A few years ago, a man named David Bach coined the term "latte factor". It basically means that small, incidental purchases every day can add up to be a lot of money over the course of months and years. Your daily $3 latte habit would end up costing you over $1000 a year, hence the name "latte factor". While some people's latte factor might be cosmetics or magazines, mine is definitely lattes, but here's how I'm getting it under control and still indulging.
First off, I'm brewing my coffee at home more often. I'll make a pot on Monday, put the remainder in the refrigerator for coffee later on in the week or iced coffee! Yum! Put a little milk and sugar in it and it tastes just like what you'd get at a coffee shop. Hint: if you have a Cost Plus World Market nearby, that is my favorite place to grab bags of coffee. Their coffee is great and really reasonably priced ($6 for a pound). Ask for a punch card and for every 6 bags purchased, you get a free bag! Plus, if you go on Wednesdays, you get double punches so it only takes 3 bags! It is seriously one of my favorite deals!
I still allow myself to have 2-3 lattes a week. To me, I really like having that treat, and happiness for $3 is pretty cheap in my opinion. How do I limit myself and still enjoy? I have a Starbucks card that I load at the beginning of every month with $25. Keeping that money on a Starbucks card versus using cash or a credit/debit card keeps me accountable - once it's gone, it's gone for the month. A bonus about having a Starbucks card is that if you register it, you earn one reward point every time you pay with your card. Once you get a certain amount of reward stars, you're eligible for things like free drinks, coupons, free wifi in stores, free drink customization... a pretty good deal if you're already planning on getting coffee anyway!
What's your "latte factor" and are you doing anything to keep it in check?