It's the Little Things That Kill: Small Expenses That Add Up Fast

NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Everyone is somewhat familiar with the economics of the latte: $5 isn't a lot of money. But $5 a day, every day adds up quickly: "A latte a day is going to cost you over $1,000 per year," explains Renee Harrison, a private wealth advisor with Ameriprise. Still, if your only indulgence is a daily latte, you'll probably say to yourself, "I earned it."

The problem is that it's probably not. In fact, you probably have a number of little things that add up quickly -- and are killing your budget.

Beyond the Latte

Harrison calls things like the daily latte "discretionary cash flow raiders."

"If you eat lunch out every day that can easily cost over $150 per month, per person," she explains. It gets worse if you opt for a sit-down restaurant over a fast food joint.

Ellie Kay, America's Family Financial Expert, explains that it's not just about the money that you spend -- it's also the impact on your health. "Pack your lunch the night before and you're set up for success," she says.

Harrison advises one way for couples to save money when they head out: rather than getting an entrée, two appetizers and two desserts, instead get an entrée, appetizer and dessert to split between the two of you, or better yet, have the dessert at home. There's an added health benefit. "Couples who do this find that they don't feel overstuffed after a meal," Harrison said.

Cut the Cable

What's your cable bill? Kay and her family's is zero, instead using Hulu, Amazon Prime and Netflix at a fraction of the cost. Still, she cautions people against à la carte buying.

"If you're getting Downton Abbey and other shows every week, that's going to add up quickly," she said.

This extends to Redbox. "They're incredibly cheap," she says.