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Nearly two-thirds of millennials say spending $7 on their daily cup of coffee brings them ‘joy’ — but Suze Orman has compared it to ‘peeing $1M down the drain.’ Who’s right?

Nearly two-thirds of millennials say spending $7 on their daily cup of coffee brings them ‘joy’ — but Suze Orman has compared it to ‘peeing $1M down the drain.’ Who’s right?

There’s something truly priceless about starting your day at your local cafe and snagging a steaming cup of coffee before you start work — or at least that’s what the average millennial might tell you.

And yet that special feeling does come at a hefty price — about 6-in-10 millennials say they’re willing to cough up $7 on a coffee each day because of the joy it brings them, according to a recent survey from financial services company Empower.

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Finance personalities have long blasted the takeout coffee habit for holding Americans back, but straight-shooter Suze Orman put it in colorful and direct terms back in 2019.

“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,” Suze Orman told CNBC Make It.

“You need to think about it as: You are peeing $1 million down the drain as you are drinking that coffee.”

What Orman wants you to do with your cappuccino capital

Orman, who often stresses the importance of emergency savings and taking charge of your finances, thinks Americans need to prioritize their needs over their wants.

“If you just simply used your money to purchase needs versus wants, you would find the money to invest in your retirement accounts,” Orman says. “You would find the money to get yourself out of credit card debt.”

Although Orman’s advice might be from the vault, it remains as relevant now as it did four years ago. The personal savings rate in the U.S. has not only plunged far below its 2020 peak, it’s also about half what it was in 2019. In the meanwhile, inflation has only pushed prices higher than they were in the past few years, meaning consumers are likely paying more for their coffee today.

American credit card debt just hit a new record last quarter, topping $1 trillion, according to the New York Fed. Now, if you’re racking up debt in the midst of inflation and high interest rates, you might want to focus on paying down your monthly balances instead of buying that $7 latte — or, look for other ways to reduce your spending.

It’s also key to start investing for your retirement as early as possible, since with compound interest, you can boost your returns over time.

Read more: Thanks to Jeff Bezos, you can now cash in on prime real estate — without the headache of being a landlord. Here’s how

How to find the right balance

But that doesn’t mean you have to live a meager existence. Other money mavens, like Ramit Sethi for example, don’t believe in forgoing the little things that bring you joy.

Sethi says you should instead strive for balance and conscious spending, especially if you’re already hitting your financial goals.

If that coffee’s really important to you, look into other cost-cutting measures, like canceling that streaming subscription you no longer use, or making (and sticking to) a solid budget. Consider trying out the cash stuffing method, where you take your monthly paycheck in cash and divide it into envelopes labeled based on your spending categories (like your caffeine addiction) and your savings funds.

Plus, after you purchase your choice of brew, you can put the spare change toward your investments. Even making small, regular contributions to your investment fund can make a big difference by the time you’re ready to retire — if you start early.

Just make sure that you’re still paying your bills in full and on time each month. For those who’ve fallen behind on a few of their balances, try the avalanche method, and start with the debt with the highest interest rate. Alternatively, you can roll all your debts together into a consolidated loan at a lower interest rate, so you have just one bill to keep track of each month.

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This article provides information only and should not be construed as advice. It is provided without warranty of any kind.

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