The "Latte Factor" and Reality
Let's talk about the famed "Latte Factor"
The REAL issue with the so-called "Latte Factor" isn't that buying one latte is some sort of heretical offense to the personal finance gods. It's about INTENTIONALITY and the ability to cripple one's financial progress by spending absentmindedly.
If you want that latte, go for it. But do it KNOWING what you're spending, why you're spending it, and how it impacts your budget for other things like saving, debt reduction, etc. Do it intentionally and with full awareness and then there's nothing wrong with it at all.
Just keep in mind that the old saying "Death by a thousand cuts" applies to your budget. You can bleed your budget to death with unintentional, absent minded spending. Make certain that spending is tracked into the proper budget category, so you KNOW you've spent it and why.
It's all too easy to buy that latte and muffin every morning, along with other spending during a day, and then at the end of the month be confused as to where all your money went. How do I know this? Because I've done it, just like most everyone else; dining out KILLED me for years.
Many unintentional, small purchases, can add up to hundreds of dollars every month that never made it into a budget category, so it becomes "invisible" spending that drains the accounts but isn't accounted for. Make no mistake, that kind of spending WILL impact your future.
A latte once in a while won't keep you from becoming wealthy but an unending stream of small, untracked expenditures can kill a financial future just as easily as large purchases or poor investing strategies.