When we were first married, my husband and I read “Smart Couples Finish Rich” and it inspired us to put away more money for retirement and helped us organize our financial lives. We loved the concept of the “latte factor”, and it persuaded me to pass up fancy coffee drinks almost all of the time. However my husband still really enjoys his lattes, and while he has reduced his trips to the coffee shop he still heads there more than I’d like. But after reading your latest book, “The Automatic Millionaire” I realized I needed to look at MY OWN latte factor and stop bugging my husband to curb his. While I don’t buy fancy coffee drinks, I am the one who goes to the grocery store each week. After our mortgage and taxes, “groceries” are our biggest monthly expense. So I began to watch exactly what I was calling “groceries” a little closer.
While I was on a tighter budget in college, I was much stricter with what I would put in my shopping cart, trying to avoid anything that cost much more than $3. But since becoming part of a dual income household, I had become quite a primadonna at the grocery store, buying more expensive beer and wine, prepared foods, gourmet cheeses and olive oils, more meat, and even sneaking in treats for myself like fancy body washes and kitchen accessories and justifying them to myself as “necessary groceries”. Our grocery bill was up to $700/mo. for just the two of us, and even higher on months I went to stock up at the “low cost warehouse”. By really watching myself at the grocery store I have been able to cut our grocery bill by $100/ mo., without giving up all our culinary luxuries, just planning them to be a treat instead of a daily thing. With the extra money we are saving for our son’s college in a 529, increasing our retirement savings to 10%, and building an emergency fund. I have also automated all of it, because many of the goals I made after reading “Smart Couples” just weren’t happening. Now I don’t have to rely on my own willpower, because it is all automated. Thanks for all your great advice!