Kevin O’Leary to Americans: “Stop Buying Coffee and Lunch Out – You’re Wasting Over $15K a Year”

Samantha Miller

Billionaire investor Kevin O’Leary had blunt advice for Americans who wonder why they can’t get ahead financially: Stop wasting money on small, unnecessary purchases that drain your wallet daily. The “Shark Tank” star called out two expenses in particular – buying coffee and lunch.

“You go to work, you spend $15 on a sandwich… what are you, an idiot? It costs you 99 cents to make a sandwich at home and bring it with you,” O’Leary declared in a recent video posted to social media. He argued that consistently choosing takeout meals and cafe beverages over homemade options could cost people $15,000 per year or more.


Stop spending money on crap you don’t need! What’s the biggest waste of money you see today?

♬ original sound – Mr. Wonderful

The Little Expenses Add Up Fast

O’Leary used the hypothetical example of a worker making $60,000 annually in a metropolitan city. On a typical workday, that person might spend $5 on a fancy coffee on the way to the office. Then they grab lunch for $15 because it’s more convenient than packing food.

If we assume a 5-day workweek, in 50 weeks that equals:

  • $12,500 per year on daily cafe coffee
  • $3,750 per year on lunch

That’s already $16,250 out of a $60,000 salary gone to quick bites and caffeine. And that doesn’t even account for restaurant dinners, happy hour drinks, snacks, weekend brunch runs, and so on.

“Most people, particularly working in metropolitan cities, are just starting out on their job, making their first $60,000, p*ss away about $15,000 a year on stupid stuff… and that’s what they should stop doing,” O’Leary declared.

Whip Up Coffee and Lunches at Home

The solution, O’Leary says, is to change daily habits and behaviors. Brew your own coffee for 20 cents a cup instead of spending $5. Pack nutritious homemade lunches that cost under $1 each, rather than forking over $15 at a cafe.

Little tweaks like that could save over $250 per week, or $13,000 annually, a huge chunk of change.

“It costs you 99 cents to make a sandwich at home and bring it with you,” the investor noted. Over time, consistently choosing homemade over eating/drinking out makes a monumental difference in personal finance and savings ability.

Rising Costs Magnify the Impact

O’Leary’s money-saving advice comes at a fitting time too. Prices are up across the board in 2022 due to high inflation, making budget-friendly habits more critical.

Food away from home costs – including restaurant meals, fast food, vending machines, etc. – are up 7.6% year-over-year as of October 2022 reports the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

So when you choose takeout, your $15 sandwich actually costs over a dollar more than it did a year ago. Making food at home shields you from inflated menu prices.

Coffee prices also saw major surges in 2022. As of October, coffee and tea were up 15.7% annually per CPI data. Again, home brewing avoids that financial hit.

Cut Excess Spending Wherever Possible

O’Leary’s core message goes beyond just limiting coffee and lunch purchases. He wants people to examine excess spending anywhere in their life.

“Stop spending money on cr*p you don’t need!” he declared in a blunt social media post. O’Leary called out fancy smartphones, streaming services, tobacco, alcohol, and unused gym memberships as other budget pitfalls.

His advice aligns with common personal finance guidance to cut discretionary costs before necessary ones like housing, utilities, or debt payments. Building smart money habits now pays dividends over the long run on the path towards bigger goals like home ownership, retirement, investing, or financial freedom.

The bottom line – small daily expenses can stealthily siphon thousands per year. Brewing coffee or packing lunch isn’t glamorous, but consistently choosing to save over spend fundamentally improves financial situations.

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Samantha Miller is a business and finance journalist with over 10 years of experience covering the latest news and trends shaping the corporate landscape. She began her career at The Wall Street Journal, where she reported on major companies and industry developments. Now, Samantha serve as a senior business writer for, profiling influential executives and providing in-depth analysis on business and financial topics.
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