The difference between cooking your lunch or eating out every day can be almost double. In other words, you can save 50% of what you spend if you cook at home and take your lunchbox to the office, or avoid ordering take out.
The savings are even greater if instead of going down to the bar to get a coffee or grabbing one from the machine, you take it from home. Of course, this may be an expense that you do not want to eliminate because of its social component which does have value.
How many brand name products that you buy really make a difference to you?Possibly fewer than you think. Many generic or private label brands are of similar, if not identical, quality to the branded product, both in the supermarket and in terms of clothing and footwear, for example.
The way to deal with this ant expense is simple: buy a branded product when you really like it, it adds value, and you appreciate it. In all other cases, choose the own-brand product.
In the end, you just have to apply the principles of conscious spending and make the best decision.
Streaming and entertainment platforms
Subscription services are all the rage and one of their greatest exponents are content streaming platforms. As their price is not usually high, it is easy to subscribe to several simply to have a greater variety of choice, or because we don’t really pay attention.
The question you need to ask yourself is how many you really use and how often. Typically, you will be able to do without several overlapping subscriptions, meaning you can save money. And if you are not sure, you can always try to cancel a subscription and see how much you miss it. It may not be as much as you had imagined, and you will have eliminated yet another ant expense from your life.
More than just an ant expense, we could talk about our choice of personal mobility. Today there are a multitude of more economical alternatives to the car, as well as ways to save with your vehicle.
What can be classified as ant expense is taking a cab or vehicle for hire (Uber, Cabify, Bolt, …), because you are late for work or simply because you are too lazy to use public transport.
Bank and financing fees are one of the most common invisible expenses. These are the typical expenses that do not contribute anything and undermine your financial capacity.
This includes classics such as current account maintenance fees when there are zero-cost options, credit card issuing fees, minimum revolving card payments, overdraft interest on your account, fees for the investments you make, and so on.
Each fee or expense will not be more than 30 euros in the worst scenario, but when added together they can be a significant amount.
Whims, vices and compulsive purchases
These are the most complicated ant expenses to eliminate and also among the most costly. This category includes all kinds of indulgences, from breakfast pastries to what you bought at the supermarket that you didn’t plan to buy, but you felt like it, or that gadget you saw on the Internet and you want it right now.
It also encompasses various vices such as smoking or alcohol and, of course, compulsive shopping.
A good way to deal with all of these is to put off the impulse purchase for as long as possible from the moment you make the decision. You can do this by waiting 5 days to spend on anything that wasn’t planned, or by forcing yourself to always look for a cheaper alternative, for example.
As Luis Pita, author of Ten peor Coche que tu Vecino [Have a worse car than your neighbor], assures us, bargain hunting is not saving and, in fact, it is one of the major money mistakes.
No matter how much cheaper you buy something, if it doesn’t fit into your budget and you don’t need it, it’s not saving, it’s just a waste of money. It is an ant expense.
The last bastion of ant expenses are household utilities and supplies. It is very easy to overspend on electricity and energy and, above all, on telecommunications.
It is very common to have additional services on your internet and telephone bill or, simply, to have a higher level of service than you need or at an outdated rate. Periodically reviewing these types of costs is the best way to put an end to these vampire expenses.
In fact, the way to eliminate these expenses is to stop and think about them and act on the ones you are not comfortable with.