By Shannon Pulusan
About $18 billion make up the coffee expenses of all Americans in a year. $96 billon pays the bar tab. $117 billon fulfils fast food cravings. And $10.7 trillion is splurged at the mall.
As the numbers add up with the end of 2013, the New Year opens an opportunity for a change in spending habits. Instead of buying into our guilty pleasures of caffeine (average $164.71 spent a year by coffee-drinker), soda (a household spends about $850 on soft drinks) and joyrides (roughly about $3,000 per household is used to pay for gas), consider more affordable alternatives that can save you some extra money for the New Year.
Here are some ways you can counter the growing consumerist trends:
• Bike Riding. Riding a bike keeps you mobile without concern for wavering gas prices. Pedaling your way around also keeps you active and environmentally friendly.
• Homebrewed Coffee. Forget the morning rush at the pricey cafés and invest in a thermos to bring your morning brew on the go. Make your coffee just the way you like it without fumbling for change and waiting on line.
• Homemade sodas. Soda makers make it possible for soda fanatics to create their personalized drinks. Make a one of a kind flavor that you cannot find in stores and is a creative alternative to buying cans and liters.
• Tea. A simpler and more convenient caffeine fix can be a cup of tea. Though the caffeine levels are generally a lot lower than coffee, tea bags are not as costly and can be prepared instantaneously.
• Coupons. There are a number of apps that archive sweet deals for retail, groceries, entertainment and apparel. Some stores have their own apps that provide weekly coupons just in case you misplaced the flyers. Here is a list of mobile apps to help you save.
Photo by patpitchaya courtesy freedigitalphotos.net