Latte Factor Exposed

When I got home last night, there was a finance book in my house.  A finance book!!!  In my house!!!  As you may know, I find these books terrifying, and want nothing to do with them.  Needless to say, it wasn’t there because I put it there.  Though I love books generally, I think finance books are (1) insanely boring, and (2) a freaking joke.  But not everybody feels that way.  And so they keep appearing.

But every cloud has a silver lining, and this was not my first encounter with a finance book.  Here’s the fun part: every one of these books (and David Bach’s Start Over, Finish Rich proved no exception) has what I refer to as the “latte factor” section.  And it is always, always hilarious.

The “latte factor” probably has some econ-major-finance-nerd official definition, but in layman’s terms, say there is something that you spend money on every day, like a literal latte or soda or going out to lunch, nothing too huge and expensive individually, but it adds up if you look at it on a macro scale (“macro” is a finance person darling; they use it as frequently as occasion permits).  This is the “latte factor,” money you could be saving or putting towards something more important that you are spending on that instead.

What’s great is that the people that write these econ/finance books think they are the only people aware of this concept.  And they act like everyone has these huge latte factors that if they could just eliminate they would be near-instant millionaires.  This is funny on a number of levels: (1) if they think this is news to people, you have to wonder how smart they are in the first place, and (2) the fact that they think these are normal expenditures makes you question their outlook on money and finance completely.

Bach’s book did not disappoint.  He had 25 latte factors.  Laugh-out-loud funny stuff, and I had to share.  Let me know if you think this stuff is as ridiculous as I do:

(1) Lose the premium cable TV package…and save $600.

(Who has the premium cable TV package?)

(2)  Get real about your cell phone…and save $240.

(This assumes you have a 900+ minute plan, and are consistently not using a significant number of those minutes).

(3)  Ditch your landline…and save $240.


(4) Bundle your telecom services…and save $1500.

(Already bundled.  Already paying less than he suggests you’ll be paying after you bundle).

(5)  Exercise smart…and save $600.

(Don’t have/pay for a gym membership).

(6)  Shop your car insurance…and save $600.

(Or, look for the best deal when you buy your car insurance in the first place.  They don’t change much).

(7)  Shop your homeowner’s insurance…and save $480.


(8)  Shope your life insurance…and save $500.


(9)  Cancel your subscriptions (i.e. magazines, newspapers, Netflix)…and save $400.

(WHO HAS $400 IN SUBSCRIPTIONS?!?!?!?!?!?!?!)

(10)  Lower your credit card interest rates and eliminate fees…and save $475.

(easier said than done, I’m sure)

(11)  Stop paying debit card and ATM fees…and save $98.

(Who is paying $98 in these fees?)

(12)  Cash in your points, and save $200.

(What points?  “Cash in” what???)

(13)  Carpool to work and save $382.

(No one lives in my direction; I don’t live that far from work.  Plus, am I in high school?  That would just be awkward).

(14)  Have a garage sale…and earn $210.

(Okay, this guy obviously hasn’t been to or held a garage sale lately.  Garage sale shoppers are ruthless and cheap.  We had a garage sale before we moved, sat out there with all our stuff for 6 hours, and earned $2.  $2!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  That breaks out to less than 25 cents an hour.  Not worth it!  You’re better off donating your stuff and writing it off on your taxes).

(15)  Lower your energy bill with a free energy audit

(Love to!)

(16)  Buy in bulk, save $400.


(17)  Take a volunteer vacation and save $3000.

(Save $3000???  SAVE????  This makes all kinds of assumptions, including that I was, at some point, spending over $3000 on non-volunteer vacations.  Riiiiggghhhhhtttt….)

(18)  Bring your lunch to work…save $2250.

(Oh…my…gosh!  Really?  This is advice?  Dude, I have eaten more peanut butter and jelly in my lifetime than an army of kindergartners.  I still bring my lunch to work almost every day.  This is their genius advice?)

(19)  Telecommute to work…save $430.

(Okay, I’m going to go ask if I can do that…I’ll let you know how it turns out…)

(20)  Get your 401(k) match…and earn $1480.

(Yeah, that you can spend in just 30 shorts years.  Assuming your employer matches).

(21)  Freelance…and earn $1000.

(Doing what?  With what time?  In some industries that’s called moonlighting; and it is not smiled upon, especially if they provide malpractice insurance).

(22)  Reclaim abandoned property…and earn $250.


(23)  Renegotiate your rent…and save $500.

(Good luck with that!)

(24)  Drive smart…and save $798.

(I don’t know what this means.  But then, I barely know where the gas goes).

(25)  Stop playing lotto…and save $500.

(Right, because people that are routinely spending $500 on lottery tickets are out reading finance books).

And there you have it; your keys to financial success and instant riches.  Who knew it could be that simple?


4 thoughts on “Latte Factor Exposed

  1. So… If I’m buying 3000 lottery tickets a week, should I cut back? I feel like I could be saving some money there.

    The problem I’ve seen with a number of books I’ve read lately is that they could be summed up in a single sentence. In the case “Don’t waste money on things you don’t need” -or- “Look at what you spend money on and find things you could cut back on.”

    • Maybe a smidgen.

      That’s the problem with all these books; they could all be summed up into “Stop spending money on stupid crap you don’t need! DUH!!!” I guess that wouldn’t make much of a book; but it would sure be one heck of a bumper sticker!

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