Is your daily coffee habit worth the money?
Suze Orman, financial expert and best-selling author of "Women and Money," doesn't think so. "I wouldn't buy a cup of coffee anywhere, ever — and I can afford it — because I would not insult myself by wasting money that way," she tells CNBC Make It.
That's because takeout coffee is a "want," not a "need," Orman says. Instead, that cash could be invested and put to work, she argues.
Let's say you spend around $100 on coffee each month. If you were to put that $100 into a Roth IRA instead, after 40 years the money would have grown to around $1 million with a 12 percent rate of return. Even with a seven percent rate of return, you'd still have around $250,000.
"You need to think about it as: You are peeing $1 million down the drain as you are drinking that coffee," Orman says. "Do you really want to do that? No."
When it comes to saving for the future, "Every single penny counts."
It all comes down to your financial priorities. Why spend money on coffee when you can make it at home for much cheaper? Orman argues. "If you just simply used your money to purchase needs versus wants, you would find the money to invest in your retirement accounts," she says. "You would find the money to get yourself out of credit card debt."
"Do I pay $2.50 for a coffee? Never, never, never do I do that," he tells CNBC Make It. "That is such a waste of money for something that costs 20 cents. I never buy a frape-latte-blah-blah-blah-woof-woof-woof for $2.50."
Instead, O'Leary makes his java at home and invests the money he saves. Like Orman, O'Leary chooses to prioritize other financial goals over a $3 cup of coffee.
"The truth is, there is a lot of crap you don't need," he says. "What I've learned to do, and what has really helped me in maintaining growth in my own personal investing is, anytime I pick up something I'm going to buy, I say to myself, 'Do I really need this?'"
That's because if he doesn't buy it, "the money is going to be invested and make money every year for me while I'm sleeping."
Some experts take a different stance. Ramit Sethi, bestselling author of "I Will Teach You To Be Rich," has no problem with splurging on the occasional latte — as long as you're taking care of other priorities, including paying your bills and saving for the future.
"Everywhere you turn, you hear people telling you what you can't do with your money: No lattes, no jeans, no vacations," Sethi tells CNBC Make It. But even though the costs of small pleasures can add up over a lifetime, giving up all the "extras" typically doesn't work in the long run, he says.
It can be difficult to constantly say no. Plus, there's not only a limit to how much you can cut your spending, but to how far trimming your spending can get you, as well.
Ultimately, Sethi says, the ends don't justify the means, at least not when the means make you miserable. "One day, when you're 2,000 years old, you can feel great — who wants to live like that?" he says. "Life isn't simply about cutting back."
Instead, he recommends making your savings automatic. That way, you'll know that your long-term financial goals are taken care of and you can use any leftover money guilt-free.
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